For my “Be Inspired” series of blogs, I have invited kindred spirits from a variety of backgrounds and specialties in life. Today, I am happy to feature a Guest blog post from my partner in life and love today, Kevin. I have known Kevin for over thirteen years, after our spiritual lives began bringing our lives together. Our shared values and interests continue to be source of inspiration and nourishment for us both.
Stepping out in a world blustery with expectations and demands, it can be easy to overlook essential inspiration. We remember to take our next breath, but even now, are we inhaling slowly and deeply… appreciating the gift of life itself, grateful for the simple pleasures and sustenance all around us? When the power goes out, we feel at a loss, but what do we feel when we forget to appreciate art, music, nature, or the value of relationships? The soul can silently wither, until the day we wake up, perhaps wondering… what happened?
So it is with great joy that I write this, recalling elements that inspire me and invite my mind to soar and dream of yet-unseen possibilities. May everyone who reads these words answer their own inner invitation to reconnect with feelings and memories that raise their eyebrows, lift their hearts, and spark the imagination.
THE WONDERS OF NATURE
Whether walking by the seashore or trekking through distant lands, tranquil moments in nature provides an endless source from which to fill myself with appreciation. Watching flying fish soar great distances in the Galapagos Islands, and snorkeling with penguins and hammerhead sharks. Gliding over feet of fresh powder on Copper Mountain. Basking in the glow of fireflies and chirping frogs at Fort Shantok State Park. Enjoying sunset after sunset with my beloved. The list is endless!
A few friendly penguins keeping me company in the Galapagos.
The wonders of nature are a gift, when our eyes are open.
I am so grateful to my parents and teachers for my education. I love libraries and bookstores for keeping their doors open as long as they are able. Throughout life, my worldview has been illuminated by inspiring treatises such as The Power of Myth with Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell, Dawna Markova’s No Enemies Within, Shunryu Suzuki’s Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, and Anodea Judith’s essential Wheels of Life. These greats show us pathways to live more fulfilling lives.
Like a lemon tart that makes the tastebuds sing. Or homemade gourmet pizza on cornbread crust that is pure comfort. Cooking, and cooking together, is a wonderful creative experience. I love appreciating the sunlight, rainwater, and care and tending of the thousand unseen hands that helped deliver the bounty of ingredients to my countertop. And the sights, sounds, tastes and experience of preparing a meal are all joys to be savoured.
Homemade delicacies. The fun is in the making!
I’m inspired by movies like Groundhog Day, that remind us that our actions make a difference. Foreign films and films like Julie & Julia that remind us that life may be full of recipes but is not a formula, and every life has something valuable to teach and to tell. And they also remind us to follow our dreams.
Music can comfort the soul, and beautiful artwork reflects meanings and emotions that provide healing and guidance along the way. Literature, like A Confederacy of Dunces, dances with a musicality of language, with the authenticity of well-worn clothes and vulnerable humanity. And artworks and architecture stir the soul, from Monet’s Water Lilies at the Musée de l’Orangerie, to timeless gardens of the Shinto Palace above Kamakura, to the jewel box of Sainte Chappelle.
The Jewel Box of Saint Chappelle // Lórien Eck’s Water IV
Throughout my life, I’ve been fortunate to experience spiritual awarenesses firsthand, such as the lotus flower experience, where the awareness of one’s body drops away, and one experiences their life force as a phosphorescent flower rising up the spine and blooming through the crest of the head, unfolding endlessly like a holographic chrysanthemum. There is definitely more going on here than meets the eye! This directs my life toward valuing inner work… defining and redefining my own life, and realizing the qualities that give rise to a better world. Encouraging myself to dream in this way, with a sense beyond limitations and boundaries, can give our lives meaning beyond this fleeting existence, knowing we are threads in a much grander, greater tapestry.
At the end of the day, there are the relationships that make it all worthwhile. The love of family and friends, and a partner in life to walk along the shores of life, share the vistas, and enjoy every step along the way, each and every day. Reflecting on this, I feel as though I’m fulfilling the hopes of my dear, departed Aunt C, who still reminds me “do good things, not dream them all day long, and so make life one grand, sweet song.” Living life fully is a grand adventure. I am thrilled beyond words to have a magnificent, extraordinary partner to share it with. Let’s do this!
A lover of life, adventure, and understanding it all the best we can, Kevin Helms brings a true appreciation to the life around him. He is a gentle guide through the dark waters of modern times, helping others see their own light and shine brightly. His calling includes work as a writer, editor, and meditation teacher. Connect with Kevin at Copy Caravan.