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We keep each of our monthly principles present in our minds as we design our days, setting them into practice, using them to help guide our actions, reactions and behaviors.

We’re long-time fans of the Southwest brand, their principles and the way they lead. On a recent Southwest flight, we read a piece by the brand’s Editorial Director, Jay Heinrichs that sparked our interest. Heinrichs discusses the meaning of the word “Spirit” and how we can all inject more of it into our daily lives.

During a rare cocktail hour, he wrote the following:

“As I raised my glass to my wife, made me wonder: Why does the same word that denotes an alcoholic beverage also get used to describe a mood, a team’s character, a ghost, a theft (spirited away), a journey (ditto), and the breath of God (Holy Spirit)?

Being an unabashed geek I went straight to that source of deep wisdom, the Oxford English Dictionary. There, I learned the word comes from the Latin meaning “breath”. The same Latin gives us “inspiration”; the ancients believed you got it by inhaling the breath of the muses.

Over the ages, “spirit” came to mean the soul or essence, the very air of a thing. Clever writers put the word to use for distilled substances; distillation, after all, gets down to the essence of things. The point, or essence of all this is that the most spirited moment of a cocktail house — in a bar or at home, with a friend or lover or book — comes right after you give a quiet “cheers” or “L’chaim” and raise the glass. That little ceremony, the anticipation, is the first breath of something.

Which makes me wonder further: While alcohol is the water of life, can you inhale that spirit without the alcohol? Can you take a breath of your own, welcome the muses, say “Here’s to life,” and get the same effect? In other words, can you distill that moment and use it whenever you want? Give it a try. That’s the spirit!”

Read more by Bulldog Drummond.

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