Finding Inspiration when we're Caught up in Routine

Spring is blooming and summer is on its way. Maybe you’re daydreaming about putting on some sandals and chilling outside. I sure am!

But an even stronger pull is the never-ending demands of our everyday life. The things we have to do, the things we should do, and even the things we want to do. 

Last week got so busy for me, I could barely keep up with everything that needed to get done. I had to-do lists on whiteboards, sticky notes, in my phone, in my head, everywhere. No matter how many got completed, there was always more. And before I realized it, three days had passed and I had not painted once. Given I consider myself a professional painter, that’s an issue. But by that time I felt so stressed and overwhelmed I was incapable of sitting down and paint. I felt dry. Caught up in routine. 

We all get caught up in routine.

And routine dries up inspiration. Routine sneaks up on us while we’re not looking, and suddenly we look up and we feel so tired. Our life feels a little stale, our heart feels a little stale. That’s when we start dreaming of the next weekend, the next vacation time, the next chance to go relax by a pool or a beach. But it seems sooo faaaar awaaaayyyy. Well guess what:

You don’t need a vacation, you just need a little change of scenery.

And it’s easier than you think. The world is so rich and unpredictable that a change of scenery can be around the corner. That day, I was sitting on my couch at 4pm, totally discouraged, and slightly panicked. What am I going to do? That’s when the answer came to me from God knows where: 

Get out and go somewhere, anywhere.

I jumped in my car and went to the only place that seemed remotely attractive: the nearest Starbucks. Just get a coffee and sit on one of their couches. Not great but still better than sitting on mine! As I was driving, the cloud lifted a little, I was able to breathe more easily. I thought:

Now you’re in action! Open your eyes and keep going.

There was no parking spot (grrrr) so I had to go park around the corner, in front of a small playground. Next thing you know, I’m sitting on the grass, a ray of sun warming my skin, listening to the sound of the kids playing a little ways away. I turn around and see one single dandelion standing proudly.

And BAM! Magic!

This is a picture of the actual dandelion from my story...

This is a picture of the actual dandelion from my story...

I felt my body relax, my heart open, my brain wake up with interest. I felt the beauty and magic of life. I felt inspired.

I never got that coffee. Instead, I enjoyed the dandelion’s company and my own for a while, then drove back to my studio and started painting. It took me another few hours of sketches and trials to be able to express the feeling that I carried back with me from that moment. And eventually, I could put down my paintbrush and smile. Here is the painting that got created: 

Inspiration is a living thing, just like a flower… or love. Like love, if you don’t nourish it, it wilts.

Now you might say: “Well that’s a really nice story, but I’m not an artist! I have a stressful job, kids to take care of, I don’t have time to go roll around in the grass in the middle of the afternoon!” My point is: no matter how old you are, where you live or how much you have on your bank account, you too can feel more inspiration in your life. How?

Easy: get out of your routine, even for one moment.

Take another route to work, get in that nice store you see everyday but never take the time to stop by, go outside and look at the stars once the kids are in bed, go for a 15 min walk on your lunch break,… Keep your eyes open and your iPhone in your pocket, and you’ll receive some of the world’s magic. No need for anything fancy, hard, or stressful. Then if you’re fired up and want to earn bonus points:

Make something out of it, share it.

Whether you take a picture, write in your journal, draw it, sing it, dance it, or just share with a loved one. Like love, inspiration grows when it is acted upon and shared with the world. You don’t have to write a symphony or exhibit in a gallery to be inspired and inspire others around you. 

What inspires you? What are your little tricks to escape routine and feel inspired? Please share your inspiration in the comments!