by Chris Wagner

“We must let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” — Joseph Campbell
“There are those who are destroyed by unfairness and those who are not.” — Michael Ondaatje

Finding and saving interesting quotes has been a live long hobby and one that keeps inspiring me. Music, literature, ballet and people facilitate inspiration, but especially people either by their stories or their spirit. One of these people was Shelly Bowe, founder of Food Roots. Because I wasn’t able to get to the celebration of her life, it’s important for me to write about how much she inspired me, especially about eating good, local food. I met her at a Poverty Task Force meeting where she spoke about her passion to promote financial literacy that I shared and was lucky enough to hear her speak often on the many programs that Food Roots sponsors. I learned so much from Shelly and am so proud of her legacy – the resourceful Food Roots organization and the many ways it reaches out to the community.
Throughout my life I’ve been inspired by others, but since I’ve been dealing with a serious autoimmune condition, a few have motivated me in ways that have facilitated better health – in body, mind and spirit.
Soon after I was diagnosed, a friend brought me a TV and one of the first things I watched was an interview with Christopher Reeve talking about his book, ‘Still Me.’ I understood the title because it’s easy to feel apart from regular life when undergoing a serious struggle. But the inspiration for me came from the realization that there were so many other people who had even more challenges than me.
Then there was James Coburn, the actor, who went out and talked about his longtime rheumatoid arthritis instead of his career when he was up for an Academy Award. Not only could I relate to his struggle, but he gave me new ideas for relief without prescription drugs. In his later films one can see his hands and the toll RA takes. For me, he’ll always be a kindred spirit.
So, what inspires you? What motivates you to do your best, find new creativity or pull yourself out of a slump? I suggest making a list, past and present of what has moved or inspired you.
For me a lot of it is about being open, especially to hearing and seeing. Words are powerful and when one is listening, they seem to come. I found the following words in a film about George Harrison and they speak to me about being stuck, but not being stuck at all and remembering that I’m still capable. The inspiration I seek is always available.

Without going out of my door
I can know all things on earth.
Without looking out of my window
I can know the ways of heaven.

For the farther one travels
The less one knows.

The sage therefore
Arrives without traveling.
Sees all without doing.
Does all without doing.
-The Tao Te Ching – #48