Saturday, November 5, 2011

Week 3: Inspirations and Influences

I have been struggling with the topic for this week for quite some time... as simple as the first two weeks were for me to write, this week is made up for it!

After pondering the difference between someone's "inspirations" and "influences," a wise friend finally brought the answer to light.  "I guess someone who inspires you motivates you, and someone who influences you impacts your behavior."  So simply stated, but it finally made sense!  No wonder I was stuck on this topic, I couldn't nail down exactly what I needed to ponder!  (Thanks Rish!)

The best and most beautiful things in the
world can not be seen or even touched.
They must be felt with the heart.

There are tons of amazing people who motivate me, many of whom I've never met, yet I'm inspired by their words and actions.  I am a big fan of quotes, as I find that sometimes a few simple words can pull me out of a pit of despair, giving me a glimmer of hope.  One of my favorites is by Helen Keller, and I have a heart necklace inscribed with it.  Anne Frank is another person who from the first time I read her Diary until today continues to inspire me, as do many who experienced the tragedy known as the Holocaust.  Anne was wise beyond her years when she said "How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world."

Animal crackers still make me smile!
From the the moment I was born until she died, my Auntie was a huge influence for me.  I was her favorite, and she was not shy about expressing that!  She was such a kind and caring woman, always there with a hug and kiss, and saying something to make me smile.  We visited her on Sundays, where she had animal crackers and some sweet chocolate treat.  Auntie was always ready to be with me, whatever it was I was doing.  She made me feel very special, and though she passed 20 years ago, I still miss her.

Outside of my family, I have known S for longer than anyone.  I met her on a cold February day when I was 15 years old.  Little did I know that I had just met someone who would become one of the most influential and inspirational people in my life.  She was a teacher who went above and beyond.  She saved my life on more than one occasion.  We drifted apart as I wandered aimlessly through my college years, though she was and still is, always close to my heart.  As fate would have it, we reconnected years ago, and I was given the opportunity to help her out, bringing our friendship full circle.  Now, though we don't get together often, I know she is always there for me, and always will be.

I am lucky to call K a friend.  Since I've known her, she's gone through her own transformative growth, painful and joyful and utterly remarkable.  As a recently divorced mother of three boys - though two are men in their 20s - she runs a very successful business, all while volunteering to help others on their journey toward happiness and contentment.  It is K who helped kick start my journey, and while I didn't enjoy that conversation, and I still don't always enjoy the process, it is and was for the best.  Knowing that she's always there for me makes everything a bit easier to digest!

My friend D never ceases to amaze me.  She is an incredible person who deals with more challenges in one day than most deal with in a year.  She is raising a beautiful little girl with special needs, and is constantly running her daughter from one appointment to another.  Just hearing her weekly schedule exhausts me!  Yet D manages, and more than that, she does it all with grace (and a little bit of sass!)  To top it all off, she works with some incredible organizations, and supports countless others through her volunteering.  AND she makes time to take care of herself, too, which in itself is a great reminder that no matter what is going on, if we don't take care of ourselves, we won't be able to help anyone.

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