One of my favorite questions about inspiration, obligation, and desperation came up this week while working with a client. Since we are approaching the holiday season when an unusually large number of tasks and events will compete for our time and energy, it felt appropriate to share this helpful tool again. I know it will benefit me to talk about it again!
I first heard this question many years ago after attending a screening of a documentary at Unity on the Bay in Miami. One of the producers shared this breakdown during the post-film Q & A session. He observed that we always make choices from one of three places: Inspiration, Obligation, or Desperation. None of them are wrong. His invitation was simply to notice where we come from and notice the results of our choices from each place.
When I choose from desperation, I’m rarely satisfied with the outcome. Fear is a very narrow place from which to make a decision. Obligation may seem like a noble origin for a decision, but upon closer inspection, is anyone truly happy with the results? Often resentment is lurking in the background and felt by everyone involved, whether it is spoken aloud or not. But when I make inspired choices, peace is the prevalent feeling, and it’s usually accompanied by contentment or joy!
Not long after this screening, I was encouraged to attend a fundraising event at a local spiritual center. On the same night, I was also invited to attend a spiritual concert with one of my dearest friends whom I had not seen in over a month. I loved the center and happily made a donation, but my heart just wasn’t longing to go to that fundraiser. However, my heart was screaming YES to spending time with my spiritual brother and sharing the experience of the concert! So I listened to my heart and went to the concert. And I’m so happy I did!
Yes, I could have chosen to attend the fundraiser, but is lukewarm energy really what I want to bring to a space? Is that truly helpful? I might have been able to put on a happy face, but on some level, the other attendees would feel that I did not want to be there. Sometimes others will be disappointed with our choices, but ultimately, inspired choices are the only choices that benefit everyone.
I had this experience many times when my mother was still alive. We always had fun when I was inspired to spend time with her. However, if my visit was out of obligation, she felt it, I felt it, and it usually ended up being an unpleasant experience for us both. That’s certainly not beneficial for anyone, even when it appears to be “the right thing.”
Now I know you may be thinking that there are times when we have to do things we don’t want to do. Yes. This is true. For example, I am never thrilled to prepare my income taxes. It requires me to sift through receipts, spreadsheets, and ridiculously long forms. I know many of you relish the idea of diving into a good spreadsheet. My sisters and I often tease my brother about his love of creating spreadsheets. For me, this kind of work makes my eyes cross.
So, when tax season approaches, I don’t force myself to do this on any specific day. I wait for inspiration. Every year, there comes a morning when I wake up and say, “Yes. I can tackle that project today.” In my experience, when the action is inspired, the task is never as difficult as I imagined it would be.
Maybe you’re feeling inspired to let go of something you have been carrying for a long time. Or maybe you’ve been doing things out of obligation or desperation for so long that it feels like those are your only two options. If you are at the point where you know something has to change, perhaps it’s time to give Family Constellations or Spiritual Coaching a try. Both are great ways to take a step back and look at things from a fresh perspective. Assisting others with these modalities brings me great joy, and I would be honored and inspired to work with you. Please look around my website for more information and to book a session.
This holiday season, may all of your choices be inspired ones!
Be certain any answer to a problem the Holy Spirit solves will always be one in which no one loses.
A Course in Miracles ~ T-25.IX.3:1