Time for Inspiration3.3 Empty Calories
I sat down to my desk this morning with an obligation hanging over my head. A conviction for movement towards some elusive goal that I didn’t know how to attack. I knew my goal was to write but didn’t have a clear picture of what to say.
I’ve sat down with these intentions several times over the last 2 weeks, each time trying to force it to go somewhere and hitting a brick wall, classic writer’s block. Now I sit here, without any intention, awaiting in stillness for an inspiration to move me in whatever direction follows..
When I’m working in harmony with inspiration, I’m totally engaged. And It falls under two themes. Some days, I have an idea burning into my brain demanding me to construct journal entries, poems, or songs to articulate them. Other days, I just have questions in my mind calling me to investigate them, deconstructing them without any end aim. Inspiration is still present in both of these forms, but one is a convergence of energy, getting “to” a set point; and one a divergence, expanding “from” a source of inspiration without expectations of where it will lead. Both of these, obviously, share a part in the writing process; it would seem the frustration is when one does not lead fluidly into the next.
When I hit these brick walls, I look for new inspiration. Maybe I’ll sit down at the drum set and bang out my frustrations. I’ll pop in my airpods, throw on some grungey “Rage Against the Machine”, and beat my instrument mercilessly. Pretty soon I realize, this sounds like shit! And I’m frustrated at myself again. I realize that what was meant as a release has become another brick wall in the way of getting to some goal.
So what can I do to get inspired? If I answer that question, and I attaching an expectation of release to the activity, thereby perpetuating the cycle of frustration? The problem is inspiration is chaotic in nature, we don’t know where it will take us. But in this context, I want inspiration to take me to a very specific place, to get me over the brick wall to my goal. You see the paradox I’m painting myself into.
When we are stuck after working tirelessly towards something, the last thing we want to do is give up. But this is exactly what it takes to create space for inspiration to lead us in new directions. Directions which may give us a better vantage point to see over the wall.
I got in my car and went for a drive with no destination. I roamed through the countryside until I found a turnoff that caught my eye. Up ahead I saw wetlands, oak hammocks, and chattery fishing birds going about their natural business. Underneath the glaring sun and soft breeze my stress melted into the here and now. I sat down and meditated, breathing in the chaotic vitality existing in the natural world around me.
Sitting in the peace I reflecting on the self-inflicted agony in writing this post, I realized the wall was not outside of me, an intellectual obstacle to hurdle. It was an illusion held in place only by my expectations; and having now purified my mind, I could see right through them. Now that I knew it, I wanted to shout it:
“I Am Not An Achievement, I Am Living and Breathing.
I Am, I Am Becoming.”
Once again, I resumed Becoming. Reacquainted with the love of writing down my thoughts, and leaving behind the yolk of making them ‘good enough’ for people to read, I got back to my desk and this post wrote itself.
“Today I escaped from the crush of circumstances, or better put, I threw them out, for the crush wasn’t from outside me but in my own assumptions.”
— Marcus Aurelius.
As soon as we can identify our crush as self-inflicted, the hammering into ourselves of outside expectations, we can release it. We all beat ourselves up, but over time, we get better at recognizing the pickup lines of our demons that keep us paralyzed. When we feel stuck, caught awkwardly between “to” and “from”, there’s something knotted up inside that needs to be released. Fluidity, the exaltation of our intuition, unties the demon’s knots and keeps our own expectations in check, setting inspiration free.
More Posts in this Chapter
Pursuing Perspective – Manifest
- Chapter I – Purpose
- Chapter II – Wisdom
- Chapter III – Clarity