When inspiration becomes an excuse

In my last post I described how Inspiration wanted to come, but I didn’t have time to let her in.
That doesn’t mean that I have no other choice but to sit and wait for her to visit me again and hope there is room for her. In fact, that would mean merely saying”Yes” when someone asked if you wanted to go to Africa or South-East Asia, but instead of actually getting up and moving you keep sitting on the sofa and thinking of what the air in Africa or Asia would smell like. It is like saying yes to being stuck. Neither here nor there.

I have come to this understanding thanks to my own and others’ experience. The writer Elizabeth Gilbert says that an artist has to find her way back home. And “home” here means a place within you, where you do what you really want to do, because you love it even more than yourself. Just keep doing what you love. The photographer David Duchemin says the same thing in his last book. If you don’t try or don’t do anything then nothing will happen. He advises to be kind with yourself and to accept that sometimes your work sucks. But it’s far more important to keep doing your work, be there and do your thing. Let the dots connect in you until you are ready to put them all together and create something only you can create. To be able to connect the dots, you need to work continuously. You need to move. Every day. This way you serve the Muse.

Inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us get to work. ~ Chuck Close

What this really means is taking responsibility. I’m experimenting all of this in myself. Sometimes it really is extremely difficult  to sit down and write when accompanied by the thought I’m not feeling it. And the reason for thinking in such a way is usually because I miss the envisioned perfect environment. I like to write when no one is around. I like to do it early in the morning when everything seems new and fresh again. I sometimes prefer to have a cup of coffee next to me and music playing on the headphones. As soon as one of my daughters is awake, it is almost certain that I will lose the momentum.  This is my battle.  How can I create that certain environment for creativity on daily basis? Is this perhaps already a wrong way of thinking?

When I sat down yesterday afternoon and started to write this post I had faith – No matter what, I’ll sit down and write something. For the sake of writing. It felt good. I had a cup of coffee beside me, music playing on the headphones. I had just finished the first four sentences when I heard my baby daughter waking up from her nap. The next opportunity for writing was last night, when the kids were in bed. I wrote a few more sentences in an hour (!). I got lost in finding the perfect word or phrase and in crafting a perfect sentence right there and then. It is much more important to just write the ideas down and do the editing later. In fact, I was advised to take these two things as two separate phases of writing.

This morning I was frustrated that I couldn’t wake up as early as I had wanted. I was late, which meant that there was noise around me.  My mindset was negative. I thought I had missed the only possible quiet time today for me. I thought another day was wastedBut I also heard me telling to myself to just do my work and play my part. Of course I knew that environment, time and inspiration was just a big excuse. With all my frustration of the things not being perfect I opened my notebook and continued writing this post. Just for the sake of writing. It was a big step, although may not sound like one. It was a battle between such tense feelings and the voice of wisdom. I can never learn nor discover new things about myself and about writing if I never write, even if it means doing it badly at times. I accept the work. And you can guess what happened next. The clouds of frustration faded, I was coming back and I was writing. One idea started another one. I was connecting some dots. The cogs were in motion.

Now it’s been exactly 24 hours since I started to write this post. The baby just woke up and is sitting near me. I’m glad that I was able to just do my thing instead of going along with negative thoughts. Every struggle creates a story. Every struggle is a possible growth and definitely a part of the work. Without this I would not have written this post. I would have comfortably given up at the highest peak of frustration and kept waiting for the perfect time and place. Which, of course, is the same as sitting on the sofa and thinking of what the air in Africa or Asia would smell like.

Inspiration

Inspiration bursts and flows through a focused, clean, quiet space. It’s like a lush garden or jungle full of life wanting to come through. It wants some space as its energy is powerful. I miss these times, when I could sit down, tune off and let it flow without being stressed about how soon this is going to end by an external interruption.

A few days ago Inspiration came and knocked on my door again. I opened it, but I stayed at the door without making a way for her. It was noisy everywhere behind me: the food on the pan was screaming for stirring; the baby’s clothes needed to be changed, because she had squeezed every watermelon piece on her before chewing it; my phone was ringing etc.

So I was standing at the door looking at the Inspiration and feeling excited about her appearance and about the fact that she had found the way to me. I had thought of her many times and finally she had come and I wanted to let her in. But at the same time I couldn’t stop doing all those things that me, the mother, had to do. I was looking at Inspiration with my eyes full of helplessness; a bit watery, my eyes asked if she could come back at another time again and saw that light, bright, carefree and alive Inspiration leaving, having a warm smile on her face that sent me a message that she will be around…

 

Cheese, figs and the process

I had a very good idea for Wednesday. And then I decided to do it.

The idea was cheese and figs. The idea was to do, to love the process, and to lose my identity.

After driving our 8-year-old to school and then having a cup of morning coffee, I bundled up our 9-month-old and we went to a food store. If you are a woman, you probably understand why buying cheese and figs can take more than an hour or why you come back with foods you hadn’t planned on buying, or a new pair of stockings/tights or a skirt, and a crafts magazine in the bag as well. Somebody used to sing that girls just want to have fun and walk in the sun. (?)

What do you do when you want to find an outlet for yourself while staying at home for a long period? Perhaps you can’t even do all the things you would like to do – things that would require silence, a well-rested mind and focus while kids are around or when a general tiredness is escorting you on daily basis? How do you take time and energy for strenghtening your self? How do you become free in a seemingly limited environment? How do you start liking something where you have no option to quit, take a break or sleep when your head hurts? These are the questions I sometimes make myself wrestle with. Sometimes they even make me cry and feel unfairness. Sometimes it makes me wonder why a mother stubbornly wants to do something for herself – that perhaps it is the time to calm the ego down and live for others. And then I find myself agreeing that the best solution is to notice the Now and start loving what I have now and what I can do now. It sounds very nice, but often we are very slow with living according to the nice and simple truths. It is as simple as  “if you are not happy with the outside, change your inside about it”. And this is the biggest and most rewarding challenge in life. (Just a remark – If I didn’t live in my mind so much, I would not be writing about any of this right now.)

So, my goal yesterday was to engage myself in an activity that would make me happy, and as a good side effect, also feed my family. This is what happened (in pictures).

Decided to try Thyme and Lemon Grass in tubes. Not bad at all.

Decided to try Thyme and Lemon Grass in tubes. Not bad at all.

Brie, mozarella, goat cheese

Brie, mozzarella, goat cheese

Thyme, cheese, fig jam, salt & pepper on yeast and puff pastry dough

After baking in the oven for a short while

Tomato soup with mozzarella and mint. (Cooked by my helpful husband though)

Help me to remember – love & fear

Even when you have learned about yourself and life something, is it possible to find yourself in a situation where all your knowledge and experience is just blown to the sky suddenly? How frustrating and disappointing – yesterday you learned to read, but this morning you could not do it anymore. You find yourself in a completely new situation and suddenly your safe so called well-known-ground disappears under your feet. And if you are not able to put yourself together fast enough, you will find yourself feeling very weak and stuck eventually. You start feeling yourself as a not-you. You would like to blame somebody else, anybody, but you know that there is only one person responsible – you.

Phuh, okay, let’s try to remember again how are things to get it back right.

Love——————————————————————————-Fear

Every feeling is good. It is a tool meant to help you. Fear is a signal that there is a danger out there and it makes you start protecting yourself – – fighting, running, yelling, escaping to a safe place. But it is not as easy always. Sometimes  (often, to be honest) we have fears only in our minds. And unfortunately the above mentioned mechanism starts working in a situation where there is no real danger at all. Heart starts racing, tummy gets tight, body starts sweating. Fear is good when it makes you to do something, and very sad when it chains you down and you get stuck.

Psychological fear is a dangerous sickness when you get stuck, don’t try new things nor move. If you are afraid of making mistakes, of doing things, you end up living in a closed box – it is far from the freedom of being yourself.

You can not feel love and fear at the same time. While being on the way to love, happiness and freedom, the place for the fear disappears. The more you love yourself, the less there is fear. The more you love yourself, the freer and courageous you are.

Paralyzing fear is a sign that you are not doing the things you would really want to do. If you want to live without changes and risk, follow your fear. Or, as another option, fear could be a coach of self-development. If you feel a great fear then know that you are very close to your self and love.

You are just one step away from it.

That mighty non-physical

Fear, anger and all the rest of the “human drama bunch” usually leads to a certain point.  Likely, to the one where you have to face yourself, accept and adjust. To take responsibility. To understand that everything begins and develops inside yourself. To appreciate and to love, be at peace. Yes, these are well-known chewed truths one can read or hear from various sources. And that moment, the facing-yourself-moment, may be even tougher, when you realize that you know the theory, perhaps have even given advice and inspiration to others, but you yourself have not really taken your own advice. Or just have been blind, ignorant.  This is a frustrating moment. Still, it’s freeing and motivating, though somewhat frightening, to face yourself. To be aware of yourself, and of the wondrous and boundlessness life with its fragility.

I have a funny light feeling that everything is much simpler than we think. It seems that there is too much thinking and planning overall. Thinking is not living. I only feel stuck because of thinking, not because of living. Here, I would like to share something about fears from a book by Sadhguru.

“You don’t have to leave your fears and insecurities because they don’t really exist. You keep creating them unconsciously. If you don’t create them, they don’t really exist. Why you create them and how to stop creating them, that’s your question. /–/ So, when I say spiritual, I am talking about you beginning to experience that which is not physical. Once this spiritual dimension is alive, once you start experiencing yourself beyond the limitations of the physical and the mental, only then there’s no such thing as fear. Fear is just a creation of an overactive and out-of-control mind.”

Oh, that mighty non-physical! If you were physical, I would just take you with my hands and wear you all the time.