"Monday 5 Things" With D. Paul Graham

Monday 5 Things…..Inspired…..

It was a humidity-free Sunday morning in North Carolina, and I was on location for a South Magazine photo-shoot in Asheville. With perfectly timed drumming on the steering wheel and singing at the top of my lungs to “Something In The Air Tonight,” I was perhaps driving juuusssst a tad faster than I should have. The isolated tight curves of the road made me wish I was being serenaded by high revs of an engine behind my head in a certain little red Italian pony. Alas, the rental car and Phil Collins would have to do as I quickly ascended over 3,000 feet in elevation, pursuing sunrise on the Blue Ridge Mountains. Finding a good vantage point to pull over, I took a moment to lean against the hood of the car, inhaling deeply, filling my lungs with mountain air. I was brought to tears of awe as the rising sun began to illuminate soft-rolling valley fog between the mountains; subtle colors of red first peeked out at the horizon, transitioning to a stratum of golden yellow and orange hues as dawn began to unveil the beauty before me. I was inspired. Today’s M5T takes pause to consider: finding inspiration.

1. Slow Down

The busyness of life has a way of extracting our emotions, energy, time and focus. Find inspiration by stopping. Discover some space and clear the distractions of this week, even if just for a fleeting moment. Inspiration can be found by simply being quiet, by taking a breath, or by reflecting on the blessings you have in life.

2. Be Open

Start the day with a mindset that seeks inspiration. Look at the light. Look at what is revealed in the shadows, and what is hidden in the highlights. Run your fingertips over the finish of a wall that you walk by every day. Bathe your eyes and mind in the dominant design features, the façades, the lines, and the scale of buildings you rarely even notice any more. Whether man-made or divinely created, everything around us has texture, shape, space, color and form. You can tap into that genesis of inspiration simply by being open to the moment.

3. Be Proactive

Read biographies. Inspiration can be found by realizing the struggles and failures that others have experienced in their journey to fulfill their dreams. Seek out those you admire. Find a mentor. Be a mentor. Listen, watch, question, study and learn from them. Talk to people — those you know, those you’ve lost touch with, and those you haven’t yet met. Understand the power of asking “Why?” Everyone has a story that goes far deeper than what they show the world every day. Reconnect. Connect. Travel to a place you’ve always wanted to go… near or far.

4. Allow Yourself to Be Moved

Fill a rut with inspiration. Write down your passions and inspirations that you have today. Write down what inspired you at the start of each decade of your life. What is different? What is the same? Seek out both. Sing any song that touches your heart at the top of your lungs… even if you don’t know the words. Laugh deeply and cry freely, until both hurt for different reasons. Revitalize your soul by embracing the unknown, by taking one step out in faith, and by pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone.

5. Change Your Perspective

Change your thinking. Change your environment. Plan an adventure. Go to an art gallery. Take a different route. Be inspired by who you meet and by what you see, hear, smell and taste. Take more than selfies and food pictures with your phone. Widen the lens of not just your camera. Widen the lens of your eyes, your heart, your soul. Turn around, look up, look down; climb up and crouch down. Let the inspiration of a changed perspective renew the unapologetic curiosity you had as a child.

Here’s to a week of inspired thoughts, words and deeds.

© 2019 D. Paul Graham, all rights reserved.

D. Paul Graham is passionate about people, culture, photography and business. He has embraced his wanderlust with his travels around the globe and is at peace with his need for spirited drives in all things automotive.

You can find M5T each Monday here on www.southmag.com and by friending D. Paul Graham on Facebook. Paul is also a contributing photographer to South Magazine. His photographic work can be found on Instagram @dpgraham and at www.imageGRAHAM.com. Your feedback is always welcome. Email Paul at dpg@imagegraham.com