Recently my fiancé and I began discussing moving to a new area. But where? Over the past several weeks, we’ve definitively “decided” on Santa Barbara, Ventura, Seattle, Ashland and Big Sur, and then U-turned and “decided” to stay where we are and travel more. Although maybe Costa Rica would be just the place…? Frantically, we’d Zillow on an hourly basis like it was Tinder, on a high when we’d find a place we wanted to tour, but mostly swiping past house after house, glassy-eyed. OMG. Finally, the other day over breakfast, we looked up at each other and realized how exhausted we were from all of this “deciding”—which had gotten us exactly nowhere.
What was missing? Presence. Calm. Clarity. True inspiration. Maybe a new realization was waiting for us under the indecision; we took a pause and drifted back to earth.
Especially when in a state of perceived confusion, our human brains naturally crave inspiration that leads to clarity. And often we try to force a decision by planning and making moves before it’s really time to do so (which can lead to regret). Despite all our efforts and wishing it were so, we just can’t orchestrate those treasured “ah-ha!” moments. What we can do is clear a path to invite inspiration and clarity.
Before I offer several practices that will send out an Evite to inspiration and clarity that they can’t refuse, let’s briefly examine why we crave them in the first place.
We feel confused → We think feeling confused is a problem → We want to escape confusion
Hmm. Now, just for fun, what if the perception of “confusion” was only the illusion that we need to be in control and know what’s going to happen all the time? What if confusion was only a judgment, and what actually existed (to use myself as an example), was I live in Southern California now. I may live somewhere else later. Ahhhh. With that reframe, my brain ceases its spinning and trying to fix a perceived “problem”. I awaken out of my trance-like focus on the future, experience relief flood through my body and become aware of now. From this space I can create a space for inspiration to flow in and I can calm down, enjoying where I am right now without trying to get somewhere else.
In the moment, enjoying my life, I’m open to inspiration and clarity. Doesn’t this sound like a fantastic way to live?
Sounds like what being alive is all about to me! But how do we do that??
Below I offer a few simple practices that invite inspiration and clarity from a space of calm awareness (book recommendations for deeper discovery are provided under each practice).
Here we go!
- Meditation. No surprise here! Implementing a mindfulness practice, allowing the mind to rest in full acknowledgment and acceptance “unsticks” us from repetitive thoughts and planning and opens a space of calm alertness—inspiration and clarity thrive in these conditions!
Recommendation: Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach
- Movement. Bodies are designed to move. Getting up and out each day clears the cobwebs and gets our juices flowing! Whether it’s merely a jaunt around the block or hitting the gym for a sweat-fest, physical movement incites feelings of calm and well-being.
Recommendation: How Bad Do You Want It by Matt Fitzgerald
- Clean(er) Eating. Adding fresh, uncooked fruits and veggies, nuts and seeds (avoiding allergenic items) to our daily diet crowds out unhealthier options and provides the body with prime fuel for optimal health and healing. A healthy system is ready for inspiration and is ready to act on that inspiration when it shows up.
Recommendation: Living on Live Foods by Alissa Cohen
- A Tidy Home. Physically clearing the space where we recharge can indeed be life-changing. A neat, clean space not only reflects inner calm but inspires it as well, which is exactly what we’re going for here. It’s like tacking a sign to your door: Inspiration and Clarity Welcome Here.
Recommendation: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
- Self-Honesty. What and who might be clogging up your time and energy? If we’re really honest with ourselves, we know who and what feels draining and who and what energizes, inspires and calms us. Spend more time and energy on the latter and less on the former to open up space for our real friends, good old Inspiration and clarity.
Recommendation: Guided By Your Own Stars by Christy Harden (my own book)
- Rest and Play. Incorporating both rest and play into the day rejuvenates and re-energizes us like nothing else (and reverses aging, too!). Pull out a board game, dance to an 80’s pop song, or try one of our favorites, the Alphabet Game (solo or with a partner, decide on a category—e.g., female actors—and take turns coming up with a word, person, etc., for each letter of the alphabet). Or just skip home from the mailbox!
Recommendation: Finding Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
- Nature. Immerse yourself in green. Even if that means sitting with a potted plant and stroking its leaves, do it! A hike is terrific, and an afternoon at the park or a weekend camping can really refresh us and nurture our sense of serenity, inviting inspiration and clarity.
Recommendation: 52 Nature Activities (card deck) by Lynn Gordon and Bob Filipowich
It’s amazing how easy it is to forget the basics, neglect placing our attention in the moment and find ourselves caught up in an exhausting whirlwind of “what’s next”. When stripped of the judgment of “confusion” just being here, now, with what’s going on in front of us restores our awareness of the underlying experience of calm and joy—and that’s where inspiration and clarity always seem to hang out.
For the record, Kyle and I are making sure we’re re-implementing all of these practices and are already basking in the relief of once more enjoying our lives just as they are, while at the same time opening up an inviting space for inspiration and clarity before making our next move, literally. Feels good!
- 7 Simple Practices to Invite Inspiration and Clarity. - March 11, 2018
- DEBATE THIS: I AM DONALD TRUMP – HOW COMPASSION CAN CHANGE EVERYTHING - October 12, 2016