Taking Inspiration from Maria Popova (again)

Lately I’ve been thinking about Maria Popova’s interview with Krista Tippett that aired two years ago. I’ve been wanting to listen to it again but have found it difficult to find the right moment. But when I started this morning’s pancakes and tapped into my podcast app to find something to listen to, guess what was on top? A re-air of Popova’s interview thanks to the publication of her book, Figuring.

This, I have to imagine, was a sign from the universe.

I happily hooked up my bluetooth speakers and listened to the interview again, remembering why I loved it so much to start with. Here’s the blog post that I originally wrote and I’m happy to revisit my thoughts, now that I’m a whole two years wiser (?).

Here’s a woman who is my age and does what I wish I could do: make a living out of reading, writing, and thinking. After the original air of this episode, I scoured the internet to get an idea about her typical day. She reads and writes from nearly the moment she wakes until she goes to bed. She’s not out there reading the current bestsellers or whatever is taking the literary world by the storm, but she’s sitting with ideas that have been around for a long time and making use of them in her own work. She’s not flitting from one hobby to another, but she’s dedicated to the forums that she’s chosen. Popova lives a life of depth and isn’t trying to figure out how to winnow down her interests in order to experience a single year of depth like I am.

She’s seeking the meaning of life.

Which is what I want for this little slice of the internet, as pie in the sky as that sounds. I crave books with deep thoughts and yearn for the ability to understand them. To turn those ideas over and find ways to use them in my life. To help others with the things that I know to be true.

I’m resisting the urge to self-deprecate here. I want to say that I’m not smart enough to do this (which is what my morning pages are full of), but instead I’ll reframe this negative self-talk to something more productive. I’m not used to having conversations or writing about things in any sort of intellectual way. I am learning to dig deeper, to access ideas more hidden within myself, and to find meaning and connections across different mediums.

A huge point of this interview was to not be obsessed with productivity, but to allow your moments of humanity to inform your work. While you’re brushing your teeth, in the shower, or sitting with your children and watching them learn and grow — these are all important moments. When we are alone with our own thoughts — this is the good stuff.

So I aim to continue living with a happy heart and an optimistic nature. And to go to bed knowing that I have lived.


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