Dead or alive, there are people in our life who have given us valuable gifts – who have shaped us, inspired us and empowered us. These people may be our relatives, our friends, famous people we have never met or random strangers. It is important to take some time every so often and reflect on who these people are to us, what they bring to us and what we can do with the gifts they have given.
This week, I encourage you to do just that. Because I love lists, that’s what I am going to do. I am going to make a list of everyone who has inspired me or taught me something wonderful and then beside their name I am going to write about their gift to me.
For example, Martin Luther King, Jr. taught me that I can have a beautiful dream and that I can use my voice, my inner strength and my integrity to achieve it. Though he was a famous civil rights leader who I have never met, he has added positively to my view of my capabilities and my world.
I also learned about dedication from my grandmother who sat in meditation virtually every morning of her adult life up until the morning of her fatal heart attack in her 80’s. When I picture her setting her alarm clock for 4 am, or sitting up in bed with her blankets hugging her shoulders, the word “commitment” dances around that image. Other words she has inspired are devotion, spiritual love, strength, “suck it up” (I’m sure there’s one fabulous word for that phrase but those are the words I relate to her) and transcend. She was devoted to her practice of meditation, she engaged in spiritual conversations with anyone who would listen, she lived on her own during her golden years and pushed past cancer, and other physical ailments without major complaints. She sucked it up. And I believe she transcended this world, not just on the day she died, but many times throughout this lifetime.
I know that nobody is without fault and I have learned not to put anyone on a pedestal. In fact, that kind of makes the people on my list even more admirable because they are just regular people like me with some shining qualities.
After you have made your list, look it over and see if there is at least one person on that list who you could spend some time with in the near future. Schedule it in!! Is it a friend, family member, colleague? Maybe go for coffee, or a meal, or a walk and just be with that person. You may even want to tell them about your list and why they are on it. How awesome would that feel for both of you?! If the person you choose is no longer alive, you can still spend some time in their presence by writing a letter to them, dedicating some time to thinking about them, or by telling someone else about them and their gifts. If the person you choose is famous and alive you could write them a letter telling them why you admire them, or read about their life story. Is the person famous and dead? I like reading Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi quotes. Connecting with someone’s words is powerful.
When I spend time with someone, whether physically or mentally, who inspires me I feel a little more empowered. When I see people do great things, I believe that I can do great things too. When I see people BE great things, then I know I can BE great too. And by the way, “great” does not necessarily mean freeing a people from oppression; “great” can be eating well, tending a beautiful garden or having the energy to take their kids on field trips. I admire those things just as much!
When releasing your creative Self it is so helpful to reflect on the qualities you admire. Chances are, you have them too and that is why you are drawn to these qualities. Time to let them shine!
After completing your list and your follow-up activity, answer the following prompts in your journal or task binder:
- How did writing about the inspirational people in your life make you feel? What thoughts came out of this part of the exercise?
- What have you done in your life using the gifts that these wonderful people have given you?
- What would you like to do with these gifts?
- Which gifts would you like to pass on to others? To your kids?
- Did you do the follow-up activity? Write about it – who you chose and why, how you honoured them, what was their reaction?
I love hearing your comments and personal stories! Thank you for sharing!