Hello February and welcome to How To Find Inspiration week! In case you are wondering where I was, I’ve been right here, but working behind the scenes on some general maintenance for the website. Also, after nearly 10 years of delving into, exploring, and expressing my creativity, the last few weeks have felt like I’d run out. Not so much run out of ideas, as run out of questions. What do I mean by that? In my opinion, being creative is not just about a craft or a hobby, but about asking questions and coming up with answers. The answer can take many forms. For example, as a solution to a problem. Or a new way of doing something. It can also be an answer to the question that the world asks you, or that you ask yourself, the question of who are you? After nearly a decade of seeking, I have run out of questions. That is not to say that I have found all answers (though the journey is clearer now) or that I have reached some mythical destination. I am here. And I am happy to be right here, learning, changing, and growing. Wherever you are in your life, honor the space and moment.
In retrospect, 10 years have taught me a lot and as proof, you just have to take a look at some of the posts I’ve written over the years on lessons I learned by committing to the exploration. From wondering ‘are we there yet?’ to lessons in respect and self-worth, the teaching has been constant and supportive. And that is why I strongly recommend it to you- take time to follow your bliss, to examine all that interests you, to knock on the doors you find intriguing. There is no race and no winner. Everyone is traveling on a different path; the scenery is different, as is the company. Plus everyone get’s their own hurdles. What could be more tailor-made and supportive than that?! I am of the humble opinion that starting and showing up for this challenge back in November has led me to this moment where I am just happy and grateful to write here, no strings attached.
When I started this 365 Day creativity challenge, my goal was to show up and share a creative exercise for each day. I have been here most of the days, though not all. And that’s okay. The idea is to enjoy being creative and have fun with it. And not to stress over this most beautiful, joyous activity. We are at Day 94 (though I probably am a day late, sorry) and this week is dedicated to finding inspiration, the How To Find Inspiration week. We all deal with being uninspired from time to time, and sometimes for long periods, and I have enough experience with creative pursuits to understand that there is no one way to deal with it. Some recommend waiting for the muse to visit you; others ask you to pursue her. Still others say stay still, show up for the work, letting her know you are available. I have done all three and still don’t know which one works best. Though if I really had to choose, I would choose option 3 (more on that in this post). I have 6 exercises/prompts for this How To Find Inspiration week that I hope will let your muse know that you are ready to create.
- Meditation: If I said meditate on day 1 of the be inspired week, and then meditate on all the days thereafter that, in my opinion, would be a creative exercise for every day of the week and completes our How To Find Inspiration week! Either following a technique or teacher that you already know or finding a style (there are so many resources online) that works for you, dedicate at least 15 minutes of every day to a meditation practice.
- Write: Write about what inspires you. How does it make you feel? For the musician in you, write about a piece of music that inspires you; for the writer or poet in you, describe a string of words the give you goosebumps. For the creative in all of us, write about what being creatively inspired means to you.
- For the third creative prompt, walk in natural surroundings, or connect with nature. A walk in the park. Taking time to look and marvel at a tree, a leaf, or a flower. Standing on the seashore. Watching the clouds move in the sky. After all, as George Sayantana said,”The earth has its music for those who listen.” Bring something back for your journal- a dry leaf, a flower bud, etc.- draw or write about what your found, where you found it, or press them between the pages. Take a photograph and enjoy your find.
- Rest, and let go. Do something that you love to do. Read a book, listen to music, meditate, visit a museum, and let go of thoughts that tell you that you are not feeling inspired. If you are a scientist, and feel stuck for ideas or solutions, let the problem go for some time, and focus on something that relaxes you. It’s been my experience that much like the happiness butterfly (Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.- Nathaniel Hawthorne), the creative inspiration butterfly alights on you when you least expect it.
- Use a different medium to express yourself. For example, if you think of yourself as a musician or composer, pick up a camera or a paint brush or a crayon and express yourself.
- Write 10 sentences based on the starting prompt, “I am creative…”
If you’re looking for more posts on jump starting inspiration, here’s another golden oldie plus I did this whole series in early 2017 on lessons in creativity, if you’d like to read. Have a good one, and I’ll see you later. – Priya
Background: Welcome! We are now at Days 94-99 of the 365 Day Creativity Challenge, and I am excited and happy to have you here! I use the terms ‘creative’, ‘creativity’ or ‘creative exercise’ very loosely. While they have very specific meanings within the art or business worlds, I define it as any activity that allows us to access an inner stillness. Where the mind’s incessant chatter decreases, and for that short period of time, we are in the presence of a magnificent quietude. Where we feel joyful and recharged as if accessing a powerful, bountiful source of imagination and ideas. It makes what we do- draw, write, paint, work in a science lab, dance, sing, play music, photography etc. etc.- a spiritual experience. It has nothing to do with talent and skill level, and everything to do with joy. Whether you take part in all 365 days, or 7, 21, or 30 days, or join us when you can, I hope you will take the time to relax, slow down, and be your joyous self! Want more details? You may want to read this introduction to the 365-Day Creativity Challenge. Just as a reminder, it really helps to have a dedicated journal or notebook because you will see a continuous record of your creativity expanding and changing as you devote time to it every day. You will also be creating a year’s worth of creative work. As you work through the prompts, write down other things that strike you because you may want to revisit these ideas. Have a wonderful day and I will see you tomorrow! To share what you are doing, please use the hashtag #ctea365 on social media and /or leave me a comment below. – Priya
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