“There are some four million different kinds of animals and plants in the world. Four million different solutions to the problems of staying alive.” David Attenborough
“And if the virality of the lovely poet Amanda Gorman, tells us anything, it is that we have been starved of beautiful inspiration these past few years.” (-taken from YES Magazine, Jan 28,2022) Click on Amanda's name to hear her recite the poem, "Earthwise."
In my relationships as a therapist and mentor, conversations often turn to this increasing hunger for inspiration. It’s as if enthusiasm and inspiration remain sequestered from our time in lockdown. The ongoing pandemic along with other environmental, social and personal crises make inspiration a challenge and an essential.
From my continued contemplation into friendship, I've discovered how the natural world offers a reliable companionship, a friendship abundant in inspiration and instruction. The Mulberry tree in my backyard has come to be a great friend and teacher on life as well as an inspiration for my writing. My spiritual friend and guide, Cat Greenstreet, who offers clearness conversations based on clearness committees, asked me what the Mulberry Tree teaches me about my writing project. The project I habitually avoided but wanted to finish. The project that held a lot of spiritual value for me, and I trust for others. Simply exploring this question resulted in movement. I recognized that I relied on being in the spring of my creative energy, you know, that intense enthusiasm and inspiration! I, like many, am abundant with plans and ideas at the beginning of things. To hold an expectation of such inspiration throughout any project (or relationship) is a huge obstacle. I wasted creative energy and years expecting that initial enthusiasm as I approached the half-way point of this writing project. So, when Cat asked me, what the Mulberry Tree teaches me about my project, I unearthed wisdom and inspiration buried deep within me. I recognized that I was at the “making jam” phase with this particular writing project. Making jam, after picking the berries, is a fall project. And, to make jam (get this writers!), I have to clear the kitchen and set up the jars and other cooking utensils first. Not the most exciting part of making jam, but necessary to reap the benefits. Which got me thinking how the fall’s making jam energy is much, much different than watching the tree blossom in spring or the harvesting of berries in summer. I rather enjoy the solitude and quite inspiration in making jam.
A deep sigh resounded throughout my body, a relief accompanied by joy. And action.
I know how to prepare the space for my writing, just as I know how to prepare the kitchen for making jam. In fact, this project is already fully written in a journal, (so much like having the berries in the bowl). Time to make space to make jam! Within a few days I was nearly finished with my project.
I allowed myself to have the quiet inspiration that goes with transcribing the journal notes (the berries in the bowl), onto the page (into the jars). I let go of all expectations of excited enthusiasm and beginner’s thrills and let myself settle into the next stage and experiences of the creative process. I heard the cans “pop” as they set (the click of the keys as the words dropped onto the computer page); then I put them all on the shelf (published the project in full,) to let myself and future readers enjoy my labor of love.
What natural phenomena can teach you about your creative project? Contemplate that; write about that. Take some time to sit with, photograph and gleam some enthusiasm from this friend.
What season is your project in? Notice that. Write where you are.
How can you set up the space for you to be quietly inspired by your ideas and work?
"It seems to me that the natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty; the greatest source of intellectual interest. It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living." –David Attenborough, Watch the free PBS Series on The Green Planet for some beautiful inspiration. Episode 2: Water Worlds reveals how underwater plants talk to one another.
My next blog is about The Beauty of Objects and how they inspire both writer and reader. I’ve invited my friend and exceptional writing coach Christine DeSmet to share some needed wisdom on objects in story.