Our Human is Our Humanity

Today was a beautiful day. I’m happy.

On another note: inspiration.

It might be impossible to describe what I’m sensing about inspiration.

I keep trying, and I keep failing.

But it goes something like this:

  1. There are things all humans have in common.
  2. Imagine that the collection of those things comprises our humanity.
  3. Said another way, “humanity” is the collective of things we all have in common.
  4. That collective is a particular space.
  5. Inspiration exists in that space. Perhaps inspiration is that space.
  6. It doesn’t exist outside of that space.
  7. When we’re in the space of humanity—of our common, shared experiences and features—we’re in the space of inspiration.
  8. When we’re inspired, someone or something has breathed the space of humanity into us.
  9. When we’re inspiring others, we’re breathing the space of humanity into them.
  10. Inspiration is humanity.
  11. Humanity is inspiration.
  12. When we’re in touch with our humanity, we’re inspired.

Here’s the thing that I love about this logic: it gives me the power to be inspired by anything. And I need that. There are a lot of shitty and hard-to-witness things happening in our world. We can let it break us down, or we can let it inspire us.

We can find humanity in anything. Anything. I’m positive about this because we’re human. Our humanity is always here. Our humanity is right here, in our human. Our human is our humanity.

To inspire is to breathe in. As humans, as long as we’re breathing in, we continue to be humans. We could say that the very nature of the human being is the breath. Without it, we cease to exist in human form. So inspiration is human.

I think I’ll leave things here.

Though I do have three more things to say:

  1. I love frosting. A lot. And, I just committed to eating sugar just one time per week. I might really miss frosting.
  2. I love my friends. I don’t know what I did to deserve my people, but damn. I really lucked out.
  3. I’m looking to laugh really, really hard (and a lot) over the next several weeks. If you see me or talk to me, let’s laugh together.

In love and liminality,

Annie Rose

Limbs and Brains Make the World Go ‘Round

I need more time to think about inspiration before I post something big and juicy about it. I have so many ideas running through my head, but it hasn’t fallen into place yet. I can still see cracks in my logic and curiosity in my heart. I want to work through some of that before I share it.

And so I’m wondering what to write.

What should I say?

Should I share my exploration?

Should I write something completely unrelated just to keep my word to post?

Or should I do exactly what I’m doing and see what happens? Clearly I’ve chosen this route.

Inspiration is not what it seems. That’s all I know. Nothing is what it seems. I find that so interesting.

Today, on my walk, I was thinking about returning to Africa. A little voice in my heart said, all you have to do it walk. Give that I’ve walked across Spain twice, I immediately imagined myself walking all the way to somewhere in Africa. That would be a long (and wet) journey. But then I imagined myself walking home. Walking to the car. Walking in the airport. Walking onto the plane. And stepping off in Africa. Then I thought, well I would certainly need some money to do that. So I’d have to walk to work. Walk around work. Walk home. Do that until I have enough money.

Then I had this weird insight that I hope I can describe. All of life and all of the world happens through the movement of arms, legs, and brains. That’s it. 4 limbs (and sometimes not even that many) and one brain per person (no smart-ass remarks here, Shoshanna) make people’s lives go round. Can you think of anything that we do that doesn’t use one of those things?

So picture a bunch of limbs and brains running our world. Forget about personalities, social constructs, political paradigms, and all of that other stuff. Forget about all of the complications in your life and the myriad nuances that make you, you, and others, others. Just fuggedaboutit.

All you are is a set of limbs and a brain.

Now I’m not saying I’m right. This is just the quirky image and insight I had in my brain as I walked with my limbs this morning.

So what does all of this have to do with inspiration? I’m not exactly sure. That’s what I’m still sorting out for myself. But it has something to do with the meaning and significance we add to inspiration which is actually something that only exists in our brains. There is no inspiration out there. There is only inspiration in here. And maybe when two people are inspired by each other, all that’s happening is that what’s in here in each person is simultaneously being out there to ultimately be out here.

Thinks just got wacky. I know.

In love and liminality,

Annie Rose

Adventures in Generating the Space of Inspiration: Part III

Tonight I’m thinking about those situation in which breathing (inspiring, being inspired) is difficult.

Last weekend, for example, I was paddling out to surf when an unexpectedly big wave crashed right on top of me. I tried to dive under it, but it caught me in its cycle and wouldn’t spit me out. When it finally did, I couldn’t discern which way was up or down. I opened my eyes, and everything was brown. No sign of sunlight. Eventually, I found my way to the top and gasped for air. Another wave crashed just in front of me. I sucked in as much air as possible and dove deep. This time I made it under and easily came to the surface.

In yoga, I often have a hard time breathing when I twist or go into plow pose. My breath becomes short, shallow, and full of effort.

When I’m grieving, I sometimes sob so hard that I cannot stop long enough to take a breath. I often have to calm myself down to take in some air.

When I’m laughing super hard, I sometimes panic because I can’t breathe. I cannot stop laughing, and I cannot breathe. It’s still funny, but I get nervous. Laughing might not be a bad way to die.

Today I couldn’t breathe as I wrote for 11 hours straight. I wasn’t working on fun stuff—I was working on web content. It wouldn’t have been so bad had I not been panicked that all of my creativity and skill-set had left me. I might have been able to breathe if I wasn’t worried about missing my deadline or disappointing my boss.

Sometimes I can’t breathe when I’m worried about money, confused about relationships, or mad about something. Sometimes I can’t breathe when I’m annoyed, exhausted, or overwhelmed. In all of these situations, my inspiration becomes short, shallow, and labored.

So how do I inspire when inspiration is challenging?

How do I breathe when I’m witnessing racism, poverty, and ignorance?

How do I fill my lungs when I’m shrouded in insecurity and uncertainty?

How do I inhale even as I weep and sob?

In surfing, when I’m caught in waves, I’m supposed to relax and go along for the ride. I’m not supposed to find my way out of the wave, I’m supposed to be in it. I’m supposed to lovingly let it have its way with me.

In yoga, I’m supposed to release my muscles, loosen my grip, and, 90 percent of the time, stop squeezing my butt.

In grief, I’m supposed to grant myself being and trust the process. I’m supposed to let the emotions come when they come and go when they go. I’m supposed to let myself be held and consoled.

When I’m laughing, I’m supposed to…well…I don’t really know. I certainly don’t want to stop. Perhaps I’m supposed to get a grip. Nah.

So what about when I’m stuck in my writing and thinking? What about when I’m face to face with hardship? What about when I feel slapped around by life and society?

What if all I have to do is relax, grant myself being, trust the process, and laugh? What if that’s all there is to do to inspire and be inspired when times get tough?

I wonder.

In love and liminality,

Annie Rose

Adventures in Generating the Space of Inspiration: Part II

The more I think about the word “inspired”, the more I’m fascinated with it.

I found two definitions of “inspire” online:

  1. Fill (someone) with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative; and
  2. Breathe in (air); inhale

So if I’m inspired, I’ve been filled with the urge or ability to do or feel something.

Or, quite simply, I’ve inhaled.

According to this second definition, I’m inspiring all day long, without even thinking, simply by being alive. With every inhale, I’m inspiring. With every inhale, I’ve been inspired. With every inhale, I inspire.

This reminds me of the miracle of being human. The simple miracle that we are all here, alive and breathing, walking around on this crazy earth.

It reminds me of the simplicity of life. Life is simple. You breathe in, you breathe out. That’s life, folks. That’s inspiration.

Simply by being alive, we’re filled with the urge or ability to do something. We all do things, don’t we? We do things like walk, talk, dance, have sex, look at things, touch things, eat things, smell things. All of these things are actions inspired by the simple act of inspiring. We also feel things. We feel happy. Sad. Mad. Glad. Confused. Anxious. Excited. In love. We feel simply because we inspire, and our feelings—every last one of them—are evidence of us having been inspired.

All of this perfectly matches what I thought the instant I posted my blog yesterday: I’ve got it all wrong. Being inspired has nothing to do with doing inspiring things or submersing myself in inspiration. Being inspired requires only that I open myself to the life that is already living in front of me. Being inspired requires only that I inhale; that I allow in—or even just notice—my urge and ability to do and feel something. Being inspired is nothing more than breathing in life and noticing that life is lived by inspiration.

Every single time you inhale, you’re inspired. Poof. Just like that. You don’t have to have life sorted out. You don’t have to be doing something fun, beautiful, or engaging. You don’t have to like what you’re doing. You don’t have to be positively influencing others.

All you have to do is breathe.

Isn’t that interesting?

I think we’ve collapsed “inspired” with “I feel good, and I want to do this.” We’ve collapsed “inspire” with “I’ve got my shit together and can make people feel happy and moved to tears.” We’ve collapsed “inspiring” with “I’m so cool that I make others want to do cool things too.” We’ve collapsed “inspiration” with “something that can take away this crummy feeling and replace it with a yummy feeling.”

Perhaps “inspired” and all of its parts-of-speech counterparts are none of those things. To be inspired is to have taken in breath. It is to be alive. It is to be filled with the urge to do and to feel exactly what you are doing and feeling right now. That’s inspiration.

So we don’t really have to work to be inspired.

But we can clearly cultivate inhales that fill us with particular urges and feelings. When I inhale in yoga, I’m filled with particular urges and feelings that are quite distinct from the urges and feelings I experience while inhaling and watching Donald Trump. My love-making inhales produce distinct urges and feelings than those of my dinner-eating inhales. My inhales produce distinct feelings and urges throughout my day and across moments and circumstances.

That’s so crazy.

So what do I inhale? What do I breathe in? What do I invite into my lungs and body? What do I allow to circulate through my system and how does it affect my urges and feelings?

And, does it have anything to do with anything outside of myself? Aren’t I the one inhaling? Isn’t it my breath, my lungs, and my body? What if my own inspired, inspiring, inspires are completely of my own volition? Where does that leave me?

Inspired, perhaps.

In love and liminality,

Annie Rose

P.S. Now I’m thinking that we can’t even inspire others. Everyone, after all, is responsible for their own inhalations.

Adventures in Generating the Space of Inspiration: Part I

I’m submersing myself in inspiration this week.

I’m curious to know what happens when I take actions consistent with being inspired. I often take actions to be inspired, and I actually spend much of my time being inspired by something. But I’m curious to know what happens when I submerse myself in inspiration.

What happens when each action I take is aligned with breathing life into life itself?

What happens when I devote the minutes in my days to the realm of the inspiring?

What happens when I infuse my daily life with that which is enlivening?

As I thought on Sunday about conducting this experiment, I thought of three questions I’d like to answer:

  1. What would it look like to live from a space of generativity, creativity, and inspiration?
  2. What structures, people, actions, and ways of being are in the way of my being inspired?
  3. What is inspiration, what does it look like, and how does it occur?

For me, choosing inspiration looks something like this:

  • I choose to read a book that inspires me instead of watching a TV show that only entertains.
  • I choose to watch a cool documentary instead of browsing Facebook.
  • I take time each day to research and write about something I’m passionate about.
  • I take time each day to journal about my goals.
  • I practice yoga and meditate with the intention to grant myself and life being.
  • I listen to music and its nuances without distraction.
  • I observe, acknowledge, and honor others’ beauty and power.
  • I talk to people who speak generatively and authentically.
  • I wear clothes that are beautiful and brightly colored.
  • I smile at strangers instead of waiting for them to smile at me first.
  • I speak to people in a way that moves conversations forward. I practice generative speaking.
  • I smile, laugh, and share happiness and beauty.
  • I do my work within a larger context or, at minimum, with integrity and honor.
  • I eat my food with intention, and I honor what I put onto my plate and into my body.

These are just some of the many ideas I’ve had, and I know I’ll have many more as I explore this.

What inspires you?

What, if anything, blocks your inspiration?

What would our world look like if we lived from the space of inspiration? Do we already do that? Is our world what living an inspired life looks like?

In love and liminality,

Annie Rose

Who’s Mind-ing the Store?

My mind loves to complicate things.

It needs more, wants more, freaks out, runs wild, makes up stories, and so much more.

It weaves complicated webs of distortion.

It spins fascinating tales.

It drums up drama.

It whispers worries.

It loves doing its thang.

And sometimes it keeps me from doing mine.

Who would I be if my monkey mind weren’t running the show?

I mean, really?

Who would I be?

In love and liminality,

Annie Rose

When Sleepiness Wins

I don’t have much to say tonight.

Sometimes there truly aren’t words.

Prince died.

I laughed so hard about tuna melts that I couldn’t breathe.

House renovations take longer than I ever imagined.

I really want an egg…a fried one…I wish it would cook itself.

I believe in magic.

I believe in love.

I have a long list of things to do tomorrow.

And I’m going to bed.

In love and liminality,

Annie Rose


Today it took me 7 hours to write 600 words of web content.

Today my friend Peter said, “Share your slumps with me. It’s more fun that way. Milk them for all they’re worth!”

Today we received a hummingbird feeder in the mail from my dear friend Wilson.

Today my sweet friendy left me the nicest voice messages.

Today my friend told me that when I’m happy, he’s happy and meant it.

Today my husband stopped grading, held me in his arms, and gave me sweet kisses.

Today I drank green juice with garlic in it.

Today I wore a sexy red dress just because.

Today I cried six different times for no particular reason.

Today I took a walk and saw baby geese.

Today my Sholuna told me that she loves me, sent me a picture of herself making a funny face, and asked me if I still wanted a face transplant.

Today I found my box of sacred altar items.

Today I ate a burrito at a new Taqueria.

Today I saw a super cute photo of my little sister.

Today I got a bloody nose.

Today I offered my shoulder to a grieving stranger.

Today I reached out and responded instead of shrinking away.

Today I looked up at an almost-full moon.

Today I found our heating pad and placed it on my womb.

Today I lived.

In love and liminality,

Annie Rose

When All Else Fails, I Write

Sometimes my self-expression seems like a dream.

I have a vision of who I am and who I want to be.

I have a vision of what actions to take and what a fulfilling life would look like.

But then there’s my everyday life. The life in which I often pass my time doing things that aren’t exactly me and aren’t always fulfilling. There’s all of the time that I pass that’s devoted to making it through the day, the week, the month.

One thing I really struggle with that’s in the way of my self-expression and fulfilling my vision is my relationship with food. I’m addicted to sugar, and I’m addicted to eating. I love to eat, but I also eat to avoid certain feelings. I mostly eat to avoid uncertainty and confusion. I spend a lot of time dealing with the impacts of this addiction.

I also struggle with feeling alone. I work from home, and sometimes I really miss having coworkers. I miss having a place to go and people with whom to interact. I miss sitting in my office with friends and talking about work projects, challenges, and goals. I miss waking up in the morning, getting dressed, and sticking to a schedule. I miss having direction and clear purpose. I miss having a consistent paycheck. It’s nice, of course, to sit around in yoga clothes all day and to have freedom, but it’s also nice to have somewhere to go. It’s nice to use my voice in interactions with others. It’s nice to hear others’ voices. It’s nice to contribute to others and to let them contribute to me. It’s nice to do all of it in person instead of over the phone.

I really like having structures that call me into being. I need to create more of those.

One of my favorite books is The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. The book has many philosophical underpinnings, but one of my favorites is this idea that while we all crave freedom, we also crave weight. We crave having something that keeps us connected to this earth and this life. We crave the weight of another, be it a lover, friendship, or career. At the same time, this idea that we only live one life and that this is it, puts a weight upon us that we cannot bear.

Sometimes I feel incredibly stuck between two equally strong forces: my fierce desire to live my life authentically and my need to live life according to society’s standards. I need to pay my bills. I need to be liked and admired. I need to achieve success. I suppose those are the main ones. Sometimes I find the tension between the two paralyzing, and I deal with my feelings by eating, napping, or watching TV.

Sometimes I return myself to simplicity. I remember on a soulful level that what I really crave is love. Adventure. Expression. I remember that there are people all around me. I remember that beauty is abundant. I remember that loving people is free and without restriction.

I remember that I’m most at home when I simply love another.

I remember that I’m most at home when I simply speak my truth.

Love and authenticity are so incredibly simple. They’re free. They’re always available to us. They’re endless.

Love, simplicity, and authenticity. Those are the things that I crave. Those are the things that I embrace. Those are the things that I somehow remember and forget, over and over again.

I feel the need at this point to remind myself why I write. I write to process. I write to get in touch with my humanity. I write to clear away the clutter. I write to gain clarity. I write to keep myself alive and active.

I am a processor. I process shit. I feel a lot, and I move through a lot. I process by writing. I process by sharing. I process by distinguishing stuff.

I share because sharing gives me a purpose for writing beyond myself. I share because I sometimes wish that I could know that someone else experiences what I experience. I imagine that someone out there will feel gotten and heard, simply by reading my blog. I want that for myself, and I want that for others.

I write and share because I want to live life.

I write and share because I want to become an increasingly beautiful version of myself.

I write and share because I want to engage and interact with you.

I write and share because I want to, and I need to.

I write and share because I’m constantly navigating the gap between where I am and where I want to be.

I write and share because doing so supports me in being authentic.

I write and share because doing so helps me develop my capacity to love.

Tonight I’m writing and sharing because I couldn’t seem to do anything else. I couldn’t seem to move in a healthy direction. I couldn’t put the chocolate down, stay awake, or stop watching The Office on Netflix.

I’m writing and sharing tonight because I needed to interrupt the pattern.

I’m thankful tonight for my dear friendy Christine who always encourages me. I’m thankful that she encouraged me to feel what I’m feeling and to take good care of myself.

I think that’s all for now.

As I write, by the way, I’m sitting in my new office. I’m listening to George Winston and enjoying an evening breeze. I’m feeling the tenderness of the place I’m in and my hopefulness for what’s next.

I’m sitting in this space of liminality and wondering, is all of life the liminal space? I think that maybe it is.

In love and liminality,

Annie Rose


Stripping Away

I’m really curious about freedom right now.

For years I’ve been studying sociology and simplicity. I’ve been looking at the complexity of our social, political, and economic systems and the simplicity of the human spirit. I’ve wondered how complexity and simplicity coexist and how each impacts our lives.

My studies usually lead me to consider freedom—mostly what it is and how I can have it.

Today, as I think about freedom, I’m considering that the Self needs room to express—to be free.

I’m also thinking that the Self is an entity easily concealed by everyday life.

When we work regular jobs, we sacrifice some part of our natural expression to do what’s required of us. We wake up according to our job’s schedule; we sit, stand, or stay inside according to our job’s requirements; we talk to people whether we want to or not to get the job done; we eat according to our own and our coworkers’ schedules; we design our calendars to serve our work needs first and our family or personal needs second. We “take one for the team,” engage in the “daily grind,” and “work our fingers to the bone” to “make a living.”

When we buy stuff, we create physical reminders of who we think we are. We buy clothes that fit how we see our bodies; we buy furnishings that help us live our everyday lives; we buy toiletries that helps us look and smell the way we want to; we buy foods that make our bodies and health the way we want them; we buy make-up, clothes, and accessories that make us look like ourselves (or at least the selves we would like to look like); we buy gear that enables us to do the stuff we like to do. We surround ourselves with things that ultimately keep “us” in place.

When we engage with people outside of work, we often do so with people we find safe, familiar, and comfortable. We find friends and we stick with them. We surround ourselves with people who match who we are and what we want in life.

When we get married, declare lifelong friendships, and buy houses, we commit to the long-term. We say “this is who I love,” “this is who I’m compatible with,” and “this is where I live.” We say, “This is who I am, and this is who I plan to be for years to come.”

Our work, our things, and our people can easily comprise who we know ourselves to be.

None of this is bad.

Much of it is automatic.

Many of us have freed ourselves from at least some of it.

Some of us are completely trapped in it.

Some of us like it and even love it.

I wonder about our capacity to express our Selves in it. Can we sense who we are through all of it?

When I walked El Camino de Santiago last May, I became a big believer in pilgrimage as an access to experiencing one’s Self. On that walk, I carried 14 pounds of stuff, most of which was water and food weight that came and went every day. I wore the same skirt, dress, and two tank tops for 40 days. I went without a phone. I went without a husband or friends. I went without art supplies, a yoga mat, and running shoes. I went without a job to return to. I went without a home to return to. I went without books I love, things I love, and people I love. I went without knowing what I would return to or who I would be

I went without a clue about where I was going or where I’d end up. I did have a guide book, but I had never been to any of the places I visited, and the guide book left much to the imagination. Every day, I left one place, arrived at another, and met new people. Every day, I experienced something completely new. Every day, I had to be someone I didn’t have to be the day before (strong, brave, gentle, willing, peaceful, present, trusting, assertive, etc.).

Every day I had one job: to walk. Every day, I woke up, packed my bag, ate food, walked, ate more food, walked, cleaned my clothes, communed with people, ate more food, and went to bed. That was it. There were no other requirements or expectations.

My life was extraordinarily simple. I was profoundly free from my usual structures.

I felt liberated. I felt at peace. I felt happy. For more than a month, nothing was weighing me down. Nothing was keeping “me” in place.

I think we all have a right to experience this kind of freedom. It is a gift we give to our Selves to strip something (if not everything) away to see what’s there. Even if we choose to return to exactly from where we came, we’ve at least lifted the veil. When we lift the veil, even if only for a moment, we get a glimpse of who we are in our rawness.

In love and liminality,

Annie Rose