So I'm writing a new book. I'm a moderator for Mothering Magazine's online parenting forums. As I'm sitting here checking on things there as I do every evening, I read through one of my forums, the mother's writing forum. I read a few posts and move on and suddenly, like an arrow striking, I'm hit by inspiration. Within half an hour I have an outline for a book on paper, a small book 14 chapters, the titles of the chapters and the name of the book. When I'm done I'm surprised at myself. It's never happened that easily before, at least not for something as big as a book. It's as though it decided to be written and I'm the vessel it chose. Where did this inspiration come from suddenly?
Where do we get inspiration? How do we tap into that wonderful thing that started the process that led to the beauty of the Cistine Chapel or the sweet mysterious smile of the Mona Lisa. What exactly is it and where do we get some? All of the man-made beauty of the world was the result of someone elses inspiration.
The word inspiration means simply to be "in spirit". This is a simple difinition of a complicated sort of process. Or is it? The spirit is the very essence of who we are, it's us in our simplest, most pure form. So to get back to spirit is actually to simply get back to authentic selves.
Being truly and deeply inspired is difficult for me to explain. I am often somewhat inspired but there have been a few times, when I've felt truly that the words coming from my fingertips were the work of a power higher than me, I have no doubt that in that moment I am operating from a place of pure spirit.
While I have been inspired in a lot of my writings on this blog my poetry is probably what is the result of deepest inspiration. I believe that there are layers of inspiration as and one is not just inspired or not, but rather may be be somewhat inspired at times and infinitely inspired at other moments. Most often, when I write I feel I'm somewhat staunchly in the middle.
My last poem flew to the screen of my computer and when it was done I only needed to move a few words, run a spell check and hit publish. The entire process took me, maybe five minutes. I was very inspired and it was a very emotional process. I know I've been deeply inspired when I read my own work and it moves me.
How did I do it? I sat down, I quieted myself for a moment and then I let go. It was quiet here, ideal circumstances and I had an idea what I wanted to say, in that the tragic events of the past couple of days with the helicopter crash, such tragic loss of life, were weighing heavily on me. I didn't know however if it would come out in a long essay, a brief post or a poem. My fingers hit the keyboard and a poem was written as if by magic. Those who have experienced it will understand. It was beyond my control.
If you have read my post entitled "Today I Saw the Roses" you will see another example of deepest inspiration. It is an example of some of the best work I have ever set on a page and it was deeply inspired by a run in nature. I still read that sometimes and marvel that it came through me.
While inspiration sounds as though it's spontaneous and just comes incidentally there are things you can do to promote it. For me it's any outing into nature, alone often, meditation and in the case of the poem this morning, I think my yoga class last night opened me up to the possibilities that allowed for the inspiratal energy to flow. Also, I find that surrounding myself with the inspired works of others helps me cultivate my own inspiration. Inspiration begats inspiration, a beautiful painting may inspire a moving poem, a line or a quote from a book may inspire a beautiful drawing. My daughter won a poetry contest once, the inspiration for her poem a beautiful black and while photograph of a tree and a fence. Look at beauty, think of beauty and you will produce beauty.
If you want to do your best work, practice doing the things that make you feel most at peace and spend a lot of time paying attention and focussing while you are in the feeling of quiet contentment. Then when you tend to whatever your creative outlet is, music, writing, making crafts, painting, woodwork,public speaking, teaching when you set your hand to these things, the inspirational energy will flow through you. You will find you create incredibly beautiful things quite easily and mysteriously and then you will know what it is like to truly be inspired.
I highly recommend the book "Inspiration, Your Ultimate Calling" by Dr. Wayne Dyer.