Inspiration from Authentic Learning

This guest post is yet another example of taking inspiration from where you find it. I was on Twitter one night and there was this video of a terrifying sea monster thing in the ocean. I thought it was awful, one of those things that would keep me from swimming for years. The caption was something about showing this to my young daughter for her bedtime story. I asked what awful thing the child did to deserve such a punishment. Turns out the child loves this kind of stuff, me, I will not be going near water for awhile. What does this have to do with anything? The mother of the child is Jennifer Lopez and she is guest posting today on the subject of inspiration. I need to say no more, in her words...

What is Inspirational Learning?

The word: “genre” is most often used when speaking of a specific style in literature, writing, music and the arts; referring to a similarity in subject matter. Recently, I had the privilege to make the acquaintance of an author who introduced me to a new genre in writing: ‘Inspirational Horror.’ When I first saw this term, Inspirational Horror’ it stayed in my mind and curiosity developed over the paradox in these two juxtaposed terms. To start, I am not a traditional horror fan and the term in general is one that I typically tend to shy away from. As time passed, I got to know and sincerely like the person within this thinker, this writer. So, I wanted to read some of his writing I had avoided because of the word horror and become a bit more familiar with what these two words- when put together- actually mean as a writing genre.

Gordon was gradually becoming an inspiration to me personally in my own writing because his words expressed an undeniable authenticity.  I felt his brutal honesty and forthcoming nature.  I admired this stand he took with his truth-telling words and kind-hearted soulfulness.  When you can connect with a writer’s expressive voice and their words take you on a journey of your own self-discovery, it can heighten your knowledge and inspiration about life.  This is when you know you have found a treasure.  So, I decided it was time to understand his “Inspirational Horror,” trusting that it must not be so bad, coming from a person I already admire.  

Though I am growing in my understanding of this genre and its seriously profound meaning for anyone in life, I will leave the details of it to an expert.  What I will say is this: think of the times in your life that have been the deepest, darkest, most challenging moments or experiences.  Ok, I get it!  You may be thinking, “Why in the heck would I want to do that?  They were bad enough the first time, no need to relive them again.”  

But aren’t those the times in your life that you grew the most, changed your course and
gained deeper wisdom for what really mattered to you?  

That is a little hint or how my own mind processes the idea behind this genre of ‘Inspirational Horror.’  We all live it at some point or another and Gordon harnesses these experiences in a way that allow others 
to feel what’s on the “other-side” of those painful experiences...the good that comes from them and the learning.

So, why is the title of this post, ‘Inspirational Learning’ then?  Good Question! 

My friendship with Gordon could be seen as paradoxical to some, who might unfortunately only judge a “book by its cover” or believe that first impressions tell us everything we need to know about someone or something.  But thank goodness there are people willing and wanting to create the deeper connections that can be made in life when you don’t have pretense or pigeon-holed thinking. These connections are waiting 
and present for all of us when we push our socialized-selves aside and encourage our authentic-selves to be happy and reach beyond our comfort zones. Amazing knowledge and progress in life come in the most unexpected forms when meaningful connections are made.  This, to me is: ‘Inspirational Learning!’

So I’d like to coin the term, ‘Inspirational Learning’ in honor of Gordon and as a genre of learning for all ages alike.  Just as ‘Inspirational Horror’ as a genre in writing allows us to learn from extreme hardships in our lives; ‘Inspirational Learning’ encourages us to thrive and enrich our knowledge when we permit ourselves to be in situations that fully inspire us to re-connect with our true selves.  To me, this is where the 
purest form of learning takes place, the type of learning that sticks.  When we feel a spark of enthusiasm or a sense of passion about what we are doing, learning occurs just as naturally as darkness gives way to light.  

This is ‘Inspirational Learning’ and IT IS BASED ON THE REAL YOU!  

This type of learning doesn’t have to come from a schoolteacher, a classroom or even a book (though books are AMAZING!).  It can come from anyone, anywhere and at anytime when we learn to make authentic connections in some aspect of our life. This “Inspirational Learning” heightens your sense of purpose and propensity for doing good.  

In this day and age, authenticity in our relationship with life can often seem challenging to achieve, especially for adults who have become entrenched in what others think or following only what they believe will bode well in their perception of socially acceptable norms.  People actually forget who they are or what they themselves believe and value. These same individuals may even feel completely “connected” through a whole different lens called social media.  But the authentic connections I am referring to ONLY occur when we allow our most genuine selves to emerge, share, collaborate, appreciate and learn from others.  This requires the putting aside of all pretense and facade: a high calling in a world thick with ‘sheeple’ and the ‘smoke & mirrors’ affect.

 Authentic Learning, or as we can now call it: The genre of ‘Inspirational Learning,’ has been my greatest most profound passion aside from my family since I was in middle school and wondered why the teaching process seemed so backwards.  It’s why I became a teacher, because my perspective on acquiring knowledge is that it’s a process as unique as our fingerprints.  In order to tap into and inspire the learner within us most fully- we ultimately only need to understand our true nature as individuals in the world. 

When Gordon asked me to write a Guest post, I felt so privileged and chose to write about the ideas I believe connect us and what might hopefully connect you (if you are reading this) with the desire to get in closer touch with WHAT individual choices inspire you to learn and WHO those choices encourage you to learn with most authentically.  

I couldn’t be more appreciative to have met a couple of kindred spirits in writing, in learning and in life recently and Gordon is most definitely one of them.  Our sincere hope is that this might inspire you to ‘dig-deeper’ and find the true “connections” in life and learning that will inspire you as well.

Jennie is a devoted family girl, lover of culture, nature and animals. She is an avid reader, aspiring author and is passionate about helping others through education. She lives with her husband, daughter and their Boston Terrier.