I consider myself to be a seeker.
I am always on a constant search for people, places, and things that ignite a spark of energy within me and inspire me to be the best version of myself. I believe that awareness is the key to inspiration. In today’s world, with the news so cluttered with tragedy and unpredictable events, it is more important than ever to keep ourselves fully stocked with go-to inspiration that reminds us to be positive and proactive about the future—and the roles we play within it.
For this reason I have assembled THE LIST.
THE LIST will be my new monthly post, featuring the top five inspiring finds, gems that hit me at my core, morsels I cannot possibly think of keeping to myself. Good works, good people, good books and movies—all rolled into one post. I’m eagerly looking forward to sharing them all you!
So here’s the challenge at hand: Check out the top five inspirations that made THE LIST this month and let me know what you think in the comment section below. AND, if you want to go the extra mile, please post the links to your own awesome discoveries in the comment box so that you, too, can inspire the many readers who come across this post. Who knows, your contributions below may just end up on next month’s list!
Dig deeper and share today, and I’ll be sure to do the same.
1. The Drawing Hope Project
I received an email from photographer Shawn Van Daele last month. I had chills up and down my body and tears in my eyes as I read what it is that Shawn does and how he is impacting lives on a level I’ve never even imagined before.
Shawn is the founder of the Drawing Hope Project. He takes drawings created by children either born or living with health conditions and turns them into magical photo artwork. He is planning to pull all the images into a storybook that will be a constant reminder to kids and adults of all ages that anything is possible.
All of the kids (I should call them young artists) have defied the odds—surviving heart transplants, living with rare forms of leukemia, waiting on organ donors—and are still dreaming bigger than ever before. One little guy is still waiting on two lungs AND a heart, and he’s only four years old.
Shawn truly has a magical project under his belt that has already changed many lives. Check it out and be reminded of Shawn’s mission in your own life: any dream is possible, no matter what odds seem to be against you.
VIDEO FROM DRAWING HOPE:
Directed by Oscar®-nominated director, Roko Belic, and produced by Tom Shadyac, director of another amazing documentary called I AM, Happy is an award-winning documentary about the journey to find what makes human beings truly fulfilled in life.
From the slums of Kolkata to the the swamps of Louisiana, Happy asks the questions, “Does money make you happy? Kids and family? Your work? Do you live in a world that values and promotes happiness and wellbeing? Are we in the midst of a happiness revolution?” These questions alone are enough to challenge a lot of us, so one can only imagine what the whole seventy-five-minute documentary will do for your spirit!
3. Today We Are Rich
I read about one book a week so it is difficult for a book to stand out among so many. Tim Sander’s book, Today We Are Rich, is one that I cannot help but share.
Written as a memoir, Tim weaves us through a heartening journey filled with hardships and grace that helped him develop a framework for his own life centered on positivity and gratitude.
The book is packed with the kinds of lessons you just want to slip into your back pocket, one of them being, “Fill your mind with good stuff.” Just like we clean out our body or take on a cleanse to rid our systems of toxins, Tim suggests we go on a “mind cleanse” by feeding our mind the right kind of “mind food.”
Thanks to Tim’s advice, I’ve made personal decisions over the last few months to stop surrounding myself with negative people or letting myself be sunk down by the tragedies that clutter the news headlines on a daily basis. I’ve turned myself toward more upbeat conversations, people who want to lift me higher instead of bring me down and good books, articles, and music. When I turned on the news a few weeks back, I didn’t feel like I was missing anything. Instead, I felt cleansed and released from the ways the barrage of negativity used to hold me captive.
I don’t recommend many books. But this read is one you should make sure is on your bedside table by the end of the day. You’ll pick it up and instantly be better because of it. Who doesn’t want that?
Matisyahu recently released his new album, Spark Seeker. In the past months, he created a lot of disruption among his loyal fans because he shaved his beard and cut his hair (which goes against his Chassidic Jewish tradition). Me? I was already a fan of his music, but I really love how authentic he is and how he chooses to stay true to himself by living out loud.
He explained on his website last year:
No more Chassidic reggae superstar. Sorry folks, all you get is me…no alias.
When I started becoming religious 10 years ago it was a very natural and organic process. It was my choice. My journey: to discover my roots and explore Jewish spirituality—not through books but through real life. At a certain point I felt the need to submit to a higher level of religiosity…to move away from my intuition and to accept an ultimate truth. I felt that in order to become a good person I needed rules—lots of them—or else I would somehow fall apart. I am reclaiming myself. Trusting my goodness and my divine mission.
Get ready for an amazing year filled with music of rebirth. And for those concerned with my naked face, don’t worry… you haven’t seen the last of my facial hair.
And he wrote this on his Facebook Fan Page right before Spark Seeker came out.
To My Fans-
I will try to write a couple of ideas and thoughts, but I prefer to speak in my native language, the language of the soul, Music. So I will preface this piece by asking that before prescribing judgement to some pictures, please wait and listen to my new record Spark Seeker from start to finish. The record is infused with both Jewish and universal inspiration, as it is a reflection of my inner landscape over the past 2 years of its making. From visions of the Bal Shem Tov to Kabbalah references, prayers in Hebrew and stories in Yiddish, this record was both a spiritual and reflective journey full of transition and growth. That being said, I believe there is a higher level…a level where there is no divisiveness. Where there is complete unity, and that is what I am mirroring. There was a time when I felt it was necessary to show the world what I believed in through my physical appearance. I think this can be a wonderful thing, but as my faith has evolved I have come to believe there are many other ways to show my spirituality and Judaism. Ways in which our humanity is emphasized over our differences. This was my aim for the music. This was always my aim. During the making of this record I began to feel that I was shedding something, and with that I chose to shave. Just as when I was 18 and I shaved my dreadlocks to let go of my identity, I felt as if I was returning to a time prior to religion or rules or right and wrong. To a place where truth shows itself in beauty and balance and I felt it was time to walk a new path.What that exactly means or looks like I am still figuring out, and will be for the rest of my life, I hope. To those who feel betrayed by my choices or my look, don’t worry, I think they will continue to change and evolve–that is the awesomeness of life. I think that through patience, in time you will see we are still on the same team. We are ALL on the same team. I am so excited for you to hear my new record I hope it will explain and inspire so much more then my words here can.
Sincerely In Love and Truth,
Matisyahu is forging his own path, but even more than that, he is not conforming to the standards of society and what people expect of him. He is blazing a trail and being a true example. It takes a great deal of courage to go against the stream for the sake of authenticity, but I believe we get to new levels when we choose to evolve and grow when seasons in our lives shift.
5. Baby Chimp Adopted By Dog (PHOTOS)
This one doesn’t even require a description. I am a HUGE animal lover so the pictures can speak for themselves.
A zoo employee cared for this baby chimp after its mother died, but never expected that her dog would end up raising the chimp as one of her own.
So there you have it, my top five inspirations for the month. I hope you enjoyed checking them out as much I loved finding and sharing them. Be sure to share your thoughts in the comment box below and leave links for all the discoveries you’ve been loving lately. I will be clicking away and maybe even adding them to next month’s list!