Waiting for inspiration? …

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How creative are you? My guess is that if you are a blogger, you’re probably fairly high in the creative stakes. And yet, creativity ebbs and flows, and can take on various different dimensions and expressions throughout life, and can be approached very uniquely from individual to individual.

Creative thinking is not necessarily confined to artistic pursuits, such as writing, drawing, design, travel, sculpture, dance, photography, cookery, painting, literature, crafts, and so on and on with the endless possibilities of engaging with life in this world on this amazingly fascinating planet. Creative thinking can also find its expression in business, research, science, teaching, entrepreneurial pursuits and more analytical fields.

If you’re like me then you’re both highly creative and analytical in certain areas of your life. In other areas or fields of learning you may have to apply more grit and determination to learning something that doesn’t necessarily ‘spark the fire’ in you quite as easily.

So in the ebb and flow of creativity, of being human, sometimes inspiration can seem to run dry. You know you have an idea in you somewhere, and yet you can’t quite articulate it even to yourself. You stare at that blank piece of paper or computer screen, wondering what to write, draw or plan. You hold the fabric in your hands and can’t quite engage your ideas and your heart as passionately as you once did and end up tossing it aside for when you’re feeling more ‘in the zone’.

So what do you do? Realise that even when you aren’t necessarily producing grand designs, ideas, plans or making anything, there is still a process going on within you and perhaps it is somewhat of a ‘sifting’ of ideas, emotions and experiences that will find their expression in due course.

Ease yourself from the self imposed pressure of having to ‘show’ something or produce something. Inspiration is a lot to do with authenticity. Authentically living in, feeling, experiencing that particular moment, that ‘something’ real in life, that your soul connects to and desires to express and find expression in.

Engage with yourself again, your five senses. Take time to be present, grounded, and still. Become aware of the beauty, depth, simplicity and profundity of the things you can touch, taste, hear, see, and smell right now. Drawing inspiration from others is a beautiful thing, and yet connecting with your own experience of life in the moment is perhaps more powerful.

Don’t confine creativity and inspiration to the realm of producing great works. First *experience* it. Your expression may be in a rhythm, a phrase, some notes jotted on a crumpled piece of paper, the enjoyment of the rustle of leaves in your hand or underfoot, the appreciation of the slow movement of clouds across the sky, a word, a thought, a scribble, an unwritten, unshared song that you give life to in the moment, the click of a camera, a combination of colours, the unravelling of a piece of string.

The first mark on that piece of paper. That first word typed on your computer screen.

Alive.

Perhaps you can start there. Alive. And maybe what your soul gives expression to can one day be shared.

Take your time. Live it first. Life is the inspiration you’ve been waiting for…

Review your Goals

Well, we’ve made it to May, which means that summer is on its way, and hopefully so too are new opportunities and adventures, be they big or small.

The new year seems to be the most obvious time of the year for most people to reflect and take stock of where they are in life, and where they want to be, to set goals and make plans for the year ahead.

However, I think that each season, and even each new month provides an opportunity to invest in our personal growth and quality of life, by taking the time to reflect on whether the way we spend our time is aligned to our deepest values and purpose in life.

That might sound a little overwhelming, but the thing is, life can only be lived one day at a time, one moment at a time, one breath at a time. And so it brings a kind of comfort in knowing that the little things all add up to build the pattern of our lives in more significant ways.

By looking at each month as an opportunity to reflect and reprioritise, this makes the perhaps otherwise overwhelming task of accomplishing life goals, or living well, much more manageable, fun and achievable.

I don’t know about you, but I find using a planner a helpful, creative and engaging way of doing this. Personally, I use the ‘Tools 4 Wisdom’ planner, and although I don’t always manage to sit down at the start of each month to do so, when I am able, like this month of May, I enjoy adding colour, designs and drawings to the month, creating a colour scheme and a theme, and adding in the details of events, tasks and goals.

Some people prefer to use online methods, or combine these with art journaling or bullet journaling, there are so many ways to create a framework and a structure for reflection that works for you.

I find it helps me to have a positive outlook on the month, as otherwise it is so easy to simply ‘drift’, to wonder where the time is going, or to feel like each day is just slipping into the next and that you’re somehow not making the most of things. It is engaging too, creatively in that the very act of producing something authentic, putting pen to paper, means that you are putting in something of yourself, and appreciating through the creative process, the fact that each little detail is important, and allowing yourself to value each day.

Even the seemingly mundane or ‘ordinary’ days can be extraordinary in their own ways.

Perhaps a good way to move forwards is to bring to mind any goals you had at the start of the year, and reflect upon these and revise them if required. Life changes, and your plans may have to as well, however, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Then each month, choose one key life area, and maybe four or five smaller things that you want to work towards or accomplish. They don’t need to be ‘massive’ goals, like traveling the world or sky diving (perhaps those are ‘ordinary’ goals to you if you are the more adventurous type!), they can be simple yet authentic, and therefore beautiful in their own way – things like read one book, plan to spend time with a friend or family member, write a blog post, work on a particular creative project, make time for self care, etc.

Living purposefully gives us the opportunity to clear away some of the clutter in our lives and minds, to let go of what are unnecessary time stealers, and to perhaps live more simply, deeply and authentically, so that we feel more connected to ourselves, our core values and the people and pursuits in our lives that matter most to us.

Breaking things down and appreciating each small ‘chunk’ of time that we’ve been blessed with is good for our mental health too. Things feel less overwhelming, clearer and easier to prioritise. We can’t do it all, but we can try to spend more time focussing on what matters most, knowing that these little steps in the right direction all add up to a more fulfilling life.

We seem to be, in this generation, constantly ‘plugged in’, and always taking in stimuli from the world around us with unceasing suggestions of what we should be doing, thinking, eating, wearing, feeling, and so on. We also find ourselves caught up in the stream of images, stories, pictures and snapshots of other people’s lives, and that creates a risk of unhealthy comparison, ‘FOMO’ and even mental health struggles such as anxiety, fear, loneliness and depression if we feel that our lives are ‘not enough’ compared to those around us.

Yet, there is a beautiful paradox that reveals that when we disconnect from the noise, we are able to live in a deeper way that is more fully connected. We don’t need to pretend that the rest of the world isn’t there, or to stop engaging with it, but we do need to realise the importance of taking time to reengage with ourselves, our own lives, quietness, solitude and personal self reflection so that the time we spend on this earth is meaningful, authentic and much less wasteful.

I hope you take the time to enjoy something meaningful to you today. Perhaps that is in prayer, a walk in nature, journaling and reflecting, assessing your priorities, spending time with people you love, or maybe even sending out a random act of kindness to someone, even a stranger, who might need the authentic love and care of a fellow human being. Perhaps today, in taking time to connect with what is meaningful to you in your life, you might be inspired to write a blog post that will encourage another precious soul. Take care, think deeply, seek peace and pursue it, and be kind. xx

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