September 05, 2011
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The Care and Feeding of Inspiration: Guest Post by Kat
As I mentioned yesterday, for the first time since I starting Ramblings and Photos, I will be taking a “blogcation.” While I have a couple of scheduled posts (good to WOW), I’ll be leaving you in the creative and inspirational hands of some of my favorite bloggers. First up is my girl Kat, from The Kat Eye View of the World. Be sure to give her a little comment love after reading this incredibly inspiring post.
Inspiration is a beautiful thing. When we find inspiration, it lifts us up and carries us on its wings to new places. It can fill us with joy, and enable us to create and share our best work. 

Inspiration is an elusive thing. There are times when it is everywhere, and then it is nowhere. We check all of our usual haunts and the inspiration we found is gone. We feel bereft, deserted. 

Inspiration is a fickle thing. The finding of inspiration often seems to be serendipity. It is the perfect intersection of place, idea, action in a moment. We may not know quite what happened to get us to this inspired place. So when we lose our way, we don’t know how to get back.
Finding Inspiration

What is “inspiration?” For each of us it is a little different. For me, it is a feeling of lightness and joy which flows through the center of my being, and leads me to create my best work. There is usually an idea, a place or a person which ignites the feeling and I just have to create, to act, in response to it. I delve into the experience, following its pull until it fades away. Inspiration doesn’t last forever, and it can’t be saved for a rainy day. When I am inspired, I need to act right then. 

Sources of inspiration are as varied as individuals. One person may be inspired by beautiful words, finding the perfect motivation to start something new. Another person may be inspired by a color, creating a piece of art. A person can be inspiration, their example setting a new way for you to think about how you live. We are all going to find inspiration in different things. 

So, how do you find your inspiration, if it’s not the same as anyone else’s? Where’s the map? You can always start with the sources of inspiration of others, but that may not work for you. The only sure-fire way to find your true inspiration is to be tuned into being you. Follow your heart, your excitement and interest. Somewhere along the way, inspiration is waiting for you on this path. It may sneak up on you or it may run into you full force, but if you are following what excites and delights you, you will find your inspiration. 

And when you do find inspiration – watch out. You will be a force to be reckoned with! Who knows what you will be inspired to do. My inspiration has led me to all sorts of unpredictable places, like Exploring with a Camera, or swapping out 1000+ postcards, or helping people like you to Find Your Eye.
Losing Inspiration

Once you find your inspiration, it may stay around for a while, buoying you along a creative and productive path. At some point, however, it will leave, and you might not know why. There are reasons inspiration deserts you. In your excitement of creating and acting from inspiration you will have moved away from the source of your inspiration without even noticing. The feeling may stay around with you for a little while as your momentum keeps you going, but then the bottom falls out, you drop like a rock, and realize inspiration is gone.

What happened? Here is the tricky part, teasing out your source of inspiration in the first place, and getting back to it. Here is where you start doing some investigation: What was I doing at the time I was overwhelmed with inspiration? What steps led me to there? Like a detective, you uncover the clues which brought you to inspiration.

Retracing your steps is the first way to seek your inspiration. It might work once or twice. Chances are, sooner or later the same path will no longer work for you. Why? We change and grow, and what inspires us changes and grows as well. We can’t expect the same actions to lead to the same result. That ground has already been covered. Inspiration comes from new sources as we continue on our journey.
Keeping Inspiration

There is one way to find your inspiration and keep it going: Follow your heart. Follow the ever-changing, growing, intuitive piece of you which acts as compass for inspiration.

“Following your heart” is not as nebulous as it sounds. Your heart speaks to you in little ways. It speaks through the love you have of a color. It’s found in the song which lifts you up each time you hear it. It’s the place you keep coming back to, because of the feeling you get when you visit. It’s the class you can’t get out of your mind, but haven’t signed up for yet. In all of those things, your heart is calling. Each time we take a little step in the direction of something we love, something which excites and delights us, we are following our heart.

If following your heart is the best way to find inspiration, then learning to hear your heart is the best thing you can do to keep your inspiration.

Here are a few tips to help you connect with your heart:
    • Write things down. Write down the ideas coming to you. Write down the feelings you have. Write down things you find interesting. Over time, you may begin to see a pattern you can’t see in the moment. You will find a direction to explore from your heart.
    • Learn to observe your feelings. As you are doing something, note how you feel. Are you getting energy from what you are doing, or losing it? How does your body feel? Are you avoiding something? Don’t judge, don’t filter, just observe. To follow your heart, you have to hear it. Your heart speaks through your body, in your feelings.
    • Find a regular practice which allows you to slow down and understand what is going on inside. For some, the activity may be journaling. For others, meditation. It could be exercise or artistic endeavors. Find the activity which allows you to clear the surface noise in your mind and practice it on a regular basis. You will hear something deeper—your heart.
    • Try new things, along with doing what you already love. Along the way, observe your feelings, write down your ideas, allow yourself to change and grow with new experiences. The “tried-and-true” only works for so long as a source of inspiration, even when you are well-tuned in, so you must continue to seek the new.
    • Along my creative journey, I have found and lost inspiration over and over again. I’ve found the care and feeding of inspiration is truly just the care and feeding of myself, my heart.
      When I am following my heart, I find inspiration everywhere. It’s as simple as that. 
      Thanks again Kat for inspiring us to reconnect with our heart. If you want to know more about Kat or if you’re interested in any of her upcoming Finding Your Eye e-courses, be sure to click over! Also be sure to come back tomorrow for a remarkable story by Kel from Then There Were Five. Have a great day!