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Inner Vision: Inside Out

Inner Vision: Inside Out

Writer Lisa B. Valentino asks the timeless question, 'Where is my inspiration?' Only to conclude after a few uninspirational, pseudo-inspirational writing articles and a fistful of cookies that: We must learn to live our lives from the inside out. Nothing comes TO us - everything comes FROM us.

As I sweat the dilemma that my next column is due in less than 48 hours and I have no subject to contemplate upon the page, I come upon something ideal. Relevant, timely, pithy. Because it's oh-so-important to be pithy when you write a column. Any editor will tell you that.

I shall write about the dilemma, I decide. This is what all the writing books and magazines say. "Write about what's going on your life." Well, here it is. Real time.

First, I approach the bargain bookstand and pretend to casually browse its contents. I try to be loose and carefree because I don't want my brain to think I'm anxious --lest it be the death knell of my creativity. I discover that apparently there was no market for "Pocket Zen," and I promptly pick it up. "I can surely find an answer in a book about Zen," I say to myself. All the more perfect because it's pocket-sized, which means I don't have to read very far before I'm sure something will hit me. And it does - right away -- but its lesson is so subtle that I'm not supposed to share it with you. Really. So we have to move on.

Then I pick up a book that shouts, "4-Ingredient Recipes." How can you resist that? I think, "maybe there'll be something funny-yet-insightful about food" that will lead me in the right direction. I open it up. Lots of pretty pictures...yes! I know there's something here that will work. I excitedly turn the pages to absorb all the tasty bits but the only thing I discover is that those four ingredients seem awfully complicated as compared to dialing for take-out. So much for that.

Where is my inspiration, I ask?

I sit back down at the table, looking for the high-pitched squeals of ill-behaved children and in the bulging eyes of their embarrassed parents who resist publicly thwacking them; in the rude woman who sits across from me with the nerve to have a conversation on Skype without headphones. (No class.)

Alas, it is nowhere to be found. Or so it seems until I frantically open one of the writing magazines laying before me. Aha!

As it "happens," there is an article about personal essays and I pat myself on the back for being so spiritually connected that I drew the perfect article to me. I voraciously consume it seeking instant creative nourishment  -- but I find the promise is left unfulfilled. There's no inspiration here, only the kind of stale rhetoric that makes most people want to quit writing by third grade. You know, all that horseshit about structure and prepositions and predicates and such, which I have no real use for...except when I want to be pithy, of course.

So, I continue my meal with two iced teas, an egg sandwich, and three Madeleines until the organic solution reveals itself: Writing is such an organic process, what am I doing cruising the bookstands for a date? This is my column, my experience, my thought, my process. How could any outsider teach me about that? True inspiration can only come from within. Duh. And so it did.

And this is what it said: We must learn to live our lives from the inside out. Nothing comes TO us - everything comes FROM us. But we spend so much time seeking answers outside ourselves that we forget we have the knowledge of the Universe ever at our disposal. Inside. In the wellspring of our souls lies the Universal source - of inspiration, knowledge, wealth, peace. We look for the proverbial silver lining and forget we are the ones who turn straw into gold.

Living from the outside in is like changing your name expecting it to change your personality. We especially do it when we feel vulnerable, or pressed for immediate solutions, like having a looming deadline, for instance. It doesn't matter how much spirituality I practice or preach, that pressure led me right down the road of desperation (and cookies) to find the quick fix. In this case, I looked to books and magazines and passersby - to no avail. For others, who might be feeling lonely let's say, it could be the one-night stand that leaves you feeling emptier than if you'd gone home alone.


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Desperation is a disguise for fear - and making decisions out of fear doesn't work. It clouds the judgment and generally wreaks havoc in our lives, leading to all sorts of undesirable consequences. Check yourself. When was the last time you did something out of desperation or fear? Moved too quickly, or too slowly, because you were afraid something would or wouldn't happen? What was the result? It's unfortunate that we're so impatient with our revelations that sometimes we end up missing them in search of something else.

This is not to say that we don't need external stimuli to stir our consciousness. Of course we do. Otherwise, why would I write this column? People, relationships, books, magazines, pets, movies, music -- all of it can move us, inspire us. Everything has something to offer for our learning. How we interpret and apply that learning, however, is an internal process. That means the solution lies within us.

Awareness is about learning to live on the internal spiritual frequency so we can navigate the external human world. Fortunately, we're already connected to it, better and faster than any WiFi network. All we have to do is tune in.

Looking forward,

Lisa V.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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Lisa B. Valentino