By day I work in real estate, meaning I get to see and show a lot of homes. I never have the same day twice, and this suits my personality pretty well. Some days go above and beyond variation, however. Some days I get lessons in receiving that make it clear to me how connected we are, no matter what we are doing and even if we don’t always feel it.
Today I showed a house in a quiet Portland neighborhood to a woman who drove down from Washington with her two young children. She was changing her baby’s diaper in the back of her minivan when I pulled up. She smiled and told me her four year old son was asleep after losing his lunch on the way down thanks to a bout of car sickness.
Mama kept an ear out for him while I toured her and the baby through the house. This house is all personality and has a kind of unexpected Southern charm for Portland with its porticos, columns and gently worn polish. It is said that the front door comes from a house once owned by Mark Twain. We were finishing up our tour just as the sleeping son woke up, and out mama ran to get him from the car.
He was disoriented and stunned, and he could not stop crying. Hi mother, embarrassed, tried to soothe him, as did I. She wanted to spend more time in the house, send a video to her husband. Her son was making this objective challenging. He clung to her and sobbed and sobbed, and he wouldn’t look twice at me. When she let go of his hand for a moment to adjust her phone, he wandered out through the front door and around the house, wailing unconsolably.
He needs to be outside to ground, I heard from somewhere both inside and outside me as I watched him pick his way through the yard.
It turned out that this particular piece of intuitive knowing—or, as I feel it, inspired information—was accurate. His mother again retrieved him and took the boy, howling, through the house one more time for the video. When she had finished I suggested we tour him through the gardens. I didn’t like to think of him leaving here with this hellish imprint in his mind, or his mother with a still-screaming child in her backseat all the way back up to Washington.
Within a minute of us touring him through the tomato beds and under the apple tree where he got his very own freshly picked apple, he had completely recovered. A kind of dawn had returned once more to his world, and obviously at Mother Nature’s hand.
Inspired information always feels receptive to me. It isn’t processed through my mind, which at that time was inundated with the trauma that is a crying kid and my belief that I had no real tools to help him. My mind could think of nothing more helpful to offer than I don’t know what to do… I have to think of what to do. I don’t know!
The receptive place knows, every time.
The word inspire takes its roots from the Latin word inspirare which is “to breathe or blow into.” Its cousin, the medical word inspirate, means to inhale. Inspiration, then, is a taking in. It is the ultimate receiving posture. We don’t make inspiration, we receive it. What a relief that is in our production-obsessed society!
I have also noticed that inspired thought often arrives as an option for me, receptive or not. The information is there. It shows up. Whether I take it in or not is a different story.
I’m getting better at recognizing its quick and quiet, sure voice, though. Like nearby birdsong it can be easily tuned out because inspired thought does not shout and it does not appear on demand. Again, I cannot make it, but I can allow it, which is a damn delicious place to be.