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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Motivation vs. Inspiration

This is the first one of my Garden Wisdom series. It is amazing, how much I learn through gardening for leading a happier and healthier life. For years I was interested in motivation and studied it closely. Then I came upon Wayne Dyer´s definition of motivation vs. inspiration. Thinking about my garden it made sense immediately. Whereas there was no doubt that all my Coaching clients are highly motivated, I realized that if I wanted to help my Coaching clients to build a happy and healthy life, I truly needed to guide them towards their inspirations.

Motivation is when you have a goal and you take it and go towards it. You know exactly what you want, you know why you want it and you have it your way all along. It often takes a lot of work and energy in order to get there, but hey, you are motivated. Wayne Dyer says it is the ego´s path. It is also a lonely path, often highly successful. People might be surprised to find an emptiness right where the big success lies. It might not look so great at the other end as expected, so a new motivation, a new goal is found. After all, there is always more to achieve and to acquire. Whereas it feel good to be motivated, it is an "Autobahn" way of living. You want it, you go there, you get there. Boom. Check, next goal. Being motivated is a good thing in our society, and it certainly beats being listless and resigned. So you might ask, what is wrong with it? There is nothing wrong with it. But let me introduce

the inspired life. For this I want to use the example of my garden and my approach to gardening. When I think about an upcoming Saturday, on which I have time for gardening, I might overlook my garden and drink it all in. I enjoy what is already here, I also check for the weeds and other things that might stick out that need attention. When I think about my garden it is so obvious to me, how much I love it, how much I love tending to it, seeing it grow, trying out new things and letting nature take it´s path. I am also aware that it is not an essential part in my life in terms of survival. I don´t HAVE to garden in order to survive, or even in order to lead a well respected life. Also, in the very beginning, when our terraces towards the canyon were brand new and bare, I had no idea what they would look like some years from then. There was no ONE way to do it. So, what brought me this far? The way I create my garden is mainly through INSPIRATION. Inspiration and gardening could be synonyms. Nature taught me that it won´t have it all the time how I wanted to have it. Shortly after moving to never freezing San Diego, I fell in love with tulips and bleeding heart and peonies, of all things. See, they have the need to spend time in the freezing cold winter dirt in order to rise and shine the next year. Little did I know at first. Hat I approached my newly found love with motivation, I would have stuck with it and would go through a lot of effort of digging the bulbs out every so often in order to store them in the fridge for a number of weeks, before they went back into the soil. Or I would treat them like annuals and keep replanting them.

Instead I followed my inspiration and got curious what else is there that I love and that will flourish at its best in this climate. Today I have lilies in many different shapes and colors, sunflowers and various kinds of succulents that lift my heart whenever I look at them. I get tulips for bouquets indoors, when they are in season, and continue to experiment with flowers, as my inspirations takes me places. I find this a very graceful and fulfilling way to approach a subject matter. Underlying is the trust to be guided and trusting my own intuition.

After all, it truly is about the journey and not about getting there. Imagine what a life of just getting there would look like. Instead, it makes all the difference, when you make time to stop and smell the roses...

TiP*. Whether it is indoor or outdoors, take 5 seconds, whenever you can and take a flower in front of you in with all your senses. What color(s) does it have, how is the shape, the texture? How does it smell? Do you notice any pleasant noises in your environment? What do you imagine the flower to taste like if it were used in a dish? Have fun with it. Take a deep breath. Notice the jolt of relaxation and energy at the same time. Take it all in. It truly does not take longer than a few seconds. With some practice, you will get conditioned on the first sight of a flower within reach and have all the relaxation response in your body.

*If you are allergic to flowers or don´t care for them too much, choose a target of your choice that you encounter naturally in your daily life on a regular basis. Play with it, make it you own experience.

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