Sue Grafton, a mystery writer, titles each of her books with a letter such as H is for homicide. If I were writing a series of books on spiritual qualities, I would have to say that E is for enthusiasm. What got me thinking about enthusiasm this morning was that today, August 15, 2012, would have been the 100th birthday of Julia Child. Whether it was watching the portrayal of her in Julie and Julia or watching reruns of when she was cooking on television, the word I have always found best describes her is enthusiasm. She seemed to have such an enthusiasm for life, for food, and for cooking. There is something about enthusiastic people, which seems to light up the lives of others and themselves. They have a certain kind of spiritual energy that enables them to give all they've got to the tasks at hand, holding nothing back. Enthusiasm, however, is rarely thought of as a spiritual practice, yet it is all about spirituality.
I recently learned that the word enthusiasm comes form the Greek word enthousiasmos, which comes from enthousiazein which means to be inspired. The root of this word is entheos which means inspired by God. Although most of us think about enthusiasm as having a strong excitement or feeling about what one is doing, it originally meant, and still does, inspirations and revelations of God. Perhaps that is why we feel alive when we are “in Spirit” When we are "in Spirit", we are filled with energy. When we are "in Spirit", we feel a sense of purpose and passion for life and everything that we see gets a deeper meaning. The secret of enthusiasm is being "in Spirit", in other words, being in harmony with your spiritual self. Being in harmony with your spiritual self, means being in harmony with what we truly are, because our true nature is indeed spiritual. Perhaps that is why I am so energized by what we are doing here at InSpiritual.
So what does it look like? Feel like? Mary Marcdante once wrote, “Whether they burst with excitement or simmer quietly, when you’re in the presence of enthusiastic people, you feel happier and more excited about your life, perhaps you even feel inspired.” She has identified six qualities of enthusiastic people.
1) Enthusiastic people RADIATE ENERGY. The #1 characteristic of enthusiastic people is their ability to radiate positive energy. When these people walk into a room, heads turn and people gather. Their smile lights up a room. Also referred to as charisma, their power comes from within.
2) Enthusiastic people are CURIOUS AND INTERESTED in life. They ask a lot of questions and explore what interests them. They love learning and live in a state of wonder, surprise, and delight:
3) Enthusiastic people FOCUS ON THE GOOD (even when things are bad). They emphasize what they can do rather than what they can't do. They look for the gift in difficulties and live life with gratitude
4) Enthusiastic people FEEL DEEPLY AND LAUGH OFTEN. Laughter helps them keep things in perspective and just as they are open to joy, they also allow tears. They show compassion for life's difficulties and use humor to help themselves and others through tough times.
5) Enthusiastic people DO SOMETHING THEY LOVE every day, no matter how small. They are passionate about their work, hobbies, craft, or the sports they play and it shows.
6) Enthusiastic people SERVE A GREATER PURPOSE than themselves. They have a desire to help others and build community. They are naturally drawn to share their enthusiasm with others.
Julia Child clearly embodied these characteristics. Julia was not just an amazing chef who transformed the way we think about French Cooking today, she was also a spiritual being who brought her inspirations from God with her into the kitchen.
So what are you enthusiastic about? What inspirations from God are you living out in your life?