Yes, I’ll take one made to order, please…a pinch of awe and a dash of wonder.
And I want to be inspired in a place right out of a coffee table book. Somewhere that inspires every creative fiber of my being. A place where every shop has things made by hand or baked goods that resemble art with a taste to match. Quaint shops passed down through generations.
Colorfully dressed windows of little stores and half-timbered houses with window boxes filled to the brim with flowers brightening the cheery main street. A place surrounded by the Alps mountains topped with snow, protecting little villages where you could stroll around aimlessly for hours on end – crafted right out of a fairy tale. A place to inspire awe.
River boats cruising by, birds chirping in every tree, people in every Romanesque or Gothic church. Intellectual or creative talk in every fragrant coffeehouse. A place where everywhere you look is picture worthy, where a sunset captures your eye.
Did you ever get the feeling you belonged somewhere else? I did when I was in Germany. From the moment I pulled on my black Hunter boots, topped my head with my new handmade knit hat and started my adventure on those cobblestone streets, I sensed I was “home”. I know it has something to do with being from German heritage and growing up in a place of German descendants, but it really had a pull on me. I struggled with the language, yet I felt like I had a place in this region.
I visited some of the most charming, historic, and quaint places of off-the-beaten-path towns. That was one of the positives of seeing Germany by bus – we made a few interesting stops. But we also sped through those interesting little hamlets so I could not get photos very easily. It is not just because I thought certain German villages picturesque, but it was also the way in which the people live. Notice people biking. The big cities even had those using bicycles or public transportation rather than cars.
I can’t be alone in this alternate feel of belonging. There must be something to it. It was especially strong in Southern Germany. Both my parents’ ancestors were from near there and some relatives are probably still living there.
I never felt that pull to Western New York. It does not matter how long I have been here either. In the hospital, the anesthesiologist asked from where my accent originated. After over 30 years here, I still am asked where I am from. I can’t even shed the Pennsylvania accent.
Back to the original thought since I have a tendency to ramble.
What inspires. What motivates? What makes one smile? What instills awe? When I thought of the story for the post, it never occurred to me how most people interchange inspiration and motivation. They are very different because motivation is a personal driving force. Like needing a break to visit Germany. You do it because it needs to be done. I was motivated for that trip. I needed that trip.
Inspiration on the other hand means you are driven from your very inner being. The feeling of wanting to visit Germany and feeling like it had a kinship. You do it because you really want to follow it through, take creative or spiritual action, – you feel or become part of the process. Inspiration brings a smile. It is infectious and the enthusiasm is catchy.
I was inspired by the music, the art, the people and the place. I could have stopped to draw and paint surrounded by beautiful natural vistas. I had no desire to create a building though (my profession) because to me each place was picture perfect.
What about awe? Science discovered that our response or reaction to awe leads to a more fulfilling life. The feeling of awe can be something sublime, outstanding, or beyond our comprehension. The emotion can have a profoundly positive effect on people. A physiological effect that can make one feel healthier too. Nature as medicine! Craving awe is why I take so many grand landscape shots. Germany had plenty of awe-inspiring places. I want to live in awe everyday.