This past May long weekend I once again found myself meandering around England. I just can't help myself! The country has so many layers of history, mixed with fabulous scenic experiences & great shopping, I just keep being drawn back!
On this particular trip, my friend Lauren took me on a tour of the Polesden Lacey Estate. This lavish country retreat was formerly owned by Maggie Greville who loved to hold fabulous parties where the rich and powerful could come and romp. The more we wandered around the house & learned of the history, it was impossible not to become intrigued by Miss. Maggie, a woman the queen mother herself once described as, "so sharp, such fun, so naughty" (talk about an epitaph!).
When we entered the extravagant party room where the frivolity used to happen, there was a piano player on the beautiful antique grand playing music from the era the great parties were held. As he began to play Miss. Otis Regrets he looked at me and asked whether I knew how this famous Cole Porter song came to be. Of course me being the proud graduate of an honours degree in music responded with a resounding, "not a clue" (I continue to make my music teachers proud!).
According to this amateur music historian, while out for dinner with his peeps, Cole Porter got up on a high horse and began proclaiming that he could write a song on any subject. His over confidence prompted one of his buds to dare him to prove it by writing a song about the next thing they overheard from any of the tables around them. Mr. Porter willingly took the challenge and the next line they heard came from a waiter who was informing another patron that "Miss Otis regrets she's unable to lunch today, Madam".
And the song was born!
ASIDE: If you are reading this and have NO clue what song I am talking about... give a listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVnAQcRIkZo
Although the story has an urban legend feel to it, I couldn't help but get swept away and over analyse it. Too often I say I want to be inspired but instead of paying attention to what is already going on around me, or taking suggestions from those who know me, I choose to wait for a grand moment where the heavens part & inspiration falls in front of me in all of its glory!
But that isn't how inspiration actually works. The truth is, ideas come and go through our heads at all time, we just don't choose to give them much attention. We deem them silly, not good enough or just a lame thought that isn't worth our time. Instead of exploring these whims, we make the conscious decision to wait for the mother of 'ah-ha' moments that will make completely clear to us,
- what new thing we should try next.
- whether we should write that 'something' we have considered writing.
- that we should to that place we have been dreaming about.
- how we should be creative.
It is like we are waiting for permission to follow the desires we already have and this complete clarity we think is going to happen is really just an excuse not to do anything at all. So how different would our lives be if we followed those repetitive thoughts we have, or dreams we only label as wishful thinking?
What if what we have been waiting for to inspire us has been with us all along?
It is all about paying attention to our curiosity and being brave enough to follow it.
Miss. Otis Regrets is considered a classic; countless famous people have performed it, from Ella Fitzgerald to Bette Midler and it all began because a man believed inspiration was always around him.