Replenishing the Well
By: Clair Anna Rose
As a creative, I’ve seen the ebb and flow of inspiration throughout my life, and have lately come to view inspiration not as something to wait for or seek out, but as a way of life. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that it’s inside all along, and get a little lost in the daily routine, the hunt and gather mentality or stuck planning for the far-off future — and completely miss the present.
It’s so easy to forget that all we ever really have is right now, in this moment. When I am focused on something outside the present moment and stay there for hours and days, caught in the analytical process of “What now? What now?” but without ever giving attention to now, it starts to wear me out and make me feel drained.
I’ve experienced two possible outcomes of working full time and having an abundance of hobbies: being tuned in to the present moment and loving every second of what’s happening, having plenty of energy to enjoy my work day, take a dance lesson and show up 100% to teach yoga, and the flip side: dragging my feet, feeling depleted, waiting for time off that seems far out of reach, fighting the urge to run away and quit everything and never look back!
I’d like to live 100% in the first place, that’s for sure. It takes patience, dedication and a lot of faith. Here are some practices and a few things I like to keep in mind on my journey of keeping the well of inspiration full and ready to draw from.
Be a Guard Dog for Days Off
It’s so easy to say “yes” to opportunities that arise, whether they are extra work hours, a side gig, a date, or time with friends and acquaintances. While all of these things can be positive, if the calendar becomes oversaturated with commitments it can end up being a drain. I try to give myself one day a week (or at least most of a day) when I make no plans. This way, I have time to create if that’s what I want, or to spontaneously spend time with friends. But in no way am I pressured to give up my one plan-free day.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up If You Get out of Touch With Inspiration
It’s not unusual to find yourself uninspired by something that once filled you to the brim with joy. In my life I’ve been inspired by playing music, figure skating, various forms of dance, assemblage art, photography and other mediums; but not all at once and not forever. Inspirations ebb and flow. Sometimes I have to hang up the guitar for a while to focus on going out and dancing the Lindy Hop every other night, and other times I want nothing to do with socializing and I need to hole up and sew. I used to beat myself up over not wanting to play the guitar, or not shooting a roll of film for months at a time until I realized no one is keeping score but me. If some art form or hobby or job inspired you for a time, and then the sparkle faded it’s not wrong, you just grew or changed, and because the feeling isn’t there, doesn’t mean it won’t come back. You’re allowed unlimited sources of inspiration in this gift of life.
Be Unconditional with your Inspiration
I used to think creative inspiration had to produce certain results and successes, but that’s missing the mark. If you felt inspired to create and make something, it doesn’t matter if it was “perfect” or successful, or even if it was ever finished. It’s the moments of creation and inspiration that count. In our culture we equate almost everything with dollar signs and if there isn’t a monetary return it loses value. We don’t do this with our devotion and faith, and we don’t do it with personal relationships. I invite you to start seeing your inspiration and creativity as a personal relationship and give yourself to it unconditionally as you would a friend, loved one or personal faith.
Give Time to It
Make time to get in touch with your inspiration and creativity that flows from it. Whether if it’s just taking a seat at the piano for a few minutes, or playing one song, one sketch, one page of writing, or even taking a few minutes to imagine what you would like to do if you could make the time for it.
Be Open-minded about Sources of Inspiration
Think you don’t have time to sew a dress, write a novel or paint a painting? Get creative with your sources of inspiration. Find moments, jot down ideas, look around you and search for details that make you feel good and appreciative. Notice what lights you up! Do you get excited on Pinterest scrolling through seeing beautiful things and making boards? That’s inspiration, even if it seems like a waste of time because you’re looking at your phone. If you are feeling good, and feeling inspired it isn’t time wasted, and it can lead to other avenues of inspiration. Just take it where you can get it if it’s hard at first, even if it’s small. Writing a note to someone, smelling some flowers, painting your nails or shopping for groceries. Allow yourself to be inspired by what others would consider mundane.
Surround Yourself With Inspiration Allies
Sometimes you have to guard your inspiration and creativity. I had a beautiful art studio in Downtown Flagstaff where I would escape to any chance I could and would spend hours creating and having fun. One day a friend asked if I was making enough money selling my art to sustain it. The idea hadn’t even occurred to me! It wasn’t the point, but from then on it nagged me. And when I opened doors to sell my art I was now looking at the studio as a financial loss instead of what it had been before—my creative space. It was hard to shake off the idea that it must produce results in order to be of value. Choose to surround yourself with people who aren’t going to try to put a monetary value on your creative endeavors and hobbies. Choose people who are inspired, or want to be. Bolster each other up and cheer each other on. Making money from a hobby can be a lot of fun, but when it becomes all it’s about it can drain the well.
Inspiration is with you all along, inside and around you if you open your eyes and heart to it.
Clair has been dubbed by friends “The Girl Who Must Do Everything!” She enjoys playing/writing music, dance, creating art in myriad forms, teaching/practicing yoga, collecting miniatures and writing.