This morning as I was waking up and on that lovely edge of wakefulness and sleep, my mind was quite quiet and I just let myself lie there for a bit, snuggling into my duvet a bit more, on what was a cold frosty morning here. Then I had one of those sneaky little a-ha moments where suddenly the way to open a team-working workshop next week came into plain view; I could see exactly how it would be. The order of the messages I wanted to begin with were suddenly laid out in front of me simply and elegantly. The lightbulb went on. It felt good.
This was quite the contrast to the previous day when I’d been looking at all my notes and feeling there was far too much there and it was all a bit overwhelming – and very hard to narrow down what was most pertinent. This often happens when it’s the midst of a busy day and other things are also competing for our attention and whilst we’re trying to think creatively – whether to write an article, prepare a presentation or find a solution for a client – we are really more in ‘doing’ mode than ‘being’ mode, and quite frankly I think it’s in being mode that we access our inspiration and best wisdom. It’s where our brilliant ideas come from. And of course, it’s a biological fact that when you’re relaxed and feeling good, you think better.
When we’re in busy-go-go-go mode, we’re usually thinking about a lot of stuff all at once, or putting more mental energy into worrying about whether we’re going to get everything done in time than actually doing it. And Inspiration? He/She can’t get a word in edge-wise when all of that is going on. It’s when you’re wandering down the hall to get a coffee that inspiration can strike. Or when you’re out for a walk or a run. When you’re in the shower. Suddenly a piece falls into place in your mind that makes all the other pieces work together.
So how about making room for inspiration? If you’re working on something and going around in circles, or feeling like it just isn’t going to work, capture what you can on paper, do whatever practical stuff related to it that you can such as proof reading or the layout and presentation, and give your inspiration some room to percolate on the whole thing. When I couldn’t quite nail down my opening for the seminar, I still knew what it was likely to include, what slides I probably needed, etc, so I got the bones of it mapped out, the slides thrown in, and then I went and created the handouts, sent some emails about logistics, had dinner, went to bed, as you do. And where once upon a time I would have fretted and worried over it (as if I was never going to figure this out, which is ridiculous when you think about it – the reality is that I am not stupid. And that goes for you too, dear reader!) , I trusted it would come to me. I just let it go. I knew it would fall into place before it really needed to. And sure enough, it did.
I credit my trusting of this font of inner inspiration to two things: learning more and more how much I can trust my innate wisdom which is infinitely more gifted than my mere conscious thinking, any day of the week. You can learn to trust yours too. And secondly, to the wise words of Liz Gilbert in Big Magic, that make it so very clear we’re all born creative, if only we can let ourselves be that.
This requires us to get out of our fearful rushing from one thing to the next and instead give ourselves space to be curious about what might arise. We need to allow time for inspiration to arrive. While there are going to be times where we just have to make a decision on something there and then, often times this is not the case – that is, unless you’re caught in the awful stress cycle that feels like you’re being swallowed up by deadlines and there’s no time for day dreaming, no siree. Liz Gilbert describes this more spacious way of operating as “creative living … living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear.”
Don’t be afraid in the midst of your busy life to be your creative, day dreaming self – and to feel good! You may just find that’s where your best work comes from.