After such a long period of time being absent on my blog, I decided it would be fitting to make my return post for 2015 about places I source inspiration (which I truncate to simply 'inspo'). I'm considering posting more opinion/perspective/informative themed posts on my blog, just to share my ideas with those who care to read them—what are your thoughts on this? Anyway, here are some of my main ways to generate inspiration without seeking it from electronic devices (particularly those with internet connectivity). Sometimes it can be so hard to find things in life when you feel lack-lustre, especially when you feel like you're living each day over and over again (Groundhog Day-style). I also find that while the internet may seem like an infinite source of inspiration, it can sometimes be more beneficial to step away from the screen and pay more attention to your surroundings. Many people (largely in Western societies) are so dependent on their devices that they never stop to appreciate their surroundings, just taking them for granted everyday.
The first thing you do when you wake up is open your eyes. I sometimes use this brief moment in my day to collect my thoughts and look at the surroundings around me. For instance, there may be a certain special way the morning sunlight hits a particular area of my room, creating an interesting dappled pattern on the wall or a beautiful refraction. While I live in the centre of the city and unfortunately rarely get to experience the chirping of birds anymore, when I lived back in the country I would usually be treated to a chorus of birds every morning. These elements of the natural world seeping into my built world gave me plenty of inspirational references to draw from.
Explore the great outdoors. Go on a mini adventure, or a big adventure. Smell the air, flowers; take in the sights and sounds and let them feed through into your body and mind. Fresh air is well-known to do wonders for us both physically and mentally. I often feel a bit stir-crazy or enclosed if I am in a small space for too long, so taking half an hour to an hour per day to walk outside helps open my mind and also gets me some exercise, which is always a plus!
Yes I know, we have phones to fulfil the duty of the humble notebook, recording sudden flashes of inspiration efficiently. Despite this technology, I still find myself loving to record inspiration down in a traditional notebook. It may seem weird, but I like the control I have over the placement of the pen/pencil to the page; being able to see my own handwriting and sketches rather than notes formed by pixels on a screen. It just feels like a more natural, authentic way for me to keep track of my projects and potential future projects. By keeping a notebook, I can easily extract it from my bag anywhere and capture that moment of inspiration to save for a later date.
Free your mind, and the rest will follow...or so En Vogue sung circa 1992. And they sing the truth—allowing your mind to be clear from the daily clutter you can accumulate is such an enlightening and inspiring thing. You don't have to be an insanely flexible yogi or an om-ing chanter to practice techniques of meditation and/or yoga. Just find a quiet, comfortable place to sit and let the thoughts drain from your mind. It sounds easier that it actually is, but practice clearing your mind with positive images of places where you want to be accompanied with deep stomach breathing and you should find yourself feeling calm and collected soon. I find that stretching after being in a chair working on my computer all day really helps me to feel better, as being in a sitting position for long periods of time often tenses up my body, making me feel uncomfortable. Stretching in yoga positions helps to get the blood flowing to places it needs to be, bringing positive energy into my space and allowing me to become open to inspiration.
If you can remember your dreams when you awaken, they can possibly become a rich source of inspiration. There is also a special kind of dreaming you can practice called lucid dreaming. A lucid dream is where the dreamer is aware that they are dreaming during sleep and can actively control their dream. It's like a hybridisation of consciousness and unconsciousness. More information about learning this can be seen here. I haven't tried unlocking this type of dreaming yet, but it's something that I'd like to learn as I feel it has great potential for unlocking new sources of inspiration. Dreams in general are a great source of inspiration and keeping a dream journal is another way you can create a new source of inspiration, as well as learning more about your innermost thoughts as they unravel in your deep sleep.
Never underestimate the power of reading. While reading may not be everyone's cup of tea, I find personally that it stimulates my mind and opens me up to possibilities. While a classic novel is what I find to be the most mentally stimulating reading material, any reading material is good for generating inspiration—in particular, books or magazines with images. I always love to flick through my favourite fashion magazines and look at the trends pages and editorials. Magazines themselves are a form of escapism from the harsh realities of life, which is why many people seek comfort in the act of skimming their pages over a cup of tea or coffee.
I hope you may find this little list of use. Until next time! x