The Aftermath of Inspiration

This is the diary of an extraordinarily ordinary person.

Also the diary of a person who has not worked consistently nor been in school for almost a month, so I’m just derping around, reflecting on life, wasting time, and finding things to do. Luckily, work starts on Monday.

Recently (not just during my post-school intermission, but even throughout this past semester), I’ve noticed that I have rarely felt passionate about the things in front of me, whether that’s school, relationships, activities, fitness goals, or just life in general.

Please do not take this the wrong way! It’s not that I’m not enjoying life, but I’ve been lacking some intrinsic “oomph” that drives me to set my heart on something.

The only thing that my heart is truly set on is pursuing a deeper relationship with God, which I guess is fine because that’s the foundation of everything else. But I still can’t help but feel frustrated that my disposition has been kind of bland and aimless recently.

It’s easy to be inspired to do great things (or small things with great love) through prayer, enlightening conversations, beautiful songs, thoughtful articles, and Facebook videos with heart-tugging montages (#honest). What’s not easy is facing the aftermath of inspiration. The aftermath that involves…doing normal, everyday things.

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The aftermath of inspiration that involves seeing and choosing to love the face in the mirror that has zits all over her forehead (including one particularly pesky and red one).

The aftermath of inspiration that involves emptying out the sink trap, my least favorite thing in the sanctuary that is the kitchen.

The aftermath of inspiration that involves re-studying notes from the past year at the dining room table.

The aftermath of inspiration that involves responding to emails.

The aftermath of inspiration that involves conversations that don’t inspire or excite you at all.

The aftermath of inspiration that involves sweeping the floors of the millions of hairs that three long-haired girls shed in their apartment (haha ew, but I know some of you can relate).

The aftermath of inspiration that involves NOT looking at inspiring things anymore and just doing what you need to do.

The aftermath of inspiration that involves dirt-ordinary things that are necessary in order to achieve greatness, to change lives, to become the men and women who we are created to be.

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I feel like I get on an inspiration high with so much consumption of social media. It’s obviously a great thing that there are so many uplifting, inspiring, loving people out there; I am grateful for everyone who puts out positivity in this world. There’s never enough of that. However, recently, that’s where the inspiration seems to stop for me.

I watch the inspiring videos, read the inspiring articles, and then go back to the tasks of life with very little passion. I really do believe that some people go forth with a “get after it” mindset 24/7, but I…just don’t. Like, I’m doing what I need to do and seeking opportunities to be better, but I’m not trying to “get after it.” I’m just doing what I ought to do.

Perhaps it’s because I don’t have many goals right now, and for the goals that are already set out for me (i.e. finish school with a doctorate in physical therapy), I’m kind of lackluster about them (except for the Spartan Race in August; I’m stoked for that). So I do what needs to be done, expecting it to either fulfill me in the moment or expecting myself to feel some sort of passion because, “This little task will pay off in the end when I reach my goal, right!?” … But nope. Neither of those things stirs in my heart.

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throwback to last year’s Spartan Race lol

That’s the problem though. I always want to feel like I am fulfilling some profound inspiration that budded in my heart at one moment, but the aftermath of inspiration involves emptiness sometimes. It might involve wandering. It might involve doing things cerebrally for a while instead of doing things emotionally. It might involve doing little things with great love but not feeling love at all, because love is a choice, after all.

(I do believe that you should be at peace with what you are doing; how you feel is so important and should not be forgotten!!)

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if you feel like 1-year-old post-nap Alison all the time, re-evaluate what you’re doing

Speaking of inspiration, I just read this in a Sisters of Life magazine, and I think it’s relevant to my situation:

“We have tried to learn the great art of being with others… It’s a way of receiving another — looking at the person before me, not as a project or a problem to be solved, but as a gift, a unique masterpiece of God’s love. It’s developing the habit of gazing at this person with the heart…” – Sr. Maris Stella

I think this can apply not only to people, but to every task that may or may not feel like it’s lending to my ultimate fulfillment.

So I guess the aftermath of inspiration isn’t really “aftermath” at all, but rather a true gift in and of itself. The dirt-ordinary task, the people in front of you right now, the opportunities and experiences you are given today — this is the greatness, the life-changer, the essence of becoming who we are created to be. And seeing it as such is a habit that needs to be developed, so maybe that’s what God is helping me to do now.

I think it’s time to let life inspire me as it happens rather than feeling the need to do everything because I am inspired. Does that make sense? And if passion for something does take over my heart one of these days, I will be all the more grateful.

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idk this is an old gif in my media library, but Beyonce is always a good choice

Have a great Thursday! God loves you. I love you.

So tell me:

THOUGHTS!?

 

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Recent Fun Facts

1) I turned 22 last Thursday.

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This past year being 21 was probably the most difficult year of my life, academically, spiritually, and emotionally. Makes me both terrified and AMPED for 22!!! I am grateful for this beautiful life. Thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday through text, Facebook, Instagram comment, in person, or over the phone!

2) I have needed someone to roll me home after dinner this whole weekend. Figuratively, that is. But it would have been nice hilarious to have someone actually do that for me.

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My family and I went to Montreal this past weekend for my friend Monica’s graduation from McGill University, and we went all out with the food. Poutine, hand-pulled noodles, Montreal bagels, excessively expensive sushi… It was delightful and indulgent to say the least. But the main star of the show was this gal!! We are so proud of her.

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Rachel also took me out in Boston the night before my birthday to a place called Alden and Harlow, where we got the “Secret Burger” (a food bucket list item of ours!), among other delicious fare. The Secret Burger has a crispy freaking CHEESE DISK under the top bun. Good g r i e f.

 

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semolina pistachio cake with strawberry sauce of sorts + peanut brittle was also fabulous

3) I tried three weeks of a delivery meal service (the ones where the company sends you all the ingredients + recipe instructions and you make it yourself). One week of Hello Fresh for a free trial from my brother’s girlfriend, Elaine. One week of Hello Fresh that I paid for because I forgot to cancel the subscription after the free trial (*rolls eyes at self*). One week of Plated for a free trial from my friend Christie.

I typically would not buy these meal services for myself because your girl cannot afford that, but it was a blast getting to try it! It was fun exploring new recipes and using cooking techniques that I never would have tried on my own. It’s even more fun cooking and sharing the meals with another person. I recommend trying it at least once (i.e. asking a friend who subscribes for a free code hehe).

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Some recipes from Hello Fresh: balsamic onion jam burgers with arugula and aioli on brioche buns // pork tenderloin with crispy potatoes and roasted vegetables // chicken cheddar fajitas. One from Plated: spicy crunchy tuna bowl

There was not a recipe from either company that I didn’t like! It’s great that each recipe also takes less than an hour to cook. “Hangry” prevention is key.

4) I have not been sleeping enough despite having no work to do since finals ended. I am craving routine again. Work starts next week!

5) I have not done a workout more than 45 minutes in the past year it seems. That will need to change as my friend Ben and I are doing another Spartan Race in August, except this time it’s a Spartan Super (10-ish miles) instead of a Spartan Sprint (5 miles), which is what we did last year, and even that wiped me out. HAHA oh my word, I have zero endurance right now.

6) I peed while on the Tappan Zee Bridge.

…Because I was on a coach bus that had a bathroom on it 🙂 Did I freak you out??

7) I kind of want to do another vlog like this one (“half a week in the life”) from last year. That was so fun to make! A little bit of an unnecessary time sucker, but hey, #summer.

8) My talented friend John (← check out his portfolio!) took some fun graduation photos for me and my friends. These people make me so happy.

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eMoTiOnz.

Too bad I have two more years of school left.

9) I am newly obsessed with Sean Lew and Kaycee Rice, two incredibly talented nugget dancers who know more about life at the age of 15/16 than I do.

Hits my soul pretty deep and makes me want to be a better person, to be honest.

10) I made a friend over the age of 80 yesterday, and she made me cry with her sweet and beautiful words of faith, hope, and love. What a gift.

GOOD NIGHT (as I type this into the wee midnight hours).

So tell me:

Some recent fun facts about yourself!

Have you ever tried a Montreal bagel OR poutine?

What is something that has touched your heart recently? 

Great and Small Things I Learned This Semester

{Second Semester of Grad School}

It’s been another relatively long hiatus, but we BACK. Finals were stressful. This senior year of undergrad/first year of PT grad school was wild. But we did it; we finished undergrad!!

I graduated with my Bachelor of Science in Health Studies this past weekend. People call it a “fake” degree, because it’s sort of just a dummy bachelor’s degree to acknowledge that we’ve received an undergraduate education, but the Doctorate of Physical Therapy at the end of this 6-year program is what we’re really here for. Two more years until that, God willing!

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Although I haven’t been blogging much at all in these past 9 months, I can’t neglect to do my traditional “what I learned” post at the end of the semester. I have no idea where this one is going to go, to be honest. I have learned truly countless lessons that cannot be exhaustively listed in this blog post. However, I’ll do my best to recount this grand ol’ journey in list form!

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1. Dairy probably makes me break out, but not enough to make me want to give it up for more than the 40 days of Lent.

2. I do laundry more often than most college students (I do it every 7-12 days), and it’s costing me a FORTUNE (especially since it’s $10+ for wash and dry at my laundromat!!!).

3. Alllllll about the lower extremity. Hip, knee, ankle problems? Let me have a look at it (with my non-professional student PT eyes)!

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4. Also a whole crap ton about neuroscience that I did not expect I would learn going into PT school. Even my neuroscience major BFF (Rachel) was impressed with how much we were learning.

5. The pain of doing God’s will.

6. The incomparable beauty of doing God’s will.

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7. How to do split screen on a Mac computer.

8. How to set aside time for people who mean a lot to me, despite a busy schedule.

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9. I like Shawn Mendes’ music (“Youth” is my JAM currently).

10. Curried tuna salad is a FANTASTIC Friday meal.

11. How to have a little less of a big mouth.

12. How to be less judgmental of others.

13. The discipline of not listening to music after 10pm (as I realize that it’s 10:30pm and I forgot to turn off my Spotify… whoops).

14. I can blog if I set aside a short time for it every day.

15. How to be okay with the mess.

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16. How to communicate better and to be honest with myself and others.

17. How to fall in love with God even more.

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18. Body shape-wise, I’m the roundest/fullest I’ve been in several years (or ever?), but I’m probably the happiest with my body and can do more physically than I ever have been able to do.

19. I have medial tibial stress syndrome (aka shin splints), and I don’t even run that much. The best/worst part is that I know how to help myself.

20. Long term acute care PT is right up my alley, and I could see myself working in that kind of setting.

21. I’m still into selfies.

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22. How to lead a retreat.

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23. Uncomfortableness is a very good thing sometimes.

24. How to reflect on all these things that God does in my heart, just like the Blessed Virgin Mary did throughout her life.

25. God is good. All the time.

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That’s what I have for now! Hopefully the first half of summer will lend to some more blogs (maybe VLOGS!?). I’ll be staying in Boston working as a gross anatomy teaching assistant again, and then I have clinical starting in July. It’ll be busy but good (hopefully)!

Thanks, Madre and Pop ♥

So tell me:

What are some things you’ve learned this year!? 

 

 

Nighttime Silence

Sunday, April 22nd

Spring

“Your dress makes you look like a spring flower and I love it.” – Rachel to me.

Indeed the spring weather has finally sprung, so I took the opportunity to wear a dress today! I love dresses.

Speaking of dresses, my friends and I have tossed the idea around to have some sort of party where we all dress up really nicely, and I want it to happen SO BADLY. Confession: I brought my prom dress to Boston last year because I really want to wear it again.

Monday, April 23rd

Silence

I was reading about nuns and how some/most/all (idk) convents have a time at night called the “Grand Silence,” after which no one talks to each other. That might sound miserable to some, but I’ve actually been trying to *sort of* adopt the idea by not listening to music after 10pm (I still talk to people though). I freaking love listening to music, but sometimes I feel like it’s a sub-diagnostic addiction for when I’m just bored/stressed and want to be emotionally moved by melodies and lyrics.

So at 10pm, a mental voice (not unlike the deep, rich voice of Dumbledore) goes off in my head saying, “GRAND SILEEEENCEEEEE,” and I turn off my music and focus on doing the rest of my nightly tasks/studying without music.

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It helps me think about ending my day with God in mind and with a more reflective, grateful mindset.

Tuesday, April 24th

Smiles

Today’s reasons to smile:

  • A third beautiful spring day in a row
  • Working out on the esplanade in between classes
  • My PT friends who make me double over in laughter even amidst the stress of exams
  • Praying for a while in the middle of a busy day
  • Hugging my friend Fiona, who I hadn’t seen in a while
  • A free confetti cake cookie (omg)
  • Also free pasta dinner and Kraft Parmesan cheese dusted dumped onto it
  • A funny and very smart priest who came to give a talk at the Catholic Center
  • We are one more day closer to the weekend, hallelujah
  • Dying on the inside

So tell me:

Do you have a designated quiet time in your day? (Does that sound like something for preschoolers??? Let me know.)

The Stuff of Life

Wednesday, April 18th

Interaction

I ran with my well-conditioned, Colorado-raised, track athlete friend first thing this morning (hi, Abby!). It was a quick 3 miles, but she helped me push the pace (which was probably her easy pace). It was a glorious morn though!

I feel like I have a tibial stress fracture and patellofemoral pain syndrome though #PTschoolsyndrome.

Today, I was blessed with many fun conversations and social interactions… or at least, with more people than usual. And it’s entirely because I chose to not be a studying hermit who has her nose buried in her book laptop all day. I mean, I have to do that a little bit in order to actually get work done, but today I let myself talk to and just be around more people who I see every day but never really interact with for more than 30 seconds at a time. I know I have to sacrifice fun time for study time very often, because then I’d never get work done, but my heart is filled with extra joy because of these new and life-giving interactions.

It’s the stuff of life. Good for ya.

Thursday, April 19th

Snooze

I don’t usually hit snooze these days, but I hit it three times this morning instead of going to the gym, and I don’t regret it.

Randomly, there was a free clam chowder tasting/voting at the student union this afternoon. New England student perks!!

Particularly welcomed on a cold, rainy day like today.

I’m currently listening to “You’ll Be in My Heart” by Phil Collins as I type this on my phone. Thought some of you would appreciate that.

Friday, April 20th

Skills

My PT friends and I worked a lot on our skills today for our practical exam coming up next Thursday. What that means is a) stress; b) we have to be able to examine, treat, and rationalize anything and everything about the lower extremity; c) stress.

Luckily, we like doing this stuff.

I even got to examine my friend’s knee today and {unofficially} “diagnose” him as the student PT that I am. I told him to take everything I say with a grain of salt and to go to a real PT, but it was still good practice and fun to help someone with a real musculoskeletal issue rather than hypothetical ones. I also taught him how to deadlift (“from the H I P S”).

Other things: I did half of this workout this morning, and it killed me (as it always does). I played soccer with some friends (although I wasn’t aggressive because I really think there’s something wrong with my tibia / I suck at soccer). I ate ice cream twice tonight. A good day!

Saturday, April 21st

Human

60 and sunny, yes puh-lease.

I spent the beginning and end of my day with my dear friend, Kelsey, and one thing that she reassured to me repeatedly as we had some heart gushing sessions was: “It’s okay to feel that way, because you have a human heart.”

So often, I am very hard on myself for feeling upset or frustrated about certain things that I know I should get over or not be upset about in the first place. But our hearts do feel things for a reason, and it’s not our place to judge ourselves, just as we wouldn’t judge others. This doesn’t mean we need to sit in melancholy or sorrow for ourselves, because that’s not good, but we don’t have to beat ourselves up for feeling a certain way. We just take that opportunity to know that Jesus felt exactly what we feel, except in the deepest, purest form, so we can unite our human heart to His human yet also Divine heart.

We had cider flights to celebrate Kelsey’s birthday that was on Thursday!! So fun.

Happy Sunday, friends.