My dad is a very interesting man. He could talk at great length about the meaning of life, spirituality and politics or discuss with great intensity the chemical components of a styrofoam cup. He is brilliantly creative, was ordained as a Buddhist priest and loves Tim Hortons coffee. His unique sense of humour reminds me of Clark Griswald (National Lampoon’s Vacation) and his depth of knowledge and insight are akin to a professor. He is a man of many talents.
Last week my dad and I visited my mother who was in hospital. She has COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and was having difficulty breathing. Last year my mum reluctantly retired. It was not an easy decision because she identified herself with her work. She helped people in need and it gave her life purpose. It was not surprising that after she retired her health went into a decline. I had the good fortune to listen to a conversation my dad was having with my mum about the importance of having dreams. Dreams, he said, are crucial in life because they give us purpose and encouraged my mum to do what she needed to reignite her fire, passion and creativity.
Inspiration is the act of inhaling and bringing life into the body. Inspiration also means to transform passion into action. To breath life into something. It is interesting to me that my mother’s respiratory issues got worse when she lost sight of her purpose in life after work. My dad’s words were skillfully uttered at a pivotal time in her life. It was a great reminder that our dreams are more than just a series of images, thoughts or ideas swimming about in our heads, but they are the substance that motivates and gives our lives purpose. He concluded the conversation by saying he has not given up on one single dream of his.
It made me smile.
Sometimes we need the stillness and contemplation to clarify what is important to us in life and other times we need the fuel and fire to create and bring them to life. The purpose we create in our lives is an extension of our dreams and they feed and need each other. This is the yin and yang of phenomenon.