Opening my eyes, I know it, before I even get out of bed….. my inspiration is taking a break. How do I know? Everything feels normal, some days this is a relief but not today. Having a day free from inspiration is relaxing, I am able to focus without the overwhelming stimulation. I can’t enjoy it for long, after a day or so I miss it. I miss the chaos and the awkward peace it brings. Feeling nothing is worse than feeling ten billion things, although it isn’t as exhausting. This is my fifth day, day number five!

Inspiration (from the Latin inspirare, meaning “to breathe into”) refers to an unconscious burst of creativity in a literary, musical, or other artistic endeavour. The tap that self regulates, this unconscious burst stems from somewhere, in the 18th century philosopher John Locke proposed a model of the human mind in which ideas associate or resonate with one another in the mind. In Book II, his thesis tries to show that each idea we have is derived from experience, either from sensation or reflection. So maybe now is the time to reflect or immerse in sensation. I guess coffee would be a good start.

The Greeks believed inspiration or enthusiasm came from the muses, as well as the gods Apollo and Dionysus.  To the Greeks, inspiration meant that the poet or artist would go into Religious ecstasy, the divine frenzy or poetic madness. He or she would be transported beyond his own mind and given the gods’ or goddesses own thoughts to embody. This feels a little different to the inspiration I know, perhaps it is a new stage I have yet to reach, or maybe the thought of a divine being sending inspiration my way, is a tad creepy.

This belief of origin was mirrored in the Ancient Norse religions, inspiration derives from the gods, such as Odin. I am not entirely sure that reading about Odin has given me any glimmers of inspiration, but that isn’t how these things work is it…. Odinism should bring inspiration through Odin and I am not about to embark upon any neopaganism.

In Christianity, inspiration is a gift of the Holy Spirit. I was brought up in a Church of England home, and I can’t imagine any inspiration coming from my childhood church. So consumed with keeping the same pew space week in and week out, and gossiping about the single mother or the man who sits alone at the back. There is nothing inspiring there, more judgements. I did however find this post, which made me smile. Encouragement and investment of belief is inspiration, maybe, but I like the idea.

In the 19th century, Romantic poets such as Coleridge and Shelley believed that inspiration came to a poet because the poet was attuned to the divine or mystical winds and because the soul of the poet was able to receive such visions. What isn’t romantic about that, mystical winds, wow! Reading part of
‘Affective Disorder and the Writing Life: The Melancholic Muse’ (Page 34 can be read in the preview) there is a greater deal more about the seeking of inspiration and the creative self that is yet to be studied, which reminds me, I still have a book to read. Maybe I will find my answer with Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi amongst the stack of books I am reading.

In the early 20th century, Psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud located inspiration in the inner psyche of the artist and Psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung’s own theory of inspiration suggests that an artist is one who is attuned to racial memory. The mere fact that I have spent the past hour reading articles on Freud and Jung, tells me that there is so much I don’t know….. and at this moment I wouldn’t even know what to surmise for this post, so best to probably not. Another time definitely. Today does not feel like the day to delve into (unknown) unresolved psychological conflict or childhood trauma in search of my inspiration.

Today, right now, in this moment I sit here without an ounce of inspiration for my own creative processes. Whilst this has been the subject of this post, it is not the importance of this post. It is how we seek to inspire others that is important, how we bring inspiration into the lives of those we meet. We need to pay forward each gift of inspiration we have, this gift is for everyone…… it is not inspirational if we keep it for ourselves. Felling inspired is what drives us to create so that others can be inspired.

Young children are inspired from the moment they wake, they are encouraged to pursue their creativity, they do not yet have the bindings of adulthood. That cardboard box can be whatever they want it to be a hundred times over…. a fort to start, a train from a book and then an aeroplane in the sky, each spark of an idea becomes the inspiration to play. Is it the box? Is this the inspiration?


‘When inspiration does not come to meet me, I go halfway to meet it.’ Sigmund Freud

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  1. Pingback : Lucy Shires Photography » Urban Abstract Artist » My Inspiration

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