Let’s talk about inspiration. When I first sat down to write our June Newsletter, I was blank. I consulted a running list of topics and studies that I keep filed away for these occasions. Usually, something on this list will stir or intrigue me to dig deeper. Capture my attention and refuse to let go until I’ve researched, written, discussed, exhausted the topic. But not this month.
Then I turned to my next best strategy: taking a break. I often find taking some space and making time for movement helps get my mind unstuck. I did some yoga. I went for a walk. Still nothing. I blamed the news and current events for distracting me, I blamed the beautiful weather for making me less motivated to sit in front of my computer screen.
I went more than a week not knowing what to write about, starting and erasing several drafts. In that time, I listened to dozens of podcasts, walked many miles, did lots of yoga and meditation, stared at the ocean, talked to friends, played with my kids. It wasn’t until this morning that I realized the answer to my predicament was what I had been obsessing over:
How do we find inspiration?
Eckhart Tolle was the first to teach me that the word inspiration is derived from the term “in spirit,” referencing alignment between our inner purpose and our outer actions. When I feel inspired, I get so excited I can hardly think about anything else. I bore my husband with long philosophical musings or impose upon him new lessons that have encapsulated my attention. One of my investors once told me he could “see my tail wagging” in a particularly inspiring meeting (I chose to take that as a compliment).
If inspiration strikes when we match up our purpose with our behavior, how do we increase the frequency of these moments in our lives? We invite into our life more awareness of consciousness. Many people describe moments of inspiration or heightened focus as a state of “flow,” this is because these moments of hyper-productivity or creativity are literally instances of energy flowing into what we do and transforming and empowering it to the best possible result – beyond what each of us would be capable of by relying on our mind alone.
Michael Singer, author of The Untethered Soul, said “my formula for success was very simple: Do whatever is put in front of you with all of your heart and soul without regard for personal results.” In other words: the doing of the task at hand needs to be more important than the end goal. The purpose must be more important than the outcome. If we focus on the present moment, we eliminate stress and invite in inspiration.
When doing quality work in this moment is the only metric of success,
we give inspiration room to blossom.
So next time you’re feeling stuck, try this technique:
Take some deep breaths. Identify your purpose in completing this task. If you can, try to feel enthusiasm or enjoyment about completing the task. Feel those sensations in your body (maybe even wag your tail). If that is too difficult, at very least try to accept that this task needs to be completed and identify the purpose for which it is being completed. Then take the pressure off of yourself and find some space: meditate, listen to Vivaldi, go for a walk, whatever allows your mind to take a break. Come back to the task. Breathe again. Focus on the feeling of enthusiasm or enjoyment or acceptance in your body.
And just start.
Wishing you well,