"Inspiration, move me brightly light the song with sense and color Hold away despair" - Terrapin Station, Grateful Dead
Inspiration. I hear that word all the time. I used it in my book; I say it in my speeches and write it in my posts. It seems like a very simple word to truly understand. It has become part of our daily vernacular. What does it really mean, and what is the purpose of inspiration? The Websters Dictionary definition is: a divine influence or action on a person believed to qualify him or her to receive and communicate sacred revelation. b : the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions. c : the act of influencing or suggesting opinions. I look at that word differently today than I have in the past, and it means significantly more to me as well.
The lessons I have learned from my journey with cancer are mine. They are perspective changing "gifts" that I won in our battle; That's right, I won them. They have taught me about living in the moment, appreciating the now, and the fragility of life. To not take ownership of them allows cancer to win in more ways than the obvious; as I say all the time, cancer may take us physically, but it will never define us. We define our legacies by the independence and dignity we show during times of turmoil. We don't control much of what will dictate our lifespan; we do control how will we be remembered Unfortunately, it's easier said than done. I can talk a big game about how this is my path I've been put on; I own it, cancer is just riding shotgun on MY ride; the reality is fear, anger and anxiety come along on that ride as well. We often hear that inspirational books, quotes or conversations help us rise to the occasion and take on the fight we have been thrust into. I got it; it made sense; but recently I REALLY got it.
Yesterday I was having a conversation with a Warrior who just started going through chemotherapy and radiation for throat cancer. He was telling me how my book inspired him to be ready! I've heard this many times, and the appreciation I had to help a Warrior is beyond what words can describe. It is real and it is pure. I told him I actually wrote the book for myself as a catharsis to deal with the stress and anxiety that I pushed to the bottom of my belly. He laughed, and told me my inspirational story and messaging has done more than I realize. I was appreciative, but for some reason, a bit confused I get these messages everyday from people all over the world, WARRIOR'S who have taken my catharsis and used it as their foundation for inspiration. When we hung up, I needed to decompress, and I turned the radio up pretty loud. Terrapin Station by the Grateful Dead was playing. I've listened to this song THOUSANDS of times, but something hit me differently this time.
What resonated deeply with me was the line, "Inspiration, move me brightly, light the song with sense and color, Hold away despair." Inspiration immediately made sense to me differently than it had in the past. To me it was always there for providing motivation, support, inciting confidence, and stressing leadership. I never saw the other side of it until these lyrics hit me from a different perspective. What I never noticed was inspiration also helps us hide away despair. By avoiding the despair, regret, fear and resentment we have the ability to take on a fight with all our focus on the battle. I never looked at myself as an inspirational speaker, author, or person, but I understand why i have been looked at that way now. For all the thanks I receive, I want to thank all the WARRIORS and families of WARRIORS who share their message with me; I am the thankful one, as you inspire me in so many ways! You help me see the positive, and hold away the negative. Thank you WARRIORS! I see the inspiration you provide to me through a new set of lenses!
Let's all inspire someone today!