We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.
I once really did believe I could fly! There I was, nine years old and convinced I could be the first bird woman. I coerced under threat of death kindly asked my cousin David to snatch a few of his dad’s raspberry canes, some string and a sheet of plastic so that construction of my wings could begin.
The great day arrived when I was going to fly. My launch pad was to be the apple tree overlooking Uncle Percy’s vegetable patch, so David climbed up with me to assist in strapping on my wings and carry out the final aerodynamic checks. As I prepared to launch, David gave me a massive shove into the air, and I began to flap as I leapt into space. What I wanted was to do a couple of swooping acrobatic manoeuvres, what I actually got was to drop like a stone and fall on my face in the cabbage patch – resulting in a badly sprained ankle, and subjected to the near apoplectic ire of Uncle Percy, upon discovery of the wanton destruction of his brassicas …
But I wasn’t deterred – I looked on my failed flying ambitions as a mere blip and far from being the end of my inventiveness – though, probably best not for me to go into too much detail about building a dam to make the river flood a field so the sheep would not have so far to travel to water. Or the time I purloined some of granddad’s paint so that I could construct a hedgehog highway by painting little footprints along the road outside of our house (they lasted for an age … but not as long as granddad’s annoyance every time someone mentioned them …).
And that sums me up – I have never been short on inspiration, but have been beyond guilty of the bull in a china shop approach to most things – I have what I consider is a brilliant idea, then plunge straight on in.
It doesn’t take long for the spark of energy to be extinguished and then it’s back to where I started until, that is, inspiration hits again – and off we go, down the well trodden path to somewhere south of nowhere.
But inspiration really does necessitate perspiration – it requires the work to underpin the great idea – it means this –
By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. – Benjamin Franklin
I know, bloody sanctimonious, and even more irritating because it’s true. We need the preparation to foster the inspiration – and that means setting in place an understanding of what we really want and how we facilitate that – in short, what we need so that we can spend our lives being inspired.