Can you remember what you did two Thursdays back?
Maybe not, because a lot of Thursdays look alike: ordinary, everyday stuff needs doing. We can’t be sitting around waiting for inspiration to strike and create incredible memories for us.
True, but disappointing.
Because inspiration kind of rhymes with exploration, perspiration and fascination, don’t you think?
Three things I found out are linked with inspiration.
Romantically speaking, inspiration is supposed to strike like lightning (only less painful and hair frizzing). It’s supposed to suddenly appear and make you yell ‘Eureka!’ or ‘Oh boy, that’s it!’
But that’s all a bit Hollywood in my book. I’ve never been smacked between the eyes like that by inspiration. If you have, lucky you – enjoy.
If not, and you’ve had some days or weeks that seem horribly ‘same old, same old’, too routine without any zing – then a dose of inspiration could put an excited spring in your step.
It could rekindle your motivation and enjoyment of life.
But first… a total confession.
Mark and I had planned a cycle trip, a month of whizzing along through Europe, looking sleek and ciao and amazing ourselves that we still had it in us, after 15 years of cycling inactivity.
Reality check-we didn’t have it in us…at all. And we weren’t exactly sleek enough to feel ciao.
But the good news is the reason was… we didn’t train hard enough because we were having too much fun doing anything but: writing, home building projects, London sights trips, dinners with friends – all seemed more fun than grinding out the training miles.
Being human of course, we waited until the last minute to confess to each other that we weren’t in the absolute peak of fitness. The last minute being 5 days before we were due to leave.
You see procrastination does lay out some clues. We had a list of the stuff to prepare for the trip – very little was ticked off. No matter, you see the one thing we were in the pinnacle of fitness in was… enjoying ourselves! Oh yes, that’s our specialty.
So 5 days before the boat sailed we had no plans at all what to do instead. In fact no boat, train or plane ticket either. Which meant we were free to do anything, so ling as it fitted our that fitted our carefully worked out budget.
Bizarre though, how when you have lots of choice the brain clams up – do you have that?
“What do you fancy doing instead?” Mark asked.
“Um, I have no idea. Foggy brain syndrome – eek!”
“Mine’s just mush, help!”
We needed some inspiration and fast. But finding inspiration was another challenge. Until, we realised that it wasn’t going to strike us out of out of nowhere while we sat on our behinds and stared at each other.
So, a little exploration, perspiration and fascination became the order of our Sunday evening – the 5 day countdown ticking furiously.
Thank goodness, because I’m writing this from our fabulous alternative choice right now… more on that in a moment.
So where do you look for inspiration?
1.Is there another culture or community that intrigues you?
Sounds obvious maybe. Anywhere unknown is unfamiliar so you start to think differently which means you’re likely to be open to inspiration.
But that doesn’t mean you need to leap into an alien world where you’re all at sea, feeling lost and rather helpless – it’s probably going to look more like trepidation and nerves than inspiration.
Try taking an exploratory trip to somewhere life looks different and interesting – that’s plenty unknown enough. No need to travel far either. Look for a different community group in your area, swing by and take a walk.
2. Where could you go to soak up some trustworthy advice and ideas?
Our upbringing and experiences have given each of us a range of places to go for information that we trust. It might be the Library, the internet, family , friends, a spiritual connection, whatever works for you.
When life looks more routine than fun, when you feel your shoulders sag at the weeks ahead, your ‘somewhere you trust’ can be just the inspiration-providing antidote you need. Read, study, explore, chat, ask, discuss – inspiration is waiting in words somewhere.
Sure, when we’re jaded this sounds a bit like effort – yuk! But that’s where a little perspiration is needed. We’re not fictional characters in a fairy tale movie but we can have the magical inspirational ending with a little effort.
3. Where could you let your eyes and thoughts randomly wander?
I love it when I get the chance to think ‘Wow, who knew!” – you know those surprise moments when you find that what you thought you knew turned out to be not so correct after all. For me, it happens most often when I end up somewhere particularly random, physically, or not (like when reading, googling, youtube-ing etc).
There’s a theory that the subconscious side of our brains is super powerful and knows a lot more than we consciously realise. I can see that. And, I can see that our subconscious is likely to lead us to ‘random’ things we already have an underlying fascination for – one we’re not acutely aware of.
Here’s an inspirational bonus
Actually, there is a fourth place inspiration is hiding too… but I couldn’t find a word that in any way rhymed with inspiration… contarariation, differentiation, opposite-ation, – too contrived (and impossible to read). But for us, number four was the absolute inspiration icing on the cupcake.
4. What would be an opposite life you could dip your toe in for a short while?
Can you sum up your normal week in a sentence or two? Have a go. Mine includes the words ‘work, home, cosy, simple, quiet’ because the greater part of my time I write or edit in my minimalist office or tiny garden room, surrounded by countryside.
It’s easy to see what the opposite of that is.
There’s that human thing that even when we’re content with a fair percentage of life, we get stale. Our daily thoughts and experiences seem to wear very deep grooves in our brains, like little trenches, making it difficult to think fresh thoughts after a while.
That’s where a short dip into an opposite life can be like a generous squeeze of the freshest lemon juice to stale, lacklustre thinking.
Find inspiration all around you
Next time life looks a bit repetitive or dreary try to find inspiration: dabble with a bit of exploration, a sniff of effort, some fun random meandering and a little dose of an opposite life.
It’s really painless and the results can be amazing.
You’ll have extra energy to do the stuff that still needs doing, and your motivation will be electrified – not to mention the rocket to your creativity and positivity.
So, what’s replacing our cycle trip? A crazy month of writing and sightseeing across Europe, staying in ultra-modern accommodation in two enormous cities – the absolute OPPOSITE LIFE we normally lead.
Thank goodness for Inspiration.