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Let Inspiration Reign--Phil's Philosophy by D.P. Kinkade (with contributions by Taylor & Drake)

I would like to start off with a few verses of a song, if you readers would please indulge me. I will come back to how it all ties is to the title of this particular column in just a moment.

My Country tis of thee;

sweet land of liberty,

of thee, I sing

land where my fathers died

land of the pilgrims pride

from every mountainside

let freedom ring

Let freedom ring

Great God, our king

from sea, to shining sea

let freedom ring.

This of coarse, is a portion of the lyrics to the song “Let Freedom Ring,” one of the unofficial “national anthem” songs, before our nation finally settled on “the Star Spangled Banner” as our official national anthem. Key was inspired to write the star spangled banner in 1814, recalling a battle he had witnessed in 1812 at fort McHenry, where the British were unable to take the fort; one lone American flag still stood when daybreak came and the British gave up. It was not recognized as our anthem until much later though, the navy adopted it in 1889, President Woodrow Wilson started having it played at national events in 1916 but it was not recognized by congressional resolution until 1931, so it is relatively still in its infancy as our national anthem.

Now, back to “let freedom ring.” One of our other former presidents once wrote a reply of, “Let Freedom Reign” in response to being informed of a successful military maneuver. Many folks, especially journalists and others adept at the English language, thought he had made a gaffe (something he was known to do from time to time) and had meant to quote the song -let freedom ring. A slip up like this is known as a- malapropism- it means -to confuse one word with another that sounds something like it. Confusing words like that has come to be known as a malapropism because of a 1775 play called “the rivals” in which the character, Mrs. Malaprop, often does it in an attempt to sound very articulate and well educated but instead comes off sounding ridiculous. Orators now sometimes will do it on purpose, for comedic effect, ( “I resemble that remark.”) I am not too sure that “reign” is not the word he actually meant to use though. Letting freedom reign, or have authority over the land, is actually a pretty good command of language, to project a certain thought process. Oh well, at least he was able to use language and articulate his message in a halfway coherent and thought provoking way, on most occasions; something I appreciate, look for, and really kind of expect, out of our leaders. If you are not skilled enough to articulate a message or a vision, at a superior level, then you are not about to inspire someone like me to want to follow you.

How many of us have not been guilty of doing something similar to a “malapropism” though? All of us have substituted one thought for another, before it comes out of our mouth and it only vaguely resembles what we actually wanted to convey, or we let our emotions get carried away and we don't put much thought behind the words we say. I myself have admitted to turning to the written word as a preferred means of communication, because it lets me slow down and focus all the jumbled up thoughts going on inside my head. Sometimes we are in situations where the right words just won't come, we call this being uninspired, its opposite, knowing exactly what to say or do, this is called being inspired but it too is commonly mixed up with something which is similar in a way but totally different. In fact the phrase-the same thing, only different- was originally going to be the title to this particular column but I think I have used that before and letting inspiration actually rule our hearts, spirits and this land, is what I really wanted to talk about.

The thing inspiration is all to commonly mixed up with is-motivation. Now, motivation is not a bad thing in and of itself, the problem comes when we let motivation usurp inspirations rightful rule. To be motivated or to get motivated, is strictly an external force situation, it means you have found a reason to get some task or project completed. It may involve some kind of reward you believe you will receive at the end, or it may involve some kind of perceived security, or it may involve wishing to avoid something unpleasant, or it may actually involve actual fear of consequences, if something does not get done. This is not altogether a bad thing , in fact it is useful and necessary upon occasion but it is light-years away from the power inspiration can have in our lives. Inspiration needs to be the ruler of our hearts and the guide for our journey.

You see, inspiration literally means-to breathe- or in other words -to give life. Inspiration is a internal force, hard to extinguish and much more powerful than motivation. Inspiration has to do with our spirits. Inspiration gives us real life, it animates us, makes our hearts beat a little faster, it helps us find purpose, find joy, in what we are doing, it taps into unraveling the mystery of why we exist. Being inspired clears a path for the miraculous to happen.

In many of my columns you have heard me iterate the fact that I firmly believe that the sole purpose of education is to inspire curiosity and a life-long passion for learning. Now that you have glimpsed the pedestal I put inspiration on, you may realize just how esteemed I hold such a responsibility to be. Inspiration, unlike motivation, can not coexist with fear, inspiration cancels out fear. Now, it does not cancel out the nervousness of being challenged, another case of malapropism where challenging and fear are mixed up, as meaning the same when they are actually two different things. Being inspired means never settling for less than awesome but it is never forced or based on fear.

We are born to be challenged; we are meant to let our spirit guide us, to an awesome life and it does this through inspiration. If you are relying on fear to motivate then you can not also claim to know inspiration, the two can not coexist! If you want to watch miraculous life journeys actually play out right before your eyes then resolve to do everything you can to invite inspiration into your live and into the lives of those around you, in particular those looking to you for guidance.

When we talk about letting freedom ring from sea to shiny sea we are actually asking to let our spirit fly free in the land, unencumbered by servitude, for the suffix –dom- actually means to give authority or dominion- to being free. The word freedom is almost an oxymoron itself. Our ancestors believed being free was the natural and highest way to live. To stay with the theme of the highest and most ennobling way to live, let's give inspiration reign over all aspects of our life, to how we learn, to what we choose for a career, to how we choose to follow our faith; if inspiration is given reign over motivation, watch out world, the miraculous is about to happen.




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