You know, if you watch a little one, they can be inspired by the smallest of things, a rock, a leaf, a ladybug, a flower, a puddle (oh my, a puddle!).

And in our romantic life (if we have or had one, lol), we may have been inspired by the smallest of things, a touch, a glance, a flower, a candle, a kiss…

And then life happens… ever so gradually, and, alas, the mind has a way of making almost anything seem familiar, then routine, and eventually boring.

For good reason, it thinks! it has the capacity to keep learning and the responsibility to keep us safe at all costs, so if the subject of our once-fascination has been discovered, examined, re-examined and judged as harmless, then it has other more important things to be doing with its time and energy. after all, it is there to make efficient use of its time and energy. the brain is the most energy-consuming aspect of our entire body, so it values itself enough to know when to move on to bigger and better things, ha ha!

So, what does that have to do with inspiration? well, being inspired and staying inspired are two separate things entirely. and the differentiation is vital to our existence.

The word itself is really not that old, as far as the written language is concerned. inspiration comes from the words inspire: from in-“in” + spirare “to breathe” (see spirit).

[For those who enjoy a scholarly treatise: inspire mid-14c., from O.Fr. enspirer (12c.), from L. inspirare (see inspiration), a loan-translation of Gk. pnein in the Bible. General sense of “influence or animate with an idea or purpose” is from late 14c.

Inspiration c.1300, “immediate influence of God or a god,” especially that under which the holy books were written, from O.Fr. inspiration, from L.L. inspirationem (nom. inspiratio), from L. inspiratus, pp. of inspirare “inspire, inflame, blow into,” breath in.]

We all know that in order to sustain life, breath in is oh-so-enlivening and energizing. entire sciences of the breath and the vitality it brings have been explored since ancient times. but, if we do not also expire – not as in die, lol, but as in exhale – releasing that once-so-enlivening breath, then we die.

[Expire early 15c., from M.Fr. expirer, from L. expirare “breathe out, breathe one’s last, die,” from ex- “out” + spirare “to breathe” (see spirit). “Die” is the older sense in English; that of “breathe out” is first attested 1580s.]

Rhythm and movement, flow in, flow out. beat and rest, beat and rest. its autonomous, rhythmic continuance sustains life. with every in-spiration, there must also be out-spiration, else life would not be sustained.

When I consider how often I am inspired by an experience but end up losing the strength and vitality and energy of those amazing moments, I must remind myself that the out-spiration is equally valuable and vital to the process, the integration of the experience.

So being inspired: in-breath. staying inspired: means there must be an out-breath creating flow, movement, life. if all we do is take big breaths, and then another big breath and then another – thinking that all we need is a little more in-spiration – then we are only full, but not whole.

Wholeness is both: breath in, breath out. In-spiration, out-spiration. create flow in your life.