Whether you’re an artist, a homemaker or an accountant, in order to live a creatively charged life you have to find inspiration. Connecting with your creative self ultimately fuels every aspect of your life and brings a renewed appreciation for the world around you – its beauty, its opportunities, its energy. How, exactly, can you spark and harness that inspiration? The following list offers a few ideas.
1) Connect with your inner child
Do you remember what it was like to be a child, before experience colored your ideas about what was possible or acceptable? Do you remember all of the things you wanted to do and be? Children don’t see limitations. They only see possibility. So giggle, play and let go of the rules for a day. If you can’t remember what it was like to be a child, make time to play with one that you’re close with; I guarantee you’ll begin to see the world through new eyes.
2) Step outside of your comfort zone
To break out of the mundane habits of day-to-day life, it’s important to shake things up a bit. Try a new food. Take a class on a subject you’ve always wanted to know more about. Learn to shoot a bow and arrow. Attend a drum circle. Don’t worry about practicality. By challenging your senses and thinking outside of the box, you’ll gain new perspectives and experiences that will make you feel more alive.
3) Connect with nature
According to the Los Angeles Times, communing with nature can recharge your creativity. A recent study has shown that exposure to nature can replenish our cognitive reserves when they’re worn out by overuse. We all live very harried, demanding lives, so I think it’s safe to say that all of our cognitive resources get worn out from time to time. Time by the ocean, in the woods or near a body of water generates a spiritual power that, for me, can’t be matched by anything else. Being surrounded by nature instantaneously brings me to my center. I highly recommend finding a place that speaks to you. Once you’ve found it, go there often to find yours.
4) Expose yourself to the creativity of others
As I said in a past blog post, no one can create from a vacuum. Creativity breeds more creativity. So watch movies, read books, visit an art gallery, performance or poetry reading. And remember that creativity doesn’t just involve the arts. Try a restaurant with a reputation for unusual cuisine. Browse through a magazine that highlights fashion. Visit a friend with an amazing skill for gardening or crafts. Exposing yourself to the work of others creates a feeling of community, inspires a desire to lead a creative life or to make work of your own, and continually feeds the creative animal within.
5) Choose something you’ve always wanted to do and take steps to make it happen.
So often we tell ourselves, “Someday I’ll pursue that dream.” Maybe you’ve always wanted to scuba dive, write a book, or learn a language. It’s easy, though, for “someday” to remain elusive as we make our way through a daily routine. Every day, why not take a small step in making one dream a reality? By committing to your passion, by telling yourself that it is worth your attention, by laying the groundwork a little at a time, you remind yourself that you really do have the power to turn your dream into reality.
6) Connect with people
If you make a living as a creative person, you are probably familiar with the isolation that can go hand-in-hand with creative work. Often, you may throw yourself into the creative process and forget to connect with friends, family and other creative sources. And, let’s face it, these tough economic times have created additional reasons to go out less. I say, don’t give in. If you’re currently married to your work, remember that there is no substitute for the exchange of ideas and feeling of belonging that you will receive by interacting with others. If your finances are limited, there are countless ways to socialize that won’t strain your budget. Meet a friend for a walk in a park or arrange a pot-luck dinner with friends. I’ve come to love a regular meeting with a like-minded friend at our local coffee shop on the weekends. Sharing ideas always sparks a new thought and reminds me of who I am, further bolstering my creative endeavors… every time.
Inspiration doesn’t just “happen,” it has to be searched for, then cultivated – and when we actively seek it out as it deserves to be, it benefits us in unexpected and wonderful ways. As Vincent van Gogh once said, “It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.”