This blog is about inspiration. We all have our go-to activities or places when we need to be inspired or uplifted. For me, usually a hike or a trip to a new (or old) place or spending time with family (even if just memories of family) will rid me of the blues. If I am strapped for time or cash, music is my alternative. Singing badly and loudly somehow makes me feel better, even if it annoys those around me. In some ways, that is the cherry on top.
Lately, I will admit to a significant struggle over inspiration. Sometimes the tank is plain empty. Whether it’s stress or routine or watching too much news, I can admit to feeling uninspired and flat-out dull. I know many people go to transcendental sources like the bible or meditation or church. And others go to nature – a walk on the beach, a drive in the mountains, or listening to birds on the porch.
But what happens when even those things don’t work?
Elizabeth Gilbert says that the muse shows up when your butt is in the seat (or something to that effect). And so, I put my butt in the seat (or on the train) where I am in front of my computer—at least 2 hours a day of writing time. I’m fairly dedicated. But even that hasn’t cut it over the past several months. At a recent writer’s conference, a speaker addressed the fear of the blank page. It’s real and significant and jarring when it happens—and it happens to all writers at some point. What if we have nothing left to write about? What if my craft atrophies as I sit in front of a blank screen?
I don’t often admit defeat since perseverance is apparently stamped into my DNA, right next to curiosity and my favorite question “why?” But all of it has disappeared lately (and possessing the vulnerability to admit such a circumstance is definitely not in my DNA.) But, since I’m not a “fake-it-till-you-make-it” kind of person, I’ve been waiting patiently for the birds of inspiration to flutter back onto my desktop.
I had a routine physical this week and somehow this topic came up. My doctor told me she fills her tank with a few extra shifts at the emergency room. Wow. Not the answer I was expecting but it spoke volumes about her dedication to others and to her profession. She likes to see how calm she can remain amidst the chaos. “It’s reassuring to know that I’ve still got it,” she explained.
I’m reading a newly released book—“Awe: The New Science of Everyday Wonder and How It Can Transform Your Life” by Dascher Keltner. His premise is that awe is a uniquely human trait and is the key to sustained happiness. He defines awe as the “emotion we experience when we encounter vast mysteries that we don’t understand.” I like this idea and hope I finish this book soon with a renewed sense of awe.
In the meantime, I turn to you. What inspires you? What fills your heart with contentment or curiosity or awe? Someone I know is inspired by dolphins in the water. Someone else I know is inspired by dolphins in a football game. Someone else is inspired by the spring flowers lining the sidewalk on a walk in the city and someone else by the cooing of a newly born baby.
What inspires you? I need to know.
And to those of you who are mothers—Happy Mother’s Day!