The tree where my mind grows: Inspired

Ever look around for inspiration? Maybe to be able to get up out of bed, or to make it one more day at your job, get to the weekend, get through a break-up, find balance, find your voice, start something new, start something over, find yourself? Me too. Sometimes I’ve been known to go on these quests of self-discovery. I even have a name for periods of time when I am just looking for answers: do-over days. It’s always been like this. When I was younger I would often find my greatest inspiration while lost in thought up in the crook of my favorite tree on my grandparent’s property. The light streaming through the branches, the smell of the Bougainvillea, the birds chirping in surround sound from perches you couldn’t quite see, amidst the green lush backdrop of the hillside. I have always cherished these times of reflection. It always produced some of my best-inspired moments.

I knew, even when I was very little in those delicious afternoons by myself, that there was something magical about when my heart and my mind would call me to a place of solitude and reflection; to actively go searching for it, because I knew, even at my young age, that having these moments to yourself to think deeply, is vitally important. There are moments in my adulthood now where I have found my self needing a “quick fix” of inspiration. With four children a marriage and a home to run, finding a tree to climb in a sunny afternoon of solitude is pretty certainly impossible. In moments of pure desperation, I’ve even resorted to googling, “how to find your inspiration” as if its a lost shoe, and perhaps the internet is going to tell me the secrets of the universe within a couple of clicks.

I have read about the top five habits of successful people, and almost always it includes waking up around dawn, I think. I usually scoff at that and keep moving down the list. I have and will always be, a night person. My brain is most activated as the evening draws near, and that’s usually been a good thing when I’ve needed to seek out what moves me when the mood strikes and I must, as if compelled, put words on paper, or thoughts into action.

The truth is, however, I am beginning to see what all the fuss is about in the early morning. When the world is still, still. When, I am new again. When everything is new again. I go back in my memory to those days of being little when I hear those birds chirping out my window and I’m transported back to my tree. For those brief hours as everything, including the light that rises to warm and guide the day, is still tucked neatly away. If you are lucky enough to catch it, this time is magical, and wouldn’t you know- truly inspiring. One of my favorite spots to be lately is in our cozy bed, wrapped and twisted under the covers from the night before, lying in the complete pitch black, with only the white backlit glow of my phone. I listen with both ears as hard as I can down the hallway for little voices. Then by ritual, I go and check the two littlest ones. Yep, still peacefully awaiting their turn to start the day anew. Back under the covers I go. This is when the world belongs only to me, or at least my world does. In that stillness I can find inspiration in all forms. My mind is allowed to wander freely like a puppy sniffing new grass. I am able to find a clarity that doesn’t exist in the same quiet space of the night’s counterpart. Its usually here that I finally work out the last puzzle piece to an issue that may have been nagging at me with work, family, a piece if writing, a long term goal.. or when suddenly as if by supreme meditation, the probable location of a missing item, say my daughter’s lost sippy cup from the day before, will just appear to me clear as anything! How is that even possible?

I find joy in letting my mind off leash in these times to just wander freely. To stop and smell the sweet memories of moments gone by with my children and husband, and a little farther back to beautiful times with my sister and cousins and grandparents, and of course, almost always, to my tree. If I am lucky, sometimes I even have brilliant ideas about life, plans; upcoming adventures just come to me. I am working on making this time more of a practice, because even if I no longer have my tree in that beautiful garden on the hillside, I can still find my inspiration in the quiet moments. And wouldn’t you know, if I listen hard enough, I can even still hear those birds chirping.

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