I’ve gotten the question “What inspires you?” a few times, and my answer has been something along the lines of “things I find on the internet” every time. This might be true, of course, but I wish I’d thought about it a little bit more. I wish I had taken it a step further and realised that “inspiration” can be so much more than pretty pictures on Pinterest.
Leena Norms made a really interesting video on the subject recently. She’s making 40 videos for lent, and number eleven was about inspiration. Which, as you may know, is my favourite topic. And my favourite topic being discussed by the ever so eloquent and inspiring Leena was obviously gonna get me thinking.
In this video Leena talks about inspiration in a way that is new to me. I had to watch this video a few times to really take it all in, but I recommend you watch it at least once because it’s brilliant.
Here’s what I realised watching this video:
- Seth Lakeman is her favourite.
- The source of inspiration isn’t necessarily what someone creates, but how they create it.
- The point of your own creativity isn’t necessarily what you create, but how you create it.
It’s about values.
The “how” in this context isn’t about technique – the point isn’t that the main source of inspiration in your life is learning what brand of acrylics someone uses. It’s a more abstract kind of “how”. A kind that is harder to describe, but I think Leena does a good job with her examples from Seth Lakeman.
Because this “how” lives in the way Seth Lakeman includes the band, in the way he includes history in his lyrics and in the way he realises that he’s part of a world that consists of so much more than him.
For me this video meant a big realisation. I’ve realised what really inspires me – what fills me with creative energy and gives me the strength to keep creating. It’s all about things like intent, values, ideas and purpose. That’s what “how” means in this situation – it’s about the entire process behind the finished product.
But I mean, I don’t deny that I’ve gotten ideas from both Tumblr and Pinterest, at the very least I’ve collected a lot of colour combinations that I like. However, I would say that this is a different kind of inspiration from what Leena is talking about. To me what she’s talking about is deeper, it affects your very core. This kind of inspiration is what gives you the courage to actually create, and it all comes from recognising the values and the purpose behind a creation and learning that that is what is really important – not how others respond to your creation or if it’s “good enough”.
So I obviously feel a desperate need to identify who and what in my orbit inspires the “how” rather than the “what” for me. But I think I’ll come back to that in another post, I need to think about this.
At least I know I’ve found one. With this video – and other honest videos like it – Leena shows me her way of freaking #trusttheprocess. Like ugh, it feels a bit dirty to sum this up with a hashtag, but at least I know that there’s more to it now.
Because the fact that I hadn’t fully learned to #trusttheprocess became so obvious to me after I removed an image from my Instagram feed a few days ago. It “wasn’t good enough”. Good enough for what? How did I measure that?
Let’s look at some facts:
- I had a lot of fun creating it.
- I really liked it.
- It was an example of me trying something new.
This was my conclusion:
- It wasn’t good enough.
Coincidentally (or not) this image also had fewer likes than usual. I knew that I was being silly when I removed it, but I still did it.
In hindsight I realise that this was not only a sign of the insecurities I carry within me, but a sign that I was focusing on “what” rather than “how”. I want to free myself from that. I want to value my ideas and intentions rather than results. Let them be whatever they decide to be.
Basically, I think this is the start of a new era for me. An era where I approach my art and creative process differently, where I identify when something inspires me in a valuable way (like this video) and where I believe in the power of my own purpose.
I just read a post over at Noor’s Place about “metanoia“. It’s a beautiful word, but I’d say the process is even more beautiful. A transformative change of heart.
This is my metanoia.