Sunday, March 9, 2008

Family and Inspiration

Or: where does inspiration go when family comes into play?

Inspiration is usually defined as something that comes to you and sparks your creative side.

Einstein had many inspired thoughts in the bathroom and he is not the only one. I would like to suggest that he had a good digestion - from my humble experience, It’s either “aaarrrrghaah” or ‘aha”.

So what happens when you are with your own family? The people who see you with their eyes more than you’d like and who seem to cling the picture they hold of you when you were having great “aha” moments in your pants…

Isn’t a family scenario the worst place to listen to your own inner voices leave alone the voice of God?

I have been with my family in Germany for the last few days and I did indeed find it challenging to sit and write by myself. There is a mum to talk to and a sister and a dad with whom I needed to have some conversations. There is the funeral with uncle, aunt, cousins attending which takes head space to say the least.

“What are you inspired to do today?” hasn’t really been the question on my mind. It’s not like I could just forget what I am doing in life but it does get pushed into the distance.

Has this ever happened to you as well? Your own life and what is interesting to you can get pushed off into the distance because your “role” takes over, other people’s expectations (as we would feel it) take over, business and duties take over?

Especially when it comes to family, it gets psychologically complex and there is so much going on simultaneously, how on earth do you keep up with yourself and yet allow yourself to fully connect?

I found out that when asking questions with seemingly no good answer, we may wish to ask a different question:

And here is where inspiration comes in again:

How would I love to be today?
Is the new question-

Who and how would I love to be? What can I learn from and for my family?

Given the fact we carry on the family genes, we might as well develop them well.

What will I be happy to have experienced with my family? What would I like my children to see in me?

My conclusion is this: if you can be who you are in front of your family- i.e. your own parents-If you can allow them to see how you think, love and act in your life, then you really achieved something.

There is a huge difference between showing them how you live and allowing them in-
I can take my parents to walk over the Millennium Bridge and they’ll be proud to see their daughter so grown up.

That’s lovely but a millennium away from allowing them to be part of my thoughts, worries, inspirations and life.

I like to live through and with honesty- it makes me feel free. I like to face my challenges in life, it makes me feel real and alive. It’s not always very pleasant. The saying “there is no pleasure without pain” has a ring of truth in this matter.

So I told Dad that I don’t understand him, I can’t read him and that may be because I didn’t want to hear more about it. I don’t like the way he lives so why spend energy on reading the almost non-existent face language (as words are scarce). I didn’t say it in a cold way, this was borne into a conversation about how he can communicate with me when I don’t get him and vice versa. We have a long standing history of not really connecting on a deeper level.

How would I love to be?
I would love to be me- freely in front of my dad. My father is a strong character and always had a strong influence on me in his non-speaking way. It’s almost as if I filled in the gaps with plenty of critical words. My father has the life of a hard-working man.
His attitude is work hard and you will have things you like. His life shows that you may also be unhealthy, overweight, and develop a love for beer. We all make different choices but it's sometimes hard to accept the people closest to us...

His attitude is also do what you love and for him that’s simple- he loves being a lawyer and running his business and he has grown it amazingly well. He studied law as a youngster and built on the rest.

These days, doing what you love seems to be a lot more complex for many. In a way I wish I had one lucrative subject I studied as a youngster (I studied acting) and could build on it. It’s so much easier to share. This is what I do, look everybody, now I am building on it. Look , everybody, I am very consistent, I know it and here is my success to show for it.

My life is not like that and maybe that's a good thing...
I would love to be free from the desire to prove myself. I would love to simply trust my way.
I would love to share that with my Dad and inspire trust in him. I would love to have Dad’s support, not necessarily his acclaim, just the simple trust that whatever I do, he is proud I am following my own interests.

As we learn in coaching world, set goals you can achieve yourself, do not set them on other people- so my part stays in liberating myself and following my inspiration.

How do I do that? By giving myself the love and support and allowing me to be me-
Honest and emotional at times. Confused sometimes, very clear at others. Accepting whatever is and embracing it as part of my journey whilst keeping my eyes on what it is I want.

Understanding all is possible and the importance lies not in what we think we can get but what is really important to us. And if I don’t know, then exploring that is the next step.
That means living my life. That I find inspirational.

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