Finding Inspiration: What Bon Iver, Hipsters, Justin Bieber & Trees Have in Common

What inspires you?

I keep getting asked that lately. It’s a good question if you think about it. What does inspire you? Where do you find inspiration?

Inspire (v.): to give inspiration (n.): stimulation or arousal of the mind, feelings, etc., to special or unusual activity or creativity

For me, inspiration is found in many places and is sparked by many things. So many things. Movies, books and music always. And those always boil down to people. People are always my greatest inspiration at the end of the day. I suppose that’s why I can’t help myself to constantly collect their stories. The latest thing about us people that I have been focused on which keeps coming up for me in different ways is this idea or fact that we are powerful beings independently but we really are such interconnected and interdependent beings and oh-so-much-more-powerful when we unite–when we truly support each other with love and intention and action. And in the areas of music, books, movies, and of course, in this day and age, YouTube, this theme of our relatedness, of our interconnectedness, has been coming up…and in the most unexpected ways.

The latest music that I have found inspiring me is the genius Justin Vernon’s Bon Iver, Bon Iver. Haunting, beautiful, romantic, heartbreaking and uplifting all at once.

And this is the kind of person he is – below are excerpts from his handwritten liner notes of ‘thank you’s’ that almost made me cry.

And to more than anyone, (thank you to) my mom and dad. Who never encouraged me to try anything different. Who always raised me to be the best person I could be. For being my best friends and loving me so much. For as much life as there is to live, I will never be able to thank you enough.

For Kathleen for simply being, for simply loving me and bringing me the most peace I’ve ever felt in my life.

Literally, thank you to every single person who has bought, ripped, acquired, or handed off our records…if you got anything out of this, I feel successful.

(I concur. That’s how you feel when you put something out in the world – if you got anything out of this, I feel successful.)

Two very different books have inspired me over the last week. One is the hilarious Stuff Hipsters Hate by my fabulous editor, Andrea Bartz, at Psychology Today and Brenna Ehrlich. It inspired me for something I’m writing and I laughed my butt off all the way through, which as we all know, is excellent for the soul and well-being. This book is for anyone who has dated a hipster (wanna-be hipsters included). And on the other end of the spectrum, Prayer Partners: How Praying with Someone Can Multiply Your Blessings by August Gold and Joel Fotinos. I was randomly given this book while in New York recently and the whole premise is that you pray with another person for at least 90 days at the same time for the same amount of time every day and you will see your prayers answered and life change. It’s a beautiful book and here is this theme of holding intentions for one another and supporting each other in love and action.

Which takes me to the latest movie that has inspired me. And that would be, ready for this … Never Say Never. Yes, the Justin Bieber documentary that I just happened to see on a plane. I am recommending it to everyone. For me it’s an example of hard work, pure joy, love and people supporting one another, working together, all with the same intention. What Justin, his professional team, and his family did together in one year is unprecedented because of it. They have created a tribe and they seem to be a constant state of gratitude and wanting to give back as well. The kid is actually talented – he plays drums, guitar, and piano and the whole trajectory is a great story. His grandparents still make him clean up his childhood (he’s now the ripe old-age of 17) twin-bed room, and I think he made $100 million last year. This is SO not Michael Jackson. At least not yet. You have to see this movie – I cried and laughed and wanted to dance. I bought his album. I only can listen to about 2 of the songs but I don’t care. And the great news is, it’s G-rated so you can watch with anyone – kids and grandparents and first-dates included!

Finally, the latest thing I just heard that I can’t quit thinking about was from a video on YouTube someone sent me. In the video, a young man says that we needed to mimic in our lives the trees who, “Bring the sunlight from the sky, down into the earth, and then breathe oxygen out into the world around us so that others can breathe and have life.” He said if we just would meditate by looking at trees every now and again you would understand what he was saying and realize that it was true.

“Bring the sunlight from the sky, down into the earth, and breathe life into the world around you so that you might help others live and breathe.”

I thought one of the definitions of inspiration was very interesting after hearing this:

inspiration (n.): The act of drawing in, especially the inhalation of air into the lungs.

Think about that and think about what inspires you. It might even inspire an epiphany. Now I’m heading out to stare at a tree.



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