Re-Inspiration

I had meant to conscientiously blog each week for the whole year.  It was a noble resolution

socks in process

and, as most resolutions are, it was doomed to fail.  Or, maybe not fail, but falter.  It has been only a couple of weeks since my last blog entry.

So here I am with an offering about something quite real in the moment for me: Re-Inspiration.

Inspiration is a process, just like breathing.  We think of it as a momentary thing, a bolt of lightning from out of the blue, a brief moment that lights the dark sky of our mental landscape, leaving us scrambling to catch and remember the afterimage.  But if we limit inspiration to just that initial energetic moment, with words written down, ideas sketched, concepts revealed, decisions made, goals set, and motivation captured in a timeless bottle, we lose that inspiring moment as it shifts further and further into the past.

And then we find ourselves wondering why we started down this particular path.  It seemed like such a good idea when we started, fresh with the lightning bolt of inspiration, with everything ahead of us revealed in bold contrasts—simple, easy, just keep walking that way and the results will be glorious!  But then the afterflash dazzle disperses and our vision fades back to normal and here we are, shuffling our feet on the edge of our path to creative greatness.  How do we recapture the vision?  When we falter and find ourselves taking breaks to fiddle around with emails and tidying things up and sorting through junk mail, with no clear purpose, how do we pump energy back into inspiration, turn it into re-inspiration, and start meaningfully down the path again?

I’m not much of a knitter, but I do like the process of turning yarn into something decorative and useful.  I learned early on not to start a big project, though, because I would never finish it.  Even little projects like a scarf or socks can take forever.  I will knit a few rows and put the project down, maybe pick it up again the next day, knit a few rows, then put it down again.  Eventually I might finish a sock only to have it wait, limp and forlorn, while I haltingly create its companion.  I find that I am most energetic and persistent when I start a project and when I’m in the last few rows of finishing it.  It’s the endless miles of yarn in between that are the problem.  I can’t quite keep marching through the mission at a steady pace to produce a pair of serviceable socks before the seasons turn and it’s sandal weather again.

So how do I manage the process of re-inspiration in order to achieve my goal?  The best tool I have found is to pause, breathe, and focus on the project as it is, here in this present moment.  When I look at the tiny rows of stitches clinging to the needles and admire the beauty of the patterns of colors they form, I become closer to what I am creating.  When I focus on what I have accomplished so far, see what is real in the present moment, I can feel good about what I have done, embracing even the flaws and dropped stitches in the essence of their realness: I have created something.  I have created.  And I can continue to create.  And whatever I create, it will be good because it is real in the present moment and I am caught up in the moment of creation—I am creating.  And then, having recaptured a bit of re-inspiration, I can continue to create.

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