6 More Ways to Move Toward Inspiration

{Etsy painting by KellieLynnArt}

{Etsy painting by KellieLynnArt}

I started this list to inspire you to move past writer’s fatigue. I created it to help you cultivate a garden of possibility instead of a stagnating pond. This is part II of things you can sample to open your heart and nourish your mind. They are seeds that will blossom if tended to. Try it and let it move your life…

6) Move your heart.

One of my goals this year is to give back. It’s a tradition I want to start with my new family. I want my son to understand the importance of compassion and helping others. I want to teach him gratitude and humility. So far, we’ve donated money, walked in the American Diabetes Association Step Out Walk, got a few salon services to help the Surfrider Foundation Oahu chapter, and spent an evening and provided food at the Ronald McDonald House.

Try it: Volunteerism moves us in ways we cannot imagine. It’s a selfish act that appears to be selfless. When we give to others, we open our heart. We get the gift of hope and love. And we realize we are more alike than we think. If you have been helped in time of suffering, then you have something to give back. When we return the favor we’ve been given, we also open the door to inspiration.

7) Move your beliefs.

We can get stuck in believing our way is the only way. That can trap us as writers, as soul seekers, as creative beings. In order to grow, we must accept other people’s differences, not as our way, but as an alternative route. You may not choose to travel on it or even visit. But at least recognize it is there, acknowledge it and find inspiration from it.

Try it: Attend a religious service different from your own. Read a memoir from a person you don’t admire. Befriend someone with different viewpoints from your own. The more you’re able to tolerate external differences, the more you will be able to tolerate the differences within yourself.

8) Move your thoughts.

Negativity and a sense of hopelessness are surefire ways to close the door on inspiration. Sometimes all it takes is being in the presence of someone (past or present) who can uplift you.

Try it: Read a memoir, biography or autobiography of someone who has overcome an obstacle. Listen to a podcast of an inspiring leader. Watch positive shows. Saturate yourself in positivity and you will gain insight that will help inspire a new way of thinking.

9) Move your creativity.

To feel inspired, you need to be inspired. Immerse yourself in beauty and let it push you past what you believed to be creatively possible, straight into ingenuity.

Try it: Peruse art at a gallery. Attend a festival, a live concert, a historical museum. Read award-winning books or turn the pages of a beautiful coffee book.

10) Move your wardrobe.

If you wear the same type of clothing, color or uniform. Mix it up. Be like a leaf that changes through the seasons from fiery red to pumpkin orange, from burnt brown to summery yellow. You will be surprised by how much your life can change by trying on a different look.

Try it: Wear something uncharacteristically you. If you’re a sweatpants wearing girl, glam it up. If you’re always wearing slacks and a buttoned down shirt, try something more casual.

11) Move your mouth.

If your taste buds could talk it would say, “Give me something new!” Experimenting with new tastes, textures and cultures can add new zing into your life. It can inspire a new character. Trying something wild and crazy with food may turn you into a wild and crazy new you.

Try it: Cook something from a different culture. Host a dinner-of-the-month club where you and your friends experiment with different recipes and/or restaurants or swap meals to try someone else’s version of a home cooked meal.

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The Antidote for an Uninspired Life

{Reflection in an ordinary rain puddle.}

Life can feel so uninspiring. Ho hum to get the mail, yawn to do the dishes, bags-under-your-eyes boring to do the laundry. And yikes it happens all over again tomorrow. That’s one way you can live your life.

As the little oval metallic coin sitting in my purse with a quote courtesy of Albert Einstein says, however:

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

Even life in Hawaii can get boring after awhile. I know you’re rolling your eyes about now. The beaches? The 365 days of sunny summer weather? “Yeah right,” you say.

But I kid not.

Even in paradise, life can feel mind-numbingly boring.

As with anything that feels uncomfortable or challenging, however, there is always another way.

Want to transform your boring, purposeless life into a meaningful one?

Learn to lean into the things that bring you joy and away from the things that suck the life out of you.

This takes rolling up your sleeves courage. It takes realizing that certain friends/family members may not be good for you, no matter how long you know them. And not just realizing it, but making a decision to spend less time with them. It requires a switch in thinking. Instead of believing that you know everything about life, it requires you to see the world as wide-eyed as a little child. Same street, same neighborhood, same beach. Or is it? Was there this flower here yesterday, this stranger, this dog, this cloud traversing the sky?

No day is exactly the same. {Thank God we don’t live in the movie Groundhog’s Day.}

It’s the pessimist that says life will never get better. It’s the cynic that says everything about the world is already discovered. Everything has already been written. Every idea has already been created. Why hope? Why have faith? Why believe?

Stephen Colbert was on Oprah’s Next Chapter recently. His wise words opened my eyes to what cynicism truly is:

 “Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing from it. Because cynics don’t learn anything. Because cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or disappoint us. Cynics always say no. But saying “yes” begins things. Saying “yes” is how things grow. Saying “yes” leads to knowledge. “Yes” is for young people. So for as long as you have the strength to, say “yes’.”

If you want to live an inspiring life, you don’t have to do great things. You just have to believe that they exist. And as a forest welcomes a witness to its grandeur, life invites its observers to appreciate the magic with which it always and already exists.

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I Don’t Know What I Want to Be When I Grow Up

{photo by The Inspiring Bee}

If you found yourself revisiting this question as a grown up, you know how frustrating the process of self-discovery can be. Perhaps, you took the first job you got after college or you simply fell into the career you have now. But it doesn’t fulfill you anymore. It pays the bills, but doesn’t make your heart soar.

If you find yourself asking, “Is that all there is?”, don’t despair. No matter how old you are, you always have a second chance to grow up again.

Speaking from someone who’s had over ten jobs in the last ten years, I don’t only know it’s possible, I’ve lived it.

The problem is most people are too scared to venture out into the unknown. We develop a false sense of control, and a weak web of security. But it’s enough to keep us away from the edge. Much better to live a safe life than to risk BIG.

At the same time, we drool over full-time bloggers, successful authors and entrepreneurs. “Lucky,” we think, never believing we can do it too. Yet, it’s only our minds that limit us and our ego that keeps us from venturing out of our shells.

The Truth About Taking a Leap

It is scary and it can feel risky and dangerous. But if anyone ever told you that staying where you are is safer than taking a risk, they’re mistaken. It’s NOT moving and resisting change that’s most risky. This is especially true right now when employers are looking for people who have multiple experiences and can juggle and manage a lot of different things.

Here’s what I know.

If we have just this one life and we were all born with a purpose, then not following the voice that tells us “this isn’t what I should be doing,” not only hurts us, but it hurts the world.

In all the years I’ve been exploring my life purpose, I’ve realized that I already knew what it was all along. I didn’t need career tests, books or webinars to tell it to me. All I needed to do was revisit my childhood, listen to my inner voice and trust in that. I’ve spent more than a decade trying to find my dream job and ended up doing what I wanted to do as a kid-write.

I spent my free time as a child creating a portfolio filled with mock ups of commercials, ad campaigns, and copy for faux products. I watched Bewitched on TV and Full House and wanted to work for an ad agency like Darrin Stevens and Jesse and Joey respectively. In high school, I did a project researching copywriting because it’s something I wanted to do.

And then college came and I heard things like: “You need to get a job that makes money. There’s not much jobs like those here.” I got confused and got lost in the tediousness of accounting and marketing classes and gave up. I did end up graduating with a BA in English. But I let go of my dream of being a copywriter. It seemed too hard and an impossible endeavor.

After graduation, my career went on a crazy course from research assistant to private investigator. It gave me good fodder to write about. But it also took me that much longer to finally recover and find the destination of my childhood dreams.

So I say to you now, the you who has been unhappy with your current job, the you who knows you deserve something more, although finding your dream job is worth the wait, you don’t have to wait to find it.

  • Think about what you loved to do when you were young.
  • Revisit the past-times you couldn’t live without.
  • Recall the jobs you dreamed about doing when you were a kid.

Follow the crumb left by your childhood self and you’ll eventually get there. Your adult self will finally catch up to your little kid.

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Daily Dose of Inspiration

I just returned from a much needed trip that unleashed several unexpected hot spots for inspiration. The kind of vacation that makes you re-think what’s truly possible in your life and that redefines your role in it. All in all, the travel of a lifetime. Have one of those lately?

I’m excited to share with you the details. But for now, check out this photo I took:

Can you guess where this was taken?

How about with my iPhone in a plane overlooking the sun setting on my way back to California? Guessed right or are you surprised?

It’s a great re-[mind]-er to me to stop, pause and really see the extraordinary in the ordinary. Sometimes we need to be up high to see what’s glowing down below. Hope it brings you a shot of inspiration for your Wednesday.

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Embracing the Lulls in Your Life

There are moments meant for celebrating. Getting my first online column for The Writer for example, made me feel like a champ. I felt the same way when I was asked by this lady to be interviewed on her radio talk show. And I was certainly excited when an Oprah show producer contacted me to be a possible guest on her OWN network show. But amongst every victory, every insanely wonderful treasure trove of opportunity lies the lull.

You may know it as the place where nothing happens.

It’s quiet here when everything whittles down. You can almost hear your heart beating through your chest. Part calm. Part terrifying. It’s the stillness that comes from a multitude of places.

 

{flickr photo by Moyan Brenn}

Reasons for the Lull in Your Life

1. You’re in-between places.

You might know you want to make that job to fulfilling your purpose, but you’re not ready. You’ve got one foot in the future and one on the past and you’re terrified to make the leap. Saddling two place is not a comfortable place to be. But when you’re not sure where to step next, the middle ground is where you must go. Be patient. Remove the obstacles like fear and lack of information by taking away judgment and being in the present moment. Sometimes we’re stuck because it’s not the right time to take the next step.

2. You’re burnt out.

Burn out is quite common especially for the type A perfectionists out there. But be glad for it. Because it is your signal to stop, drop and start relaxing. You might think that doing so is impossible. You have that deadline, the decision that still needs to be made, the kids that need your attention, that boss that’s demanding it. But it’s imperative that you make time for yourself. Trying to be creative when you’re spent is like grasping onto sand. Ideas and thoughts will quickly slip through your fingers.

Going through a break in your life doesn’t need to cause a breakdown. Although it’s scary when there is a pause in your otherwise hectic schedule, it’s a good sign. It means change is on your way.

My mom would always tell me to watch when the trees are still. “It’s the calm before the storm,” she would often say.

Storms sound scary don’t they. Even threatening. But they can also signal change and a clearing away. A new start. If we let the stillness be, we might eventually get there, learn why they came in the first place. It may even be the excuse we need to refresh our spirits, discover new ideas and open our eyes to wonder.

Think of the possibilities.

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5 Creative Ways to Get Inspired

{via pinterest. From ffffound.com.}

Feeling uninspired?

Inspiration doesn’t always come easy. A vacation may give you a temporary bout of energy and ideas. But long before your clothes are put away, your mind drifts to that never-ending to-do list and you’re back exactly where you started from-burned out and feeling low.

But you can sit there pushing yourself to another breakdown {a.k.a. must take vacation} or you can do something about it now. Here I’ve compiled a list to help you cultivate more wonder, creativity and inspiration in your life.

 

1. Visualize

When I’m really stressed out or feeling anxious about the unknown, I spend a few minutes visualizing the best outcome of any situation. Afraid of taking the leap by quitting your stable full-time job? Close your eyes and imagine what it would be like if you started working on your dreams. What does your work space look like? What type of projects are you working on? Who are you working with? How do you feel? It’s an instant way to calm your fears and allow in a breath of fresh inspiration.

 

2. Exercise With Purpose

Exercising is a great technique to spur ideas and get inspiration if you do it the “right” way. I read actress and singer Zooey Deschanel said that working out to be skinny was so “boring.” I loved that! And I wholeheartedly agree. If you can find ways to exercise your body that’s fun, not torturous or purely for the purpose of losing weight, you’ll create space to allow more ideas to flow into your mind. Extra credit: Try listening to a spiritual tape or one from an inspiring author while walking. It’ll bring your workout to a whole other level.

 

 3. Take it Outside

We all spend way too much time on our computer indoors. If you’re feeling stuck, it’s probably a sign you need to take your problem outside. When I’m feeling particularly low, a quick trip to the mountains immediately does it for me. Maybe it’s the wind on my face, the feel of the dirt beneath the feet, the sound of the birds overhead or the belief that I am, but a tiny speckle in this place called earth.  But whatever it is, one thing’s for sure being in nature is the most natural way for me to be inspired.

 

4. Declutter Your Mind

You know how too much physical clutter can stifle your creativity? Well it can do the same when you’re holding on to too many emotional stuff. Maybe it’s a relationship that’s not working or a job that’s stealing your energy and your soul. Sometimes our fear of change can paralyze us, wear us down and make us numb over a period of time. When we let go of the things that are not serving us, we open the door to a more inspiring life. I think this quote is fitting via beliefnet.com.

“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy, for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter into another.”

– Anatole France

 

5. Immerse yourself in inspiration.

Surround yourself with inspiring people (dead or alive), things and events. Find positive people. Read biographies of people who overcame challenges and inconceivable obstacles. Visit museums (Art, History, Science). Go on a field trip for your mind. Do you remember the awe you felt as a child when you went on a field trip? That feeling of newness can give you a different perspective, providing new insight into old problems. Also being in the presence of great people doing inspiring things can fuel your own creative pursuits. Immersing yourself in the lives and creations of other people will inevitably rub off on you.

What do you do to get yourself inspired?

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What Every Dreamer Needs

I am no superwoman. You can forget about what my last post implied. Puh-leaze! Although I work hard to change my attitude, I get dips in my days too. Negative feedback from others or within myself is enough to set off a domino effect on my mood. It goes something like this:

Could you redo this piece? —> Your writing sucks.

I didn’t get that job. —> I suck.

Okay. Maybe it’s not that black and white. But I’m a HSP (highly sensitive person) so I’d be lying if I said that I’m 100% immune to external and internal feedback.

What I can honestly say is this…

  • If I ride it out the feeling will go away.
  • If I accept how I feel, the feeling will be much easier to deal with.
  • If I realize that what I think is not always the truth, then I’m able to let go of obsessing over non-truths and get on with my life.
  • And most importantly, if I take a look at my situation from an eagle’s view, I am able to laugh. On the 5th day of Christmas what did the universe give to me? 5 query rejections, 4 minutes of self-doubt, 3 projects pending, 2 forgotten dreams, and 1 life as a writer. {That’s the ditty that was playing in my head yesterday.}

The thing is life will never be easy. Sometimes you have to put in the extra work to discover ways to soothe yourself.

For me, it means being a conscious observer, looking deep at everything I see. (My husband says watching me is like watching a child. I really cannot not look at every little thing.) It’s all in the details my friend. And I’ve been keeping my eye out on them recently…

 

Like this shot I took this past weekend. See the couple in the background staring into the garden?

 

And sometimes it’s the hidden “signs” that we didn’t notice before:

Random sign on a hiking trail.

 

Changes taking shape when we’re not paying attention.

Beauty in branches.

 

Or maybe love from an unexpected source just when you needed it most.

*Found this walking around my neighborhood today.

What do you need most right now? How are you fueling yourself and your vision?

*Want to see more photos? Here’s a bunch of them.

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