A factory outputs identical pieces of plastic merchandise, no matter what. But you are “operationally challenged” –for you are made of conscious bold choices, moods, and miracles.
A mechanical life requires output, form, and results measured down to the chin hair of the decimal point. An organic life is natural. It’s blemished and mythic. You will not endlessly “produce” without having awakening times of getting to know yourself again and again– and working with riotous forces. . You will not endlessly “produce” without having awakening times of getting to know yourself again and again– and working with riotous forces.
As an author, coach, and motivational speaker, I make my living “being inspired” and helping others discover their wild, true fountain of infinite good. That means I’ve had to learn how to take scrap metal and turn it into gold. And sometimes I’ve had to learn how to take VPs of Craziness, broken artists, and midlife menopausal hopelessness, exhaustion, cynicism and spontaneous-hatred-of-humanity and turn that into passion and bliss.
I can boil this down.
Don’t seek to be inspired. Seek to be present and kind.
When you’re not feeling purposeful or creative—love yourself more. It’s love that opens the gates.
Take exquisite care of yourself and spontaneous strategies and opportunities will match your inner abundance. This is no piece of cake. It’s a piece of cake and a nap—without belittling, self-judgment. Believe me, this is not your father’s “productivity.”
But then you’re not trying to produce widgets.
You’re daring to serve miraculous forces.
Please don’t make being a human being wrong. Don’t make being a human being who is growing, transforming, and facing bewilderment wrong. This is the recipe of discovery. Vulnerability is where your next leap begins.
I get it. You’re not having any fun right now.
Your “vibration” is a cesspool. You’re as flat as a hospital gurney and as pent up as a cheetah in a cage. Trust me, this isn’t your life. It’s part of a process, like one of the screens that comes up on your computer before it’s fully booted up. And it means you’ve outgrown one level of good and you’re restless for the next.
Sometimes, you’re so uninspired, that the word “inspired” sounds like shooting for the moon.
So shoot for Toledo instead.
Good news. I’ve got 5 “tickets to Ohio” below…
5 things to try when you’re feeling broken, beaten, or blah.
Shoot lower, rise higher.
1. Embrace Your Vulnerability
Don’t dam your own river. Ditch the stoic, the intellectual, and Ms. Rosy Pants. Sometimes you need to cry or kick something. Can you allow yourself to simply feel how you feel at this moment in your life? Let your feeling self or inner child “speak” to your Wise Self in a meditation. Share your feelings with your therapist, coach, shaman, or favorite raccoon—anyone who will not seek to change you. Honesty is a healer. A feeling is a feeling. It is not reality. It is not a decree. Bang the drums. Draw loneliness. Write in your journal. I know this to be true: underneath every dark feeling, a deep knowing abides: you know you will be all right. It’s inexplicable, yet undeniable. And only feeling really, really weak will get you to this strength.
2. Beckon Emptiness
If you want to be creatively alive, emptiness is required. But most of what we call empty, isn’t empty. It’s toxic with disappointment, fear and judgment. True emptiness is being and beckoning. It’s an invitation. Creative emptiness is a feeling of anticipation. I can begin anywhere. I can do anything. What do I want to play with today?
Your Muse will not come into a room if you’ve brought in expectations. She will not enter a room secretly crowded with surveyors, actuaries, accountants, and salesmen. Believe me, she smells a calculator in the room and will have nothing to do with you. You have to come alone. You have to come with curiosity and bare feet. You may turn your inspiration into profit centers later. But meanwhile, don’t monetize the butterflies. You must court inspiration on inspiration’s terms.
3. Take Rest
When you’re sleep deprived, you don’t need to be creating your dreams. You need to be snoring them. Let your body reclaim its natural equilibrium. The burned out do not have more pistons to fire. You need to heal. In This Time I Dance! Creating the Work You Love, I have a chapter called “The Year of Sleeping Dangerously,” talking about how when you’ve abused yourself, following your bliss doesn’t look like starting a multi-national company or feeding small children in war-torn nations. It looks like counting sheep.
Take the pressure off. It’s okay. It’s okay if you lay on this couch for a thousand years. It’s okay if you don’t want to say anything profound or write something brilliant. It’s okay to breathe. It’s okay to daydream. It’s okay to recollect yourself, integrate where you’ve been and where you are going. It’s necessary. It’s holy. And your excitement will come to you naturally, because your true nature is purposeful, and it is your birthright to shine.
And true rest isn’t always physical. It’s about forgiving yourself, letting go, dropping the weights and angers of a thousand years in the past and a thousand years to come. Rest comes from a lack of self-recrimination. What grievance are you holding right now? (Something like this: If only I had x, I would have everything.) When you accept your life and forgive yourself, you free yourself. Transcendence comes from acceptance. Creativity doesn’t come from the fantasy you have for yourself. It comes from the way you deal with the reality you are trying to avoid.
4. Listen with Love
Life is relentless and challenging at times. Maybe you’ve noticed. You are going to feel like you got left behind while everyone else went on a road trip and sent postcards. You are going to want to judge yourself for not being further ahead, especially when you’ve just binged on brownies, and you read other people’s tweets. I don’t suggest a whip when you’re feeling hobbled. I suggest mercy.
Self-love is the quickest route to wild, time-saving, inspired ideas. You can’t criticize yourself and listen to fearless, unexpected directions at the same time. Please treat yourself with unconditional positive regard, no matter what. This will not create weakness, but radical vitality.
The famous psychologist Abraham Maslow says, “All creativity comes from safety.” Self-love is the willingness to listen to anything your heart wants to say to you. When you want to be inspired, let go of insisting you know how things work. Let go of your questions of “how” to get what you desire. Your questions can only attract mediocre answers at the level of the question. Be willing to receive answers to wilder, sweeter questions you did not know to ask.
Sometimes the Universe is trying to give you directions to the top of the highest mountain, and you are asking how to tie your shoe lace.
Really, those of us who are lost, should not be the ones who are leading the search party.
Feast on Grace:
Sometimes when I’m removed from my feelings, feeling as though I’m suspended in mid-air watching my life with dull, foggy interest, I lean on other artists—those who have delved into passion and grace. I want a contact high. I read or listen to those who have already caught the light.
Sometimes I have that uncanny feeling that I have just read, “coincidentally,” a short story in a magazine that has explained the world to me. I am certain, though I might deny this if I’m ever under psychiatric evaluation, that it’s been written in divine love ink, and will definitely not be there the next time I look.
Some of you will need heavy metal or chanting or opera. Others will need cumin or fresh lemons. You may need the touch of warm lavender oil upon your skin. You don’t need to be sensible. You need your senses. You need to be present to the touch, taste, sound, sight, and smell of life. These are the gateways to life.
I also recommend nature and travel. Leave your worldviews behind to discover your truth. Come into the newness of where you are now. Be initiated.
Finally, I want you to know that you are doing so much better than you think you are.
When you’re not inspired, you don’t have true perspective: you tend to believe that the fog is more solid than the mountains that it hides.
But you are in a process.
You are not on an assembly line or in formation. You are in transformation. And this is your time of awakening.
This is a time of great purpose. And there are mighty forces with you.