SOMETIMES INSPIRATION JUST ISN'T THERE.
I remember a time when, just after I had completed two years of work for a one person show at the Franz Bader Gallery in Washington DC, I felt creatively spent. Totally dried up. Empty. I kept trying to control my feelings of emptiness and come up with new creative ideas. I cut paper, I sculpted with paper-mâché and I splashed paint. Everything was ugly -- at least it felt that way to me.
FINALLY I GAVE UP. Out of desperation I decided to focus on journaling -- something I had always done -- because it helped me relax and feel more centered. I also continued leading my design and color theory workshops. Amazingly, I eventually stopped trying to control the arrival of ideas.
I tried to release:
All expectations, or preconceived ideas.
Specific goals -- i.e. that all of my inspirations had to be good enough for a gallery.
All "shoulds" or "have-to's."
I desperately wanted some inspiration, so I inhaled and focused on my inner spirit. Interestingly, according to www.Dictionary.com, the meanings of inspiration are:
Inspiration: Drawing air into the lungs -- inhalation. Inspiration: A divine influence directly exerted upon the mind or soul.
INSPIRATION IS LIKE INHALING OXYGEN. WE CAN'T BRING IN MORE OXYGEN UNTIL WE EXHALE THE CARBON DIOXIDE WE DON'T NEED. Finally, when I totally let go of control, like magic and seemingly out of the blue I received an invitation to write a series of four quarterly articles for a national publication. As soon as I had completed the last article, I was synchronistically approached by a New York publishing company asking me to enlarge upon what I had already written, and now write and illustrate a hard-cover book. I was incredulous, for the idea had never occurred to me. Images flooded my mind. Was this the doing of a muse, or the Universe? It didn't really matter. I was empty no more.
If I had any real idea of exactly where inspiration comes from, I'd go there, find the foolish thing, bottle it, sell it, and retire to Tuscany. Author, Melanie Rawn
With this experience I learned a big lesson -- I can't force inspiration, nor can I decide what I want the outcome to look like, I can only relax and allow an inspiration to arise when the time is right.
WHEN WE ARE ON THE RIGHT PATH THE UNIVERSE CONSPIRES TO OPEN DOORS, ALLOWING INSPIRATION TO ENTER.
All I can do is "set the stage" for inspiration to appear, by making EMOTIONAL, PHYSICAL & MENTAL space for it. I have discovered that Intention is what is important. If I sit or walk with the intention of opening up and relaxing – releasing what's on my mind and focusing on what's in my spirit and heart -- then ideas are more likely to show up.
Setting the stage with intention goes something like this:
o Clear our energy, relax, and open space for inspiration to occur.
o Believe in our ability to be inspired. No one is devoid of inspiration.
o Trust that an inspiration will arrive and pay attention.
o Accept the idea presented, even if it is not what we expected.
The form may vary from a thought, an image, or a softly spoken word.
The idea may be incomplete and seem more like a hint or clue.
o When inspiration does arrive, experience it as a gift.
HAVING GRATITUDE FOR AN INSPIRATION BUILDS TRUST IN THE PROCESS AND OPENS SPACE FOR MORE TO COME.
(Watch for more on this subject in my next post.)