When Inspiration Turns to Obligation

My Spiritual Coaching clients often tell me one of the best tools I have given them is to question whether their choices come from inspiration, obligation, or desperation. We all make decisions from one of these three places, and how we feel after our decision is directly influenced by its origin. Ideally, we want to take action from a place of inspiration as often as possible. The other two categories bring unpleasant consequences starting with resentment and fatigue that escalate from there. I have opportunities to “practice what I preach” all the time, and recently I had the opportunity to take a look at this idea with deeper discernment.

Although it’s great for some, working out at a gym has never been my thing. I prefer exercising at home or going for brisk walks outside in nature. Over the years, a schedule has evolved that seems to work for me. Four mornings per week I walk for an hour at the beach or along the bay and two mornings per week I practice yoga for an hour and a half in my living room. That gives me one morning per week to rest. Here in Florida, rain clouds don’t usually roll in until the afternoon, so I can walk in the morning on “walk days.”

However, over the past few weeks, the rain clouds have not been cooperating with my walking schedule. On Monday, I was so ready for my walk. I had done a lot of driving, sitting, and eating over the weekend, so I really wanted to get my body moving and my heart pumping. Unfortunately, I woke up to a gray, drizzly morning. The rain wasn’t heavy, so I decided to attempt my walk, knowing I would get a little wet. As I drove toward the bay, the sky turned ominously dark, and soon sheets of water pelted my car. Despite these severe weather conditions, I remained hopeful the storm would pass quickly and kept driving.

When I arrived at the bay, I sat in my car for about 15 minutes as raindrops continued to assault my hood and roof with a steady barrage of thuds. As I peered through my windows, all I could see were gray clouds sprawling out in every direction above me. There wasn’t a hint of blue sky anywhere to indicate the rain might let up soon. For a brief moment, I considered putting on one of the Mickey Mouse rain ponchos from Disney World that I keep in the back of my car and doing my walk anyway. Not long ago, I probably would have chosen that option. Then I remembered to ask myself the question that I ask my clients. Would that choice come from inspiration, obligation, or desperation? 

Yes, the original impulse to walk next to the beautiful turquoise waters of the bay had come from inspiration, but it felt more like desperation to try it that day. Perhaps in the mix was a bit of obligation to burn calories after eating so much over the weekend. I felt no inspiration or joy when I imagined myself trodding along the pathway dodging puddles and trying to stay dry inside a giant piece of plastic. Once I examined the situation and my motives more closely, the decision was easy. I started my car and headed home. 

As I drove home, it occurred to me that this was a moment and a choice to remember. How many times have I continued doing something that once felt joyful long after the inspiration has faded? Perhaps there are activities in your life that once brought you joy that now feel more like chores or obligations. Today is a great day to take inventory of your daily, weekly, and monthly activities and see if there are some that snuck into another category without you noticing. If so, how might you shift things, or what could you do instead that would bring you true joy?  

If you would like an objective and compassionate companion to walk with you as you answer and unpack these questions, it would be my great honor to assist you with a series of Spiritual Coaching Sessions. I offer discounted packages of 4, 8, and 12 sessions to suit your needs and budget. A private Family Constellations Session can also help identify where these recurring patterns originate. Once you have a deeper awareness of what’s going on, you will indeed be able to live a life of inspiration that will also inspire others! Please look around my website for more information or to book a session

Until next time, may all your decisions be inspired ones! 

The result of genuine devotion is inspiration, a word which properly understood is the opposite of fatigue.

A Course in Miracles ~ T-4.in.1:5

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