What inspires you? Do you have a place that helps you think more clearly? Do you find a certain book, movie, song, video or sound clip helps you think more clearly? We all have our different sources for inspiration, but often we forget about them.

For me, I find being out in the woods inspiring – especially deep in the woods. For two and half years, I used to drive by Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts every day on the way to work. Over the years, I probably visited the pond about ten times and I can definitely see how it gave Henry David Thoreau inspiration. For me, I found Jordan Pond up in Acadia National Park in Maine to have a really profound effect. Jordan Pond is more remote (a somewhat busy road abuts Walden Pond) and you’re deep into the park when you reach it. It’s not a distant walk from the parking area, but it’s pretty far from any busy roads.

I remember the first time I went there. There was a guy with just an acoustic guitar playing whatever notes and singing whatever words came to him. I sat off in the distance listening in an effort to not embarrass or disturb him. I don’t know if he was trying to write a song or singing just because it made him feel good. But I could definitely feel the same “high” he was feeling. It’s hard to see such majestic beauty without allowing it to have a profound effect on you.

Here are some photos of me at Jordan Pond (you can click on them to see larger versions). This first one has the pond in the background – it was a beautiful day.

This second one shows some of the rocks you needed to climb over to get around the pond. I considered these the “easy rocks” – the more difficult ones required both your hands and feet to climb over.

These days, a lot of people seek drugs to feel better. While some use the heavy stuff that fall under labels such as “narcotics” or “illegal,” others find their drugs in caffeine, junk food or by consuming other things that are bad for their body.

For me, my drugs are exercise and nature. I am proud to say that I’ve never used any illegal drugs or prescription drugs that weren’t prescribed by my doctor. I’ve also never been drunk – in fact, all the alcohol I’ve consumed in my entire life combined would constitute one to two drinks. And if you think it makes me boring, I still have fun when I go out and one of my favorite nighttime activities is karaoke (which takes guts because I’m a horrible singer).

As much as I hate shoveling snow, the fact that I’m moving around and seeing the white blanket covering the ground makes it more bearable. The mile plus walk around Jordan Pond can be tough at times (and involves climbing rocks) but is definitely more intense and more fulfilling than walking a mile on a treadmill.

It’s no wonder that artists love nature. It’s hard to look at such beauty and not want to paint it, photograph it, write about it or sing about it. Your source of inspiration might be different. It could be the hustle and bustle of a city, watching cars come and go, people watching at the mall or just lying on the ground watching the clouds float by. Whatever your source is, identify it and use it help you get into the state you want to be in. We all face tough decisions and challenges, and the right surroundings can help your mind work more clearly. Try it out.

What Inspires You?
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2 thoughts on “What Inspires You?

  • January 23, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    I just LOVE this article, James. I can’t tell you how much I relate to what you shared here. It was almost as if you were talking about me and my life. Your connection to nature, and love of it, is palpable in your writing.

    Yes, who could not be in such beauty and not want to sing, paint, write, photograph, and more. I think nature inspires us to be creative, be more compassionate, to love, and be better people. At least it does that for me.

    I love your photos here, just beautiful. So green. I grew up in Maine and have been to Acadia. I too fell in love with it. Even after traveling all over the world, I STILL feel my deepest kinship with Maine.

    Thank you for sharing such an inspiring aspect of yourself. It truly makes you shine. 🙂 🙂

  • January 26, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    Thank you so much Robin. Your post at http://nakedineden.com/nakedinedenblog/finding-peace-in-the-new-year/ actually inspired me to write this one. When I was looking at all of the photos on your site, it reminded me of trips to Maine – which reminds me, I’m long overdo for another one 😉

    It’s so true – the great outdoors truly bring out the best in us. I think it’s hard not to be inspired when you’re surrounded by such majestic beauty. And I have to say, there’s just something about Maine. I still get up to York & Ogunquit at least once a summer but it’s been a while since I’ve been Down East. Which part of Maine did you grow up in?

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