Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Ideas for Inviting Inspiration

by Elizabeth Venart

What prevents us from tuning into the muse of inspiration more? Are we perhaps lulled into complacency by our routines and the constant push to get things done and get from here to there and take care of this and that?  Are we too distracted by internal chatter – our shoulds and those we pick up from others – and the noise of social media and media in general? Inspiration can often strike in a moment, so it isn’t necessarily that we need more time but instead a certain quality of time. We may need to carve out space internally, to invite moments of reflection and the courage to ask the hard questions. Here are some ideas to invite inspiration:

1.     Pay attention to what intrigues you. What kinds of books, movies, biographies, television shows do you find most fascinating? Why? Is this perhaps a rope extended to you from the universe, beckoning you forward? A friend in her sixties recently signed up for a local improv class. She had never done anything like it but felt intrigued by the class when she saw an ad for it. She signed up before her reason or fear could talk her out of it, and now, four weeks in, she loves it!

2.     Pay attention to what excites you – especially your most outlandish dreams. If you won the Powerball tomorrow, what would be the first thing you would change about your life? The second? What new adventures or activities might you pursue? Where would you live? Where would you travel? What is stopping you from pursuing that dream now?  Look for signs to pull you forward into a new reality.  What steps can you take now?

3.     Cultivate a sense of whimsy and play. When was the last time you did something truly silly – for no reason at all? Think Monty Python’s Ministry of Silly Walks, cartoon voices, and fun-loving practical jokes. Seriousness can be heavy, and inspiration requires a certain mental spaciousness that play and laughter can create.  Read More [Insert link to:]

4.     Be a beginner again. It’s easy to stay comfortable in all we know, but our life may be inviting us to step outside our comfort zone and try something new. Have you always wanted to play guitar? Learn to tango? Speak Italian? Experiencing what it is to be a beginner again may open the gates for inspiration to enter.

5.     Dare to dive into mystery. Watch a foreign film without the subtitles.  Take a road trip to a town an hour away where you’ve never been, just to explore. Open a book at random to see what sentences leap off the page for you.

6.     Experiment with new ways to expand your social circle. Other people’s perspectives widen our own. Familiar faces often mean familiar conversations. New people can bring new ideas and new insights. Consider volunteering, joining a group of people with shared interests on, or joining a team at a local sport and social club.

7.     Create an “inspiration routine”.  Kristi Hedges in Harvard Business Review suggests people pick a new activity and then create a structure to build it into their weekly, monthly, or yearly routine. Make your inspiration-seeking activities a part of your non-negotiable schedule: yearly writing retreats, a new museum every quarter, a different professional event every month, reading graphic novels every Thursday morning. Whatever calls to you – create a devoted space for it in your life. William Faulkner has been credited with saying, “I only write when inspiration strikes. Fortunately, it strikes every morning at nine.” Showing up and honoring our commitment to our inspiration routine opens the door for inspiration to enter.  

8.     Be curious. Elizabeth Gilbert believes that curiosity is the secret to creative living. She invites: “Do whatever brings you to life. . . Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.” Following our curiosity can surprise and delight us.  

Elizabeth Venart is the Founder of The Resiliency Center. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Certified EMDR Therapist, and EMDRIA-Approved Consultant who specializes in providing counseling and mentorship to other therapists and working to empower Highly Sensitive Persons to heal the wounds of the past so that they can embrace their gifts more fully and experience greater joy. Learn more at

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