Primed to Grow: Inspiration vs Scarcity

Nov 1, 2022

If you have read any of my blogs lately you know that I have gone through a change lately. Two years ago I was feeling numb and only wanting to “survive” my last year of retirement. I planned to relax and withdraw and something about that really appealed to me except for that empty feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Something changed because it had to. Something opened up deep inside of me. I now paid closer attention to that quiet little yearning that I had been ignoring. The little discomfort that had been annoying me now drove me on.

I have thought much about that feeling as clients come in lately. Some clients come in feeling lost, confused, and longing for something. That discomfort makes them open to new things. They want to feel again, to get away from pain, for a feeling of closeness. Sometimes you can feel the healing energy kicking in.

Other clients come in stuck in their fear. I feel the wall already up. They may have decided that what they already need. They have put up a wall of ego before they start. It is a battle between openness and fear, light and darkness.

It is worse for us because we have bought into a strange philosophy in our society. We believe that the only way we can really control our bad behaviour is by manipulating ourselves with fear. We use fear or rewards to trick ourselves or others in doing the things we judge as worthwhile. We have been told it is the only effective way of getting things done. The problem with using fear to motivate is that it leads to a gradual loss of energy until we feel it as pain. We get so tired we have to withdraw. Driving with the threat of the stick and leading with the stick leads us to the lowest level of moral development.

There has always been a battle in human nature between fear and love. There has always been a battle between clinging to the security of power and giving into openness and growth. We almost always opt for power in our anxiety. Appearing weak makes us anxious so we chose the more concrete thoughts over feelings. We close down and put on our emotional armour to protect ourselves.

There is a better way. I remember hearing people say they were motivated by “inspiration” or “passion.” The theory was that they were drawn by some deep feeling of attraction toward their goal. This feeling of getting pulled is a whole different kind of motivation. As you go through the activity it gives you increasingly more energy because you have tapped into the source and the meaning of the activity becomes more intense.

Try to remember a time when you have fallen in love and try to define this in words. That is impossible but it is a feeling that sticks It is a feeling of being alive that the middle aged want to get back as they fall asleep. When you get that numb feeling you want to wake up. Can you imagine that feeling of being completely loved, valued engaged in a meaningful activity and belonging fully to a group of people?

Whatever that powerful force is it has always driven great people into something greater. That feeling of Joy is the opposite of fear and scarcity. It pulls you out instead of driving you inside to conserve your energy. But it does not start with a feeling of security.

So what to do? In a society built on fear and scarcity we need to practice inspiration and passion everyday. When you feel that intense Joy don't distract yourself. Don't let it scare you. Be with it and notice it. It is the sourse of everything good. Along with that you are going to have to get comfortable with being vulnerable and revealing you fear and shame. It is not easy because you have been practicing hiding for so long. It requires a leap of faith but it is so worth it.

Ok so for you sceptics out there. You say the world is an ugly scary place. That is not real life. You can get hurt in the world living too open. But I keep going back to my questions. Why about beauty in the world? Why is there light? Why do we look for meaning? I believe we are given gifts that could be enjoyed and fill up our life but we are a hard group of people in 2019. We are offered things that would give us life, that would give us energy but we get scared and hide from these gifts.

So in my mind there is this epic battle between scarcity, fear and darkness and inspiration, and love and light. Scarcity and fear are easy to get going. Inspiration, beauty, trust, light are much more fragile and need nurturing. What will you choose?

Paul Berg is a Psychologist at Connections Psychological Services, a new Psychology Practice in south central Edmonton. Watch the website at for more blogs.