In my earlier post, I wrote about how the word inspiration means the “drawing in of breath, inhalation”. In our society today, we are often struggling to catch our breath amidst the swirling details of our lives, that we don’t have the energy to think about what thoughtful inspiration may look like for us.
Next, I highlighted how silence, solitude, and stillness can be the pathways to becoming more attuned and aware of our own life and inner voice, in turn allowing ourselves to nurture inspiration. In bringing this inspiration series to a close, I want to turn to the idea of cultivating a rhythm of “drawing in” and “breathing out” inspiration. It’s what I call the Inspiration Cycle.
One of the highlights of my week, is walking into the ceramics studio where I take a weekly class. About a year ago, I decided to put into practice this idea of drawing in inspiration; to feed my creative side with a steady flow of nourishment, just like I do for the other parts of myself. Now each week, with my tools in hand, I put on my denim apron, and get hands and self lost in the clay. It’s time well spent. I learn more each time about myself through the process of being creative: I don’t like slow processes, I struggle with perfectionism, and I don’t like surprises. I like predictable outcomes!
However, these are also the reasons why I stick with it, week after week; because I know that these areas are being expanded within me, through each part of the ceramics process. I am witness to my own growth. By taking in the inspiration of practicing a creative process, I am inspired to live more fully, and to grow and change.
For me, creating art is just one of the ways that I pursue drawing in inspiration. Other ways include spending time in nature, having conversations with others, watching films, reading books, listening to music or podcasts, trying a new recipe, riding my bike, or traveling to new places, and the list goes on. I’ve learned the critical importance of always fueling my life with meaningful inspiration, that not only energizes, but fulfills and sustains me.
Often times, we think of these things as the “nice extras” to life, and often they are the first thing to go when our time or resources are low. However, I’ve seen how I live, feel, and act when these are left out and I don’t like the person I am at those times. Since I desire for my behavior and choices to align with my values and beliefs, these aren’t luxuries but rather essentials.
Since our breathing has a cycle of taking in and sending forth, so must our inspired living. The inspiration cycle, is a multi-transformational process. The inspiration we draw in, not only transforms us, but then is also transformed into something new, unique, and valuable. It becomes a precious contribution that we make to our immediate circle and the greater world beyond us. We may be inspired to make something that adds beauty to the environment, to write words or music that speaks deeply to another’s soul, or design a program which lifts another life out of poverty or despair. This is the cycle of inspired living. Drawing in fuel, which transforms us, and sending forth our inspired contribution into our spheres of influence.
The fullness of taking my ceramics class isn’t just for myself, when I learn about myself, or create a satisfying piece. Rather, it’s in the collaborative energy between classmates, when we share ideas, offer admiration of a finished work, or encourage each other through a challenging process. Also, the fullness is reached when I gift a handmade bowl to a friend, and share a part of my inspiration with them.
Inspiration is meant to be drawn in, to not only act as fuel for our lives, but to also be shared with others. The cycle is a reminder of how we’re all connected with each other, and builds integration within ourselves and others. Perhaps in living our fullest, most inspired life we can bring more kindness, love, or inspiration to others. Imagine the possibilities of what we have to give, when we live from our place of fullness and inspiration.