“I dream my painting and I paint my dream.”
- Vincent van Gogh
Inspiration is such a delicate, fleeting and ethereal phenomenon that it's difficult to describe exactly. Similar to falling in love - it's hard to explain unless you experience it yourself. To me, it's a state mind where we are able to receive fresh insights and ideas. At it's most literal definition, inspiration is being filled with the Spirit.
I use the following process to harness the power of inspiration in my life. They are Receive, Record, Respond, Realize and Repeat.
The first step in starting the dance of inspiration is Receiving it. We can be surrounded by the most inspiring beauty, talented people, or creative environment and yet not experience any inspiration. The analytical, logical left hemisphere of our brain likes to take the center stage. The creative, intuitive, gentle right side is a lot more sensitive and subtle. Therefore, it is easily overshadowed by the vocal left brain. Inspiration comes through our creative mind. We must slow down in order to hear it. Meditation can be great a way to quiet the mind. Immersing yourself in a favorite activity or craft is another. Connecting to nature always works wonders! Journaling, drawing, painting and creating anything that brings you joy will put you in the right state of mind. One thing for sure - you can not force inspiration! Relaxing. slowing down and getting into a state of flow is the way of receiving it. Stressing out and trying to make it happen - is not.
If you have ever received a flash of insight, you know that it can come in the most inconvenient of times (in the shower, middle of the night, on your drive to work or a walk in the middle of nowhere). Yet, I have found the hard way that when that great idea comes - I must take good notes! It's essential to write out as many details as possible. When you are in the middle of inspiration, it feels impossible to forget - yet when the morning comes, you will be absolutely shocked that you cannot remember any part of that brilliant idea. I have taken some haphazard notes - only to discover that I cannot make out heads or tails out of them the next day. Recording our inspiration is the next important step in the dance. Try always keeping a small notebook and pencil handy to take notes any time inspiration strikes.
When inspiration comes, we are naturally moved into action. We feel brilliantly creative, confident and connected to the field of all possibilities. Naively, we think that this brilliant state will last forever. As you shortly discover, we are moved by inspiration for a reason. Pretty quickly, our primitive brain (responsible for fight or flight response), will kick into high gear and bring up all kinds of reasons why following our inspiration is not a good idea. It will try to convince us that it's dangerous and irresponsible to have our head stuck in the clouds. We must be responsible adult and do the "right thing". The "right thing", of course, is staying safe and not making any changes. This is why it is absolutely necessary to take inspired action as soon as possible. Take small steps, as they occur to you. Starting small assures that our primitive brain doesn't get threatened. Starting is a very powerful catalyst that gives a huge boost to our creative idea. Taking small but consistent action gives it momentum and helps to bring it into fruition.
Realizing means making your idea real. The final part of the dance of inspiration is releasing your creation into the world. How you ever started a new exciting project that never saw the light of day? I am guilty of this one. Completion is such a powerful energy - it's like giving birth to the baby that has been developing and growing in your womb. When our creative idea has matured, it is ready to be released into the world. One way to get excited about finishing a project is to remember how it felt when you first had the idea. This is where those detailed notes come real handy! Envisioning your completed project in full detail is another powerful way to help realize your dream. This is the final move in the dance but not the end of the dance itself. The dance will always go on...
Throughout our life, the dance of Inspiration continues: we are always receiving, recording, responding, realizing and repeating the steps over and over again. Like an upward spiral, we are ascending with each new inspired dance.
I would love to hear what is the biggest area of struggle when it comes to dancing with inspiration with in your life?