Encyclopedia of Me Monday: I is for...

Writers seek it constantly, as do artists, musicians, crafters, ministers, psychologists, doctors, mothers and fathers - every living thing is in need of inspiration. In Christian teaching, inspiration means "God's breath," indicating this genesis of great ideas and emotions has a divine and mystical source. When I'm inspired, whether it's from the flaming crimson leaves that are beginning to explode across the horizon, a Chopin nocturne, or a well crafted novel, I feel a sense of excitement, an electrical surge of creative energy which seems other-worldly.

Of course, "inspiration" also means to "draw air in and out," the basic stuff of life for every human being. How awesome is a baby's first breath on its own, outside its mother's womb, that first inhale of the world in which it will live, filled with all the mystery of creation and nature.

There are times in life when everything around us is filled with inspiration, and with each breath we inhale ideas, beauty, laughter. At this moment, I am in such a place - whether it's the beauty of the season, or the promise of the new life that will be entering our family next summer - the world appears vivid with excitement and filled with infinite possibilities.

However, there have been times in my life when the world seemed flat and lifeless, with barely enough air to keep my lungs physically filled, let alone leaving anything left to fill my creative spaces.

I have learned to become cognizant of my inspirational cycles, to accept whatever stage I'm in, knowing that the cycle will one day return me to a different place, with new challenges leading to new mysteries and ideas for exploration.