What to Do When You Aren’t Feeling It

You really want to create something: an artwork, a song, a new recipe or even a new life journey; but you are feeling less than inspired. How can you get the inspirational motor up and running again? What action can you take? Maybe it isn’t action that is needed but letting go of something that will wake up the muse.

Has your creative routine become so predictable that perhaps your muse is sleeping on the job? Shake up that routine, or maybe even let it go. I know you are thinking, but you said inspiration happens when you show up consistently. How true, but consistency needs some variety. Try some new spices, colors or chords and see what happens if you try a different trail.

Here are 5 Tips to change it up:

1. Take a class in a subject that has nothing to do with your creative practice. It may be online or in person. It can be for a few hours or a year. Community colleges offer many continuing education classes. A local history class, gardening, swimming or even astronomy may open some creative doors that you would never have imagined.

2. Take a different route. When you are driving to work, school or errands give yourself some time and drive a new way. The part of your brain that needs to learn a new route will spark up and it may even activate some surrounding creative nodes. This was my area of scientific study so trust me on this one. Even if you take public transportation, try a different route. Seeing new sights will help to wake you up.

3. Chop wood carry water. This saying comes from an ancient Zen master when he discussed finding the most profound spirituality in the most mundane actions. Mindfulness is also based on these ideas. Try it when you are washing dishes. Become aware of every little aspect of washing the dish: the temperature of the water, the soap bubbles, the solidity of the plate and the motion you use to wash the plate. Put all your awareness into this one task. Let go of multi-tasking and focus. This practice will train your brain to detect subtleties you may have raced over before.

4. Make space in your mind for new possibilities. The instant you see this little butterfly thought floating about, take immediate action. These fleeting thoughts, a seed of an idea, a possibility or some obscure thing that just pops into your head are potential new paths; but you aren’t ready to act on them just yet. So rather than letting these partial projects take up precious space in your busy brain, clear them out so you can focus on the things you are ready to act on. I keep a little spiral bound notebook where I jot down these potential ideas. These callings can be gathered into this notebook and you can go back and review it when you are ready for something new.

5. Play. This is a powerful tool in your inspirational tool kit. Play can be as easy as a romp in the park with your favorite canine, a sports game, a card game or even something totally unstructured. The purpose is to let go of any expectations and just have fun. Allowing joy and freedom into your day will jumpstart your creative soul and smiling while you play adds extra joy too.

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