Do you feel stuck? Do you lack the time to regularly renew yourself and enjoy your interests? Are you relying on caffeine, anti-depressants or alcohol to manage your stress and emotional well-being?
If so, you might be suffering from Inspiration Deficit Disorder.
An inspiration deficit occurs whenever we feel unfulfilled or somehow unexpressed in an important aspect of life – something is missing; a job we don’t like, a struggle with self image, a relationship we aren’t satisfied with, are all examples of where we may feel an inspiration deficit. When we let these deficits persist they translate into addictions, bad habits, poor health, and high stress. Sadly, most people have it to some degree and it impacts their health and happiness more than they know.
Once people understand Inspiration Deficit Disorder, one of the more common questions is: “How do I know what my soul wants? If I’ve been disconnected from my essence for so long, how do I begin to feed it and make decisions with it in mind again?”
Fortunately, the Essential Self never goes away, and it never stops speaking to us. It does get covered up, and we can get out of practice with it, like a language we once studied years ago but rarely use. But, in fact, the Essential Self expresses itself in hundreds of ways and in every facet of life. From simple things such as taste in clothing and music, to the hobbies, foods, people, jobs, and pets that attract us, the soul is always being revealed.
1. Intuition: How Your Essence Speaks to Your Mind
Intuition is more than the accumulation of old information in an instantaneous brain blast. It’s the gut feeling, the hunch, or “knowing” that defies experience or understanding. We’ve all had these experiences at one time or another. Some dismiss them and some, like me, rely on them for the most important decisions in life. Research has shown that intuition, understood or not, is a vital quality of a successful person in any field. Mothers say that “a mom just knows,” business people call it “acumen,” and medical doctors consider it “good judgment.” Often, it is nothing more than the small voice inside that gives us a clear sense of direction or action. Although we can’t explain its origin, some part of us knows that it’s correct. Following our intuition is critical in ending Inspiration Deficit Disorder.
So listen to your gut! When you make a decision, pay attention to the way your inner voice affirms or cautions you. Few people regret following their intuition. Most people’s inspiration deficits reflect a pattern of ignoring their deepest sense of what is best for them.
2. Vitality: How Your Essence Speaks to Your Body
Have you ever been involved in a cause you were passionate about? Have you ever loved something or someone so much that you were able to tap into an “energy” that allowed you to work extra hard, stay up extra late, or apply yourself more fully than you’d ever thought possible? Parents, entrepreneurs, performers, rescue workers, and artists do it all the time. When what you’re doing is directly affirming or expressing your Essential Self, your vitality will increase. Quite literally, you’ll have more energy.
Pay attention to when your choices raise your energy and excitement, as well as when they leave you feeling drained. Over time, you’ll notice the difference between vital energy and attraction/addiction energy. What you get from an energy hook (such as the thrill of doing something well that isn’t really consistent with your integrity) is more unstable in nature—that is, it feels more like an unsettled, “high-pitched” kind of energy. It’s short-lived. Imagine it being like a jarring cell-phone ring or the buzz from a highly caffeinated energy drink. The soul’s vitality, on the other hand, feels sustainable, reliable, and grounded. It’s more like the way you feel after a good long rest or like the deep rhythms of the ocean waves—strong and steady. Take time to examine your energy levels.
3. Love: How Your Essence Speaks to Your Heart
In any moment, you can always ask yourself, What is in the highest good? or What would be most loving and empowering? Despite your wounds and habits, you know what kindness is. Holding a door for someone whose hands are full, picking up a pen that someone drops, or being forgiving with a customer-service attendant when addressing a failed product that they personally didn’t design—these are all easy examples of the way most people know to be “nice.” Nice seems simple, but it lives on the same spectrum as love and compassion. When you feel love, you act out of compassion with respect, gratitude, accountability, and kindness. When you commit a loving act, you are in your Essential Self.
The energy and mindset of love will always move you into your center and reconnect you with your essence. Things that create a loving feeling do the same, which is why daily gratitude exercises, volunteering, and falling in love are all experiences that somehow make the world feel like a better place. It isn’t because of what other people are doing; it’s because of the feeling of love inside you. Being in nature, with a friend, or with a pet are simple ways to create a loving feeling. All these things move us into our essence.
Don’t be trapped by thinking that you have to make people happy in order to express kindness. Love is not conditional. Love and compassion are expressions of your essence, and they draw their energy naturally from your Original Source. True love is never depleted; it’s a willing choice. Unlike the earlier notes about learning to act with compassion, in this case it is the feeling of love that indicates that the Essential Self is engaged. Notice whenever you feel it and what creates a loving feeling in you.
4. Connection: How Your Essence Speaks to Your Soul
Think of a time when you experienced a “felt sense”of relationship to the world around you. You might call the feeling interconnection or connectedness. Maybe you were playing a sport, enjoying art, or taking a walk in nature, or perhaps it happened while giving birth or making love. It feels like the immediate personal awareness of the interrelationship of life. It’s a moment in which more than thinking, you feel that you are a thread in the tapestry of creation and that every action you take ripples throughout the universe. In those moments, you know that nature, humanity, and all of the past and future are somehow connected. Perhaps it was a feeling of Oneness.
Such powerful moments are rare for some, and then there are the fortunate ones who come to those experiences with ease. When you encounter them, you’re immediately reconnected with your essence, even the Original Source. Choices, worries, fears, and regrets fall away. In a moment of feeling “connected,” the wisdom of your Essential Self is easily reached, allowing trust and hope to rise naturally. Any experience that helps you feel connected reveals something about your authentic self. Any feeling of interconnection tells you that you’re moving into the domain of the soul.
Make a commitment to pay attention to when you experience interconnection, for it’s a sign of being on the right track. Also make a commitment to create these experiences by returning to the practices or activities that evoke that feeling. A spiritual practice, for example, prayer, as well as going to your church, synagogue, or mosque; doing yoga; meditating; singing; dancing; or volunteering could easily strengthen your essence and make it easier for you to hear that “still, small voice inside.”
It’s hard to imagine, but an extraordinary life change can be quite uncomplicated. If you just make a commitment to embrace the four intentions of clarity, integrity, courage, and compassion while paying attention to the four felt experiences of intuition, vitality, love, and connection, you can begin to reverse even the most extreme case of Inspiration Deficit Disorder immediately.
Jonathan Ellerby, Ph.D., is the author of “Return to the Sacred” (Hay House, 2009) and the new book, Inspiration Deficit Disorder: The No Pill Prescription to End High Stress, Low Energy and Bad Habits. He is also the Spiritual Program Director for the internationally acclaimed Canyon Ranch Health Resorts in Tucson, Arizona. www.jonathanellerby.com.
Reprinted with permission of Hay House, Inc., © 2010 Jonathan Ellerby