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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Today.

This blog post is not even about today, LOL.

In its purest cliché description, this post is about living in the moment. The theme stems from the plethora of changes — mental, intellectual, spiritual, physical (← idk, maybe less so), emotional — I’ve experienced in these past few months.

I’m the kind of person who takes her sweet time (I’m the most inefficient person I know) to try to do things “right,” whatever that means.

I face normal, everyday questions:

Should I study by myself or with classmates? 

Do I take the train or Uber or walk?

What should I pack for dinner? Should I buy dinner instead? 

Should I listen to Tori Kelly or Young the Giant in the 4 minutes I have before I arrive at my destination?

And then there are some bigger questions:

Why has God placed this person/friendship/relationship in my life?

What are my professional goals?

Where will I be a year from now?

What path do I need to take in order to best serve God for the rest of my life?

What is the right thing to do so that everyone is happy in the long run?

It is these latter questions that wrack my brain 5/7 days a week, because I don’t have a single dang clue what the answers are. I have a hard enough time coming to a decent answer for the everyday questions; the big questions just sort of debilitate me.

Of course, I’m sure nearly everyone feels the same way that I do about big questions regarding the future. How can anyone be sure about the future? But somehow I still forget that the only thing I can do is love and serve God today. Our words and actions today do indeed have ramifications for the future, but your mind, body and spirit can’t be anywhere but here today. For our lives are made up of days.

SO TODAY IS GOOD AND IMPORTANT AND CANNOT BE AVOIDED SO LIVE IT, DANG IT.

That yelling was mostly for myself. A self pep talk you could say. I didn’t mean to yell at you.

All that said, here are some moments with my family that I tried to live fully in the moments they were happening.

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Ben and I took our parents out to Hemingway’s for dinner as a Christmas present, since the best gift we can really give to each other at this point in our lives is quality time and food. I got {absurdly expensive} crab cakes, which were delightful with the coconut grits underneath and perfectly cooked asparagus on top.

The rosemary sourdough rolls at the start were also fantastic, but they were no cheese biscuits (the complimentary bread that was served when we first went to the restaurant three years ago). RIP cheese biscuits. I will dream about thee forever.

We all split calamari as an appetizer and key lime pie for dessert as well. Both hit all the right spots.

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I’ve been peddle boating with Madre! There have been alligator sightings in the lake in the past, so I’m always a little on edge about that, but thus far we have not been eaten.

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On Wednesday morning, Madre, Ben and I (Pop was working from home — man of the year) went to Keke’s Breakfast Cafe for…breakfast, naturally. It’s apparently extremely popular, so we worked up an appetite and waited approximately 25 minutes for a table. ‘Twas worth it though because just LOOK at the food.

Ben got the apple cinnamon stuffed French toast with home fries and sausage; Mom got regular French toast with eggs and sausage; and I got the largest blueberry pancake in the world with eggs and {bomb} bacon.

^^^True story. I ordered two pancakes at first, but then the waiter asked, “Are you sure?? Have you seen the size of our pancakes? If I eat two then I pass out.”

In my head at first I thought, “You don’t even know me.” But then I was like #humility and #dontbegreedy, so I ordered one pancake instead. Good thing, because the pancake was like a literal 9-inch cake in height and diameter, guys. I had to take 1/3 of it home. I NEVER LEAVE PANCAKES BEHIND USUALLY.

But it was a large, high-quality pancake. So fluffy and buttery. High recommend. Butter and Aunt Jemima required.

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^^^Random: Saw this at Publix. This is bad. I hate this headline, and I don’t hate many things. If you lose 10 lbs in 48 hours, something is WRONG.

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To end on a positive note though, God is good all the time.

And as You speak
A hundred billion creatures catch Your breath
Evolving in pursuit of what You said
If it all reveals Your nature so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You say
Every painted sky
A canvas of Your grace
If creation still obeys You so will I

— “So Will I” by Hillsong United

(if you wanna hear something beautiful today, listen to ^^this song, especially the Tori Kelly version)

Enjoy today 🙂

So tell me:

Thoughts about living today.

Waffles, French toast, or pancakes?

What is something ridiculous you’ve seen recently?

 

What I’m Currently Craving For This Blog

The Lord is merciful. As soon as I complained about kind of hot and humid weather

BUH BAM.

Absolutely perfect weather these past couple of days. I went on a walk Monday morning, and it was…chilly(!) in the shade.

These pretty flowers are artistic expressions of my emotions in this weather.

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open, vibrant, kinda scattered, but loving life

Other reasons why the stressful Monday mood turned right-side up:

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perfect batch of peach banana overnight oats (added some Greek yogurt as per the OG recipe!)

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soft and satisfying chocolate chip cookie a la physical therapist

PLUS, my coworker gave me half of her homemade beef and egg empanada after I got a whiff of it and commented on how amazing it smelled. PLUS-PLUS, one of the patients brought me a box of cookies since it’s my last week at work! 11

I can’t handle the generosity *squishes cheeks in between hands*!!!

All these and other little sweetnesses (literally and figuratively) during my day are keeping all the stressful and/or negative things at bay. Like cramming all my study abroad preparations, because I’m a procrastinator.

Moving on…

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As I snacked on this new-to-me Pure Organic bar yesterday, I started to organize my thoughts about this blog.

I’ve had phases of both strict and lax scheduling for my blog. This summer I’ve been posting approximately twice a week, which feels natural with my work schedule. That being said, it’s always: a weekend recap post + some special themed or deep-thought post.

Don’t get me wrong, those posts always flow from a genuine place, and I’ve enjoyed writing them. However, I feel like I have SO MANY things in my brain that I want to write down and share with you almost every day. Especially as I’m experiencing a multitude of new events, emotions, responsibilities, people, places, and things at this stage in my life, I’m craving for this space to be filled with big AND little insights.

In other words, I’m craving slightly more frequent but shorter posts with the same kind of thoughtfulness and meaning as my mega long posts. I don’t want to squeeze everything that’s happening in my life into a single monster post all the time. I can share less of what happens but more of what happens in my head and heart.

I want to ask you guys more life questions. Questions about things that no one talks about but everyone probably thinks about. Not just, “what did you eat last night?” (although I do still want to know that too).

Don’t worry— I’ll still be talking about “healthy living”-related things, and I’ll still have longer posts. Also, I definitely will NOT be posting every day for the sake of it; I will post when I feel like I have meaningful or entertaining content to put out.

As Julie from Peanut Butter Fingers so wisely said: post what you would want to read!

Part of me doesn’t want to post this, because I know my schedule is about to turn upside down and inside out with studying abroad, buuuuut these are my thoughts and we’ll see if I execute the way I see it in my head. If not, then…nothing changes!

You know it:

meme humpday

[source]

So tell me:

What are some nice things about your week that are counteracting the stress?

Would you like to read short “thought/reflection of the day” or “story time” posts?

Overwhelmed with Goodness

So much to tell you. SO LITTLE TIME.

How in the world is it the last week of classes this semester? I can’t deal. I can barely deal with this weekend. I went to work on Friday, and two things stood out to me while I was working:

  1. I set off the fire alarm making steak (this is the second time I’ve done that now, but that steak was PERFECT).
  2. My boss told me I have “a look of wellbeing.”

I was very flattered and humbled by that comment. Part of me was thinking, “Really? This is the face of one tired lady.” But another part of me was thinking, “Well, I think I know why.”

If I do indeed have a look of wellbeing, it’s because God has filled overflowed my life with nothing but love. He always has filled my life with love, but I think I have learned to better appreciate and focus on His love, rather than sulk in my insecurities, trials, doubts, guilt, and fears.

Basically, I am overwhelmed by the goodness around me. Sometimes I feel unworthy. Sometimes I squander the gifts I’ve been given. Sometimes I’m afraid it will all disappear. But that’s humanity. We’re not worthy, we do fall, and the world will pass away. That’s why I need God. Like, NEEEEEEEED.

And yeah, this got religious real quick, but even if we don’t share faith, I hope that you can relate to this sense of gratitude and awesomeness (in the truest sense of the word) in your life.

So what’s all this goodness then? Time for show-and-tell!

-People who genuinely care about your life.

-People who wait 3 more seconds to hold open the door for you.

-Laughter, even when studying is stressing you out.

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me trying to figure out if respiration is hindered when lying supine

-Good conversations with people who I’ve just met.

-Really good hugs and high-fives.

-Running with your best friend, even though you didn’t really want to at first.

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-The wonder and beauty of the human body and being able to learn about it in depth.

-Soul talk. It’s fun talking about food, fitness, the latest party, and Justin Bieber’s comeback, but nothing is as satisfying and fulfilling as talking about, well, what truly satisfies, fulfills, and challenges our souls.

-Seeing and experiencing the beauty of God with and through other people.

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-Sharing food and fellowship.

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Mike & Patty’s for our food bucket list!

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“Egg Fancy” = two fried eggs, avocado, bacon, cheddar, and house mayo (OMG) on multigrain

That was one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever eaten.

My lab partner/friend/fellow foodie, Christina (go follow her on Instagram @foodietunes!), have been on many food adventures this weekend…

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breakfast before lab

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Indian night in the d-hall

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distracted by cupcakes during our walk on Saturday

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split a pumpkin gingerbread spice cupcake— OH WOW.

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grand opening promo event at Sweetgreen yesterday

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free {healthy} food? yes, please.

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One of my friends just came home after studying abroad in Australia for the past four months, and he gave me a Tim Tam to try! Very tasty.

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thinking about you, Arman

-People who affirm and encourage you constantly. It’s easy to be self-conscious or upset about your body, personality, or achievements. However, having people who truly believe that you are beautiful and who push you to be the best version of yourself— that helps you live a little more fully and confidently every day.

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So to YOU, I say: There will be many lies and doubts (both internal and external) holding you back from being the best version of yourself. It’s tempting to sit in grief until you feel good enough to finally do something great. This time of feeling weak and useless is the perfect time to start giving. In giving, you will receive so much. Give your smile, your thoughts, your talents, your love.

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[source]

I know I am currently living at a time of peak physical and social nourishment, so I understand that everything in my eyes seems like rainbows and unicorns. I have nothing to truly complain about. Maybe I’m naive and in a bubble. But I know for sure that “to whom much is given, much will be expected,” and I pray that I can just give from the overwhelming amount of goodness I am given.

Phew. Hope you all have a wonderful week 🙂 “Let us begin.”

So tell me:

The best thing you ate this weekend.

Three good things from last week/this weekend.

About the last time you set off the fire alarm (if ever).

“I’m Making Friends!”

Well hi there!

If you missed my epic story about how I hurt myself doing burpees yesterday, you can read about that here. It was a fun time.

In other news, I went to university orientation and had a great weekend to follow! Here’s what was going on in the noggin during the excitement…

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Orientation + weekend = marvelous! Thanks for hosting, Katie!

Orientation Thoughts:

“People at this train station are hardcore judging my overnight oats in a jar.”

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“I hope I don’t sleep through my stop while napping on the train to Boston.”

“Hooray, I’m in Boston!”

“Take the T (subway) or walk 2.6 miles with my bags to campus?…The weather is nice, so I’ll walk!”

“This is a lovely walk through Boston. Look, ma, I’m independent!”

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“It’s getting pretty hot out here. Gettin’ a little sweaty.”

“Wow, I’m a sweaty pig right now. I smell.”

“I made it! I need a nap.”

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“Wait, I want food first.”

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{Sweet Chick burger @ UBurger}

“Hey, I have some pretty cool roommates for orientation!”

“I’m making FRIENDS!”

“Showering in the dorm bathrooms is stressing me out. Is it socially acceptable to walk around in a towel on the first day of orientation?”

“My actual roommate for this coming year is THE BOMB.”

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“This is so much fun!”

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“Don’t fall asleep during the long info sessions.”

“I ♥ the omelette station.”

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“Where’s the peanut butter at in this dining hall?”

“Chemistry has separate classes for pre-lab, lab, lecture, and discussion. What?”

“Wow, they give us so many cookies here.”

“It’s fuel for all our walking on campus.”

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“STILL HAVING FUN!”

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“I’m so tired that I’m not tired anymore. Runnin’ on pure adrenaline here.”

“But seriously, where’s the peanut butter in the dining hall?”

“BENNNNN!”

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“We have matching backpack sweat stains, bro.”

“This is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.”

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{Ben and I split ‘The Double Awesome” and “The Gabby” scallion pancake sandwiches. Incredible. }

“I have the best brother in the world.”

“I had a blast! But I’m ready for my own shower and bed again. And nut butter.”

Saturday Thoughts:

“9 hours of sleep!!!”

“What a gorgeous day for Jen’s grad party.”

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“I love her Italian family.”

“I also love Italian food.”

“Oooo cake!”

“I can’t NOT take weird selfies with Kristi.”

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Sunday Thoughts:

“Prom is in two days!!”

“I’ve missed you, peanut butter.”

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“Another gorgeous day for the Corpus Christi Mass.”

Davida’s e-cookbook came out!!! YES.”

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“LOL at my burpee wound.”

“Mom’s making chili and cornbread for the World Cup game? I’m down.”

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{Eaten with a side of spinach + another huge, unpictured hunk of cornbread}

“I have never been so into a soccer game before. PORTUGAL LITERALLY SCORED IN THE LAST 30 SECONDS!!!”

And this ends the tour of Alison’s brain during the past five days.

Hope you all have a wonderful day!

So tell me:

What are some highlights of your weekend?

What’s the best thing you ate this weekend?

Have you been watching the World Cup?