In September 2009 I was in the midst of writing a grant proposal for a community program titled, Exploring the Gifts of Forgiveness: Love, Compassion and Kindness Through the Creative Arts. I had contacted Dan Brown, who was then the principal of the Camp Verde Middle School in Camp Verde, AZ. to explore the possibility of offering this program to students in his school. He was enthusiastic and suggested that I meet Britta Booth, the art teacher at the school. From the moment we met, I felt a deep connection with Britta. Her enthusiasm for the project and expertise in the use of multiple mediums to explore forgiveness through the creative arts inspired me. Through our collaboration, culminating in an art exhibit, at the Sedona Art Center, our friendship blossomed. Britta is a dedicated teacher, artist and photographer she is one of the gifts of the years I lived in Camp Verde.
Susyn: What does living an inspired life mean to you?
Britta: Inspired living involves honoring creativity when it calls rather than when it is convenient. Usually, for me, this means I’m inspired to write, paint, or photograph during the most hectic or inconvenient times! The busier I am, the more inspiration bubbles up.
Susyn: In your daily life, how do you nourish your inspired life?
Britta: I try (key word—try) not to take things too seriously. The more I can laugh and find joy in the everyday “have-to” activities, the better I feel. When you nourish this need for happy moments, inspiration finds its way to you.
Susyn: What is your biggest challenge in living an inspired life and how do you approach this challenge?
Britta: My biggest challenge is forgetting the big picture. It is really easy to focus on the unimportant details of life and let the meaningful moments pass. I’m a third grade teacher during my “day job” and I remind myself each morning that this is the only third grade year these students get to have. I need to make it count and I need to make it special for them. Because of this, I do my best to create an atmosphere of laughter and joy in all we do…even math!
Susyn: Who/What has influenced you in living your inspired life?
Britta: Oooooooh…so many people! I had a boss named Joseph who was a huge inspiration in my life. He was kind and funny and knew how to bring out the best in people. He taught me how important it is to trust people.
My students have all been an inspiration, as well. I’ve worked with students from 3 years old to high school age. Each age has something wonderful to offer. At any age, children are mirrors and we can see how well we are doing as stewards by looking into their eyes. (Believe me, there is nothing more motivating than seeing disappointment in a child’s eyes.) I am also grateful for and inspired by the parents who share their children with me each day. I don’t know how they do all that they do.
Finally, I have a circle of women in my life who really support and inspire me. They do not even know each other but they all have similar qualities. They are smart, sassy, inquisitive, strong and creative.
Susyn: What are you working on now?
Britta: Several projects, actually. I’m working on a screenplay that has been dancing around in my head for a long time. I’m also working on my principal’s certificate. After I finish that, my plan is to become bilingual. I’d love to be fluent in Spanish. Beyond that, plans are unclear but I’ve found that planning too far ahead is really pointless because life never turns out like you think it will. Fortunately, it usually looks a lot better than I ever envisioned anyway!
Susyn: What words of wisdom do you have for someone who desires to live their inspired life vision?
Britta: Inspired living doesn’t mean easy living. It means bold living. Sometimes living an inspired life requires you to make tough or even frightening choices—job changes, cross-country moves, ending or beginning a relationship. Once, I was in a fit of despair about a big decision I had to make. I wallowed and whined to a friend of mine, and as I did, she calmly looked on with a smile on her face. Finally, I asked her why she was smiling when I was potentially making the biggest mistake of my life. She simply said, “Don’t you know? There are no mistakes. You can never fall off your path.” It was the wisest statement anyone had ever said to me.
Also, a nap and a snack can inspire anyone!