Trading Inspiration


I’ve been thinking a bit lately about what inspires me.  With life running so fast, there’s little time and energy left once I’ve met my obligations. So it’s becoming more important to me that I not waste it with the mindlessness I have in the past.  I need to find things that are gonna fill me back up and ready me for what’s ahead… I need and want to be inspired.


I thought it would be nice to share some things that inspire us with each other.  I’ll start.


On his project, “Living Room Songs”, composer and pianist, Ólafur Arnalds, committed to writing one new song each day for a week.  At the end of each day, he gathered a small string section, and there in his living room, they recorded what he’d written that day.  At the end of the week, it was done, finished – created and shared with the world. And to me, it’s masterful.  Each note has purpose.  The melodies are unique.  Emotion is ever-present.  It takes me on a journey every time I listen. Sometimes it breaks my heart. Sometimes it heals it – but I always feel something.  I’m always inspired.


I’m inspired by what he was able to accomplish in a day – in a week.  And I can’t help but consider what I could do if I lived with that kind of intention and fearlessness.  If I’m honest, it’s scary for me to commit to something before I’ve got it figured out and know what the outcome will be.  Listening to this cd makes me want to fly without a net. And it makes me think I can.  It makes me braver.  Not because it’s perfect and grand – but because it’s imperfect, but still powerfully touching.


It’s beautiful in its imperfection. Each time the piano bench cracks, the pedal squeaks or a violin string falters in pitch for a moment, I smile to myself.  I love that they moved ahead, not feeling the need to repair or hide the ‘mistake’. And somehow, the song actually becomes more beautiful for it.


Just like you and me.


We spend so much of our lives trying to cover up our shortcomings, but what if we could just embrace them and move on?  What if we didn’t let them stop us?  What if they simply became part of the song we’re sharing?


Regardless of the type of music you like, I think almost everyone reading this will fall in love Living Room Songs by Ólafur Arnalds. It’s perfect background music, especially on rainy days, Saturday mornings, or when you have friends over for dinner.  It has become one of my favorites – because it’s more than a piece of music. It’s an exercise in fearlessness.


Look it up on Itunes, get it, and be inspired.  As you listen, consider that he wrote and recorded each song in a day.  And ask yourself…


What if I didn’t have to have it all figured out before I was willing to begin?

What if I were willing to fly without a net?

What could I accomplish if I committed to a deadline and kept it no matter what?

What if I lived my life with intention and focus?

What if I made peace with my imperfections and shortcomings?

What if I even embraced them and made them a part of my song?

What could I share with the world?

What might it inspire in others?


Your turn… What’s inspiring you these days?  Maybe it’s a book – maybe a song.  Maybe a person, or even a kind of pain.  Take a moment and tell us where you’re gathering strength and inspiration these days, especially if you think we might be helped by it too.  Then share this with your friends.  If we all join in, imagine the inspiration we could trade.


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20 thoughts on “Trading Inspiration

  1. mark says:

    I am inspired by you Chance!

  2. Matt says:

    A friend of mIne introduced me to Barbara Brown Taylor, an author who combines a scholarly knowledge of Biblical history and context with a spiritual sensibility and heart that never cease to blow me away. She takes all to familiar biblical stories and retells them with fresh insight in a way that I’ve never heard before. I feel like the Bible is becomIng real and truly precious to me like never before. An absolutely fantastic devotional – start with “home by another way”. Her book, “an altar in the world” is more chapter-structured, and equally fantastic.

  3. Great post, Chance! My writing mentor always says, “Leap, and the net will appear.” I am an emotional writer, so I find inspiration wherever I am: exercising outdoors, in church, seeing new places, from friends or family. I was recently diagnosed with cancer and that has led to lots of new writing avenues. Thanks for your inspiration!

  4. Eva says:

    Great blog, Chance! Where do I go for inspiration? The first thing that came to mind was a gift from my mom. I find myself going back to an old book called “First We Have Coffee” – Margaret Jensen has a way of stretching my heart…challenges me to live stronger. And to not give up. On anything. Or anyone. Ever. It’s subtitled “Life Lessons from Mama” – you should read it…it’s rich!

  5. Judy says:

    What inspires me?….YOU!
    *I don’t have to have it all figured out, but I am willing to begin.
    *I will fly without a net.
    *I will commit to a deadline and kept it no matter what.
    *I will live my life with intention and focus.
    *I will make peace with my imperfections and shortcomings.
    *I will embrace them and made them a part of my song.
    *I will share with the world, with hope it will inspire others.

    :-) xo

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