True Inspiration v. False Aspiration
I learned a lesson today: there is a big different between true inspiration and false aspiration:
as·pi·ra·tion (noun): a hope or ambition of achieving something.
in·spi·ra·tion (noun): the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.
Certainly, inspiration may lead to many positive aspirations. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having aspirations. But, we get in trouble when our aspirations are so far from the reality of our lives that we start to feel guilt, frustration, or a lack of self-worth because we just cannot get it together to live in this aspirational world of magic. If you follow me on Instagram, you might have read my little rant about the pretty little smoothie bowl I made this morning. (IG plug: I’m trying to get better about posting there and turning my feed into a place where our community can connect and discuss both important and silly topics! It’s also a great place to interact with me. So, please follow!)
We recently received some delicious small-batch, low-sugar granola. As a result, Mr. CP has gotten on a greek yogurt parfait kick with a bit of granola, a little honey, and some fresh fruit (usually berries). He has enjoyed this so much that today I will be making some granola from scratch. Since I had some time today due to the holiday, I decided to use this fancy colorful powders that theoretically have health benefits in addition to making your smoothies look pretty.
In my aspirational world, I make smoothie bowls that look like this:
dreamy, right? I’m on a tropical island with this bowl in my lap as I stare at the ocean…
Back to reality.
I put Blue Majick into our smoothies once, and it made Mr. CP ill, so I knew not to even mess with it for him. When I tried to explain to him what I was going to do, he thought I was being really silly. I’m not surprised that the guy who once thought Instagram was an email service wouldn’t understand the Unicorn Food craze, but it made me think a bit more about what I was doing.
I used 1/4 teaspoon or so of Blue Majick and Pink Dragonfruit/Pitaya Powder for 1/4 cup of greek yogurt.
But, was it worth it? It took me about 10-15 minutes to mix each yogurt separately and then put them into a bowl and clean it up. I didn’t even spend that much time trying to make it look nice and it still took 3-4 times as long as it would take to wash berries or slice fruit and put all of it in a bowl.
I forgot the berries and the honey drizzle. And then I had to go back for more granola because I couldn’t fit much in the bowl and show the pretty colors!
It just was not worth the time and effort for me.
So, what’s the point here? What does it have to do with inspiration versus aspiration? We do need both inspirations and aspirations as they propel us forward in our lives; however, when aspirations lead to a feeling that we don’t measure up to others, we need to check in with our realities.
I use this yogurt parfait as an example for the following reasons:
Wasted Money: I have bought items in order to fulfill this colorful smoothie aspiration.
Wasted Space: These items take up precious space in our tiny apartment.
Wasted Time: I will never have that extra 10-15 minutes back.
While I cannot get my money or my time back, I can reclaim some of the space these powders take up in my kitchen. This is freeing! Sometimes perhaps we need to test out these aspirational lives of ours to see if they actually fit into our realities. This certainly does not fit into mine, and so I am letting go of the idea that someday I’ll make those pretty smoothies with multiple layers or multi-colored bowls. It will never be a common occurrence in my life, and that’s okay. This experiment has also helped me decide that I don’t even need these colorful bowls in the life that I am creating for myself. I can continue to enjoy the photos of other people’s labors and order them next time I see one in the wild.
Back to inspiration, the root of our creativity.
Inspiration is a blessing, it is air that we breathe and water that flows through us. It can light a fire in our bellies.
When true inspiration is not rooted to the earth of our lives that grounds us, then we know we have moved into false aspiration territory.