Design

What Has Inspired You Lately?

What Has Inspired You Lately?

When we were growing up, my dad would regularly weep in the car…

While driving us to school or a snowy Michigan lake perfect for ice skating, my dad would turn on a cassette tape of a beloved opera or Beethoven’s Ninth, and slow fat tears would roll down his face. He had grown up studying music, and it always moved him deeply. Meanwhile, all three of us kids would chat in the backseat, not worried at all by our sobbing father. We had seen it before. And we would see it again.

What music, art or books move you to tears? Apparently, the Spanish word “duende,” which the dictionary defines as “elf” or “woodland spirit,” can also mean the power of art or music to deeply affect you. Isn’t it almost an exquisite pain to experience something so beautiful that your hand clutches your heart?

Maria Khoreva ballet dancer

For me, things that move me include the Russian ballet dancer Maria Khoreva. Do you follow her on Instagram? She can do turns that are achingly slow.

Mohsin Hamid of Exit West

So many lines in Mohsin Hamid’s book Exit West, including: “It might seem odd that in cities teetering at the edge of the abyss young people still go to class — in this case an evening class on corporate identity and product branding — but that is the way of things, with cities as with life, for one moment we are pottering about our errands as usual and the next we are dying, and our eternally impending ending does not put a stop to our transient beginnings and middles until the instant when it does.”

Maya Lin's wavefield at Storm King.

Maya Lin’s wavefield at Storm King. And simple things, like the shape of this fence. A flock of birds. This poem. The ocean on a windy day. My sleeping children can bring me to my knees.

What about you? What has inspired or moved you lately?

My sister sent me this video of my dad listening to an English choir at my sister’s house last year, and “Lady Gaga’s first appearance in A Star is Born destroyed me, too,” he says.

P.S. 8 great Instagram accounts, and what’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever read?

(Top photo by Kendra Smoot.)

  1. Joy says...

    Your Dad is awesome ♥

  2. Every Sunday I make it to church with four kids in tow. I settle them in their area (nursery or children’s church) then I head to take a seat in the sanctuary with the rest of the church. The music starts and I have to fight off random thoughts and making lists in my head. I focus on the words of the praise music and remember again what Jesus has set me free from. I remember again His love for me. I remember how faithful He is to me, how much He overcame to set humanity free, the richness Jesus and the Bible give to my life, the things my faith in Jesus has enabled me to do and overcome… and I nearly always end that time of worship in tears with a renewed longing to love other people like He has loved me. Eventually the service ends, I go gather each of my children, and we head out to grab some lunch. I look the same on the outside but on the inside I am rejuvenated by love, peace, and the unchanging goodness of God. This all happens through the week too but the weekly Sunday morning worship with my church all being loved by God and singing to God together is incredibly incredible.

  3. Karli Lancaster says...

    What a sweet man!

  4. Exit West was full of such beautiful writing

  5. Margaret says...

    In Florence with my husband, walking together after dinner, we came upon the Duomo and I immediately welled up at its beauty. I then made my husband take a picture of me standing in front of the church, all tear-y but smiling wide. I’m an architect and loved seeing in person a structure I had studied and admired for years. Also, I had a bottle of wine at dinner. But still, it was beautiful!

    • Elizabeth says...

      I studied abroad in Florence when I was in college and one my best memories is coming upon the Duomo at night, unexpectedly. It was so beautiful and breathtaking. I always recommend to travelers that they see it at night, but coming upon it when you don’t expect to see it is something special.

  6. mindi says...

    Things that are green: pictures of Scotland/Iceland/Norway. Driving 89 south from Burlington into Huntington and there’s this one crest of a hill I see in my dreams, 20 years later. Schumann, played by Martha Argerich (the point at ~12:00 minutes, where it all starts to swell!). Watching my students perform – dance, sing, play their little sweet hearts out.

    I love this question, and the video of your dad made me cry, too!

  7. Francesca says...

    The immense bond between people and their pets that I witness regularly always moves me. The unspoken reassurance of a paw on a hand or knee and soft, adoring eyes requires no words and yet speaks so much love.

  8. Mona says...

    The movie Ladybird had me holding back tears especially that scene at the airport…I’ve seen it four times and it has happened every time. The scene near the end of “Spanglish ” where the mother says to her daughter: Is what you want for yourself to become someone very different than me? Ugh I want to ugly cry every time…I guess mother-daughter things just to me. I find Mary Oliver’s poetry uplifting, my favorite being “The Summer Day”. I also read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and felt so inspired…I say requires reading for all. I very frequently feel emotional in the car as music plays, and often straight up cry especially when i am alone. My kids inspire me every day and keep me going. Good lord I feel like crying just thinking of how lucky I am have them in my life. Thank you to all that shared. I loved reading through these comments.

  9. Megan G says...

    Pretty much every time I hear the song, The Luckiest by Ben Folds. All the tears. It is so achingly beautiful. And I defy anyone to watch the ad for Johnny Walker called ‘Dear Brother’ and not cry.
    I also echo the thoughts above about inspiring sports movies and events– gee whiz, those get to me. So much courage and bravery and vulnerability and heart.

    • Rachel says...

      1000% yes to The Luckiest. Sometimes when it randomly comes up in rotation, I’m like, “Nope, can’t handle this today.”

    • Victoria says...

      The Luckiest was our first dance song at our wedding. So beautiful. ♥️

    • Kate says...

      Have you seen About Time?! Lovely movie and it’s use of The Luckiest makes me cry every time.

  10. Leah says...

    This version of “Clair de Lune,” a stunning piece of music in its own, done by the brilliant jazz musician Kamasi Washington. https://youtu.be/KqJJ-2cRR0M

    • Erinn says...

      I loved this so much, thank you for sharing!

    • A Martin says...

      I just listened to it and wept the whole time. Damn….that’s a really good one. Thank you for sharing.

    • thank you for sharing this. just clicked and am in love. x

  11. Leon Bridges “River” gets me every time. I love listening to covers of the song as well.

    Capturing the falls leaves changing ?

    Watching my 5 year old daughter sit at our kitchen nook to do after school homework—surrounded by sun sprinkles from our disco ball while listening to the “Piano in the background” station on Spotify. (Full time Kindergarten and hw can be a lot so I aim for serene and a treat!)

    Reading tangible books. Sometimes I get trapped in podcasts & digital/audio books and forget how much I love books!

  12. Emily says...

    I suffer from severe, often debilitating depression. Most around me don’t have any idea. I’ve gotten quite good at projecting a happy, fulfilled facade. I scream most days on my car ride home. My earliest memory is feeling like I don’t belong in this world. I was sixish. As you can imagine, it is a lonely, isolating kind of suffering.

    SOMETIMES, though, I’ll read a passage in a novel or hear a line in a song. It might be actually describing sadness, depression, suffering, etc, or it might just be something that stirkes some sort of chord within me. Either way, there is a moment, sometimes just a second, or sometimes a whole length of a song, where I don’t feel like I am suffering alone. The song “The Stable Song” by Gregory Alan Isakov, for instance.

    And those moments, added up over a month, a year, a lifetime, are what help keep the beckoning storm at bay. I suppose you could say that is what inspires me.

    • Sam says...

      This is so inspiring to me – thank you for sharing. You are not alone. We are all in this together. You are brave and strong!

    • Mm says...

      I relate so strongly to this Emily and I’m so sorry. Even the earliest feelings of not feeling like you belong in this world.

      And the stable song. Wow. My sister just told me to listen to the band Sleeping at last, and they have an album with songs written for the enneagram types.
      I am a type 5, something tells me you might also be, and their song which is appropriately called ‘five’ and it made me cry because it also made me feel like there was some space that I am not quite so separate. There is a like about looking at life through a one way mirror.
      You should listen to them I think you may like it.

    • Margaret says...

      Oh Emily. I’m sitting here right now hoping you find moments like that today, tomorrow and the day after that. How I wish you didn’t have such a heavy burden to carry.

    • Caitlin says...

      Hi Emily,

      You just introduced me to “the stable song”. Thank you. I cried.

      I’m so very sorry for your suffering and most especially for feeling so alone in it. May the moments on consolation and solace come when you need them most.

      Thank you again,
      Caitlin

    • Kate says...

      I am very sorry to hear that you are experiencing this, Emily. I take comfort in knowing that no matter what I am experiencing, someone else has likely felt the same. The commonality in human experience inspires me as it does you. I hope you find those moments frequently and that your suffering eases.

    • Elly says...

      I wish I could reach out and give you a hug! I know that feeling so well of finding inspiration in the darkness. Keep hanging on.

    • Jen says...

      Sending you love, Emily! You are an inspiration. I’m a fan of Gregory Alan Isakov, too.

    • Li says...

      the 2nd paragraph to your comment is exactly how i feel. thankyou for putting this into words, emily. may you find comfort in books and music and the knowledge that there are people in this world who relate to these feelings and all their weight.

  13. Libbynan says...

    The day Aretha Franklin died I heard the announcement on the Beatles Channel on satellite radio and then they played her cover of Let It Be. I had to pull to the curb….that song gets me anyway, but Aretha…wow! Also True Colors by Cyndi Lauper…just does me in. And pretty much anything by Bach……

  14. Jenny Bachynski says...

    In terms of music, there are two pieces that make my heart ache (in a really wonderful way).

    If you have 10 minutes to close your eyes and put on headphones, listen to ‘Happiness’ by Jonsi and Alex. If you have less time, close your eyes and listen to ‘Small Memories’ by Jon Hopkins… these songs are so beautifully powerful.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPI2uYUZGQ8

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cVTciqYuPY

  15. manu says...

    Standing on a cliff watching a powerful ocean roll into it.

    A very loud choir singing Schubert’s Ave Maria with a sadness that can only be evoked by hundreds of gorgeous voices. I can just think about it and start crying.

    Also, for some reason, when I catch my partners handwriting on a note. I rarely see it and his handwriting is so elegant and neat and delicate. Its like a secret I found!

    • Michelle says...

      The power of the ocean, always. Rough and wild, or calmly lapping. Couldn’t agree more Manu.

  16. Ceridwen says...

    When my children come down in the morning, careful steps down the stairs, warm crinkled pjs and rosy cheeks from sleep. There face when they see me with the slightest smile. And my older daughter too who is almost my height but she falls into me with a hug of a sleepy little kid.
    Then….the other day, inexplicably, blueberries on the bench in the morning light. I felt so lucky I cried and smiled all over.

    Also, I agree, Lady Gaga in A Star is Born when she belted out on stage. I lost it along with every one else in the audience.

  17. Amy says...

    That video of your dad!!!! The best.
    I cry while reading Humans of New York and I cry the entire time I’m watching the New York City Marathon.

  18. Bevan says...

    In my city the airport is a good 30 minute drive from the city centre. I’m always moved after returning home from a vacation, when my hometown’s skyline emerges in the distance. The image represents so much more to me than buildings and an urban cityscape. It represents the place I’ve called home, the relationships I’ve made over the years, and all of memories that are still to come!

  19. Tammy Sutherland says...

    OH! Tears sprung to my eyes instantly. I love Julia Donaldson, but hadn’t heard of this one! Looking it up now! Thank you.

  20. Kirsty says...

    We’re celebrating 70 years of the NHS in the UK. There’s been lots of TV programmes and documentaries about it. Every time I watch one, I sob.

  21. sam says...

    that video of your dad is soo precious <3

  22. Erin says...

    I grew up with a small family and met a man last year with 3 siblings, a niece and a nephew and an enormous extended family. We celebrated his late grandmother’s birthday in the presence of her son, daughter in law, four grandchildren and two great grand children. I stood quietly in the corner and observed it all while the cake was being cut. She approached me and said “It’s a beautiful family isn’t it?”. 70 years of age difference and we stood there sharing the exact same feeling.

  23. Katie says...

    I hope that in the future they invent a small golden light that follows you everywhere and when something is about to end, it shines brightly so you know it’s about to end.

    And if you’re never going to see someone again, it’ll shine brightly and both of you can be polite and say, “It was nice to have you in my life while I did, good luck with everything that happens after now.”
    And maybe if you’re never going to eat at the same restaurant again, it’ll shine and you can order everything off the menu you’ve never tried. Maybe, if someone’s about to buy your car, the light will shine and you can take it for one last spin. Maybe, if you’re with a group of friends who’ll never be together again, all your lights will shine at the same time and you’ll know, and then you can hold each other and whisper, “This was so good. Oh my God, this was so good.”

    — Iain Thomas, I Wrote This For You

    • Nazeefah says...

      I have goosebumps. Brought me to tears.

    • A Martin says...

      So moving!!

    • Tina, NYC says...

      Oh Katie thank you for sharing this entire passage. I came across but a snippet of this years ago.

      I had no idea it is even more painfully beautiful than I ever imagined. This idea has formed me, changed me.

    • Inga says...

      So beautiful, thank you

  24. Louisa says...

    My three year old daughter has a book called ‘The Paper Dolls’ by Julia Donaldson (author of The Gruffalo). It’s about a little girl who makes paper dolls with her mum until one day a boy cuts them up. But it’s also about so much more – love, loss, motherhood – and it gets me. Every. Single. Time.

    “And the pieces all joined together
    And the paper dolls flew
    Into the little girl’s memory
    Where they found white mice and fireworks
    And a starfish soap
    And a kind granny
    And the butterfly hairslide
    And more and more lovely things
    Each day and each year
    And the little girl grew
    Into a mother
    Who helped her own little girl make paper dolls.”

    • Carrie says...

      Ack! I can’t stand (in the best way) books that call attention to the passage of time combined with parenthood. Love You Forever by Robert Munsch does this to me too. Will have to check this one out, thanks!

    • Ellie O'Malley says...

      I always cry too at ‘The snail and the whale’ by Julia Donaldson. The first time I read it in a John Lewis in England it moved me to tears so I bought it. It still makes me well up whenever I read it’s very dog eared covers these days. Something about the snail saving the whale and the journey they go on. Traveling the world and seeing all the wonders. I love her books

  25. Kelly Jeanne says...

    What a wonderful collection of moments here!

    My husband and I have been sleep deprived and just plain worn out. Our little one is having some sleep issues, something that I thought ended after babyhood.

    But we were lucky enough to see a performance by the group Black Violin, and it was so incredibly fun! Just plain fun and moving and exhilarating: like medicine for our tiredness and weariness. The whole performance was just electric, a real gift.

    I highly recommend checking YouTube for their cover of “Thinking Out Loud/Let’s Get it On.”

  26. Kristina says...

    Just thinking of the concept of national parks, in the U.S. and around the world, makes me weepy. What a beautiful concept, preserving some of the world’s rarest ecosystems, the most gorgeous environments, and threatened species for the future. On almost every visit to a park I’m brought to tears. It happened in the Smoky Mountains, watching the mist rise over the hills. I had an overwhelming feeling of being welcomed home (and I’m from California, I’d never been to that part of the US before). It happened on a backpacking trip in the Grand Canyon, gazing at ice crystals sparkling along the edges of the trail, the canyon glowing pink and purple in the sunrise. I cried kayaking on a radiant, turquoise lake in Khao Sok National Park in Thailand, and listening to the echoes of howler monkeys in Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica. How lucky are we to have these natural treasures set aside to explore?

    • Brooke says...

      Oh my goodness, Kristina! This brought tears to my eyes. Yes I feel the same way being in the beauty and that they were a national covenant to savor wild places. Have you seen National Parks Adventure on Netflix ? Soooo good.

  27. Sharon in Scotland says...

    The sound of bagpipes filling with air before they actually play…………goosebumps.
    Taps.
    Hearing nursery and P1 children rehearsing “Oh little town of Bethlehem” and the solo chorister singing the first part of “Once in Royal David’s City”.
    The stunning scenery where I live and work………..sometimes I just have to stop and look.
    “I have a dream” speech.
    Mahalia Jackson singing “Trouble of the world” at the end of “Imitation of Life”.
    The part in “Wind in the Willows” where Mole smells his house, after being away from it for so long, and tries to explain to Ratty how much he needs it and how he feels.
    When Hester dies in “His Dark Materials”.
    “Starmaker” from “Fame” T.V. The actor being sung to was leaving because he was really dying and the emotion is genuine.
    The end of “Cyrano de Bergerac” where he finally tells Roxanne how he feels.
    Martin Luther King, Rosa Parkes, Ruby Bridges, Emett Till, all those who have gone before, and because of them I can live and work where I want, love whom I please, the work isn’t done yet but…………………here I am.

  28. Nancey says...

    Obama, every. time.

    • Brooke says...

      Yes!!! He and Michelle are SUCH good humans. Even before this last election, I felt so lucky and amazed to have them and they are still such a light for goodness and courage and kindness.

  29. Sally says...

    As an American living abroad (especially in this very polarizing age of being an American), John McCain’s farewell statement had me weeping. It reminds me what is so good and pure about the American people and instilled pride and hope in me that has been hard to come by the past couple of years.

    “… But we have always had so much more in common with each other than in disagreement. If only we remember that and give each other the benefit of the presumption that we all love our country we will get through these challenging times. We will come through them stronger than before. We always do […] I want to end my farewell to you with the heartfelt faith in Americans that I felt so powerfully that evening.
    I feel it powerfully still.
    Do not despair of our present difficulties but believe always in the promise and greatness of America, because nothing is inevitable here. Americans never quit. We never surrender. We never hide from history. We make history.
    Farewell, fellow Americans. God bless you, and God bless America. .”

    ahh!

  30. Lauren says...

    Hannah’s mention of Bryan Stevenson in her week of outfits post reminded me of seeing him speak at a conference a few years ago and being absolutely blown away by him. My colleagues and I wept through his whole presentation – he is incredibly inspiring and captivating. If you don’t know much about him, I highly recommend reading his book Just Mercy. And if you ever have an opportunity to hear him speak live, run don’t walk!

  31. Kim G says...

    All of Obama’s speeches got to me. I wouldn’t consider myself overly emotional or prone to crying, but every time I watched him speak, I’d cry.

    Needless to say, I haven’t watched or listened to ANY presidential speeches for quite awhile.

    • Nancey says...

      Me too, every single time with him, I find him so inspiring. It helps me that I follow some instagram accounts that feature him and I get inspired all over again. And when i want to get all grouchy and sometimes mean over our country and what has happened I say to myself ‘when they go low, we go high’ and I’m alright again.

    • same. the “fired up, ready to go speech” in particular and anytime he speaks about Michelle… sigh.

  32. Jill says...

    I work at a small private high school in Florida. We hosted the boys and girls district cross country meet this morning. Our entire student body and all of the teachers and staff were dismissed from school for an hour to go out and support all the runners. Watching the runners cross the finish line made me tear up multiple times, from the first place runner to the last runner. So inspirational.

  33. My daughter’s fourth grade class will be singing A Million Dreams from The Greatest Showman for their winter concert, and I already know I’m going to be a weepy mess.

  34. Mandy says...

    Any displays of love and kindness really do it for me. The movie love actually with its scene at the airport has me sobbing before the movie even starts! The message being all you need is love ???

  35. lee says...

    Those lines from Exit West sent instant chills through my whole being. I know what I’ll be reading next!

    Lately, watching old videos of my children has been bringing me to tears. They are four and five now, and apparently the phase of our life from two years ago has moved into the nostalgia zone. I have, apparently, already forgotten how very hard it was, and I long for it in an aching, painful way when I watch those videos on my instagram and still lingering in the albums on my phone. So much so that I have myself thinking I want another baby. But I don’t really want another baby, I just want to hug them at two years old again. And how cliché it all is doesn’t even stop the tears from coming.

  36. Anne-Valérie says...

    Good evening every body. My english is not terrific but I ‘d like to give you the title of this book wich made me crying and really touch my soul: “Je reviendrai avec la pluie” by Takuji Ichikawa may be translate in english like this: “I’ll come back with the rain”.

  37. Liz Cohe says...

    seeing all of my favorite paintings for the first time at the musee d’orsay in paris brought me to tears in college! duende is a great word to know – i always searched for a word to describe how it felt after.

  38. N says...

    I enjoyed reading everyone of these comments. I have so many new songs to add to my playlist, so many new poems to read and really such wonderful stories uplift my spirits. Cheers to Cup of Jo for such a lovely, sweet atmosphere in the midst of all the darkness.
    For me, my dogs inspire me. Hear me out, they are full of joy, love and always ready to play and shower me with kisses. They inspire me to leave all the negativity at the door, focus on being kind to everyone and try to see the love in everybody. Don’t you love that they just bring out the best in every human? They are my role models for living life in the present, appreciate the beauty of every little thing (falling leaves, fat raindrops, smell of cake!) and being around them inspires me to be a better, nicer version of myself everyday!

    • Sasha L says...

      Resounding agreement! Dogs bring out the best in us and teach us unconditional love. Mine make every single day worth it.

  39. Kathryn says...

    I have mostly given-up Facebook. In general, it makes me dislike others, be critical of myself, and use valuable brain time thinking of responses to peoples’ ridiculous posts. Now, I have time to remember what inspires me, watching the world wake-up, birds chirping, taking in the sweet moments between my children and allowing the bad moments to be part of our lives as well. I guess the inspiration is living in my own life and being thankful for what I have been able to build.

  40. Mary W says...

    There’s a Butoh dancer named Vanessa Skantze whose work is beautiful and transformative. Also, any time Arlington National Cemetery is shown on a screen I get choked up.

  41. Veronika says...

    COJ-Community, you make me happy and all feely-fuzzy-warm-inside. :) Thank you!

    Actually, because it’s autumn and pre-christmas season and all this: If any readers live in MUNICH / Germany, how would you feel about meeting on
    –> Thursday 6th of Nov
    –> at L’Osteria Schwanthalerhöhe at 7pm for Pizza & drinks?

    …and then let’s just have a nice evening :)

    It would be fun just to try it out :)
    Hope to see you there,
    Veronika

    PS: If you want to try, just post it here and I’ll book a table.

    • Jackie Callahan says...

      This is a lovely idea. If only the location was Portland, Oregon – i’d be in! Hope your meetup works out :)

    • Brooke says...

      Jackie I’m in Portland Oregon! Do you think there’s a way to gather CoJ women here? That could be so fun.
      Brooke
      Adventurealley@hotmail.com

      Good luck Veronika, what a sweet idea and I hope some lovely “freund” and “bekannte” come!

    • Veronika says...

      Hi Jackie and Brooke,

      Oh! It would be so lovely if you would meet! :) Quite frankly, it would be awesome to take the whole COJ Community from online to offiline-land :) Let’s meet for real all over the world. I am sure we would all get to know very lovely humans, what a great early christmas gift to make for all of us!

      Let me know how it turned out :), Veronika
      dasisteineschoeneidee@gmail.com

    • Kelly says...

      Veronika, I’m in Munich! I’m in!

    • Vaune says...

      Hi Veronika, I’m interested! I live in Schwabing, though, and have to put a 1-year-old to bed first, so would you be up for moving the location slightly more centrally? L’Osteria Karlsplatz, perhaps? And…meintest du Tuesday (statt Thursday)? Der 06.11. ist nämlich Dienstag. (Either way, ich wäre gerne dabei!)

    • Niyati says...

      Hi Veronica! I do live in Germany but far away in Rheinland-Pfalz!! I wish we could meet up though!?Niya

    • Veronika says...

      Hi Kelly and Vaune,
      am back from the holidays :) … now, how about we meet on Thursday, 7pm at L’Osteria in Schwabing (Elisabethstraße 52)?
      If there are any questions, just write to dasisteineschoeneidee@gmail.com
      Very much looking forward to meeting you :) Veronika

  42. Sue Harris says...

    I recently saw the Kusama exhibit, including the light installations exhibited here at the Cleveland Museum of Art. I had seen so many images from the show, so I knew a little about it, but I was overcome with emotion when I stepped into the first box and the door was closed behind me. I admit I cried, it took my breath away. It was an amazing experience. A month ago my husband and I took a trip to Paris–our first. I was walking in the Musée d’Orsay and saw one of my very favorite Renoir paintings, Dance in the Country. It was very emotional for me, and so inspirational. I am 62, and I have loved that painting since I was in college–I had a print of it in my dorm room. Paris was amazing–so much art, so much history. It seemed like every place we went I saw things I had only known from books. Wonderful trip, so many beautiful experiences.

  43. S says...

    I cry at a lot, but just off the top of my head:
    – “Good Bones” by Maggie Smith: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/89897/good-bones. I didn’t even read it before I posted and I’m starting to well up.
    – “Just Breathe” by Pearl Jam. Balled at the concert.
    – “This is Us” at the start of each episode, I think I’m going to make it through without crying and it gets me every time.
    – At the end of just about every book I read.

    • Chelsey says...

      Ohhhhhhh this poem. I’m printing it and putting it on the fridge. It is everything.

  44. Maggie says...

    For me, lately, it’s been people – usually women – speaking truth to power. It makes me emotional now in ways that it didn’t used to.

  45. Nikki says...

    I am South African and have the incredible privilege of working in local government and through this working with different communities. At the beginning of community meetings someone is called on to pray and everyone joins in singing beautiful prayers and at the end of meetings sometimes everyone will join in singing struggle songs. It always makes me tear up. It brings forward all of the emotions of our broken, unequal society and the immense hope in making it better at the same time.

  46. Angie says...

    Interactions between my 6 year old son and 4 year old daughter. In between the bickering, they have moments of such compassion and kindness. Last night, while out of my sight but still within earshot, my daughter fell and hit her head while running, and my son was close behind her. She started crying and I prematurely admonished my son, thinking he had somehow tripped her. She lifted her head and through her crying, told me, “It wasn’t Max’s fault, Mom. I tripped by myself.” He just sat there looking at her with tears in his eyes. It was a humbling reminder that sometimes, parents need to get out of the way because the kids have more figured out than we realize.

  47. Camille says...

    Anything related to the love of Life and its infinite mystery.

  48. Julie says...

    For me, what gets to me and inspires me, is when people do good things to help others who are less fortunate, no matter how small the act may be. I makes me so emotional, because I think sometimes we forget about all the good people in the world.

  49. I love your Dad. (And totally relate to him. Just try to get me through the Mission soundtrack w/o being in tears. Can’t be done.)

    • Cait says...

      The Mission soundtrack….oh goodness. My little sister walked down the aisle to it and I had no chance.

  50. Betsy says...

    Ahhhh…your dad crying brought me to tears. So lovely!

  51. Elly says...

    A few things that make me cry (always):
    -Curtain call bows after a musical
    -During my company’s (a small, community hospital) annual employee recognition ceremony. Just seeing these people I work with every day being recognized for their outstanding commitment to my community makes me well up.
    -At every parent-teacher conference since my daughter was in preschool. The worst year was when her teacher told me “she just SO kind to the other kids”. BAWLING.
    -When my kids do something to help each other out without me asking. My daughter (7) will help my son (3) zip up his coat. Or my son will get my daughter a drink from the fridge when he grabs his own.

  52. Polly Saywell says...

    This very talented singer songwriter lives in Wyoming – just down the road from me. She inspires me every day… a wonderful mother of two sweet girls, a brand new nurse, a kind, non-judgemental listener and general allround good egg. In this music video https://youtu.be/Rjc16KSp-8Q Sarah shows off some of the best bits of Wyoming (and her beautiful flowy Bethany Yellowtail dress). I want to be Sarah when I grow up.

  53. Emily says...

    What a sweet video of your dad. Mark my words: One day, you’ll cherish the hell out of that.

  54. Heather says...

    these comments are incredible – HERE’S my inspiration!

  55. We all get inspiration from different things, right? For me it’s always the thought of one day everything will be over. Some people might feel depressed or I don’t know a little scared by thinking about death. But, if I talk about me, I get tremendous amount of inspiration thinking about it. When I think that one day everything will end, there will be only peace and silence, this fills me up with tranquility and equanimity. This very thought helps me to stay motivated and do the things that I love , take risks and live my life to the fullest. Do everything that I want, keep on trying again and again, so that on my death bed when I’ll look back at my entire life, I should feel happy and proud that I lived my life without any regrets and I did something really meaningful and I spread love and was being loved.

    • Renee says...

      You win! The best comment I ever read!

    • Kathryn says...

      Lovely. Thank you for sharing.

    • Beth says...

      THIS comment inspires me!! Bravo!

  56. Laura says...

    As I get older I feel like I cry at everything, but one slightly odd thing that has always moved me is a dramatic sports performance, specifically when throngs of fans all freak out at once. A buzzer-beater when fans rush the court, a long sunken-putt to win a golf tournament, anything where a large group people cheer wildly makes me cry. (I don’t even have to like the sport or team!) Something about seeing so many people so triumphant and happy at once always gets me. Similarly if a large group of people are all singing along to something- that too. I’ve always been slightly embarrassed by this, but I think it’s just seeing people come together that makes me emotional.

    • Kez says...

      I have this weird quirk too – and I don’t even like sports that much! If someone has won something and is emotional, I can’t help but cry too. Other people’s overwhelming joy is definitely contagious. Also, the New Zealand rugby team’s Haka is amazing and brings me to tears – even though it’s basically a war cry!

  57. Rosa says...

    I just watched A Star is Born with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper and it ripped me apart. I cried the whole hours drive home. I must have been saving up my tears because they just flowed and flowed.

  58. Molly says...

    Growing up we had a VHS tape on which my parents had recorded several Christmas movies (the Peanuts, the Grinch) once when they aired on TV in the early 80s. All of the commercials are amazing, but this one McDonald’s commercial about a little boy’s appreciation for his teacher…. “we’ll never forget ya.” SOBS. Search for “hard nosed Mrs. Hatcher” on YouTube.

    • Alex says...

      Why did I look this up at work?! *sobs*

    • Colleen says...

      I have a tape like this too that my mom recorded! I watched it every year and it even went to college with me. I had thought I lost it and it miraculously turned up at my parents’ house several years later when I was helping them pack to move. A few years ago my husband had it transferred to a DVD for me as a Christmas surprise.

      The late 80s commercials have always been my favorite part of it!

  59. Michele says...

    I always tear up during the curtain call bows after a theatrical performance. The direct exchange of appreciation between the performers and the audience, the look of accomplishment and pure joy on the faces of the cast. It’s all for that moment!

  60. Reece VH says...

    Handels messiah moves me. I save it for Christmas time and every year it just fills my heart.

  61. Kate says...

    This morning on the way to work… “All you need is love” by the Beatles. It was the recessional hymn at my Dad’s funeral. We just couldn’t exit the church looking solemn with a traditional catholic hymn, we had to exit with everyone singing one of his favorite songs. It’s bittersweet to hear it now.

  62. scrappychill says...

    When my husband and I first married we lived in a small house in a small neighborhood. Every Easter there was a parade. A rag tag Bunny would show up on th3 local fire truck waving gingerly at folks peering through their picture windows. Behind the fire truck would be a small line of cars with friendly neighbors throwing Smarties and Tootsie rolls. My eyes would always well up tears and I would think “ you came just for me.”

  63. diana k. says...

    Jonah Hill talking about the movie he just made, mid90’s. It’s the first movie he wrote and directed and he’s so passionate about it. It’s sooooo inspiring to hear someone who kind of got caught up in acting and made a conscious shift to start telling his own story and creating something from his heart. I don’t think I would be as interested in the film if I didn’t hear him baring his soul about his insecurity as a kid and how he found a community in skating and hip-hop. It inspires me to create things that I’m proud of and to be as honest as possible in a world that makes it so easy to put on airs and fake it.

  64. Carrie Smith says...

    Paul Simon singing Bridge Over Troubled Water. Gets me every time. Also, morning light on a crisp fall day. My office window overlooks the University of Texas’s campus with the Texas hill country’s green hills in the backdrop, and we have been having the most beautiful morning light this week. It’s breathtaking and incredibly comforting. It feels like home.

  65. LH says...

    Oh, I so love this! Thank you for the reminder to focus on the inspiring, beautiful things around me. Those moments when you can see something larger than all of us. A few things that have moved me lately….
    The song “Stubborn Love” by The Lumineers
    Mary Oliver’s poetry
    Commencement speeches!
    A moment at work when people were truly selfless, and pitched in so the team could move forward.
    Also 100% agree with Exit West!!

  66. Jamie says...

    Sometimes my kids will do something that makes me put my hand to my heart. The other day, it was my four-year-old doing the simple act of zipping up his coat. Something about his new independence and his little hands made me tear up.

    The Avett Brothers song “No Hard Feelings” – a song about dying, or finding peace in death – moves me to tears almost every time I hear it.

    “Will I join with the ocean blue
    Or run into the savior true
    And shake hands laughing
    And walk through the night
    Straight to the light
    Holding the love I’ve known in my life
    And no hard feelings”

  67. Katie says...

    My company has brewed a beer called Duende!

    Most recently I was moved to tears during a partnered aerial performance. It wasn’t particularly emotional, but the amount of skill and trust involved in their routine took my breath away!

  68. Renee says...

    Michelle Obama’s speeches during the 2016 election especially at the Democratic National Convention were so inspiring! What a woman!

  69. Alina says...

    This is basically my dad, right down to the signet ring and blue pullover! He used to bawl at mine and my sister’s choir concerts in high school. Beautiful as an adult, I think!

  70. I’m a florist and find that so many of the designs I create for myself or for creative styled shoots (aka not wedding work) is usually steeped in so many different sources of inspiration. I’m always inspired by the season and nature, what plants are growing together at a certain time, their textures and palette. Sometimes the colors I find together in a single rock or the color of the sunset against the Susquehanna river at that time of year can set an entire color theme. I’m also greatly inspired by the places and things I loved as a child- the romantic, overflowing gardens of the UK, period movies, fairytales, and poetry. Usually I find I’m telling a story of things I loved, lost, or miss dearly. Place and nostalgia are so evocative.

    • Annie says...

      I love this so much, Sara!

  71. Jennifer says...

    My son just turned six last week. He has never been into “typical boy” stuff, he loves princesses and unicorns and castles and rainbows. In past years, the presents his friends brought to his birthday party were things like lego speedboats and marvel action figures. I don’t think they knew enough to explain to their parents that my son didn’t like those things. This year though, he ended up with a riot of gifts that were perfect for him. Just looking at our couch after the party, covered in gift wrap, princess dolls, mermaid pencil cases, and unicorn crafts made me tear up. His friends know him and love him. I used to worry every time he chose a fairy lunchbox or Cinderella socks, thinking he’d get made fun of at school. But it turns out he just had to be true to himself and unapologetic and now his friends are totally on board. To have that worry replaced with love really moved me.

    • Avalanche Lake says...

      That’s so beautiful! What a fantastic mother you must be.

    • Natasha says...

      As a new mom of a 4.5 month old boy, you are an inspiration!

    • wendy says...

      This comment says everything to me about love and acceptance… and parenting. I am so inspired by reading your words – do you have any idea how incredible a mother you are to foster this? I am still streaming tears as I write this.

    • Marta Izquierdo says...

      Yay for him and yay for you!

  72. Annie says...

    Speaches! I cried so many times listening to them. All kinds of speaches… a sport athelete who just wins a competition, a politician who is elected, an artist who wins an award, wedding speaches, etc. A few years ago, my father was promoted to a new job and there was a ceremony with a a lot of people. He did a speach about is work, the persons who helped him along the road and about how much he loves his family, that we are the most important thing for him. No need to say that I was a mess!

    There is something so much beauty about listening to someone else feeling and response to something they worked for, something they achieve.

  73. Elizabeth says...

    I work at a preschool and we listen to a Pandora station for toddlers every morning. Whenever th Dixie Chick’s cover of “Rainbow Connection” comes on, I get chills and often a tear in my eye. It sounds silly when I think about Kermit the Frog singing it, but something about those lyrics just really gets me!

  74. Shirin says...

    When I entered the Rijksmuseum, Louvre, Pompidou for the first time. They were my first European museums and they were glorious. I was awestruck and overwhelmingly moved to finally be inside something that I’ve only just read about for so long. A wave of regret also came over me for not having gone in my 20s. I just looked at my husband impishly, and for a moment he was concerned about my eyes watering slowly. So he just said — I know. Don’t cry.

  75. diana k. says...

    I was taking my friend to dinner a few weeks before she was going to take the Bar exam. She had been studying nonstop for months and I was in her city on business, so she agreed to tear herself away for one night. While we were in the cab her boyfriend texted her, “Have fun tonight. Relax and remember that you are worth so much more than the outcome of this test.” And she read it to me and we both started crying. There’s so much pressure that we put on ourselves, and that others put on us, in every avenue of life. It was such a simple text, but I cried because it was so nice to have that reminder that we don’t need permission to relax and be kind to ourselves.

    FYI, her boyfriend would probably roll his eyes if he heard that we sobbed in the back of the cab over this.

    Further FYI, she passed the bar!

  76. I sing in a choir and my nephew (4 yo at the time) was attending one of our performances. At the end, he told me it was so beautiful it made him want to cry. It actually happened to me once on stage (during a different concert) at the beginning of a very beautiful part of Brahms Requiem…

  77. Julia Gnegel says...

    I would never consider myself really patriotic, but anytime I hear The Star Spangled Banner, I cry. Every. Single. Time.

    When I heard of Avicii’s passing in the spring, I watched the documentary about his life and was incredibly moved. I had heard a song or two before but didn’t even know his name. I watched the documentary 10 times that first week (and many times since), sobbing and reflecting and learning. I can’t even really explain it. Now I have all his albums that I listen to on repeat and many of his songs bring me to tears. It’s a beautiful discovery to find something that can have such an impact.

    • Molly says...

      Oh my gosh, me too!!!! America the Beautiful in particular makes me tear up. We sing it at church every Thanksgiving and I can’t even come close to making it through.

  78. Sally says...

    Oh my god, the older I get, the softer and more sentimental I get. EVERYTHING makes me cry. Here’s 3 things from literally the past week.

    1: Listening to ‘From Now On’ from ‘The Greatest Showman’, and suddenly thinking, “this would be a great song to arrive to at a funeral!” Cue crying.
    2: Seeing a photo of my best friend, her husband and their newborn twins. It was such a long, gut-wrenching journey to those two babies… I saw the photo and I was sooooo happy and… Cue crying.
    3: An artist friend asked me if I’d have a small role in the opening of his sculpture exhibition, which he’s worked on for 5 years, and I’m sooooo proud and… Cue crying.

    I’m the worst, but I wouldn’t change it. I think being able to cry at beautiful things just shows that the world hasn’t broken you quite yet.

  79. Shar says...

    Anything about others reaching out love to others and flinging the doors wide open to those who need love the most. Adorable animals, babies, innocent little ones doing the simplest and sweetest things. Really beautiful music like that of August Wilhelmsson. I cried listening to Dear Even Hansen. I get chills listening to The Lord’s Prayer on Andrea Boccellis Christmas album full volume on my stereo. There is always something so powerful about music. It is truly a language that everyone can relate to in some way or another. Also, other’s joy and happiness makes me weepy.

  80. It’s funny. I re-read the paragraph about your father weeping aloud to my husband and my hand went to my heart, imagining how beautiful it must be to witness your father so moved (an experience neither my husband nor I has ever encountered). Then I read, “Isn’t is almost an exquisite pain to experience something so beautiful that your hand clutches your heart?” And I realized that would be it, for me. Seeing my father moved to tears.

  81. Sietske says...

    Every saterday morning I take a walk while listening to my favorite podcast before I go rowing. It is around sunrise, and I brought me to tears because it was a beautiful morning and just made me so happy. Beautiful sky.

    • Sarah says...

      What’s the podcast?

  82. susanne says...

    An early morning run with my beloved pup in cadence next to me, the sun rising and a slight ocean fog gets me every time. My senses are heightened and my emotions raw. Its like God is whispering to me…”I see you. I love you.”
    I often run with a huge smile and tears running down my face. It is gratitude at finest.

  83. judit says...

    Inexplicably the rusty mint/green rooftops in Stockholm city. So so pretty.

  84. Leigh says...

    I live in France and have a high stress job with two kids and a partner who travels. Touching moments keep me going. Here is my list. My kids when they laugh. All classical music, anything w violins. Running fast through the woods. Seeing gorgeous sunsets, sunrises, mountain views or anything infused with nature, which is most days where we live. Having a snappy serious and funny conversation with a woman friend. Reading quotes from books or famous people that remind me of something. Seeing the global anger about President Trump. I love music like dirty three, olafur oleands, jazz, old hip hop like for example the disable planets, jazz matazz, guru and massive attack. Portishead. Music by Hooverphonics and Dutch Kovacs. Old Fellini films. Edith Piaf. My list is getting too long. Thanks for this! Wishing all a great day wherever you are.

  85. Sasha L says...

    What a gift this post and all of the wonderful comments are today!

    Today is my oldest daughter’s birthday, 22. I can’t think of or talk about her birth without becoming overcome with emotion. I lived an entire lifetime in just a few moments. A precipitous birth, joy, a blue baby, resuscitation and relief, and overwhelming love. Wherever I try to describe those moments I feel at a loss to adequately express the gift, the luck, the feeling of my whole life being handed to me when she revived, and the unfathomable staggering loss, just teetering there on the brink. Life and not life. And then my astonished wonder at the resilience and strength of this tiny baby girl. That feeling never leaves me. I tear up every time I think of how lucky I am to be her mom.

    • KC says...

      Wow! Thank you for this! Perfection.

  86. Nigerian Girl says...

    I am a reader first before a writer. And so books move me deeply, too many books and too many times to recall completely. When I read the last paragraph of the novel Work Like Any Other by Virginia Reeves, I bawled so hard I frightened myself. Midway into Colm Toibin’s Brooklyn, I lost it. I’m avoiding Khaled Hosseini’s latest book because I know it will destroy me. About two weeks ago, I read A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold (mother of one of the Colombine shooters) and I haven’t been able to stop thinking of her since then. The book moved me and disturbed me so greatly that I thought: maybe I shouldn’t have kids. My heart is with her. This life can be unfair. There are no easy answers. Music inspires and moves me as well. I wept the very first time I heard Adele’s “All I Ask”. Same with “When We Were Young”. The moment I heard the opening notes, I knew I was listening to a song about nostalgia, and nostalgia always twists my heartstrings. Recently, I’ve been following HONY’s journey in Rwanda and crying quietly at work. The way Rwanda has come to terms with the unspeakable horror of the genocide and become one of Africa’s fastest growing economies (and leading tourist destinations) is incredibly inspiring. My country needs to eat a large slice of humble pie and learn from Rwanda.

    • Rebecca says...

      I am with you! Books make me cry and I must always have my head in a book – it is my hobby and true passion. Also the same is HONY’s journey in Rwanda – the grief and brokenness is so so heartbreaking and makes you realize that the world can always use more humility, love and care.

  87. Ann says...

    The animated ‘Fired Up, Ready to Go’ speech by Obama gets me everytime. I showed it to my students when we started our activism project, and cried big sobbing tears shortly after the 2016 election. I watch it whenever I need a boost.

  88. That video made me clutch my chest and tear up!

  89. Mrs Z says...

    Animals. Pets. Cats. Dogs.

  90. Jenn says...

    A conversation with a new friend on the train about survivorhood the weekend after the SCOTUS hearings. I sat choking back tears for the rest of my ride after she left. I finally did not feel alone.

  91. Carly says...

    Brought to tears by-
    .Lady Gaga’s performance in A Star Is Born had me sobbing and shivering at the same time. .Pictures of my toddler when she was an infant.
    .A passionate love scene
    .Running into the sunrise

  92. Ann says...

    The song Danny Boy…i cant get through the song without a tear…singing or listening to it..so pure

    • Lori says...

      Me too. Especially when my son sings it, both as a boy soprano and now as a baritone. It’s too much.

  93. K says...

    I saw A Star is Born last weekend and like so many enjoyed it too. But what moved me most was watching my husband spot an elderly woman with a walker come in late to the movie. He jumped from our seats and offered his arm and a flashlight to her so she could find her way. After 15 years of marriage, I was struck by how kind and chivalrous he can be with strangers. It made me tear up with gratitude.

    • kaela says...

      Such a kind soul. You found yourself a good human! :)

  94. Christine says...

    My mother-in-law is currently battling stage IV gastric cancer, which was diagnosed a year ago. She’s had a reasonably good year since then, enjoying time mostly just with family, and precious private time with her husband. Her functional status declined recently, as it will when one has a grave illness such as she does, and she just got out of the hospital after a complication from her illness. My sister-in-law sent around an email yesterday, sharing the lyrics to a song that my MIL has been listening to, and had wanted to share with other family members. They go as follows:

    Waking up in the morning
    Jesus you are on my mind
    My whole body
    Is filled with love
    My body swaying
    My heart singing
    My feet dancing
    With heavenly song
    My hips swaying
    My feet dancing the chachacha
    My hands waving
    Praising with vigor
    Jumping with joy
    Dancing, singing
    This is my only offering to you, my Father
    My hips swaying
    My feet dancing the chachacha
    My hands waving
    Praising with joy
    Jumping with joy

    For some reason, this song got to me, and the image of my MIL, now thin, weak, body wracked with cancer, and waiting to be with God, and free of pain, dancing, hips swaying, just broke me.

    Maybe this is not inspiration in the classic sense, but it cut straight through to my heart.

    • Genevieve says...

      Christine, my mother-in-law died from lung and brain cancer a few months ago and when I think about her now, free from pain and whole again with God, tears come to my eyes.

  95. Megan says...

    Today, this post moves me (Thank you, Britt. Beautiful share). A few months ago, Van Gogh’s sunflowers had slightly tugged at my heart. Always, my daughter’s sweet hum while she is lost in thought, makes me whole and complete. It seems that my physical response is always in relation to my mental and emotional state. Basically, when my heart, soul, and feet are all in one place, that is when I “feel” the most. I feel like me.

  96. Rachael says...

    Always music for me. Albinoni’s Adagio in G Minor is my very favorite piece in the entire world and I almost always listen to it while I’m making dinner. And Roberta Flack’s The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face—I fully realize she’s singing about a romantic partner, but it always makes me think of my children and the way my world just shattered and rebuilt itself into something so enormously breathtaking the moment I held each of them for the first time. (But i must confess i like the Celine Dion version the best!)

  97. Margaret says...

    I’m not a teacher, but find the TED talk by Rita Pierson so incredibly moving. I’m probably the last person on earth to see it, but her message on the power of relationships is so inspiring. As a nurse who has previously worked in adolescent psychiatry, I can testify to the power of an individual’s commitment to a young person. And just as the Mr Roger’s documentary showed, we all got to where we are because somebody loved us. When that someone can’t be a parent or a family member, it is a teacher, nurse, coach, or mentor that becomes our champion.

    https://youtu.be/SFnMTHhKdkw

  98. CateG says...

    Anyone performing a Hakka to me is awesome – the passion, the power, the community of it. The wheelchair rugby competitors at the recent Invictus Games brought me to tears.

  99. Frank Ocean’s cover of “Moon River.” Non. Stop.

    • Val says...

      THIS. It is so beautiful.

    • Ginny says...

      Any version of moon river…that song has always been quietly, achingly lovely to me.

  100. Seja Brumley says...

    This video, once a week since it came out last January. When I feel like I don’t have energy to march on, this is what re-lights the fire within. Every single time. Thank you, Eve Ensler.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tL36jjF6-DI

  101. Joan Hreno says...

    Wow! This makes me happy. I well up daily and I am so glad to hear that there are so many of us. This blog is a daily source of inspiration. And of course music, art , literature . Making things and looking at things . I have a weekly radio show on campus / community radio and preparing a playlist and creating my show is inspiring because of the great singer / songwriters and bands I keep discovering.
    On the night table I currently have How Can I Help by Ram Dass and Paul Gorman, Van Gogh’s letters to his brother and Bitter Orange by Claire Fuller. I also find Womankind magazine very inspiring.

    A song that’s been making me cry lately is
    The Early Days by Old Man Luedeke. My kids are grown now and I’ve been driving around in my car weeping to this song. It’s a good kind of cry though.

  102. Liz says...

    Oh my goodness – Liz on Top of the World – brings tears to my eyes just to think of it.

    • Anna Baker says...

      Yes!

  103. Kia says...

    I get choked up and teary, all out crying if I am alone, when cars pull over to let an ambulance or fire truck pass. I’ve done this since I was a child.

    Also, any time I see my godchildren perform something they’ve practiced and learned…a piano recital, a soccer game, a dance recital. Similarly as I’ve watched a dear friend, that I’ve known since he was born, perform on the stage. He takes my breath away in between sobs of being incredibly proud of him.

    • Ellie says...

      Oh goodness. I, too, tear up when cars pull over for ambulances and thought I was the only one!

    • Lola says...

      Amazing Grace on bagpipes and Taps. Doesn’t even need to be at a funeral– I’m done, full sob.

    • Julie says...

      I do this too! Also when cars stop for a school bus and tiny children run out towards their homes….

    • Divya says...

      I thought I was the only one too! Always feel so teary when the cars pull over :)

  104. E. says...

    Others have mentioned the Ode to Joy, and yeah, it moves me too, for political and cultural reasons. I am from Germany. Ode to Joy is the anthem of the European Union, and its lyrics talk about all men (humans) becoming brothers. Hearing these words with the music moves me to tears every time, even more so in these divisive times. I realized I’ve taken Europe as a political entity for granted all my life. But now its unity is under attack from all kinds nationalist movements, and I tear up just thinking that we might lose what took decades to built and has given us the freedom to live and work in any of its member countries.

    • Marta says...

      I’m from Poland and feel the same. Still remember the joy on the streets when we have entered. I was sure it will only get better.

  105. Cay says...

    A 1 AM cab ride from Manhattan to Brooklyn on a Friday night (Saturday morning?). Through downtown Manhattan and over the Brooklyn Bridge towards home.

    I’ve lived in NYC for 11 years now, but cab rides on a warm night with the windows down remains just pure magic. There is nothing like it.

    • Emily says...

      Omg me too! But the opposite way…I hang out with friends in Brooklyn and then return home to the UES. Something about crossing the Brooklyn Bridge and cruising up the FDR late at night with the windows down brings back that giddy I-can’t-believe-I-live-here feeling. Every. time.

    • HH says...

      I live in Portland, OR but I have the exact same reaction to the exact same experience in my city. Something about the feel and smell of the warm air, the city lights, and the bridges always gets me smile-crying.

      A close second is on the clear mornings when I’m waking up (as opposed to going to bed!) and the sun is rising with Mt. Hood peaking out around the clouds. Damn.

  106. Cynthia says...

    Sometimes I hear a classical piece on NPR and I cry for no reason. Certain hymns bring tears to my eyes, and I’m a mess when we sing Silent Night at church on Christmas Eve. We’re kneeling, and the organ chimes, and I’m a mess. I read Where the Red Fern Grows a number of years ago, and I bawled. Thank goodness my husband was out of town at the time.

    • Sally says...

      Yup, choral music ruins me as well, especially at Christmas time. Silent Night is a killer, but for me, the “always makes me weep” piece is ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’. When that high descant part comes in… AHHH.

      I’ve sung in choirs myself, pretty consistently since the age of 7 (I’m now 34), and it’s always got me through rough times. Singing has always been my medicine.

    • HH says...

      Cynthia, exactly what you wrote. Singing “Silent Night” in candlelight on Christmas Eve, yes. And, on New Year’s Eve, “Our God Our Help in Ages Past.” We only sing it once a year and it always moves me. (“Time, like an ever-rolling stream soon bears us all away/ We fly, forgotten like a dream, dies at the opening day.”) Such humbling, thought-provoking words.

      Where the Red Fern Grows is a tear jerker!

      These comments are such a touching and positive and thoughtful place to visit and revisit…

    • Brooke says...

      Ahh, I teared up just thinking of the Red Fern grows…

      HH love that you are from Portland too !! I feel the same way driving into the city looking at Mt Hood across the river and the bridges ahhh.

  107. Amy says...

    Children’s choirs get me every. single. time. One minute in and I am fighting back tears.

    Also, novels by Kazuo Ishiguro.

  108. Holly says...

    “He prayed fundamentally as a gesture of love for what had gone and would go and could be loved in no other way. When he prayed he touched his parents, who could not otherwise be touched, and he touched a feeling that
    Below is a most lovely paragraph in Exit West and made the book for me.

    We are all children who lose our parents, all of us, every man and woman and boy and girl, and we too will all be lost by those who come after us and love us, and this loss unites humanity, unites every human being, the temporary nature of our being-ness, and our shared sorrow, the heartache we each carry and yet too often refuse to acknowledge in one another, and out of this Saeed felt it might be possible, in the face of death, to believe in humanity’s potential for building a better world.”
    ― Mohsin Hamid, Exit West

  109. Stacey says...

    I regularly find myself crying during the worship song portion of church on Sundays. I’m 10x worse at our Thanksgiving service when there is an open mic and then I’m an absolute mess every Christmas Eve when we sing “Oh Holy Night”. I can’t even compose myself when I hear Celine’s version.

    Beyond church, I regularly cry in a good book or a great show. Watching my children sleep wrecks me- especially after a tough day with them.

    Finally, my most favorite place to shed some tears is at a triathlon for running race finish line. Particularly any Ironman. It’s unbelievable what these people put themselves through to get to that point and then to cross is just completely emotional. Not only that, but their families as well. Often times you will hear or incredible stories of overcoming something so big just to get across the finish line to put it in stone that they have made it. Gah. I’m off to watch some finish line videos now…

  110. Kyle says...

    In general, imperfect people doing their best for each other makes me happy weepy. Today, it was the class of kindergarteners signing happy birthday for their deaf janitor. Also the book God Got a Dog, especially the poem about elephants, and Miranda Lambert’s “The House that Built Me”. Crying just thinking about it

    • Allison says...

      John Mayer’s “Stop This Train” similarly. Beautiful list, Kyle. Goosebumps reading it.

    • Daynna says...

      “Today, it was the class of kindergarteners signing happy birthday for their deaf janitor.“

      I haven’t seen it, but just reading that sentence, picturing it, literally brought tears to my eyes and I could full on cry right now.

    • Erin says...

      “Imperfect people doing their best for each other” is such a beautiful way of putting it!

  111. Natalie says...

    Lately I’ve been inspired by things that are really, really funny! It’s such a relief to laugh wholeheartedly when so much laughter is simply polite. The other night my husband and I watched “this is 40” for the first time and the blooper reel where Melissa McCarthy was insulting Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann had me crying and laughing so hard! It was SO FUN ha ha

  112. Sarah says...

    Sally Potter’s movie ‘The Tango Lesson’. It was like a small epiphone to me when I first saw it in my late teens and spawned a long stay in Buenos Aires to learn the tango in my 20’s. For three months I lived, breathed and dreamt the tango. It’s been many years, many trips, a husband and baby later, and the music and dance still take me right back to that very base, very naked and vulnerable place. It’s real, intense, beautiful and painful, all lumped together. Sigh. Hard to really describe, but the tango touches something way down deep in my soul.

    • Owl says...

      I love this. Thanks. ?

  113. I love this post and the video of your Dad. I love his sensitivity to beauty.
    Inspiring me lately– an icy cold breeze during a warm pilates class, my friend’s newborn baby (he is the most delicious), finding the warm sun on my skin at any time but especially in the cold, a fantastic kiss and about a million other tiny things.

  114. Jessica says...

    The book “A Little Life” inspired me and moved me so. I’m a psychiatrist and nowhere else have I seen the effects of trauma so well explained and displayed and yet the book was not clinical or sterile at all. It’s hard sometimes listening to people’s devastating stories and not being able to share them with anyone. Reading this book felt like a long exhale for me–there is understanding out there, there is hope and as my favorite singer Leonard Cohen said, “there is a crack in everything, that is how the light gets in”

    Also, my children sleeping also regularly brings me to tears.

  115. Nancy says...

    Erik Satie’s Gymnopedie gets me every time!

  116. Nancy Roberts says...

    Erik Satie’s Gymnopedie gets me every time.

  117. So many things…….my partner’s dimple whne she smiles; the 1930s-era carving on the newel post on the stairs in my house; thriving plants just brought in from the front porch for the winter; the dogwood tree in my backyard; texts from my son, away from home for his first year of college and still prone to sending the occasional text that reads, ‘I love you mama.” I was so fretful in the months before he left, aching and missing him before he had even gone. But he is happy and well and so am I and I could just give the whole universe a hug I am so glad. It’s a welcome peace in my heart even as the current political climate makes me fearful and angry.

    • alison says...

      Stacy, my daughter is only in tenth grade and I am already so fretful and aching and missing her. So glad to hear that your son is happy!

    • Jan says...

      My oldest son also just left home for school, and it’s the first time I’ve truly understood that it’s possible to be both happy and heartbroken at the exact same time. So glad to hear you son is doing well!

  118. Jen says...

    Oftentimes, when our church choir sings, I get tears in my eyes and my hear squeezes with emotion.

  119. Colleen Sweeney says...

    I’m basically moved by any music. Classical is my kryponite, though. Thankfully, I haven’t seen any symphonies in person, otherwise I’d be a sobbing mess. I also LOVE ballet. I saw a small production of The Nutcracker almost 10 years ago, that I adored. It’s one of my favorite ballets.

  120. Mouse says...

    Bach forever. The trio in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte. Pelham Humfrey Verse Anthems; tell your father about Pelham Humfrey if he doesn’t already know! Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. The moment in The Marriage of Figaro at the end when the Count asks forgiveness of the Countess (Contessa, perdono…) and she forgives, but you can tell that she knows it will all happen again and yet she still forgives. And back to Bach, and very resonant right now, Paul Simon’s American Tune, which uses the chorale of the St Matthew Passion.

    • Sarah says...

      The first second of St. Matthew Passion makes me weep- the heartbeat motiv in the cello and bass line, the stunning text painting of “den Brautigam”, it’s utter perfection! I also listened to “Mache dich mein Hertze rein” on repeat when I was pregnant with triplets. It was the only thing that calmed me and slowed my heart rate. I loved the translation-

      Make yourself pure, my heart,
      For I will bury Jesus within me
      For now within me, he shall
      For ever and ever
      Take his sweet rest.

      Like I was carrying a little pure happiness with me (in triplicate!)

  121. Lauren says...

    I am inspired by the sun through my windows; how it dances on the floor.

    • Sasha L says...

      Lauren, me too. My husband noticed and bought me a beautiful suncatcher. Now I have rainbows dancing in the sunlight. So much joy

  122. Hanna says...

    My kids have been asking to listen to all of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons during our commute to school this week. I hadn’t listened to it in years. Yesterday we turned it up so loud it was like being in the middle of the orchestra, and it carried us along like we flying through the sunlight and yellow leaves.

  123. Kris says...

    This comment thread.

    But always and forever, Cynthia Erivo’s version of ‘I’m Here’ from The Color Purple: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2ok14OZhdg

    The lyrics, the message, the performance. The first time I heard this song, I WEPT. Still brings me to tears when I listen to her – such a great gift to myself. Printed out the lyrics and stuck it on the corkboard right in front of my workspace. Particularly this part:

    I believe I have inside of me
    Everything that I need to live a bountiful life
    And all the love alive in me
    I’ll stand as tall as the tallest tree

    And I’m thankful for every day that I’m given
    Both the easy and hard ones I’m livin’
    But most of all, I’m thankful for
    Loving who I really am

    I’m beautiful
    Yes, I’m beautiful
    And I’m here

    • Scrappychill says...

      Yes!

    • Franny Eremin says...

      YES, Kris!! I get goosebumps just thinking about it.

  124. Jessica Hetterich says...

    MUSIC. So much of it. Ode to Joy. Certain Ariana Grande songs (right now “Better Off”). Saxophone solos at The 1975 live shows. HALO. Drake “Nice For What”. THIS I PROMISE YOU. The sound of the organ playing hymns at Christmas Mass (I don’t go to Mass anymore but there is a tiny part of me that misses the music so much).

    I work in the music industry and it can be so draining and disenchanting but I’ll get into conversations with my co-workers about music we love and shows we went to and it’s so inspiring. I love it so much. It’s something I believe we all take for granted and it’s a testament to the power of music how often it has been mentioned in this comment section. So that’s inspiring me, too :)

  125. I live in Dumbo and I love when I wake now, the timing is right that Manhattan, across the water, is lit golden. The boats seem calm in the morning still, gliding by as if inside one of those old pens, and the waves behind them are bright white. It’s only a second I glance as I turn up the thermostat each morning, but it catches my breath each time.

    Love this question so very much!

  126. That video of your dad is just the sweetest thing! <3

  127. Barbara says...

    My new baby is now 5 months. People ask me if he’s sleeping through the night, to which I say no. What I don’t tell them is how happy I am that he’s not. I get emotional every night when I’m in his nursery feeding him. Overwhelmed with love for this little human who needs and loves me so much. And who won’t need me like this forever (and time is already going too fast). Sleep is overrated, and these moments are too special to let go of just yet.

    • Sarah says...

      Couldn’t agree with this more!

    • Natasha says...

      I too have a 5 month old and while I am grateful to be getting some more sleep these days, I miss him when he’s not awake. I try my best to enjoy these night feedings while they last.

    • Lori says...

      Drink it all in… it doesn’t last nearly long enough.

  128. Emily says...

    I have been very much inspired by several new films of this fall awards season—First Man, Beautiful Boy, A Star is Born, and Wildlife. All of these had heartbreaking, stunning performances and themes of longing, love and loss that moved me to tears. I was deeply moved by the stories they told and can’t recommend each of them enough. If you’re in NY or LA, Carey Mulligan, Jake Gyllenhaal and Paul Dano are doing Q&As at screenings of Wildlife this weekend and you should go if you can!

    https://gowatchit.com/watch/movies/wildlife-629013?gwiCampaign=in+theatres+demo+2_in-theatres-demo-2_2018-10-15_9925&gwi_campaign=in-theatres-demo-2&gwi_origin=tracking_link&gwi_origin_context=microsite&lead_partner_id=47&partner_asset_id=9925&version=2#release-schedule

  129. Lee says...

    Hilma af Klint’s show at the Guggenheim now. I felt invigorated and deeply moved by her story and the work. Great art shapes my life. I feel more human and more connected when I behold it.

  130. Katie says...

    We had our city’s civic elections last night and when I went to cast my ballot I got weepy. Despite our city’s disappointing voter turn-out I got a swell of pride knowing I live in a country (Canada) where my one vote matters. I also loved seeing the diversity of ages and backgrounds when I showed-up to my voting location. Canada is diverse and beautiful.

    • Kathleen says...

      I’m also Canadian and also voted in my local civic election this month and it made me really well up with emotion, too. I walked two blocks to my polling station with my next door neighbours and we smiled and laughed with the staff and were in and out in under 15 minutes and then off to brunch. I got home and read the news about the voter suppression tactics in America and the bombing of polling stations in Afghanistan and corruption everywhere and just wept out of gratitude for all my many many rights and privileges.

  131. Sarah says...

    Yesterday evening when I was driving to school I came around a corner and there was a *spot* of a rainbow across from the sun, peeping through the clouds. It caught me totally off guard, and I just thought “heaven,” and started crying.

    This world is weird and wonderful.

  132. jenny says...

    Um, the video of your dad actually made me tear up. What a petit-trésor!
    Heart-swells for me: music, nature (especially the sea), dance–or any great performance, really, my children, and witnessing acts of kindness of people who don’t know anyone is watching. Gets me in the feels. Always.

  133. Charity says...

    This song by Kenny Chesney – Build a better boat

    I breathe in, I breathe out
    Got friends to call who let me talk about
    What ain’t working, what’s still hurtin’
    All the things I feel like cussing out
    Now and then I let it go
    Around the waves I can’t control
    I’m learning how to build a better boat

    My husband and I learned a couple months ago that our 5 year old has a rare genetic condition. We don’t know what his life will be like long term. As we learn to navigate the changing landscape of parenting him I heard this song on the radio and it broke me. But also made me feel strong and like things will be okay.

    • Kristine says...

      This is very touching. Thinking of you and your brave family.

    • Holding you and your family in the light as you make this journey, Charity.

    • Vicki says...

      Charity! Your story swells in my mama heart – thinking of you and your little boy. Stories of the love a mom has for her child always get me. There was also a time when my boys were little that I would hear songs about unending love and think this love song makes me think of the love I have for my boys. However your story goes your son will feel the love you have for him

  134. shannon says...

    Recently I took a quiz about strengths and values, and I got “appreciation of beauty and excellence” as my #1: http://www.viacharacter.org/www/Character-Strengths/Appreciation-of-Beauty-and-Excellence . Basically…I feel inspired A LOT.

    Here are a few things that inspire me: the Philadelphia skyline at night. Ohio State’s marching band playing Le Règiment de Sambre et Meuse (during Script Ohio). Bach’s cello suites. Seeing a parent praying with their child before a meal in a restaurant. The Pride and Prejudice soundtrack. Original woodwork and tile details in historic homes. Just to name a few! Love reading everyone’s lists!

    • Elly says...

      This is a great theory about strengths, Martin Seligman’s research is fascinating! I also had Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence very high up and I was so proud. Feeling inspired is such a wonderful feeling.

    • Rachel says...

      Oh, Shannon!! OSUMB does it for me every time! I’m the daughter of two band alumni, and I feel that music in my soul.

  135. Gabriella Doob says...

    Turning on my radio in the morning and listening to classic music while the light filtering through the leaves outside my window creates the most beautiful, mysterious, vibrating shadows on the wall…Haunting every time!

  136. Karen says...

    I was at a wedding recently and the speeches were the best part. This couple had so much love for each other, and their love multiplied and radiated out to their family and friends. The speeches from the bridal party were so heartfelt. They talked about how wonderful the bride and groom were as individuals, how amazing they were as a couple, and they each had stories about the caring and kindness this couple had always extended to them.

  137. Gabi says...

    I just created a playlist on Spotify titled “Cup of Jo Inspiration” with all the mentioned songs I could find…beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing!

  138. lomagirl says...

    What a sweet video and childhood memory of your father. We could make my father cry by reciting certain poems- “The Charge of the Light Brigade” moved him always. Now he cries more easily, his voice choking up as he tells us a story- he had a stroke, and his duende is closer to the surface- that edge between the mystic magical and the real.
    My own duende border softened when I was pregnant with my first child and has never hardened over again.

    • neha says...

      Oh Wow!!
      duende border – that edge between the mystic magical and the real! and the hardening and softening of it…
      I will carry these lovely turn of phrases and these ideas with me! It is different to being a cynic, and it is different to ‘considered optimism’ as I usually put it… the closest this comes to anything else is, a bit of a fae in them, as a fantasy stories put it.

  139. Ann says...

    Just this week I heard Paul Simon’s rearrangement of his own song “Rene & Georgette Magritte with their dog after the war” it brought me to tears in my car. It is so beautiful. I love it more than the original.

    • Sarah says...

      So beautiful and timely. I’ve been smelling the luscious scent of my eight month old’s head and lamenting the heartbreaking speed at which he’s growing. So apropos. Thank you for sharing.

  140. HH says...

    – Achingly beautiful (sublime?) moments in nature…
    – Trumpet player Alison Balsom! (Iistening to her right now!)
    – Thomas Moran’s Grand Canyon paintings (where you can see both the tiny individual brushstrokes making up single leaves and the entire expanse at once)
    – Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Abby Williams Hill…
    – Tenderness in classical music (I recall a high school band director referring to an interval when the first note is higher in pitch and the second note a step or maybe half a step lower as signifying “love,” like a “caress” when you linger on the initial note.)
    – The kindness of Tim, my grandfather’s caregiver

  141. Meghan says...

    A couple of years ago I saw The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime as a play in London. There were a lot of things that were magical about that evening: I was visiting a dear friend and perfect timing somehow got our tickets upgraded from cheap “limited visibility” to our own box. I also adore the feeling of walking into a play/movie you have no expectations about and being blown away.

    But the thing that made me sob – I think I love stories about people (especially within families) who are loving each other imperfectly. They make many mistakes, hurt each other frequently, but they never stop trying.

  142. My dad cries at the end of Father of the Bride, the last scene of Field of Dreams, and particularly during a good, tragic opera. Lately I tear up when I think of him tearing up, in part because I’m pregnant with my first child, and in part because it reminds me just how fleeting life is, how lucky I am to have been born to parents like him, how hopeful I am that I can be as wonderful a parent he is, and how good it feels to experience beauty and sadness at the same time.

  143. Lindsay Marie says...

    When I walked into a Matisee exhibit where all of his huge cut out pieces were, I started ugly crying. Music that takes me back in time, the ones my parents played when I was really little. A really breathtaking scene in nature. When someone forgives another or selfless acts of kindness and love. Babies. It’s the things that remind me of God.

  144. Britt says...

    My Mom, my best friend, the one who loved me unconditionally and with all of her heart passed away 9 years ago. And when I hear Adele’s “Make You Feel My Love,” it’s like my Mom is singing to me.

    • K says...

      Oh Britt. I’m so sorry to hear you lost your mom. It’s so strange that you mention this song because ever since my son was a baby, I’ve sang this exact song to him. It popped into my head one day when I was too sleep deprived to think of a lullaby and it really does depict a mother’s love so perfectly. Glad this song holds a special place in both of our hearts.

    • Sasha L says...

      So beautiful Britt. ❤️

  145. Bobbekay says...

    My four grandchildren! I am so grateful to my children and their spouses for making me a grandmother. The pure love and joy and unlimited patience and acceptance I have for these 4 sweethearts is a true gift. I feel honored to be this role.