So you’re inspired. You went on an amazing vacation, read an incredible book, met a stimulating new friend, or otherwise had some sort of new breakthrough in life that left you happy and in a metaphorical head spin. How do you infuse your daily life with your newfound inspiration? How do you keep that excited sense of purpose and delightful exuberance when confronted by the same old dishes to wash, bills to pay and laundry to be folded?
As Voltaire said, we must cultivate our gardens. Like a beautiful garden, an amazing life filled with inspiration doesn’t just happen by chance (unless you’re a character in a Hollywood movie). We must create meaningful moments, chase down inspiring relationships and design our daily life to include moments of bliss and love.
First of all, if the opening paragraph of this piece struck you like an unfamiliar chord on a broken piano, it’s time to proactively put yourself into new situations that lend themselves to the creation of inspiration. The key word here is NEW. The monotony of daily life can drag your spirit down, even when you truly love what you do. Search for new situations and throw yourself into them, setting aside your ego to focus on what truly brings you joy.
If you’ve recently encountered inspiration in your life, take both hands and force your newfound joy into your daily routine. Take a moment to pinpoint what exactly is making your heart sing. What about your vacation really set you off? Was it the new surroundings, new people, new food or just the break from daily life that inspired you? If you met someone stimulating, what characteristics did they have that appealed to you? If you read a book that moved you, what thoughts and ideas in particular set your mind afloat? By understanding exactly what it was that inspired you, you can work to cultivate the same experiences in your daily life.
Once you’ve wrapped your head around the specifics of your newfound inspiration, write it down at the top of a sheet of paper, using as many sheets as you need for every experience. Now set aside some time to brainstorm ideas about how to find that inspiration again.
If you were thrilled by the new food you encountered on a trip up the California coast, you could take a seafood cooking lesson, read a book on coastal cuisine, try out a new recipe for clam chowder or hang up a new painting of shellfish stew in your kitchen.
If you read a book that inspired you with its call to carpe diem, you could brainstorm ways to enjoy the moment: dance for ten minutes, meditate, lay on the grass at the park, or stay in and finger paint.
If you were inspired by the new people you met on your last holiday, you could make a list of proactive measures to bring different people into your life: sign up for language classes, join a book club, head to the hills with a hiking group or try out those trapeze lessons you’ve been dreaming about.
Don’t edit your thoughts at all during this brainstorming session; let your mind flow and write down every single idea that pops into your brain – the weirder and wilder the better. Later you can toss out the bad ideas, and keep the good ones.
When you have a whole page of ideas for inspiring experiences written down, choose the most appealing one and add it to your to-do list. Make a promise to yourself to complete this action within the next week or month, and be sure to follow through – then pick your next great idea and do it again.
Experiencing an inspired daily life doesn’t just happen. However if you can harness the power of your brain to brainstorm and follow through, you’ll be on the path to greater motivation and joy.
Image: paul bica