Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Inspiration, or Lack Thereof

For the past two weeks I have been toying with the idea of a blog post about inspiration. I wrote, I deleted, I decided not to write, then I wrote again. This will be my third attempt at vocalizing and simplifying the nagging thoughts that have been bouncing around in my head.

Let me start by just putting it all out there, for lack of a more discreet or indirect way or putting it: I have been feeling uninspired at work. There is a part of me that has an immediate and strong reaction against saying these words out loud (“You are a teacher! You get paid to do what you love! Do you know how rare that is?” or “Do you know how lucky you are to have a full-time teaching job that pays the bills?” or “You worked long and hard to get here! Why aren’t you happy with what you have?”). Like, I shouldn’t be saying this because the universe may hear me and snatch away everything I have. Which it very well may...but I will take my chances for the sake of honesty and open-mindedness.

Maybe I am just stuck in a rut...maybe I have a particularly difficult group of students this session...maybe I have been at the same place for too long and what used to feel exciting now just feels kind of blah...maybe it is all of these things or none of them, I’m not sure. I think not knowing may be the worst part, because my instinct tells me to figure out the problem, solve it, and move on, and this situation might require more than a quick fix. I am, however, trying to use this general feeling of something-isn’t-right as an opportunity to take a look at what I want, where I am, and where I’m going.

I think there is a reason the idea of inspiration has been coming up so often for me, because it truly is at the core of my personal and spiritual life, and yet I so often forget the role that it can and should play in my work life. Many of us, especially in the US, are told the lie from a young age that work is supposed to be difficult, it’s not supposed to be fun or engaging, it is something to just get through in exchange for a paycheck. I obviously did not buy into that, as I have chosen a profession which rewards me very little money for lots of hard work, but one that gives me joy and a sense of purpose. I want to feel inspired when I work, and I want to feel that my work has the potential to inspire others. I really believe that what I do for a living is just one way I can make a contribution to this world and the people in it, and I hope that my contribution will be a meaningful one.

Now that I feel like I have come close to identifying the problem underlying this general feeling of discontent melancholy, what am I going to do about it. To be honest, I am not sure. I think the first step will be to give some real thought to what my ideal work life would look like. It may not be possible and it may not exist, but having an ideal to move closer toward can give me a reference point to know if I am moving in the right direction. The next logical step would be to take some action. I can worry and discuss and write about the issues all day but if I don’t put myself out there nothing is going to happen. There also exists the possibility that I could put myself out there and still nothing will happen, but I will never know if I don’t try. I will be attempting to walk that fine line between self-determination and having faith in the universe that things will work out the way they are supposed to work out.

In the meantime, I have learned a little something about myself. I have discovered that, like it or not, I am the kind of person who needs to feel that spark, who needs to know the why behind what I am doing, and who needs to feel it in my heart to know that I am truly on the right path. I want to feel inspired! I feel that I am getting pretty close to that, and feel grateful and delighted to have made it this far in finding something I am passionate about. I have faith that the details will work themselves out, and am feeling freshly inspired to take action towards making those dreams a reality.

Lastly, I would like to put out a call for feedback to you, my PLN:
Do you feel inspired at work?
What do you do to maintain inspiration in your working life?
Have you ever contemplated making a change because inspiration was lacking?
How did you go about making a decision?
What did you do?