I’ve been thinking about the concept of “inspiration” a lot lately. The other day I looked up the definition, out of curiosity, and I was pleasantly surprised at the second definition of the word.
Inspiration (noun): 1) the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, esp. to do something creative. 2) the drawing in of breath; inhalation.
I had never known the word inspiration could also mean to take in breath, or to breathe. This was exciting to me on several levels. For one, I love the fact that many older languages have words with deep, multiple meanings. English, being a very young language, often lacks this maturity, but in this case it came through for me. Beyond that, I just think it is extremely fitting that inspiration can mean the process of being mentally stimulated and the drawing in of breath. This makes perfect sense to me.
I have experienced how inspiration literally comes as a breath of fresh air, especially in times when the metaphorical “air” around me is stuffy, and polluted. Likewise, I have also seen how people living in ways where they do not seek out inspiration in any way, shape or form begin to die a slow death, like someone being suffocated or strangled; working that nine-to-five that they hate, in order to put food on the table for their unhappy family, convinced that that is what life is about. They are uninspired. They are not breathing.
I think we often see inspiration as a side-benefit to life, or an extra added bonus, but when thinking of it in this way, it is way more important than that. Inspiration is vital. In the same way a person cannot live without breath, someone cannot live without inspiration. The death is different, as the person remains physically alive, but they are dead on the inside; more like zombies, the walking dead. Believe me, there are times when I have felt this way, in a stuffy, oppressive season of life where I felt like I was under water with cement boots on. But when I remembered to fight, and come up to take that breath of metaphorical fresh air, I felt completely rejuvenated again. I felt alive again.
This has reminded me that inspiration is as important as breathing. And though I may not have to consciously remember how to breathe, there are times when I need to be more intentional about taking in that metaphorical breath, my inspiration. I need not forget to take in breath. I need not forget to the importance of inspiration.