BIG, EASY, UNLIKELY INSPIRATION
By: Lauren Anderson
Inspiration can come from the most unlikely places.
I’ve even got an embarrassing example for you.
This weekend I was undone by a terrible case of food poisoning. It was…unfortunate. Luckily I made it through the worst, but Sunday left me recovering and trying to keep crackers down. I kept falling in and out of sleep all day, exhausted from dehydration and being so “upended”.
Needless to say with my intermittent napping, the Netflix autoplay took on a mind of it’s own.
I don’t know how it happened because I started off the day with a restorative re-watching of Disney’s “Mulan”. And then I dipped over into another favorite, Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright’s jaunt into London Police antics, “Hot Fuzz”.
Both movies about underdogs fighting adversity with a rag tag group of people (dragons) to support them! I mean, solid sick-day choices right? (It also inspired a fabulous detour into listening to some Supergrass, which I haven’t heard in ages.“Caught by the Fuzz” is such a jam.)
By I digress…
When I woke up, groggy, around mid-day, pawing around to find my sippy cup of ginger ale, trying desperately not to move my head too much– I heard the familiar voice of Steve Carell in my room. But it wasn’t any of his great hits, cause my computer decided to play that classic film, “Evan Almighty” instead.
In any other scenario, I would’ve clicked out of this unfortunate sequel and onto something more worthy of the battle I was facing. But something struck me. I adjusted the crooked glasses on my face and just let the movie wash over me.
What I saw was Morgan Freeman playing God, calming a worried Lauren Graham playing “Wife” (sigh…these wife characters. C’mon Hollywood!). But it’s what he said that struck me. And I’m obviously paraphrasing, because duh– I didn’t go back to jot it down.
But he basically said, “When you pray to God for more courage, he doesn’t just ZAP! give you courage. He gives you an opportunity to be courageous. When you pray for more love in your life, he doesn’t just snap his fingers and fill you with warm fuzzies, he gives you an opportunity to be more loving.”
And I don’t know what happened, but this really got me. I started tearing up. Just lying there. Sick in bed. Watching EVAN ALMIGHTY, of all things. (Jeez… get it together Anderson)
I blame the lack of solid food and Morgan Freeman’s comforting resonant voice. But I think what struck me is the words aren’t that far off from how things end up working most of the time. At least for me, anyway. When I really want something, and I try my hardest to put it out into the universe, I know I’ll eventually receive it.
But it’s never in that perfectly gift-wrapped box of my imagining. It usually comes as a test, hidden inside an opportunity, that proves I had it inside me all along. You know, like the plot of “Kung Fu Panda” (another favorite on the “Will Watch At Any Given Time” list). Or just about any other film that I gravitate towards.
But regardless of how you or I feel about God or religion or Tom Shadyac directed sequels…. I’ve found that the universe does this kind of stuff to me time and time again.
But let’s put divinity aside for a moment. At it’s root, I know when I declare out loud, I’m being intentional. I have named my wants/fears/etc. And when I am intentional in this way, things become more clear. When things are clear, it’s easier to know what direction to take. I can channel my efforts better. Which also gets me farther along in getting what I want.
It describes any great lesson I have learned so far in my life, and especially my journey with my body.
In fact, it is exactly how I got wrapped up in this whole Solcana thing to begin with.
I distinctly remember asking the sky for help. Declaring my needs out loud into the void. Basically NAMING IT. I wanted out of the mental and physical body prison of my own making. I knew I needed an outside catalyst, but I was kind of at the end of my rope. I thought I had exhausted all options. And then the MOST UNLIKELY option appeared.
Like, I’m not kidding. Within days of my talk with the sky.
Not only was I asked to try CrossFit, I was tasked with TALKING ABOUT IT. In public. My most secret insecurities would be the subject of my most overt effort to date. But I also knew that talking about it in a public arena was the one thing I had never tried before. I knew it would be more challenging than any of the workouts. And lo and behold, it is the one thing that has made all the difference.
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Yes yes, Inspiration can come from the most unlikely places. Sometimes it’s a stupid movie that autoplays against your better judgement. And sometimes it flies in for a month or two to visit from New Orleans.
Cut to last week, mere days before the food poisoning.
Meet Casey. Ask anybody who’s met her, and they will say she is a bright light and a breath of fresh air. She is a wonderful, giving person, and a brilliant improviser, who moved to New Orleans last year despite the whole community begging her not to go. But lucky us, she decided to come back and visit this summer.
She is basically the Big Easy of easy friendships, and I am lucky to be on her list.
I have always admired her work and her spirit. And I have always been a fan of her courage to put her full self out there. It’s no surprise that these, like movies about underdogs, are qualities I love.
When I first started working out and blogging for Solcana, Casey was one of my biggest supporters. And still is, despite the miles. I was so jazzed when she decided to join a CrossFit gym when she moved to New Orleans. She was very kind and told me that this blog and this journey were a big part of her inspiration to do so.
Talk about unlikely inspiration! If you would’ve told me a few years ago that I would be the catalyst to anyone doing anything remotely like CrossFit, I would’ve laughed you out of the room. I would’ve said it’s about as likely as me willingly choosing to watch “Evan Almighty”.
But here we are. And there you go. Life is so funny sometimes…
So when she came home for an extended visit, it was a no-brainer for us to work out together at Solcana. She was a joy to share a bar with. We paced each other and kept each other laughing through an admittedly tough workout. And I couldn’t help feeling grateful to have her there.
Not only did the workout feel full-circle, but it was also a welcome incentive for me! Because of life, I have been kept away from the gym lately, and Casey was just the inspiration I needed to lull me back.
Having her there felt BIG for some reason. Like a milestone. It felt significant. But it also felt EASY. Like we both earned this moment.
And I kept thinking about how far we’ve both come in our own journeys. And then I couldn’t help but wonder if we would’ve gotten to this point without each other?
Like I asked for help from the universe, and the universe gave me an opportunity. And the opportunity helped me prove that I had it in me all along. But the support from Casey, and others like her? That’s the unexpected inspiration that really moves the mountains. And well, maybe that’s the real gift.
These people and places that come into our life to inspire us, and move us towards our greater selves, have got to be the working of something truly divine. Or maybe not? Who really knows. All I know is that I am better because of it, and I am grateful.
After the workout we went and had some lunch, and I told her as much.
And then she laughed. And she basically said the same thing I just did. “If you would’ve told me that I inspired anyone to go to the gym a few years ago…”
You can fill in the rest.
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Also, I don’t want to freak anyone out, but that lunch that Casey and I had was also the EXACT lunch that gave us both food poisoning.
Which led me to accidentally watching Evan Almighty, which led to the inspiration for this blog today.
Coincidence? Maybe. Or maybe it’s just the universe showing off.