12 June 2013

What to do when your inspiration throws you curve balls?

Inspiration has no rules - but it can take you to your dreams, and a happiness you have never known.  Maybe to dreams which were buried so deep you'd forgotten they existed.  Maybe to new dreams borne from deep inside of you; a part of you which you have been ignoring because life had put you on a different path. 

You tell yourself it's silly.  Your life is a steamroller headed in one direction.  You can't mess with that can you?  The excuses pour into your head; no, you can't do anything about this; you have your daily routine - can't possibly deviate - it wasn't part of the plan.   And so another inspired idea is lost.

But look at the people who inspiration found, and they acted upon it.  For some of them it not only changed the course of their lives, but it changed the course of all our lives.  Steam power, light bulbs, rubber, electricity, penicillin, the wheel, gravity, could the world possibly be a sphere revolving around the sun?  When these inspirations found their people, it was likely easier for them to look the other way and carry on with their life as before, but they saw beyond that.  These people changed everything.

Why is all of this relevant to you?

Inspiration doesn't have to be as huge as the wheel to improve our lives infinitely. We follow many small ideas and they guide us.  If we follow the light that is inspiration it will take us on a journey.  That inspiration is your soul guiding you to your own happiness.

But that idea isn't part of the plan!

But what happens when inspiration throws you curve balls  things you werent expecting?  Does this sound familiar?  It happens a lot, and recently it happened to me.  What I learned is worth sharing, and I hope you will find it useful.

I've written in this blog of my journey from illness into writing.  My learning and energy could only be poured in that direction, or into activities that could help me towards that goal.  I had unwittingly attached blinkers to my eyes  I know Im not alone in that respect.  Many of us, along with age, develop tunnel vision whether we realise it or not.

I chanced upon an advertisement for an advanced diploma in photograhy.  My body reacted at a visceral level.  I felt an energy release deep in my gut that radiated through me.  No, I couldn't do that; it wasn't part of the plan. I must keep focussed - must not let myself be distracted - can't let this pull me away from my dreams.  So I parked the idea and moved on - or tried to.

The thing is that this visceral sort of inspiration comes from a place deeper than your consciousness.  This is a place which knows you - your capabilities, likes, dislikes, and even dreams better than your "conscious mind". You ignore it at your peril - it is guiding you for a reason.  We need to remember that our "conscience minds" are influenced by those around us, the values society teaches us, and can lead us to make the wrong decisions.  It may be a decision which makes total sense, but nonetheless is the wrong one for us.  You see; our conscious minds are fallible.

That visceral hit I had when I saw the photography course had no such misleading influences.  It was true to me, and who I am  - just as yours is true to you and who you are.  That hit was guiding me away from a wrong move.  It knew all about the love for photography which I had buried when I put on my blinkers.  It knew photography couldn't possibly pull me away from my dreams as it was as much a part of my dreams as writing.  It knew that words and pictures have been seen together on the same page for hundreds of years before they invented the camera. That visceral hit into my belly was there to make me look past my blinkers.  The truth was that I've been heavily into photography since the early 1990's, invested much in learning and kit, and already built a large portfolio.  So why was I ignoring something which was so clearly a passion - and a big part of my life?

What is part of the plan is not always relevant.  Plans can change for the better.  Mine can; yours can - and they should.

It's never really a curve ball

Inspiration may send us what appears to be a curve ball, but the old cliché is true.  Appearances can be deceptive.  Look into yourself  really look.  Is the inspiration compatible with the real you (that bit buried deep inside), or the version of you which you believe yourself to be (via your fallible and "conscious mind")?

I think that you already know that if the inspiration comes from that place deep inside of you - it's never really a curve ball.  I think that I did too.  I have no option other than to follow my literal gut reaction and see where it takes me.  I decided to let myself develop from the inside of my soul, rather than over-think with the logic society has assured me is the truth  your insides never lie.  What truer path can there be? 

We're all more than we think we are   

Im more than just a writer.  Thank heaven my inspiration reminded me.  This "curve ball" is part of the journey I was meant to take.  Inspiration comes to you for a reason, sometimes at the most inconvenient of times. 

My journey and this blog may not develop in the way I had initially envisaged, but that is part of the fun. I intend to enjoy this journey, and I hope that you will enjoy yours.  

From my portfolio
It is likely that a sister site will be borne as a companion to this site, as I continue to develop my portfolio.  I'm already developing it.  Ill let you know.

What curve balls did life throw at you?  Did you embrace them?

Do you have any inspirational ideas as to how I should combine my writing and my photography?

Copyright © 2013 C. S. Wimsey. All Rights Reserved. 
Downloading of and/or copying text or images from this website is strictly prohibited.

17 February 2013

How To Reach Your True Potential

Have you ever felt frustrated that you could do so much more, be so much more? You’re doing what was expected of you in life, but there is something missing. There are no easy answers; many issues come into play, including fear and (lack of) confidence, along with various practical issues. You may hear your inner voice telling you, “I wasn’t that good at school”, “my skills are limited”, “I don’t know how to be anything else”, “I’m terrible at interviews”, “I can’t do that because I have to pick the kids up from school”. That inner voice is relentless; it could go on indefinitely if you let it. The problem is that if you listen to it, you can be sure you will never develop to your true potential.

Inner voice and plateau

I didn't say developing to your true potential was easy, and your first obstacle is that inner voice – I’m fighting it too. I’m enthusiastic, even passionate, about my life journey, but recently I found myself stuck on a plateau from where I could not move.  Many are in the same situation as I was - trying to break out, but feeling trapped. Thankfully I was overwhelmed with the desire to escape this plateau which was imprisoning me, preventing me from developing my potential - moving on.

Nobody was going to present me with a nail file hidden in a cake, and I couldn’t hope for keys – that only happens in stories – right?  I had to work out what prison this was, and who had passed sentence.  There were no bars, no guards, no one actually restraining me, yet I was stuck; as are many of us for my situation was not unique.  This was a prison of my own making - I had passed sentence.   I could have blamed the situation, those around me - but the truth is that it is only ourselves who can determine whether we move forward, or stagnate. It is only ourselves who can free us from our plateau, for it was ourselves who put us there.  There is always a way; it is just a question of finding it.

Query the judgements holding you back

We are all capable of passing such judgements upon ourselves, and we do so frequently – in fact, daily.  Those judgements prevent us progressing and developing to our potential – although we may not realise it.  “I can’t drive on a motorway”, “I can’t speak publically”, “I can’t walk into a room full of strangers”.  You probably recognise this thought process – and it is an infinite one; that inner voice again.  The question to ask here is why can’t you? 

Anyone can physically walk into a room full of strangers and talk – unless you have a physical handicap which prevents you.  So what is stopping you?  Often the answer is that fear is holding you back from your potential.  Fear is a natural bodily response.  What the body is telling you through fear is to be careful, to protect yourself.  It is not telling you refrain from the activity which caused the fear.  If we refrained from every activity which provoked fear no one would ever mount a bike, a roller coaster, enter a car, a plane, take those first steps while learning to walk, enter into their first school...  In short, we could not live our lives.

Fear amplification

It was fear which was holding me back - my own fear – but it was more than that. My fear was embedded in scars. I was carrying negative past experiences around with me, which amplified my beliefs of “I can’t”. No one was telling me I couldn’t move on in my journey, but I believed I couldn’t. I believed “if I try to do this, something bad will happen – because something bad once happened in the past.” “I can’t do this because somebody once told me...” My scars were twisting my logic, and as a result I had sentenced myself to be chained to the spot for eternity by my own fear.  

If you really look at people who are happy or have succeeded in their journey they have many things in common. They don’t have an absence of fear – they feel fear just as we mere mortals do. They may well be just as scarred as the rest of us, re-enforcing their fears. I am not the first to think about this concept; as Mark Twain once said, “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” We shouldn’t let out past scars dictate our futures - if you throw the dice twice, it is unlikely to throw up the same number.  If the first or second number doesn't suit - throw it again.  After all, "character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries." - James A. Michner.

You are always the master of your own destiny – but box clever with yourself

We don’t want to be stuck, so we must overturn the judgements we've passed on ourselves.  Be careful, but don't use your fear as an excuse not to act.  But it’s not that easy is it?  Knowing it is your own fear holding you back doesn’t break those shackles, because there were no shackles in the first place - undoing them won’t set us free.

I decided to pass another sentence upon myself to replace the void – an alternative and motivating sentence.

I sentence myself to:
  • follow my heart 
  • muster the courage to defeat my fear
  • allow myself not to be perfect (this is a big one for me – I used to be a lawyer!)
  • enjoy life
  • to be to be a first rate version of myself – and not a second rate version of someone else (see The Garland Approach)
I now have a sentence of goals which illicit good feelings within myself – the good feelings are the key to making new avenues open for all of us. I feel myself starting to move towards my new sentence and  moving away from my plateau – a by-product of my new desires and goals.  Once you pass your own sentence, you will in turn find that moving towards it unwittingly moves you away from your own plateau.

Your turn

If you feel stuck (or even if you don’t) – try and work out what fears are holding you back. Is the past bound to repeat itself? How do you know – do you have a crystal ball? Appeal the sentence that you have put upon yourself – what new sentence do you impose? Does it illicit good feelings? Remember the scope of your new sentence is limited only by your imagination. Why not share it with us?

Copyright © 2013
C. S. Wimsey. All Rights Reserved.
Downloading of and/or copying text or images from this website is strictly prohibited.