What Inspires You?

These days, every time you turn on the radio or television you can’t escape the negative reports from popular media on the state of the economy. They seem to love giving us bad news. And it very well may be bad, but frankly, there is not much I can do about the big picture. I don’t have many answers when it comes to how to improve the nation’s current monetary woes. I do know that we can’t all get caught up in the negativity and be afraid to live.

So I didn’t want to talk about the economy here. No, what I want to write about is a concept that is positive and has a deeper meaning for all of us, no matter what our talents or interests are: what inspires us to do great things?

What is inspiration? Merriam-Webster defines it as follows: (1a: a divine influence or action on a person believed to qualify him or her to receive and communicate sacred revelation (b: the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions (c: the act of influencing or suggesting opinions.

One could say that we need inspiration from our political leaders, our religious leaders, our teachers and many others to influence our lives in a positive direction. But where do these people find their inspiration? Where does the president of the United States go on a daily basis to refresh himself, to think clearly and come up with plans for the future of our country?

I think one of the best ways to find inspiration is through quiet solitude, especially in nature. Malcom MacKenzie, starting on page 46, writes about a curriculum in a Finger Lakes school district that is directly influenced by nature. The course strives to teach through interactivity with natural surroundings to improve the students’ learning skills. Writing on a daily basis is strongly encouraged by MacKenzie, and the proof is in the pudding. The students are happy to go to school, and they come away from most days in school inspired to do more things than they ever imagined before in their lives. All of this because they take a little time out of each day and write their thoughts down.

Art is an activity that needs much inspiration, and now, artists are lucky to have a special location on Keuka Lake called Sunny Point. The land and buildings there were once owned by artist, writer and educator Annie Smith, who passed away in 2007. She donated Sunny Point so that others can be inspired as she was, to create great works of art and inspire others who view that art. You can read more about Annie and her special place at Keuka Lake on page 66.

Other articles in this issue deal with inspiration in the kitchen, a salvage warehouse, a nature center, and many other places. The location is not as important as what they inspire us to do.

One last item I’d like to bring up is a simple way to get your inspirational events on our online calendar. Go to www.LifeintheFingerLakes.com and click on the “submit calendar events” link. Then you just fill in your information, click “submit,” and our editors take over from there. Within a short period of time your event is on our website for a wide audience to view.

So, get out there now and get inspired.


by Mark Stash