inspiration |ˌinspəˈrāSHən| noun
1 the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, esp. to do something creative:
2 the drawing in of breath; inhalation.
“When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds: Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great, and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.” —Patanjali, The Yoga sutras
It is a wonderful feeling to feel inspired! When you feel inspired and take action, everything seems to fall together in place. It feels like time has stopped, as you stand still and take a deep breath of awe and observe yourself in the process of creating.
You may have experienced the deeply engaging and highly satisfying feeling of inspiration in the past! But did you ask the question: where did the inspiration come from?
But as you move through life trying to juggle roles, life feels like a struggle sometimes. You seek inspiration but there is none to be easily found. You attempt to motivate yourself constantly but the energy of trying to stay motivated is difficult to maintain.
Have you ever wondered how to feel and act from a wellspring of inspiration?
Here are some ideas that might be helpful:
1. Breathe In
“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not.” ― Lucius Annaeus Seneca
The first idea is so simple that it might be very easily overlooked and forgotten. If you become aware of your breath when you get stressed out, you will see that it is shallow and fast. You get so focused on the problem that you find it difficult to take in life in the entirety.
You forget to breathe deeply and take it all in. You forget to imbibe and absorb the magic of the moment. It is very hard to be inspired when you are caught up with past regrets or future worries. I have previously discussed how we can transform fear and deal with uncertainty. Fear can be transformed into excitement by breathing fully into it.
Shake off the worry and the regret for a moment and breathe in, and really breathe in the wonder and amazing expansiveness of the moment. Instead of shallow breathing, allow yourself to take deep belly breaths. Allow the magic of the moment to permeate your consciousness.
Yes, even feel goosebumps rise on your skin. Inspire or breathe the moment in and allow the entire magic to filter into your being. Be unquestioningly present and open to the current moment and the inspiration that lies within.
Twyla Tharp, the famous dancer and choreographer says in her book, The Creative Habit that inspiration and ideas are all around us. She says that it is like asking where is the air that you breathe?
Breathe deeply and imbibe the world around you.
If you are feeling out of sorts and a lack of inspiration, take a few moments to breathe deeply and reconnect with inspiration.
We just need to be able to imbibe the inspiration in the current moment by being fully present to it.
2. Invoke Your Guiding Light
“I kept reaching for my muses, my wandering muses, floating on clouds filled with their passions.”― Chimnese Davids, Muses of Wandering Passions.
Do you have a guiding light to get inspired about? Do you have the grace of the muses that visit you?
Whenever you feel like the world is getting uninspiring, hold up the light of your guide and shine it brightly in your life. Allow the light to inspire you and be ready to take action when the inspiration strikes.
We are all inspired by eclectic elements. By recognizing and increasing the incidence of these elements, we increase the incidence of getting inspired. Take all the inspiration in and allow it to brew inside till it is ready for creation and action!
What do you love to do? Do you engage in those activities on a regular basis or do you only get to them occasionally? When you increase the number of activities that make you feel great, you increase the chance that you will be more energized and happy.
Recognize and understand what inspires you. It could be a trip to the local arts district or to the waterfront.
Understand your ebb and flow and what sustains and inspires you on a daily basis.
Your task should you choose to accept it is to increase the incidence of the things that inspire you and let go gently of the things that do not!
3. What is Your Message?
“My Life is My Message” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
Do you envision a certain path for your life? Do you have a message that you would like to convey to the world? This is the ultimate big picture thinking and having a mission, a message and a burning desire to assist others can be a source of limitless inspiration.
But if you are going along with the waves of life, if you are not sure of what you would like to do exactly, be assured. The moment you commit to some task that addresses giving great value to others, you open up great reserves of inspiration.
What do you feel very strongly about that you would be willing to make a big change?
When you feel strongly for a cause greater than yourself, you are literally inviting inspiration into your life.
What is your message, your big picture, and your one big dream?
What one topic can you talk about for hours and also occasionally have a twinkle in your eyes? Make an attempt to reconnect with that source of endless inspiration.
Even if you are doing something else now that does not inspire you, you can take a little bit of time everyday to further your progress in your big dream!
4. Allow It By Letting It Go
“No one loses anyone, because no one owns anyone. That is the true experience of freedom: having the most important thing in the world without owning it” ― Paulo Coelho, Eleven Minutes
Inspiration can be like your shadow. Chase it and you may never catch up with it. Let it go and it may follow you.
Sometime, we need to realize that not getting ideas and inspiration is just the way it is going to be. Instead of coming up with the same uninspiring work, hand over your problems to the universe to solve. Know and feel that you are not alone in this journey of love and light.
The infinite organizing power of the universe usually comes back with a solution when the time is right. Some of our best work is done when we have given up on making things better by sheer force of motivation.
But when it does come back to you, make sure you connect the dots and put it all together and do not give up on it. This is mostly possibly if we have not closed the project and moved on. Keep the idea open in a folder somewhere or in a database.
Neuroscience tells us that the conscious mind can only process 40 to 100 bits/second of information at any given time but the sub-conscious mind is able to process a much greater amount of information all at once.
When you give up trying to achieve a resolution to your problem and give it up to the sub-conscious or “sleep on it,” the infinite organizing power of your sub-conscious is still trying to solve it for you. And often the answers we receive when we give up are very profound.
Let it go! In some instances, by disengaging the conscious mind, you can come up with novel inspiring solutions to your problems.
5. Get Inspired by Deep Practice and Emotional Triggers
In the book, The Talent code by Daniel Coyle, the author explains how certain methods predispose and propel people and groups towards much higher talent.
Coyle outlines the process into visualization and comprehension, repeating and perfecting and emotional connection. Coyle explains that deep deliberate practice and setting up triggers or ignitions can help inspire a great amount of talent.
Deep, deliberate practice is achieved by practicing at the edge of discomfort with your skill level and repeating the elements that need improving.
For example, in low-income schools where the dropout rate was much higher, constantly reminding and inspiring students about getting to college was very effective in retention.
Set up triggers and cues that point towards your final destination, that depict you as achieving excellence. This could be a screen saver or stick-it notes or other cues. Then immerse yourself in the matter and engage in some deep, slow practice till you master a segment.
As your skills and talent increase, you will be naturally inspired to continue and become even better.
Set up emotional triggers and cues that remind you and inspire you to take action and feel great!
“Opportunities multiply as they are seized.” – Sun Tzu
Increase inspirational events by believing and allowing the power of synchronicities.
What you expect may very well be what you get. There is research showing that expecting the best from students and from athletes actually makes them perform better.
When you expect great things to happen in your life, they will and they do. It is the good old attention issue. If I asked you to stop thinking about a green car, chances are that not only will you think of green cars but also see a lot more of them!
Taking charge of your energy and having an attitude of “anything great is possible” is a wonderful way to open up to synchronicities and inspiration. Become aware and allow messages and ideas from seemingly unexpected sources to inspire you and teach you.
Amazing things, ideas and inspiration are always clicking together in place. Your previous experience combined with the limitless present combinations and an attitude of possibilities literally opens up the miracle of synchronicities. The real question is: are you listening and paying attention?
Be open to inspiration striking you from an event of possibility thinking and synchronicity.
Be prepared to engage the inspiration, connect the dots and recognize the value of chance events.
Now over to you! How do you get and stay inspired on a daily basis? Please let me know in the comments below. You know that I love to hear from you!