The quality of our lives is shaped by many forces. Some of these experiences were harsh, painful or traumatic, but others have been inspiring, uplifting, and joyful. We tend to reflect upon the tragedies and disappointments and it sometimes seems more difficult to lean into those experiences that have built us up. Yet these are the experiences that have empowered us and altered the quality of our lives in positive, even amazing directions.
Most of us can point to mentors, peak experiences, accomplishments, friendships and other things that have inspired us to be the best people we can be.
Art and music are primary sources of inspiration for many. Whether we learn to play an instrument, compose music and create art, or simply appreciate others’ efforts, the arts have inspired human beings for centuries, even millennia. Artistry and creativity are also present in everyday activities. Creating floral arrangements, inventing things, designing homes, raising children and planting gardens are all variations on that creativity.
Frequently, the most powerful inspiring experiences come from and through other people. We may have heard Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech, participated in a cause that addressed some injustice in the world, or initiated a project that benefitted our community. There is an emotional and spiritual satisfaction in listening to others who inspire, do and lead-and certainly in being one of those leaders. But for many of us, the most transformative uplifting experiences emerge from our key relationships. Many of us have been privileged to have a best friend, an encouraging lover or partner, or a mentor who took a special interest in us and guided us in key ways at crucial times in our lives.
1) What types of uplifting experiences have you had and which have been the most powerful for you?
2) Are there key people or key relationships that have inspired you?
3) What have you chosen to do with that inspiration?
4) Who are historical and contemporary figures that have given you inspiration, energy and the will to make a difference?
5) Talk about one or more of the “peak experiences” in your life. What impact did this experience have on your life and the lives of those around you?
6) Discuss past or present uplifting experiences that contribute to your joy and the quality of your life.