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One of the treats I get each morning is opening my email and finding the prompts to stories that excite my emotions. It’s an emotional wake-up call, a reveille of sorts. Granted, my aging body could use some authentic calisthenics, like the ones I participated in at 4:00 AM in the Army, but these jumping jacks are much richer for my health in oh, so many ways…AND I enjoy them a whole lot more.

So yesterday I woke up to a story by Jamie Varon. https://medium.com/@jamievaron/hey-internet-stop-trying-to-inspire-me-b5022f3c0f7

Subsequently, I wrote the response below:

I came to Medium this morning to learn a bit more about how to inspire people. Your article here was one of the first to appear. I admit that my first reading was difficult for me to take because all my life I have wanted the hardships that I allowed to be used in a way that would help others deal with theirs.

I have learned enough through my experiences to dig deeper when something doesn’t sit well with me. So I read your piece again and then read many of your readers comments. Here’s what I learned:

life doesn’t affect everyone in the same way. I accept that.

My attempts to express my views are not always understood.

I have no inherent right to “tell” you how you should react, respond, live.

My experience is only my experience and if I really want to learn perhaps listening is more important than expressing.

So without being long-winded, I want to say you have been heard and I appreciate your point of view and acknowledge your right to have it. I do so without diminishing my experience and its value to me.

I am grateful for the quality of your writing and for the way you brought this subject to light. The number of responses indicates to me that you have excited thought from your readers. That quality in and of itself gave me the inspiration I was searching for today.

Blessings to you, from a man who has lost everything…twice, and knows there is value beyond stuff. I am grateful for the paradoxical freedom of expression!

Then I woke up this morning still grateful for the experience I had with reading and writing about inspiration and suddenly it dawned on me that there is a collective exchange that occurs here that may be more important than what I alone feel.

What message was received by all of the other readers who, over time, would read Jamie’s article and some or all of the responses? I was baffled by the sheer numbers and I wondered how that impacted them? Were they as grateful as I was for reading a different perspective than my own? Were they put off initially, as I was as one who would promote inspiration. Maybe I missed her point completely.

I left a note at the end of the response that indicated I had lost everything I owned twice. True as that may be, it is certainly not inspirational in any way. It was…and is…freaking hard. For more than 40 years I have struggled against myself, the goad of my existence, and yet, I choose to wake up to the idea that one day, maybe…just maybe…I’ll get to the place of peace that will allow me to live the life I have wanted for so long.

I guess I came back to say that even though I respect that my life is not another’s life and I can really understand how eternal optimism can be skewed for many; for me, for now, I choose to look for inspiration everywhere I can…knowing that I am part of a huge whole…and again Jamie, I thank you for your perspective which has given me more than I asked for yesterday and continues to produce thought in me today!

Gratefully and in peace,

A believer in Lifelong Learning and Collaborative Wisdom, remembering Who I AM through essay, story, and poetry. Listening for narratives that nurture Life.

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