Blog It Forward - What Inspires Me?

Hurrah! Today is my turn to participate in Blog It Forward, a rather fabulous Mexican-wave style blogging event concocted by Victoria from SF Girl By Bay, with 300 bloggers taking it in turns to share our thoughts on 'what inspires us the most'.

I was passed the baton by the lovely Simply Grove, so here are my thoughts on what inspires me.

Yeah, it's a fairly huge question, right? I guess I could list my design inspirations, but I kind of want to go a little deeper than that, you know? So, ever the Eng Lit grad, I turned to the dictionary to look up the definition of inspire: 

"To fill with an animating, quickening, or exalting influence." I like that definition. For me, inspiration is all about the elements that move us on some primeval level - that touch the synapses in our brains and make us fizz over with emotion.

The first thing that comes to mind when I think about what moves me is music. Bruce Springsteen's Streets of Philadelphia, Keane's Crystal Ball, the wonderful gospel choir who belted out Oh Happy Day when my new husband and I walked down the aisle (well, actually we danced down the aisle. And stopped to hug every one of our guests. It was probably the longest recessional in the history of St James, Didsbury). The opening sequence of The Lion King where the old king holds baby Simba up in his paws (yeah, it's probably wrong that I still well up at the scene). Lightening Crashes by Live. And my favouritest happy song, I Need Love by Sam Phillips.

I'm also inspired by poetry. You know when you read a truly amazing line in a poem, and the hairs on the back of your neck just raise up? Frank O'Hara's The Day Lady Died gets me every time. Even though I've read it a million times, I still get goose bumps when I read the last stanza. My all-time classic poem for evoking a strong emotional reaction has to be e.e. cummings I Carry Your Heart With Me (which I have loved since long before Cameron Diaz learned to read it in the movie In Her Shoes). It's so beautiful that I'm going to share it in full:

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)

i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

Yeah. It's incredible. We had this as one of the readings at our wedding and I swear I wasn't the only one who cried.

And the final source of personal inspiration that I'd like to share today is simply the wonderful natural world that surrounds us - from the glorious vista of a deserted tropical beach, to the sight of the first daffodil bulbs poking their heads above the earth.

Here are some of the most beautiful views I've had the pleasure to experience.

Zipolete beach in Oaxaca, Mexico:

Secret Greek island in the Ionian sea:


Hakone national park in Tokyo, Japan:

Hillptop village of Gordes in Provence:

When I saw this view for the first time last summer, I literally burst into tears because it was so incredibly beautiful. Andre and I now have a plan to move to France full-time, mostly because any part of the world that makes you cry on account of its beauty should probably be added to your List of Places to Live.

So there you have it - some of the things that inspire me in life. And now I'd like to pass the baton over to Sloe Gin Fizz, who will be blogging tomorrow about her inspirations, so make sure you check out her blog (and her divine recipes!).

What do you find inspiring?