View from my park bench in Central Park

I recently read an article on LinkedIn titled What Inspires Me: It’s the Struggle. The article elaborates on how life is about learning how to keep going, even when things get tough. And in order to be successful in life we must master this struggle. Jennifer Dulski, the author of this blog, talked about who and what inspired her in her life, finishing by asking about our struggle and what has inspired all of us. That got me thinking – what inspires me?

I took a walk around Central Park today, pondering over what truly inspires me, what shakes me to my core and motivates me to be a better person overall. I stopped to smell the budding tulips, sat on a bench to watch the constant flow of runners and bikers wiz past me in a hazy blur, listened to the laughter of the children playing on the swings behind me. As I paused there for a moment in time, I began to realize that inspiration was all around me, but the inspiration to better myself was already within me, experiences I had already overcome or attempting to overcome – my own conquest to master the struggle.

While I took in my surroundings, this is the list that I came up with –

The Men and Women Who Defend this Country: I am constantly amazed that people are willing to go to Memorial_Day_Art_American_Soldier_Salutes_Half_Mast_US_Flag-01war and lay down their lives in the name of our freedom. Their bravery astonishes me, and honestly humbles me immensely. My best friend, Trey, is serving in his third duty in Afghanistan right now. When he enlisted right after college, it shocked us all, we knew how patriotic he was but we didn’t know how courageous he really was. His heroism, like the thousands and thousands serving with him, inspire me to do something bigger than myself – to contribute to something bigger.

My Little Brothers: Although they are younger than I am, they are much stronger than I. After our mom passed away, they both took the world head on. Max applied for, and got into, the business school at the University of Colorado, continued to raise his GPA and managed to go about his normal college life. Joe made the Dean’s list month after month; received student of the semester, and next week will be graduating high school with honors. Their triumphs over the most traumatic struggle in all of our lives makes me so incredibly proud to be their older sister, and inspires me to better myself and continue to fight against this struggle.


My little brothers, Max and Joe

Children of Impoverished Nations: Throughout my travels I have witnessed first hand families who live beneath the poverty line every day. The children of these families awe me. Through their incredible struggle to stay alive, they manage to always have a smile on their face and look at the world in a “glass half full” perspective. While I was in Costa Rica, we volunteered in a very poor community helping rebuild their soccer field. It seems almost silly perhaps, that we went down there to help rebuild a field, but for the children of this town it was life changing. We brought down hundreds of soccer cleats so they weren’t running around barefoot on broken beer bottles scattering the field. The joy on their face when they saw their cleaned up field and received their soccer cleats, was breathtaking. They were happier than any child I have ever seen here in America, they even had tears streaming down their faces. It was so encouraging to see that in the midst of a deteriorating economic system – they were living the best lives they could, constantly happy and appreciative.

When I finally got up from the park bench, I started walking toward to end of the serene park and back into constant hustle and bustle of the city. Back into the struggle we all endure, and all strive to overcome. Looking around at the hundreds of people scrambling around, I knew none of us are alone in the battles we fight. I pushed on smiling, because I couldn’t help thinking that we were all alike, no matter our differences.

So I pass Jennifer’s message forward, what inspires you? What struggles have you overcome to find the hidden beauty of inspiration?

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