It oozes from every breath. Why, then, does it fade- inspiration?
Part A- On going since day 1, Planet Earth
I remember the feeling because it is incredibly evocative. Like the joy people feel when receiving a gift of kindness. It is, unfortunately, a seemingly diminishing exchange between two people; the receiver overwhelmed with gratitude, eyes lit up from excitement, laughs full of meaning- maybe mixed with emotions of love; the giver looking onward in anticipation, an idea delivered, a human emanating acceptance.
Like the vices we turn to- music, nature, play, conversation, drugs- that replicate this fleeting emotion, we attempt to capture inspiration through many devices, the ones which work well are held dear, called upon when a boost is needed.
I know well how to be inspired: playing hockey, I turned to the same food, the same music, the same routine. In nature, I use a camera, eyes that remove the scene's periphery, only capturing its essence, the inspiration. The same books reel the feeling from afar. They highlight what is important, discarding what is not.
So why, why is inspiration a feeling I constantly chase, why is it not permanent? This harborer of connectedness hides. Why is it difficult to unleash?
Inspiration is locked within questions I have never thought to ask. Unwilling to show its face, it hides in order to push, to challenge, to find these questions that ostensibly do not exist. So I seek. I pursue this elusive motivator; the task of finding inspiration is just that in itself. So precious, the search is a nutrient providing growth of the heart. Without this expedition, I remain still. With it, I grow. Some days are slow, some too fast to keep pace with, but each moment leads, guides the hunt. And just when frustration reaches its zenith, the magic trick reveals itself once again.
Part B- Mabo Village, Lake Kampolombo, Luapula, Zambia 22/6/15
One week ago an idea was planted: Organize people interested in fish farming. Set for morning time, 9 AM, there were only two of us. Bees buzzing overhead, we sat in the shade of a large tree. We talked about the cold air, but refused to retire in the sun. Silently, I pondered the success of this endeavor; only two people for a 9 AM meeting!
Finally commencing at 10 AM, there were twenty of us. Relocated to Classroom 4 of Mabo Primary School, we sat at picnic tables built for tiny bodies, for school children. I was rushed back to memories of visiting my former elementary school some time ago: the stalls in the bathroom miniature, like playing with Micro Machines only with my bodily functions. Walls were plastered with varying topics our youth learn- P.E., art, the multiplication table, home economics- faded from time, worn out from the midday dust blasting through the classroom.
It was my task to lead. Regardless of the fact that I have been learning Bemba for a short four months, I was to teach about a topic that I know even less about, fish farming. What should I say? How should I proceed? At 14 hours, six hours later, there were 35 of us, representatives from nine registered clubs from within the area, we came together to create one Kampolombo Buyantanshi Group. All leaders were elected, membership fees decided, by-laws enacted. We formed a baking group, too- an upcoming a one-day program to suppress overwhelming intrigue, how to make sweet pumpkin bread. What happened?
I was recently criticized for being too calculating. On this day, however, it was bucked, unintentionally. I was myself. I let the group foster their idea. Leading is not about imparting one's own ideas. It takes a leader to guide, by abandoning personal attachment, through an open heart filled with the intention to improve, a leader asks questions to help pinpoint and reach the group's goals.
This conglomerate achieved much more than I could have ever calculated. The number in attendance is proof of that. Ubuyantanshi means development. Development infers an ongoing process. The task will reach completion when each member has the knowledge and courage to share it with his or her colleagues. Like me, they will approach the group alone, feeling unprepared, not capable of the task. They will organize a meeting. The story will repeat itself, and in the end, this cycle we may call sustainability, will provide people with food to eat, put money in their pocket, a smile on their face; inspiration will be passed on to others through this success.
I was asked, "After you show us how to bake, will you meet with our individual groups to teach them?" "No," I replied. "It is your task to teach after you have learned." I will leave after two years. If only one action remains behind, I hope it is the power to inspire. If not, progress will stop.
Incalculable in my mind, when a task is approached with right intention, unbiased by personal attachment, grown organically, inspiration blossoms. We will enjoy the beauty of those flowers, motivated to carry on the efforts those before us.