Before he died, I had the good fortune to meet renowned playwright, Arthur Miller. This was, for me, a truly magical encounter, as he is one of my favorite writers. Giddily, I asked him if he, in the process of creating his plays of legend, more often than not, met inspiration at the door OR if he consciously sought it out. He responded that it is different with every occasion, but that sometimes one must look for it.
For many artists, inspiration is a seductive, but fleeting lover. We bask in this lover’s affection and reap the reward of their presence. But, they are rarely around long enough and leave us, longing for another encounter.
Few of us are blessed with a regular muse.
At times, we must make a conscious, concerted effort to seek out the often-elusive Inspirado. We must create the conditions, whereby; our elusive lover may pay us a visit.
Vision Seeking brings to mind the mythic vision quest, where one strikes out with the express intent to have adventure, to experience new stimuli and to find inspiration.
Inspiration can come in many forms and ways. Sometimes, I feel that I am holding a very fine silk thread and am gently following it, hand over hand, hoping it does not break. At other times, I feel that I have been hit by lightning and vision unrolls before my like a long Persian rug.
Waiting for inspiration to arrive is a waste of creative energy and time. Why? Because waiting for inspiration is another form of giving away one’s power and most entrepreneurs and independent artists crave autonomy. It is marvelous to have inspiration. But, when it is not present, we must find other ways of moving forward.
Here are some tools I have found useful lure Inspirado. I hope some of these may help you.
1.Give yourself time. Dedicate time to actively look. Books, for me, often inspire. My wife and I have a large collection of books that focus on various painters´ works. Also, my wife, having been a professional dancer, has many books on choreographers, companies and dancers. Ipour through these pages, seeking stimulation. Inevitably, it comes.
2.Gardening. For me, a garden is a constantly evolving living canvas. Structuring a garden is always a temporary act. Nature takes it back so fast. Being in nature and engaging in creation, stimulates me greatly.
3.Brainstorm. I love this word. A storm of the mind. Chat with a good brainstorming friend (someone with their ego under some control and of good intelligence). One idea can give birth to another (and often does). In this process, listen a lot, see the ideas in your mind and follow whatever impulse arises (without first judging it).
4.Change your routine. We are all creatures of habit. Many of us have a structure to our lives that causes us to not see things around us. We take the typical for granted. Such eyesight can lead to a lack of “seeing”. Seek out new inspiration. Bump up against stimuli that you might not otherwise encounter. Walk around the block a way you do not normally go. Be open to conversations with others you do not typically communicate with. Go to the magazine rack and pick up a magazine that has nothing to do with your typical interests. Look for text that pops off of pages for you.
5.Engage in dialog about what interests you with people of like interest. Such talk can serve to stimulate, inspire collaborations and cultivate energy.
6.Be rested. An exhausted mind and body, often, do not yield inspiring results.
7.Begin to make something. Create. Develop a sense of momentum. Doing so will help you to begin moving forward. Think of your own energy like that of rolling a stone down a hill. While the stone is fixed in space, it can be difficult to move it. But once it begins to roll, it develops more and more speed as it rolls down the hill.
8.Find a sense of balance within your life. I have found that if I am not attending to all of my basic needs as a person, that inspiration is less likely to find me. Lack of attention to my needs, for me, creates a feeling of gap or lacking. I will then feel unsettled and unhealthy habits might begin. Such a feeling can slow my momentum and lead towards inertia. Sometimes, we are not able to fully attend to all of our needs. In such a case, try to find a “sense of balance”. Schedule time to commit some small energy towards the filling of your need gaps. In doing so, a greater sense of “wholeness” can arise and, consequently, happiness and better use of ones´ energy and mind.
9.Go down a rabbit hole. My favorite rabbit hole is YouTube. I like to watch videos of something that fascinates me and then keep following the links.
10.Play. Engaging in a playful state of mind will, invariably, gets our imaginations firing at full throttle. When I say, “play”, I truly mean just that. Engage in a ridiculous scenario or activity and play with as you did when you were a child. Don’t judge. Engage. Commit to your sense of play with wholly, with abandon and joy.
11.Cultivate your emotional intelligence. Inspiration comes from the imagination (and emotions). When one is inspired, they are emotionally engaged. Emotional intelligence is one of the artists´ keystone tools. If you do not already have a good degree of sensitivity to your emotions, what you are regularly feeling, start. They are often not as scary as we believed they might be. Ride the wave of what you feel. Pay some attention to it. Name it. “I am feeling…excited or giddy”, for example. Name it to understand it. If you feel you are already too engaged with your emotions, try to channel them into activities or creations. Make something and let your emotion be the gasoline in the tank. Let your expression come out of that.
Then…follow the silver thread.