Waiting for inspiration… I am almost forced to stop forcing its arrival. This whole “allowing” thing (the opposite of forcing) is an ongoing practice, one that has only proven itself a viable pathway to inspired creating. Here are 8 things I think I know about letting inspiration work with you, instead of you working against all odds.
I first would like to share this opening passage from Mary Oliver’s A Poetry Handbook: A Prose Guide to Understanding and Writing Poetry.
Poetry may not necessarily be your creative project of choice, but I believe this passage speaks beautifully about the relationship with inspiration that one must have in order to enjoy its fruits:
If Romeo and Juliet had made their appointments to meet, in the moonlight-swept orchard, in all the peril and sweetness of conspiracy, and then more often than not failed to meet — one or the other lagging, or afraid, or busy elsewhere — there would have been no romance, no passion, none of the drama for which we remember and celebrate them. Writing a poem is not so different—it is a kind of possible love affair between something like the heart (that courageous but also shy factory of emotion) and the learned skills of the conscious mind. They make appointments with each other, and keep them, and something begins to happen. Or, they make appointments with each other but are casual and often fail to keep them: count on it, nothing happens.
I recommend this book highly if reading and/or writing poetry is up your alley. Mary Oliver is just a lovely, luminous example of the human talent.
Not many days ago, I was lying in my hammock by the lake, pen and journal in hand, waiting for inspiration to pour through me like it sometimes does. This hammock session did not turn out very inspiring, much to my dismay.
Instead of doubting my connection, I decided to remind myself what I knew about inspiration thus far: I came up with 8 things.Inspiration is a companion who greets us when we’re open, not forceful, and working, but not fighting. #inspiration tell a friend
Keeping these “truths” in mind, I took the night off from creating. As I was falling asleep later that night, the fleeting burst of inspiration I had been consciously allowing for weeks happened, leaving just as swiftly as it came. It was all I needed. It felt like consolation, or maybe more like praise for my patience.
Waiting for Inspiration: 8 Truths I Think I Know
1. Inspiration loves to see you working – but not forcing.
2. Inspiration loves to feel your focused presence – it does not respond well to regret or anxiety.
3. Inspiration loves it when you are focused on what you love.
4. Inspiration doesn’t mind you taking breaks, as long as you keep your promises (of consistency of devotion, aka, showing up when you say you will).Inspiration responds well to openness, patience, trust, and joy. #inspiration tell a friend
5. Inspiration likes a schedule (and penned-in meetings). The more you keep your word, the more it will show up when you do.
6. Inspiration makes up for its “absence” – for all lack of inspiration, one moment of clarity and uplift will suffice. So, again, try not to force what’s not responsive to force.
7. Inspiration sometimes likes to give you only part of the story – so write down what you’re given, even if it doesn’t feel complete or make sense yet.
8. Inspiration is attracted to you when you are feeling deeply (high or low, dark or light). This means that you are feeling your feelings so deeply that you are almost going underneath the feelings, to the core of the world – there’s inspiration there.
I think you’ll love this next: a lighter (saner) approach to being productive.
Keeping a schedule works well for inspiration and me. And allowing: being open to inspiration greeting you on its own terms.
What helps you contact that state of inspired flow?
In the comments below, share which lessons here struck a chord with you, what creative projects or pursuits you’ll try approaching differently, and any stories with me – I’ve love to read them!
Have a friend who’s waiting for inspiration… maybe more often than not? Share these truths with them – and say, “You’re supported.”
In case you forgot, you’re supported.