Do you want to feel inspired? I know that I do. For me, inspiration is the greatest feeling in the world. I feel totally present--alive, awake, alert, and aware. My mantra of inspiration is: HERE AND NOW, BABY!
The experience of inspiration has an unmistakable sense of freshness, as if I have just come to life for the first time, and transcendence, taking me beyond all of my perceived limitations. As if that weren't enough, I have this profound sense of clarity that gives rise to fresh realizations, discoveries, and insights. It's called creative inspiration for a reason!
This past Saturday, I had the wonderful privilege to speak about "The Art of Creative Inspiration" on the TEDxTucson stage. The most important idea in that talk--one that I think has the power to revolutionize the way we think of creativity as a society--is that inspiration is not about your mind. It's about your body! To feel inspired, you just have to draw your awareness to the feelings and sensations that fill your body in the here-and-now.
There are many reasons why you may find that hard to do. You might be carrying pain or trauma in your body that seem overwhelming. Or the life of the mind may be so compelling that you hardly want to give it up--even for a few brief moments. Ironically, it's your mind that reinforces pain or trauma by the way it interprets specific feelings and sensations. If you can give your mind a break, you will find that there is so much more going on in your body than you tend to notice. And these bodily happenings are where inspiration lies!
As I explained on Saturday, there is a wonderfully simple, enjoyable, and powerful way to disengage your mind so that you can tune into you body. It's called: play! Not all play is created equal, when it comes to creative inspiration. What you want to find is a form of play that is simple and non-competitive, requiring no strategy and minimal effort. In The Way of Play, I identified 108 different forms of play that are ideally suited to this purpose. These can range from very gentle (getting a massage or soaking in a warm bath) to extremely active (dancing or swimming).
Find a form of play that feels right for you and immerse yourself to the point that your awareness is completely absorbed by it. The idea is to lose yourself so fully in play that you lose track of time as well as all worries and concerns.
One of the questions I was asked on Saturday after my talk is "How long should I play?" The way I see it, your time is more precious than gold. You deserve to allocate a significant amount of it to yourself--specifically to the activities that bring you joy, relaxation, and emotional nourishment. Especially if you are interested in a life of inspiration, there is no such thing as too much play. Just find the amount of time that seems balanced and healthy. Too much play might be as stressful and limiting as too little, especially if it puts stress and strain on your home life or your career. You will know what's right for you. Just make sure to enjoy every little bit of it and to be aware of how it feels in your body. That's the key to inspiration.
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