Often we think that we know a word, but are we looking at its every facet? A colleague encourages students to consider how it makes them feel and to go with this to work out its meaning. His is a good idea as words are loaded with emotion gathered through the contexts in which we’ve heard them. I also find it helpful (and fascinating) to look up words in a dictionary, even familiar ones. When studied, they shine more brightly.

The Compact Oxford English Dictionary for University and College Students defines ‘Inspiration’ as:

noun 1. The process of being filled with a feeling or an urge to do something. 2. A person or thing that inspires other people. 3. A sudden clever idea. 4. The process of breathing in.

So why not use these definitions when considering ‘inspiration’? In this post, we’ll reflect on Definition 1.

‘The process of being filled with a feeling or the urge to do something’

So what is this process and how does it begin? For me, it arrives with balance. Balance of time alone and that in company. Quiet time and noisier time. It’s good to question if we have this balance right. It’s sometimes a tough one, but can we balance things out even a little more?

Then when balance is found, even a rough and wavering balance, discipline is needed. Discipline to regularly set aside time for doing what you want to do. To settle for more than just the ‘stolen time’ as Clarissa Pinkola Estes describes it in her amazing book, Women Who Run With The Wolves. I see stolen time as that odd unexpected morning off, or those ten minutes nabbed on a train journey. The ‘stolen moments’ are a bonus, but we need more than that.

In Desert Island Disks, Charlie Brooker spoke about how he needed to have the discipline to do something regularly. The advice he gives others is to create something small. My life is busy and work days are long. Weekends are full of family. So night time is my time for expression. It’s not perfect, but for now it’ll have to do. If I’m tired I’ll just write a paragraph or two. Although, once I’ve written a paragraph, I’m likely to write four.

So my blog is a small and imperfect creation. Born of thoughts mingled with night tiredness, but it’s there. As Isabelle Allende and others have said, it’s all about showing up. As with so much that we want to do, this consistency is key. I struggle, so am telling myself this right now. It is part of the process.

Of course there are times when we need to rest, to ask ourselves if we are hungry or in need of sleep. Would a change of activity refresh us? On the flipside though, writing can help me wind down. I’ve put my thoughts together, they’re contained and resting. I can leave them now.

Tomorrow, I’ll look at Definition 2. Now for bed.


A window I liked in Auxerre.