Finding Inspiration Every Day

I take a 2-mile walk around our neighborhood almost every day. In the winter I bundle myself up, and as I’m getting ready to leave the house I think about…a puddle. What will the puddle look like today?

There’s a dead-end road in our neighborhood that goes down a gentle incline, and at the bottom of that hill there’s a pothole in the road. Water from any recent rain and melting snow collects in this hole to make a puddle, and in the winter it freezes and thaws repeatedly in the alternating cold temperatures and warm sunshine.

I’ve noticed when I walk past this hole that each freeze and thaw cycle brings a completely new pattern to the ice that forms in it when there’s water there. Sometimes the ice is clear and smooth and shows the ground below. Other times there are interesting patterns and air bubbles frozen in time as the ice quickly formed when it’s been especially cold.

I walk by this spot every day and pause to see the ice if it’s there. It’s a simple moment of beauty that adds some inspiration to my day. If the ice holds a particularly interesting pattern, I stop to take pictures like the ones that I’ve included in this article, each one a different and complex creation. When the sun catches the surface of the ice, sometimes the brown color from the road below comes through in the picture to add some warmth to its tone.

I’m not a New Years resolution type of guy, but there’s one thing that I do remind myself of at the beginning of (and all throughout) each new year that I want to share with you: Try to find beauty or inspiration every day. Something, somewhere, to brighten your day.

It could be something that you see outside on a sunny day or something a person does or says that you find nice. It could be a scene that strikes you in a photo or while you’re driving in your car. It could be part of a conversation, something you read or learn, or even some music that you heard that made you perk up and listen more closely. The beauty and inspiration can also come from within yourself by your actions and words. Whatever it is, whatever form it takes (even an icy puddle!), watch for these inspiring moments every day and embrace them when they come along. Pause and think about them for a minute. Appreciate them and take them with you in your mind.

We’re in rough times right now, not just because of Covid but also because of many other complex things happening in the world at the same time. But the arc of history, people, and the world has always been that way, and it always will be. Like the consistency of the ocean tides coming in and going back out again, things are sometimes bad but they will eventually change and get better.

So instead of getting down about the frequently difficult state of things around you these days, find something inspiring each day, think about it, and smile. Don’t wait for things in your corner of the world to get better, make them better yourself by keeping your eyes and mind open to the moments that will make you happy. If you make a habit out of it each day, you’ll be smiling sometimes without even realizing why. Happy New Year!

Wisdom in A Beautiful Anarchy

Great advice and learning comes from many different sources

One of the components in my mission for this blog is to share things that I think are worthwhile, because I believe that “Sharing binds people together. One of the best gifts you can give someone is sharing something that you find valuable or interesting.”

With the above being said, consider the recommendation in this post a gift that’s both valuable and interesting. If you make some quiet time for yourself to listen to and consider the thoughts in the podcast below (which includes written transcripts), I can almost guarantee that you will:

  • View yourself and others differently
  • Challenge your beliefs and understanding about how you think
  • Learn how you can be more creative in every day life, and/or lead a more informed life in general
  • Understand the value of communicating, sharing, thinking, learning, adapting, and growing
  • Gain insight into why you are the way you are

For me, it started with the books…

The podcast I’m writing about is from a photographer named David duChemin. His photography books are how I became familiar with his work because I’ve purchased many of them over the years, but that’s only the tip of his iceberg. David’s career has spanned theology education, successful comedian, global humanitarian photographer, best-selling author, blogger, and podcaster.

David has a way of writing about photography that brings the artistic, human, creative, adventurous, and technical aspects of it together to capture your imagination and leave you hooked within his stories. Before you realize it, those stories are conveying gems of wisdom that not only apply to photography, but when you think about their essence, they apply to life itself as well.

The reason I purchased David’s books in the beginning was to learn and improve my photography, but I kept coming back to buy the next one when I realized how much more I get out of them than just photography insights. Through his stories about traveling, creating his images, connecting with people and places, and sharing all of these experiences with others, I have continually seen that much of what he writes about is the process of discovering the soul. Your soul. It transcends mere photography.

…and then came the podcast: A Beautiful Anarchy

Considering the high value I place on his books, I jumped right into David’s podcast called A Beautiful Anarchy when he started it. He describes the podcast as:

“A Beautiful Anarchy is a heart-felt kick-in-the-pants podcast for everyday creators and anyone who’s ever mud-wrestled with their muse. Hosted by photographer and author David duChemin, these 15-minute podcasts are an honest and sensitive exploration of the joys and struggles of the creative life.”

For sure, the foundational premise of the podcast is creativity and discovering how you can be your most creative at whatever it is that you do. How to open and awaken your mind, be more accepting of inspiration wherever it comes from, explore new paths, beat your creative obstacles, etc. Going further though, I found that after listening to his podcast that you can even remove the word “creative” from the phrase “creative life” in the description above, because to me it’s about more than creativity. Just like David’s books, this podcast is serendipitously about…life.

Even if you’re not a particularly creative person, give this podcast a try. Listen to the ideas and apply them to the everyday. Go down the path. You will not regret it, because after you digest a few episodes you’ll be tucking away many gold nugget thoughts in your head about how to be a better self and get the most out of whatever it is that you do in your life. I think you’ll agree that it’s worth the time spent listening. Enjoy!

PS – Save the podcast transcripts that David provides somewhere on your computer. Trust me, you’ll want to return to them in the future.