Inspired action vs motivated action


What’s knitting got to do with inspired action, and what is inspired action anyway?

I’m an early bird, and there’s usually a whole series of things I like to do in the early mornings when I get up, which could loosely be called a spiritual practice.  Some of these are reading and practicing the lesson for the day in A Course in Miracles, affirming and imagining what I want, and going for a walk in the woods or by the sea.

This morning, after reading the lesson, I knew I had the RichThinking Times to write for April, but did I feel inspired to do it?  No!  And because I’m practicing with taking inspired action instead of motivated, I was slightly alarmed to realise that I really wanted to  do was prepare the cardigan I’m knitting for sewing up.  Whoa!  Not allowed! How dare I even think of doing something as frivolous as this at this time in the morning when I have the house to myself and it is my most creative time!  All my old beliefs and attitudes kicked in.

As I stood over the ironing board, pinning out the cardi, I realised I was feeling guilty too.  This was no good.  I knew it was just old Puritan work ethics coming to the forefront (I’m from a long line of hard working, dour Scots) but there’s no good doing something you feel inspired to do and then feeling guilty about it.

So I let go of it. Just like that.  As I ironed, I let the guilt disappear in the steam of the iron. I remembered the lesson from the morning about forgiving myself, and I applied it.  I began to feel less guilty; then I began to enjoy what I was doing.  Aaaah!  Big sigh of relief.  Back in balance again.

These are the kinds of things we get challenged with all the time.  In every moment there is an opportunity to put into practice operating from the highest place inside yourself, or from a lower place.  If I hadn’t been working with this notion of inspired action I would have been at my computer trying hard to compose a newsletter article that sounded genuine.  I probably would have got there in the end, but with more effort and less ease.

Now here I am, having done what I felt inspired to do, and into the bargain I get the topic for the April newsletter.  And it happens easily and within 20 minutes. Wow!

So let’s really look at the difference between inspired and motivated action, and how you move away from the idea that if you let yourself do what you really want to do, you’d just lie around all day (as someone asked me the other morning).  One thing that I’ve done to address this idea is to do it.  Just stay in bed one day and see what happens.  Wait and watch to see what it is that inspires you to get out of bed.  Granted, this might be difficult if not impossible if you have children (!), but perhaps you can organise someone else taking care of them, and then experiment. This way you are meeting the fear that is speaking.  In the staying in bed, you are acknowledging it, and, as Susan Jeffers says ‘feeling the fear and doing it anyway’.

How can you tell when you’re ‘motivated’? Because even if you feel reasonably OK about it, it’s likely to be accompanied in your mind by sentences beginning with words such as “I must, I should, I ought, I need to…”.  And even if they are true (for instance, it’s true to say I needed to compile the RT Times), that’s no reason to do it out of a place of effort.

Inspired action on the other hand accompanies thoughts such as “Oh I can’t wait to…” or “I really love doing… “, or  “I feel like…”.  And the feelings associated with inspired action are likely to be enthusiasm, excitement, joy, passion, keenness, happiness, contentment.

So listen to your impulses. Learn to trust them and watch what happens. Obviously if you have clients to see, and other appointments already made, you’ll keep them.  But in the time outside of this, I invite you to experiment and see what happens.  You might be surprised!


Practicing Rich Thoughts

I recently started to study the Course in Miracles, with a lesson every day.  So far, so good.  But the last few days have been a challenge, since I’ve been visiting my sister and her family, where the focus is not at all on anything spiritual – more on how to get my 4 year old nephew to go to bed without a fuss. Continue reading