On inspiration and talking black cats


Kiki's Delivery Service A few hours ago, I just finished watching a Hayao Miyazaki classic, Kiki’s Delivery Service, produced by Studio Ghibli and distributed later on by Disney. If you want to know, yes, there are a lot of cats in the movie!

Just to cut myself some time to explain to you the plot of the story, let me credit Rotten Tomatoes (http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/kikis_delivery_service/) for the movie’s information and synopsis. For the information of everyone, the movie actually has a 100% rating from the critics of Rotten Tomatoes. Ha!

Veteran animator Hayao Miyazaki directs this buoyant children’s adventure yarn about a young witch striking out on her own. At her mother’s behest, 13-year-old Kiki sets out on a year-long apprenticeship with her black cat in tow. With a shaky command of her broom, she ends up in a charming little coastal town that looks like a cross between the French provincial and San Francisco. Unfortunately, the local hotels have a strict “no witches” policy and the police have taken a dim view of her recent aerial mischief-making. She’s saved from the street by a kindly baker’s wife, who offers her room and board in exchange for her delivering by broom the baker’s wares. Soon she befriends a college-aged artist, an old women who fusses over her, and a boy her same age who is nursing a massive crush. All is well until she wakes up one day and realizes that she can’t make her broom levitate nor can she talk to her cat. What will Kiki do?

While watching the Ghibli film, I can’t help but be fascinated with the warmth of each character’s personality, and the euphoric state of the town. It made me tour into a charming little world that I have been looking forward to go to even once in my life. The movie served as a portal that enters into a new realm.

But, what struck me the most is the 2-minute scene in the final quarter of the movie where Ursula, the artist, and Kiki were talking with each other before they go to sleep. You see, Ursula invited Kiki over to her cabin in the side of the town, so that she, on her stay there, may have a break from overthinking about her loss of witch powers.

In that scene, they were discussing a phase in Ursula’s life where she has to face almost the same situation as Kiki’s – she thought she lost her artistic ability to paint. Being too absorbed with the scene, I realized I can relate to the problem Kiki is struggling into. Well, we all do, don’t we?

There were moments in our lives where we felt we just lost something innate in us. A talent, a skill, a passion, sometimes we just say we don’t have the same set of gifts as what we had before. Later, we think we might not just be the same person anymore. We have changed, and changed for the worse.

Then, we start to stumble. We fail on moments we least expected it. We see our lives fall down to pieces right in front of our faces. Then, we ask ourselves, “Where have I lost the person I have known myself to be?”

Such moments left us miserable. They left us doubting ourselves. Heartbroken. Bitter. Confused.

And that’s exactly how Ursula felt at that stage in her life. That’s exactly how Kiki is feeling.

“But we each need to find our own inspiration, Kiki. Sometimes, it’s not easy.” -Ursula

As they all say, success is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration. But without that 1%, it’s hard to get off the ground. May it be in our academics, our careers, our relationships, or other things that are important for us, inspiration is a great key to make us survive all these things. Sometimes, inspiration is that thin wall that separates “being successful” from “being lost in the way.”

But, sometimes, we get caught up with all the hustles and bustles that comes with it, that we forget why we are doing this in the first place. We keep in moving forward without even looking back as to why we started. And that is how we lose track.

Because, sometimes, we just need to take a break. If we don’t feel satisfaction in what we are doing, try harder. If still we don’t, then stop trying. Just let it go for a while. Don’t even think about it. Find an avenue where you can detach yourself and look at your trails, so that you may know how to move forward. Pretty soon, you will be on your way again. Find that inspiration, whether it be within yourself, or in connection with others. Sometimes, it just needs a quick breath to keep you going. Then, try again.

But, sometimes, we don’t get the point of “finding” that inspiration. We often ask ourselves, “Am I ever gonna find it?” and “Will it be worth all the trouble?”

Because, sometimes, we just need to take a leap of faith. Right then, it would be impossible to say. But, as they say, in all things we do, we do it from our spirit. We don’t need cerebral explanations as to how we do it. We just do. And that’s exactly how we are going to stand back up.

And, in the end, it will all be worth it.