Sunday, April 1, 2012

Tip #14: Get inspired (I)

I think that being inspired is one of the easiest ways to feel happiness. You can be inspired by anything if you look closely. It could be a beautiful cloud, a flower, the wind. Maybe your co-workers or a family member, when we look at them with a new light, Or you can be looking for inspiration in books, movies and, of course, the "internets." In another post, I'll write about what I do myself to get inspired everyday.

But yesterday I was very surprised that I found inspiration in my daily newspaper, the Connecticut Post, which, I have to admit, I've been reading less and less lately. But the cover in their weekly magazine, Parade, caught my attention. It was Michael J. Fox at 50. I have always liked him, and now I know why.

Here are some quotes that I enjoyed from the interview: 
I could say, “I’m powerless over this, but I have options, I have things I can do.”
We always can do something, no matter what our situation is. Of course, we can choose to complain about the situation, but why waste everybody's time? Like I've said before, we do need to spend the time processing things, crying as much as we need (or however we need to cope), and then we do have the choice to do something. Michael J. Fox mentions that, at first, he just dealt with his Parkinson's through drinking. Then, he stopped and became active in the research process with his foundation. So far, he has been able to raise $285 million. What would have happened if he had kept drinking and complaining?

Here's the next quote (bold emphasis mine): 
I don’t look at life as a battle or as a fight. I don’t think I’m scrappy. I’m accepting. I say “living with” or “working through” Parkinson’s. Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation—it means understanding that something is what it is and that there’s got to be a way through it. I look at it like I’m a fluid that’s finding the fissures and cracks and flowing through.  
Acceptance is very difficult in many situations. I see why with my friends in my support groups. Some women are diagnosed with cancer the same week their husbands left them or they lost their jobs. I see women way too young, with little children or a supposed life ahead of them that just die of this disease that I have. And yet, I still think we need to accept  that our reality has changed, that this is not a fight, but a walk, maybe not exactly in the park often, but still a walk, still with beauty around me and still full of possibilities. Accept that I am now different, but that maybe I have also gained something with this change. And acceptance does not mean resignation, we still have to move on, keep walking, in this our new path that appears at our feet every morning when we wake up.

In the interview, he also talks about his relationship with his children, but I think this is a message that is important for all of us:
I told my kids early on, “When you go out the door in the morning, choose happiness.” They roll their eyes. [laughs] I also tell them, “Try to go for the loving response to any situation. Recognize that the other person has feelings and something at stake, too.” 
I recently read in Twitter (wish I could remember the source) of a teacher that has this (or something like this) on his blackboard: "If you have to choose between being right and being kind, always choose kindness." Michale J. Fox's quote reminded me of this. Again, I think we all need to learn that, not just kids.

And, finally, he says:
I really love being alive. I love my family and my work. I love the opportunity I have to do things. That’s what happiness is.
Happiness is not getting that job, or that new iPhone (maybe? - just joking). Like he says, happiness is the opportunity to do things. As simple as that. I just love it.

You can find the whole thing here. (And I hope I don't get in trouble with the copyright police for putting his picture here).


  1. Pilar - I'm so bummed...I had a chance to read that article at my sisters yesterday and I forgot to do it. I have his book - He is very inspiring and would fit it very well with all of us CSL girls!

    I love what he tells his kids...Every parent should encourage their kids to choose happiness and to be loving.

    Thanks for another great Blog
    xo Holly

    1. Thank you, Holly, and also thanks for passing on the blog to others! The whole interview was amazing. Too many good quotes there, that's for sure. Maybe I'll get his book too for my summer reading. Thanks for the tip!

  2. I love your post, Pilar. So glad Holly shared your blog with us CSL girls today. This message is so true and so important. Thank you for sharing it and thank you for being so inspiring!

  3. Hey Pilar, I always love your wisdom. And I'm so impressed with how often you write. I'm starting to feel very sorry that I won't make the meeting in May. Hope you and the others share some great insights!
    xo, Nancy

    1. Thanks, Nancy, we sure are going to miss you...

      One of my New Year's resolutions was to write a post every week. I'm glad I'm carrying it out. It's very rewarding.

      You write so well. You do need to do it more often, sister! :)

  4. Thank you Pilar! You know, I am becoming quite aware that I need... something inspirational to latch onto before I hurt myself with bad behavior as a response to the current intensity in my life. I think your blog is a great place for me to start. Gracias y carino.