1. a divine influence directly and immediately exerted upon the mind or soul.
What does it mean to inspire? There are many definitions of the word, but I believe that the most soul gripping, the most heart capturing one is:
“A divine influence directly and immediately exerted upon the mind or soul”.
When we experience something so profound, so strong that it reaches and touches our very soul, then I think we can find ourselves to be truly inspired. I believe it takes greatness to inspire lives to reach for the things that may seem out of reach, but you don’t need to be great to have greatness, you just need to have the desire to reach beyond your limitations.
Everything in life has the potential to obtain greatness and to inspire the hearts and souls of everything and everyone around them. Have you noticed that those who reach greatness, those who provide inspiration do so without realizing that they are doing so? That’s because it’s those lives that don’t go out looking to inspire, but do so unintentionally and with a humble heart.
We can find inspiration in anything if we know what to look for.
In Clearwater Florida, there is a place that houses the most amazing, most heart and soul reaching light that ever was. This light isn’t a human, but an animal named Winter. I don’t know how many have heard of Winter’s story, but if you haven’t, you should. Winter is a bottlenose dolphin with a disability. This dolphin lost her tail and just when everyone was about to give up on her, she showed everyone what kind of a fighter she was. With the help of a specially made prosthetic, Winter has been able to swim and continue to live a wonderful life filled with love. She has inspired so many with disabilities, no matter if those disabilities are physical, emotional or mental. She has shown that no matter what your disability or limitation is in life, you can reach unparalleled heights, if you are willing to work hard and overcome the obstacles in your way.
I know Winter doesn’t know this, but this amazing dolphin has given hope to so many lives and has touched so many hearts. In fact, my own daughter, who has ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) has even been touched to the core by this animal and we live in a whole other state. My daughter wasn’t reading when her story first came out, but when she saw the movie Dolphin Tale and Winter’s story things started to change. Since that time, my daughter has been obsessed with dolphins and she has an amazing spirit for animals. In fact, she has wholeheartedly decided that she wants to be a dolphin trainer when she gets older.
Winter has inspired something in my daughter, she has reached a part of my daughter that I have not been able to and for that I am most surely grateful. Her story has truly reached my heart and soul, just as much as it has done for my daughter. My only hope is that with my daughter’s growing love for this animal that she will see the same greatness lies in her as well. That despite her own disabilities, that she too can do great things in her life. It is that passion that I intend to fuel and fan as much as possible, because I want to see it burn as bright as Winter’s passion.
Winter’s story tells us that it doesn’t matter if you have a disability or if you are different, you just need to believe in yourself and in those around you. I’m sure there were many who said that she would not swim again, but she has and she still does to this day.
Winter is an amazing animal, to watch her story and not feel something deep down in your soul that just grips you and doesn’t let go, isn’t possible.
But Winter’s inspiration, doesn’t have to stop at just disabilities. She can inspire greatness in each of us, as we go through our day to day. We tend to take for granted all the things that we can do in our lives. When things get hard, we tend to start to feel sorry for ourselves, we want to give up and walk away. We may even think that we aren’t worthy of anything in our lives, but we are.
Winter didn’t let her disability stop her from living, she lives and she brings joy to everyone around her. So why can’t we? Sure, we might be dealing with a family member who has a disability. Or maybe we are dealing with our own health problems or job problems. Maybe we are scared, because we’re losing our home and will have no place to go. Whatever the problem is that we are facing in our lives, it’s not so great that we can’t overcome it. Nothing is impossible, nothing!
Look at Winter, everything we know, everything we are taught, says that it is impossible for a dolphin with no tail to swim and yet she does! If a dolphin with no tail can swim and live life fully, overcoming every obstacle in her path to do so, then there is no obstacle to big that we as humans can’t overcome ourselves.
Winter had help, but we have help too. We can find the help in our family, in our friends, in our faith, we just have to let them into our lives and place our trust and faith in them. When we are presented with a door, we can open them and walk through them, even if it’s scary to do so or different then what we know. There will be hard work at times, but anything worth having is worth working hard for.
We are humans, there is no problem to big, no obstacle to difficult that we can’t find a way around it, through it, over it or under it. We just have to want it bad enough. Maybe the tools we are given and presented aren’t the most conventional tools to use. Maybe the tools we are given aren’t even the tools that we are taught that we need to use to solve our problems. Maybe instead of getting a jackhammer or spoon or shovel to get passed our obstacles, we get a pencil, a book, a video to use instead. Maybe instead of that traditional 9 to 5 job, we get a chance to do something more amazing with our lives that most would turn their noises on without a second thought…why? Because it’s not the natural, or logical, answer to our problems.
No matter the tools we are given, it’s up to use to pick them up and use them. Much like Winter had to decide to allow the workers at Clearwater Marine to put a prosthetic on her. Think about it…Winter is a dolphin who couldn’t swim, she lost her tail. Now imagine…Winter staring at this large obstacle in her path. Her obstacle is being a dolphin with no tail and not being able to swim. Now imagine how she might have felt…helpless, hopeless even…whatever the case, imagine what that must have felt like. Imagine yourself as Winter and looking at yourself as this “broken” living creature, because after all a dolphin is supposed to swim and jump. They eat by chasing their food, so what good is a dolphin who can’t do that? Now imagine being presented with a tool to change all that, a tool that isn’t normal or natural, but it’s a tool that can give you back your life, your chance of being happy and free. Do you take it? Or do you shun it because it’s not natural for a dolphin to wear a prosthetic fin?
Can you imagine what that must have been like for her? I know I can’t. But what I can imagine is how much she trusted those around her, enough to let them help her and to give her a whole new and amazing life.
Winter learned to adapt to her situation, she didn’t let her obstacle, her disability, her limitation to hold her back. She allowed this strange tool to become her greatest light. She wasn’t broken, she was an animal who was given a gift. She may not be able to swim after her own food, but she is can swim and she has done something that no other dolphin in this world has been able to do…reach the hearts and souls of everyone that has had the privilege of hearing her story.
Is Winter a dolphin? No…she is much, much, much more than a dolphin. Winter is a light to everyone, young or old, disabled or healthy.
We all can learn an amazing lesson from her story…we can all learn to adapt to our surroundings. We can learn to embrace and welcome those strange or unusual tools that we are given to help us get past our obstacles in life. There is nothing to great that we can’t overcome it, we just have to believe in ourselves, in our own strength and abilities. We can each reach amazing heights, if we just embrace our differences, find our inner strength and ignite our power inside our hearts and souls.
We were meant for so much more in life, we weren’t put here to give up and accept defeat. We were put here to do great things in our lives and to reach our own greatness. With humble hearts, a strong spirit, a passionate flame and a desire to be who we really are meant to be, then we can reach those same unparalleled heights.
Because after all, **“limitations are the shackles we bind to ourselves” so let’s break those shackles from our lives and finally start living like we were meant to do.
*Inspiration Definition is from Dictionary.com
**Quote is from Disney’s Toy Story that Time Forgot