I've scribbled the alphabet for meaning since I can remember.
“For it is not inertia alone that causes the unspeakable monotonous and unrenewed human condition to repeat itself again and again. It is the aversion to anything new, any unpredictable experience, which is believed to be untenable.” - Rainer Maria Rilke
I heard that to train an elephant they use heavy shackles to tie him to a tree, realizing the predicament he is in he eventually resigns himself to domestication — once the elephant relinquishes, the elephant trainers need only rope for restraint. Apparently broken, the elephant could - but does not venture escape.
We do this.
We do this every day: “the unspeakable montonous.”
We do this when we refuse to experience new places or when we only talk to people who think like us. We do this when we refuse to open up to a silly idea from a child or when we go home the same way from work - every. single. day. Did you know that a simple trick for re-sparking inspired, creative thinking is driving a different way?
Because when we do the same thing over and over again, the ever intelligent brain says: "There is nothing new to see here." And doesnʻt even look.
You want to reread that sentence?
Have you ever taken an out of town guest to your favorite restaurant or coffee shop and they notice something you have never seen before? Itʻs because they are looking. They are seeing. Their brain is skrying the environment and noticing.
What did you notice on your way to work? The sky? The birds? Your text messages (hope not, both hands on the wheel!) Or are you thinking about what happened before you left — or worrying about what is yet to come?
Of course brainstorming and collecting thoughts for the day, or processing a conversation in the quiet of your car is great. But are we ever just present? Or radically grateful that we have a car to drive and a job to drive to?
It might sound trite, but allowing new vision - not imprinting the past as the present- reorganizes how your brain works. Because in the present, there is possibility.
When you are grateful — your brain says, “Oh, we are looking for things to be grateful for. What can I find now?“ and that sends a message through the neurotransmitters associated with dopamine, which incites the “Letʻs do this again” response. The brain - the ever wanting to please puppy, like all dogs when they have proper exercise, discipline, and affection — feels satiated by completing a task and receiving the reward of positive attention. So you can program your brain to look for things that make you happy.
You can allow your brain to inspire you.
Gratitude is one way. You can also slow down and notice. Slow down and be. Let new information come from within (put down the phone), take a walk, remember the feeling of inspiration. Can you remember your last true a-ha? Did you act on the whispers? Or did you find yourself explaining to friends after the fact, ”I knew it!” But did nothing.
Seth Godin recently asked, “What would you do if all your meetings were cancelled? Go do that - now.” Why wait? You already know what you could be doing if you gave yourself permission.
As Elizabeth Gilbert says: "Consider this your permission slip." Now go have fun - be creative. Be a problem solver.
When we give pause, we can notice. When we give ourselves permission to dream broader, we act accordingly. We notice a co-worker that needs a hand. We can revision a parenting or an accounting problem. We can have a moment of not-knowing and surrender to that instead of repeating ad nauseam what we do know — and changing nothing but increasing our desperation and therefore inflammation, which serves only to makes us more upset and bitter.
To give space, to slow down, to notice beauty - in another, in artwork, in Nature — creates possibility.
“You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.” ― Thomas Merton
To notice that your life has changed and perhaps you were once shackled with immovable mental chains, but maybe you arenʻt now. Maybe you are a little wiser, a little kinder, a little more courageous. Maybe you made that move, or started a gentler self talk, or enrolled into ceramics / wine tasting / outdoor canoeing club, and you are not only exercising your mind, you are exercising your right to joy — and you are letting more of that in. You are letting a little more inspiration shine. Maybe breath by breath and choice by choice that metal chain is becoming a rope — and you can choose to slip it off and walk away.
What do you have to lose?
If it is hard, if you feel that you are the only one, you are most likely in the best company of your own determination. Like this elephant — and it is from here that much change can happen
Support the Inspiration.