Inspiration: Where does it come from and why do you need it?
The funny thing about inspiration is that you can’t simply “will it” to happen—there are 4 states in which it comes most naturally.
In a year unlike any other, the ability to remain creatively inspired has been difficult in and of itself—that is, finding creative ways to meet the challenges that this new world has presented us with. As such, the source of this creative energy – “inspiration” – can become depleted, making it all the more important to take the time to recharge and replenish this important battery whenever possible.
For me, inspiration comes from many different places. In fact, my family often pokes fun at how I can be inspired by just about anything—from a novel I’ve read or podcast I’ve listened to; by staring at the sky; through meditation; and in conversation with someone sharing a point of view unlike my own.
Yet being so entrenched in the day-to-day, we often fail to take the time to recognize inspiration when it presents itself. So I was truly grateful for the opportunity (especially this summer) to step off of the treadmill that is my life and into vacation mode. And even though our plans were limited by Covid-19, my family and I were able to spend uninterrupted quality time this Labor Day weekend in Quogue, NY—a beautiful, quiet, seaside village some 80 miles away from the hubbub of New York City.
For me, the change of scenery offered the much needed quiet time that allowed all of the forces of inspiration to come together – the ability to decompress, think, reflect and plan – while surrounded by the beauty of nature and my precious family, yet still safe amid so much uncertainty.
The funny thing about inspiration is that you can’t simply “will it” to happen; it doesn’t work that way. In fact, the more you try to summon it, the more elusive it is. Inspiration comes in those quiet moments when you aren’t looking for it or thinking about anything in particular. But surely, there are things you can do to make yourself more receptive to it.
Inspiration is most likely to be found when you allow it—and I find there are 4 “states” in which it comes most naturally:
- When you take the time to be quiet and present.
It’s difficult to “hear and see” the soft voices and subtle signs that are around you if your mind and body are busy. So, while it’s hard for many of us to slow down, it’s vital to do so as often as possible.
- When your mind is open.
Learning to be comfortable with not having all of the answers and willing to stand with your hands empty gives the universe the opportunity to fill them with something better. It may feel like you’re standing still when in this “in-between” place but, in fact, it’s the only way to get from here to there.
- When you let go of preconceived ideas.
It’s easy to allow perspectives and ideas to become insular—especially when we are busy. Opening yourself to unique and fresh perspectives can be the greatest gift—if you allow it.
- When you connect the dots.
Even when something you read, see or hear doesn’t seem relevant, look for ways to “connect the dots”—to take even the smallest tidbit from anything and everything, and find a way to make it meaningful to you.
The value of inspiration transcends creativity. It drives positivity and propels us towards possibility. It allows us to see our lives through a new lens. And it helps us to power through the obstacles that may prevent us from moving forward.
And the more we get stuck in “go mode,” the more likely we are to rush past those moments that can be most inspiring. That’s the beauty of taking time off, even if only an hour: The respite provides the perfect change of scenery to relinquish the tendency to react and instead to widen your lens, soften your focus and immerse yourself in the wonders around you.
So whether you’re charged with guiding a corporate vision, leading a team, counseling clients, or working behind the scenes to grow a business, carve out some time to stop.