Emerging from Inspiration Hibernation

Inspiration. She is a capricious phenomenon.

The way Elizabeth Gilbert describes it in “Big Magic”, is that we are merely hosts for ideas to come to. Inspiration is a sign that an idea has found us, and wants us to work as the vessel through which they can be brought to life. If we choose not to take action on an idea, it will depart in search of a more suitable host. Or, if we deliberate for too long, the idea will get impatient, and again, depart in search of a more motivated host, and we discover that the inspiration is no longer within us.

I’ve been finding myself increasingly subject to this phenomenon lately. Just days ago, I awoke after a night filled with wonderful dreams and ideas, spent the early morning meditating, and felt a marvellous sense of inspiration to birth my words into the world and express the delicious joy that was brewing within me. Then … daily life interrupted my little bubble of bliss. I was busy, distracted, occupied. There was nothing terrible about this – it’s just how the day panned out. When I eventually got back to contemplating the idea of publishing on the blog … crickets.

So. Frustrating. Not to mention, disappointing.

Where my heart had been full to the brim with enthusiasm, bravado and inspiration that morning, it was as though all those ideas had quite literally packed their bags and departed in search of someone who was ready to action them sooner.

I go through many moments when I’m lit up, engaged and moved to share. One of my soul essences is a lion, and he has a loud and powerful roar, a message that he intends to be heard. I know that there are things within me that must be expressed, and I know that it is my destiny to do so. I often feel these idea bubbling beneath the surface, waiting for me to find the time and energy to release them out into the receiving ether. Sometimes, when the bubbling builds to boiling point, I find a way to get the job done – the inspired idea explodes forth in the form of a lengthy blog post that has consumed me as I write it, and I experience such gratification and relief in birthing it out of my head into cyberspace. But, more often than not, I allow fears and circumstances to get in the way, muffle my roar, and convince me that I don’t have the time to devote to such a frivolous endeavour. As such, so many of my ideas and musings have departed: the bubble dies down until I’m left with stone cold nothingness. It’s an interesting situation, because it’s so easy to sit idle and accept that now isn’t my time, that I’ve got other responsibilities to attend to (read: distract me), and yet I feel this constantly recurring urge, as inspiration returns with new ideas, forgiving my past inactivity and bringing me new opportunities to bring them to life.

It’s not working well for me. I don’t want to suppress this inconvenient energy. Because although many of my ideas may depart, in my experience, I suspect that at least some of the really inspiring ones haven’t really departed – they’ve gone into hibernation below the surface of my consciousness. I suspect this because, when I suppress and muffle my inspired ideas, I feel jammed up and confused. When I fail to express these ideas, they get stuck, muddled around, and lose their meaning and potency, and I wind up feeling lost. I know they’re inspiring, but I can’t quite remember what they are or why they inspire me any more. The message, if delayed, doesn’t always depart me in search of a speedier vessel through which to be expressed, but instead gives me the benefit of the doubt, and takes a nap while I dilly dally, taking up valuable headspace. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful that they’re hanging around instead of abandoning me, but when I continue in this fashion for too long, the pile of snoozing ideas start overcrowding the available neural space in my head, and I can’t work out what’s what any more. I know that the correct order of things is to allow the ideas to come to me, flow freely through me, and out into cyber space.

I know this is important, for two reasons:
1. If I continue getting jammed up with sleeping ideas, I’ll loose my marbles.
2. When there’s no more real estate left in my mind, the ideas won’t even bother trying me out, they’ll pass right on by.

So, inspired by a recent interview with Seth Godin, I’ve decided that the time is now. There’s no need to write my magnum opus each time I publish. I just need to allow this space to be my vehicle for expressing my inspired ideas. I have a feeling that as I do so, those sleeping ideas will awaken, and I will again have the opportunity to bring them to life. Then, the path for fresh new ideas will be cleared.

This lion will roar.


Image credit: by Eric Kilby, used under license.