“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club”. ~ Jack London
If you want to get something done in your life, don’t just sit there waiting for the muse to hit you (with a 9 iron preferably). Want to travel blog? Swooning over dreamy photos on Pinterest might be fun, but does that really inspire you to get off your butt and out into the world? Want to do more than dabble as an artist? No one on Twitter is going to hit you on the head with a 140 character “wake up call”. Facebooking about your cats won’t do anything for you. Get out there and find your own muse!
It’s so easy to become complacent and let your dreams (and your life) get away from you. Despite the common belief that true creativity just springs into being with no real effort on the creator’s part, the hard reality is that it takes dedication to consistently live an inspired life.
I’ve often found myself slacking off- doing the easy thing by vegging out instead of actively engaging myself working towards improving my art & life. In the last couple of years I’ve instituted a sort of inspiration “workout” regimen. This involves not only keeping my mind, body and spirit healthy by regular exercising, but also constantly searching to expand my horizons.
Here are some of the exercises I recommend for keeping your body, mind and spirit inspired:
- Stay physically active: There’s nothing like a brisk walk to help clear the mind and refresh the body & spirit. For me, walking meditation provides a chance to let go of the worries of the day, be in the moment and “clear out the crap” that gets in the way of my creative processes. Of course, I have to admit that my ‘meditation’ is often accompanied by my ipod and a kick-butt list of my favorite tunes. Whatever works for you.
- Stay Spiritually healthy: Try taking this tack with your spiritual self as well. Whatever your belief system, DON’T let yourself get complacent. Make sure that you actively dedicate time to reading, thinking about, considering and questioning your beliefs. Spiritual endorphins are just as crucial as physical ones.
- Get out into nature: If your mind is in a constant rut worrying about whatever little crap that happened during this particular week, get your butt up and go do something physical RIGHT NOW! Preferably outdoors. In nature. Right now. A view of the big world outside tends to put our puny little concerns in their place. There’s nothing like a good shot of natural endorphins to make you feel better. Don’t let worry literally consume your mind & body.
- Become involved in an actively creative community. They don’t have to all be in your field- just involve yourself with people who are always thinking- always coming up with new and inspiring ideas. Cross pollination is a GOOD thing. Working in a vacuum for an extended period tends to produce anemic art.
- Explore/Research Always be on the lookout for something new. New places, flavors, people, techniques, ideas… I find my inspirations everywhere in life- from the pattern of leaves on the ground to someone’s pic of an awesome expedition on Pinterest. Actively search out situations, venues and people that tend to inspire you. Hunt your inspiration down.
- Get to know yourself. Find out what makes you tick, then set your life up to optimize for the best results. Key to this is finding the ways that you tend to sabotage yourself. We truly can be our own worst enemies. If you get your best ideas and work best in the morning then don’t stay up til 3 in the morning. If you have a fear of failure, learn to recognize that in yourself- then work on giving yourself permission to experiment- even if it means “messing up”. Otherwise you’ll be paralyzed by your fear and never reach towards your true potential. Beating yourself up doesn’t help you produce any creativity- unless you’re into the S&M scene that is. Artistic martyrdom does no-one any good.
- Do Something EVERY day. Now that you’ve given yourself permission to experiment, try to do something EVERY DAY. Even if it’s just a blog post on inspiration, a quick sketch of a project or a simple of a list of gear for a expedition you’ve always wanted to go on…