In my last post, I told you that some days, I wish I could just cast the “Accio” charm and make inspiration come to me. I have been dedicated solely to writing for almost two months now. On the days where I do not write because-simply put-nothing comes out, I usually feel frustrated and annoyed with myself. Sometimes, I even feel lazy.
Those days (our blank days) are just reminders to pay close attention to our surroundings. Recently I have needed to remind myself that blank days exist for a reason. Without blank days, we would miss so much! Those days are needed to dig deeper, to run faster, to hug tighter, and especially to listen attentively.
Let me tell you a story about one of my most “uninspired” days. One that I know I will never forget. First a little back story. In 2017, I was working in Mexico. A senior finance leader was visiting our office, and I gave him a presentation about our most pressing financial issues. He liked it so much that he personally invited me to go to India to share the same presentation in a global workshop.
I’ll admit (with shame), I was not thrilled at all about the invitation. I knew it was a fantastic opportunity, but personally, it was not great timing. My boss basically told me I couldn’t say no, so I half-hearted agreed. The visa and travel process had lots of hiccups, which did not help with my general feeling about the trip. After traveling for more than a day and having a no-sleep night, I was feeling extremely irritated while waiting for the taxi that would take me from the hotel to the workshop venue.
While waiting, I felt moody, tired, uninspired. I felt blank. The last thing I wanted to do was to spend 8 hours talking about Finance issues. All of a sudden, a very smiley young man approached me. He completely changed my (uninspired) day. The following story takes place in a taxi:
Short Story: Muti
M: “Hi, what is your name?”
Taxi Driver: “Muti, ma’am.”
M: “My name is Marcela.”
M: “Do you like working in Chennai?”
Muti: Chennai, sand, and tropic. Chennai really good.”
M: “Are you from Chennai?”
Muti: “No, ma’am, village.”
M: “Where do you like the most? Chennai or village?”
Muti: “Chennai, work. Village, family. Village always best.”
The feeling of belonging and family is universal. My conversation with Muti was the best way to start my day. It made me miss my village very much.
I wrote above in my phone seconds after Muti left me at the office stairs. I wanted to remember the exact conversation. The reason why I did not want to go on this trip had to do with the dates clashing with a trip to Honduras to visit my family. With his raw and simple answers, Muti described precisely what I was feeling. We were two foreigners working while missing our family; the only difference was that Muti was enjoying the sand and tropic, and that felt like a slap. That conversation changed my day; it completely changed that trip for me.
Listening has power. Listening is inspiration in its purest forms. We need those blank days; we need them to do less and listen more. Eventually, inspiration will come, and when inspiration comes by, grab it and act on it.
Are you feeling uninspired today? But that’s not the right question, is it? This is: Are you listening?