Where to Source InspirationJul 04, 2021
The things we don't always realize about Pinterest, however, is a) we don't have a ton of time to sit and browse and b) that when we are in the mood to go to Project Town, we jump online, start our search, then find that two hours later, our project time has almost ended, and we spent all that time pinning. Just... pinning. That's not to say it wasn't a blast. I mean, I get a kick out of pinning some gems, but I find that I rarely revisit them. Instead, I feel that I need to keep looking for something more, something better. I can't help but feel that there's something missing. Then it occurred to me. The thing that was missing from all of these amazing, inspirational, DIY, step-by-step masterpieces... was me. The heart that I would put into a project of my very own.
So the question is this. How do we source inspiration from within us to create something magical like what you might find on Pinterest, or on Instagram, or on display at Saturday Market (remember those?)? Here's the answer: pay attention. Don't veto all of the pins and notes you've put away for future use. Take them out and use them as fuel and a foundation, but source your projects from your every day life. Life is moving every second and we have obligations that we must give our attention to. So the next time you're out, whether it be on your drive to work, during a coffee break, while you're in line, at your kid's game, etc. Pay attention to the inner dialogue that's occurring in your subconscious. What grabs your interest? These queues are human nature. You might find that the distracting chatter gets silenced and that your mind opens to seeing the beauty in every day just a bit more clearly.
I once had a therapist (don't judge me, therapy is rad) who challenged me to my own form of meditation. It turns out it wasn't my own form at all, but it helped quiet my mind when I expressed that meditation wasn't for me. I have a very difficult time pressing pause. My wrist, arm and elbow are always cramping because I can't stop doing alllll the things alllll the time. My brain is jumping from one thing to the next to the next to the next to the next, and overlapping at the same time. I can't turn it off. I can't do yoga because I dread that last ten minutes that we have to lay there in silence... paying attention to our breaths. NO. I don't want to pay attention to my breaths! If anything, paying attention to my breathing makes me breathe abnormally and have anxiety. I'm a high-strung, hypersensitive gal that must have constant stimulation! Anyway, my therapist challenged me to do the following very simple tasks:
Go outside and...
- Touch three things (paying attention to their texture)
- Smell three things (even if what I notice is void of smell)
- Simply notice three things that are _______ (I could choose. I often chose a color.)
- Distinguish three sounds
I ended up loving this exercise, and when I can turn things off in my head enough to remember that it's a thing, I still do it. It's a simple, easy way to press pause, take a break, recenter, ground oneself... and do that nasty word I hate so much... meditate. I walk away feeling calm and connected.
Inspiration pops up in the strangest places. I had a friend that said she wanted to emboss a leaf just to emboss a leaf, so I ended up embossing a leaf with her name on it. It was awesome. Bounce ideas off of people, network with creatives. Make a personal comment or post a thought-provoking question. Look at the pattern in the grass or the street's curve, or the flower growing through the crack in the concrete. Is there a word that comes to mind? A phrase? Perhaps a staple of a much larger idea? Did you overhear a conversation that made you chuckle?
When Pokémon Go was first released, I was getting a pedicure and the women next to me were chatting about their sons and how they've never seen them get out of the house so much. I was sitting quietly, trying hard to not pipe in. Extroverted? Guilty. Finally, one of them mentioned the color of team her son was on. I couldn't help it. I blurted, "I'm red!" with pride. That's right, you guys. I was on level 20 way before half of your kids. My play time lasted about two weeks before my interest died. But it sparked conversation everywhere. I hadn't spoken to that many strangers who engaged back on the same level in a long time. It was fun and igniting. I posted a simple question on my Instagram in red, blue and yellow: What team are you on? It created a week-long engagement and it was awesome. This embarrassing-to-some timeframe is just a simple example of how a basic human interaction resulted in a week-long engagement, all because I was inspired.
So what inspires you? I love hearing about the little things, the big things, the challenges, the passing thoughts. I really believe that a lot of the juice lives in the passing thoughts. People crave authenticity. It brings us back to the nature of being human. People respond to that! Let's continue building an army of creative, inspirational ideas and pour them into the community. And the best part is the answer to the question why:
Because it feels good.
Speaking of Pinterest...wanna pin this for later? Ha.