Finally, we come to the fifth element of inspiration. Just open yourself to inspiration, and you’ll be able to find it almost anywhere. Leonardo Da Vinci used to get ideas for paintings and inventions by staring at a blank wall and observing the patterns that formed there. Adults who are kids at heart do the same with clouds. You can experience this wherever you are with a very familiar object, by exploring your own hand and allowing that to turn into insight.
In workshops, I’ve had people go out on their lunch break and simply notice what they notice - what comes to their attention. Or I ask them to pull something out of their pocket or purse and contemplate it. Or I will hand out picture postcards of famous paintings that I collected from Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. You can do the same with music, or with tactile textures. Use the sense or senses that most connect you with your inner essence.
You may have noticed that the elements of inspiration that I talked about in this section of the course have to do with permission and attention. You need to give yourself permission to pay attention to how you are unique, instead of following the creative recipes of others. You need to tune into the factors and moments that only you are experiencing and allow them to unfold their significance to you. If that process takes a while, don’t worry. Then once you learn how you are unique, you need to pay attention.
See, it’s possible - actually very common - to experience something and to dismiss it or override it in favor of “shoulds” and “musts” - other people’s expectations as well as our own. There is a study I once read about ages ago that stuck in my mind. Someone asked people who got divorced when exactly they knew that the marriage wasn’t going to work out, and the vast majority of respondents said, “Before the wedding.” They knew but chose not to pay attention to that inner knowledge. Only much later were they able to admit that they knew. Once you are able to tune into that subtle type of knowledge, it transforms your creative process and your entire life.
(sigh) Onward now. In the next lesson, we’ll switch gears. I’ll begin teaching you writing techniques you can use to get a lot of writing done in a small amount of time.