“If we look at the world with a love of life, the world will reveal its beauty to us.” ~Daisaku Ikeda
I have always loved that scene in American Beauty when Ricky Fitts shows his video of a plastic bag blowing in the wind.
He’s the complete opposite of his neighbor Lester Burnham, who seems to have decided long ago to live life in a comatose state of submission, completely disconnected from authentic joy.
Ricky seems inspired by everything that most people simply overlook. He explains of his bag video:
“It was one of those days when it's a minute away from snowing and there's this electricity in the air, you can almost hear it. And this bag was, like, dancing with me. Like a little kid begging me to play with it. For fifteen minutes.
“And that's the day I knew there was this entire life behind things, and… this incredibly benevolent force, that wanted me to know there was no reason to be afraid, ever. Video's a poor excuse, I know. But it helps me remember—and I need to remember. Sometimes there's so much beauty in the world I feel like I can't take it, like my heart's going to cave in.”
Though it can look different for all of us, I suspect this is the feeling we wait for in life: a sense that there’s boundless beauty out there, and we have the capacity to feel, channel, explore, and express it.
We all want to feel moved, and then to use that to create love, joy, passion, and purpose.
If you’ve been feeling stuck or uninspired, these ideas may help you find inspiration:
Find Inspiration in Nature
1. Go for a walk in nature, practice mindfulness, and lose track of time for a while.
2. Meditate or practice yoga in a nearby park.
3. Watch children playing at the park then make a point to carry their spirit with you throughout the day.
4. Watch your cat or dog in nature and try to emulate your pet’s mindfulness and playfulness.
5. Take a camera outside and photograph everything that looks beautiful to you.
6. Practice deep breathing while listening to nature sounds.
7. Draw or paint a scene outside your window.
8. Watch Planet Earth DVDs to experience beauty of the oceans, forests, jungles, Great Plains, and caves.
9. Get lost in nature photos online.
10. Spend some time contemplating nature-based art.
Find Inspiration on the Web
11. Watch a TED video to learn about inspiring ideas.
12. Search for tweets with the hashtag #inspiration using the Twitter search functionality.
14. Read blogs written by people who have overcome adversity.
15. Join a forum of people who can relate to your challenges.
16. Browse through inspirational quotes on Tiny Buddha.
17. Share yourself vulnerably and authentically in a blog post—give inspiration to receive it.
18. Learn about ways to change the world through social media.
19. Watch 40 Inspirational Speeches in 2 Minutes.
20. Search Facebook for new inspirational pages to follow.
Find Inspiration in Possibilities
21. Try something you’ve always assumed you can’t do but secretly wanted to try.
22. Teach someone to do something and tap into your potential as a leader.
23. Immerse yourself in learning something new and allow yourself to forget about the limitations of time.
24. Write a bucket list of all the things you’d like to do in your lifetime.
25. Create a vision board with pictures of all of those things.
26. Brainstorm for ideas for a new project.
27. Think about the challenges you face and identify possibly solutions.
28. Submit your resume for a dream job instead of assuming you can’t get it.
29. Attend a conference or retreat to connect with like-minded people.
30. Read 50 Ways to Open Your World to New Possibilities and pick one to try today.
Find Inspiration in People
31. Ask someone you love what they consider to be the most important thing they’ve ever learned.
32. Ask everyone you see today what they’re grateful for.
33. Ask someone to tell you about the thing they love the most in life, and watch how they light up sharing their passion.
34. Ask your parents to tell you what you were like as a child, and remember what mattered to you then.
35. Notice what matters to someone and focus solely on how they experience it.
36. Join an organization of people making a positive difference in the world.
37. Read an autobiography by someone who has marched to the beat of their own drummer.
38. Listen to music that moves you and think about what the songwriter felt when s/he wrote it.
39. Make a list of all the ways your friends and family members are your heroes. Odds are, there’s a lot of inspiration around you already.
40. Spend time with children and see the world through their eyes.
Find Inspiration in Yourself
41. Disconnect for a while and write in a journal.
42. Make today the day you embrace a new healthy habit that can change your life for the better.
43. Give yourself a pressure-free day with nothing to do except the things you enjoy.
44. Try something new and revel in the sensation of stretching beyond your comfort zone.
45. Express yourself creatively in a way you never have before, by sculpting, for example, and see what comes in your mind and heart.
46. Enjoy something you created in the past—a blog post, a video, a drawing, or a project.
47. Sing in the shower. Put your heart into and release your feelings through music.
48. Recognize in yourself the strengths you see in other people.
49. Make a conscious decision to let go of something that doesn’t serve you.
50. Reflect on everything you’ve learned and accomplished and how you’ve made a positive difference in the world.
What inspired you today?