when inspiration runs dry

words & photo by Brian Thompson

i’m having one of those mornings where the words aren’t coming as easily as they normally do.

it feels like my brain is still in bed, while i’m sitting in my office trying to have a morning meeting with creativity. i’m here waiting, but it still hasn’t shown up. usually the ideas flow so quickly that i can’t take notes fast enough, but other times, like right now, nothing comes but clumsy, clouded thinking that goes nowhere, except for thoughts of more caffeine.

in times like those, like right now, i still make myself write however. i write these very words because i refuse to accept what my resistance is otherwise trying to convince me of — to just put it off, to relax, to do something else and wait for a more inspiring time. but if we always wait for inspiration to find us, then we’ll never get much done.

we use inspiration as an excuse to only work when it seems to be the easiest and when everything flows freely.

but sometimes we just need to do whatever we can, regardless of inspiration. in times like those, like right now, we often surprise ourselves. we find that we actually can do the things we need to do, using nothing but the brute force of our strength of will. this isn’t to say that inspiration isn’t important, it absolutely is, but we needn’t rely upon it so heavily. through the habit of daily writing that i’ve forced myself into, i’ve realized that inspiration has a funny way of creeping up on you, even when you don’t think it’s there.

like right now, i had no idea these very words were going to be written when i started a few minutes ago. i had no topic in mind and there was no subject i wanted to express. yet here i am, now exploring the nature of inspiration itself.

the magic the human mind is able to conjure out of nothingness fascinates me.

i don’t think we’ll ever fully understand the nature of our conscious awareness and all of its complexities, but its mysteries are always there for us to tap into. even in those moments when we feel thoroughly uninspired, our mind has surprises for us that are just waiting to be revealed — we only need to find the correct combination.

when we allow ourselves the freedom to play with our open awareness in an exercise of exploration, it’s like picking the lock of the door that our inspiration hides behind. the more we play and experiment, without expectation or pressure, our consciousness starts to build new ideas through unraveling its myriad experiences, emotions, knowledge and memories. through creative playfulness, our minds starts to build connections from seemingly separate pieces of data and information, and it starts to put the pieces together of something we didn’t even realize we had within us.

we get inspired through the process of forcing ourselves to explore our own thoughts (like right now).

we mustn’t wait for inspiration to find us.

we must lift up the cushions of the couch and see what we find. we must open all the cupboards and drawers and find what’s hiding or that’s accidentally been stashed in a place where it doesn’t belong. we must curl up the corners of the rugs to see what’s been swept away and ignored. we must open all the windows, let the breeze flow through and air the place out.

we mustn’t listen to the resistance that’s always lurking within our minds, for what lies just beyond its edge is well worth the search. in fact, the quest itself is inspiring.

in our quest to be inspired, we inspire ourselves.

we only ever realize we’ve successfully climbed the wall of resistance when we’ve already jumped down from it and have landed on the other side. in doing so, we build confidence in our skills and ability. we gain confidence in our self. we begin to see that anything is impossible. we begin to see that whatever challenges us makes us grow. we start to realize that resistance is only a gatekeeper for inspiration. it’s a bodyguard of our pending happiness, fulfillment, joy and success — your resistance doesn’t want good things to come too easy for you, because it knows you won’t appreciate them as thoroughly if they did.

and just like right now, even when i thought i had nothing to say, i discovered that i actually did.