Inspiration – A Breath of Fresh Air to Start the Year, the Month or the Week

Inspiration not only feels like a breath of fresh air –
It literally is a breath of fresh air!

While the word ‘inspire’ figuratively means to excite, rouse and inflame:

  • fill (someone) with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.
  • “breath or put life or spirit into the human body; impart reason to a human soul.”

It’s original meaning from the 1560’s is:

  • breathe in (air); inhale.
    derived from the Latin inspirare breathe –
    in – “in” and spirare “to breathe” 
Pictorial Map MacDonald Gill

An inspirational map! Detail of Australia from MacDonald Gill’s Atlantic Charter 1942

Inspiration: A Breath of Fresh Air

When the new year blows in, it comes with the inevitable gusts of fresh inspiration –
Inspiration to fitten up…
Inspiration to eat unpackaged foods…
Inspiration to improve our being (in some way or form)…
But rather than being inspirational, these wishes are more aspirational –
Aspirations come from within us – they are self generated desires (possibly borne from comparing ourselves to others)
And we all know where that leads – ‘Comparison is the thief of joy’

True ‘inspiration’ means:

  • fill (someone) with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.

So it is only when connecting with someone else (or something) that one can really be inspired and experience that wonderful surge of energy that ignites and enriches our souls with a force that doesn’t drain resources
It feeds and fires up our creative wells.

Breathing in Inspiration

Last December I went to a map exhibition at the British Library in London –

Maps and the 20th Century: Drawing the Line – 

Here’s the link if the video above is not showing:

It made me gasp!
Gasp at the cartographers’ creativity portrayed in the 200 maps on display.
And gasp to breathe in their inspiration and feel my creative well being filled and enriched –
It put life and spirit into my body
I was INSPIRED in every sense of the word!

Despite what it may appear on the surface – No one is an island

But it also rang alarm bells –
It was only as this flurry of emotion swirled up in me that I realised how parched I’d allowed my creative well to unwittingly become this past year while buzzing about on the business side of the company, leaving my creative soul in drought.

Illustration showing how no one is an island

Despite what it may appear on the surface – No one is an island – We are all part of a whole

We totally accept that cars need more than the occasional top up with fuel to optimally perform –
And our decor needs more than basic upkeep to stay looking fresh, with the odd shot of artistic or designer input to remain lively –
So, I’m not quite sure why I imagined that if I was only caring for my mind with mindfulness, and my body with exercise, that I’d function in anything more than maintenance mode –
By failing to feed my essence from external inputs, I failed to feed the very heart and soul of my being.

We are all connected – and need that connection

The British Library map exhibition was an eye opener-
Not only was it interesting and entertaining – It inspired and delighted me and most importantly – re-ignited an innate desire to not only maintain the status quo with the busyness of my business, but to look beyond the mundanities and focus on creating more

Creation (in whatever form) is our life’s purpose.

Inspiration - a breath of fresh air

More inspirational map work! The Atlantic Charter (detail) by MacDonald Gill [1942] Click here if you’d like to see a little more of MacDonald Gill’s work:)

So as each year, each month or each week expires…

I glance back…

And create a summary sheet – upon which I record a monthly highlight so upon glancing back I can see my whole year at a glance

Last year I wrote this Annie Dillard quote along the top –

Hand written quote by Annie Dillard

“How we spend our days is how we spend our lives” Annie Dillard

As we breath in a new year, a new month or a new week it’s a pertinent reminder to observe exactly what are we spending our time on doing?

Are we filling our days with busyness?
Or filling our life with creativity?

And purely for the curious –
Here is my 2016 Year at a Glance 🙂

A pictorial Journal map to record your Year at a glance

Each month I record a highlight so at the end of the year I can see my year at a glance



Who or what inspires your creativity?
And how do you record or recall what you filled your days with?

Do tell in the comments below 🙂

25 thoughts on “Inspiration – A Breath of Fresh Air to Start the Year, the Month or the Week

    • I think it all comes down to what one is doing while being ‘busy’ or even ‘not busy’!
      I can be very ‘busy’ doing really quite inconsequential things that have little to show for them in terms of long term value either to me – or the universe! –
      I heard a great quote recently from Sarah Edelman’s book – Change Your Thinking – She was in fact referring to how to decompress a stressful situation by asking yourself – Will it matter in 5 years?! But it made me think, that was quite a good question to ask oneself when one is sidelined into doing some fluffing about – Are you doing something that will matter in 5 years? And if not, maybe one should find something more beneficial to do with one’s time 😀

    • Having a highlight per month recorded all on the one sheet proves invaluable as the years fly past when we say – Was it 2014 or 2015 we did that? Open the sheets and hey presto the years are laid out before us!!

  1. I love how each of us finds ways to follow our inspiration in travel, whether it is photography, writing, sketching. For me, even if no one else reads it, my website is where I capture all of my travel memories and moments so I can enjoy them all in one place.

    • I’m hoping one day someone will develop an app that will, with the click of a button, export our blog posts beautifully laid out into a photo book –
      Now – That would be something 🙂

  2. You inspire me Linda with your wonderful sketches and range of postcards and notebooks. I love how you sketch each place you have been to. This year I am hopefully going to take more time out to pursue my creative side (which is no where near your level of ability) I have resigned from my part-time job to focus more on my blog and looking after myself a little better. Thank you for the inspiration. You should link this blog to our Lovin’ Life Linky that we do each Thursday. 🙂
    Kathy Marris recently posted..Succumbing to SixtyMy Profile

    • I think we are all way too self critical of ourselves!
      And when it comes to creativity, we’re way too quick to want/expect to see an outcome for our ‘efforts’ as opposed to merely enjoying and/or receiving the benefits of the process
      I have to say I find it funny that we’re quite happy to go to a yoga class purely for the benefits we receive from that process (few of us expect to be at the next Yoga Olympics as a result of it 😉 ), yet when it comes to creativity we put unrealistic pressure on ourselves to produce what we perceive to be an ‘artistic’ outcome…

      Like resigning from a job to go travelling – It can be surprising what happens when you step out of your comfort zone and just do it! 😀
      “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” Neale Donald Walsch

  3. I love the ‘how we spend our days’ quote. It’s important I think to remind ourselves of the relationship between everything we do and our values and beliefs. So often we get pulled into doing other things we really don’t fit with where we want our lives to head. #teamlovinlife
    Deborah recently posted..Quitting vs surrenderingMy Profile

    • Realising too that unless you fit a bit of your ‘important’ work into each day your ‘important’ work won’t get a look in to be a part of your life!
      Your life can become one of banal busyness!
      Which is where Elle Luna’s ‘The Crossroads of Should and Must – Find and Follow your Passion’ can be a healthy reminder 😉

    • Thanks Jackie –
      I was actually scrolling through some of your posts and tried to leave a comment but I can never tell if it’s ‘taken’ or not… You’ll either have 4 showing up or none at all!!

  4. Are we filling our days with busyness or our creativity? I love that idea. It’s so easy to be busy constantly and thinking that we are too busy to fill the ‘well’. So true … the moment you fill the well you suddenly find much more time for other things – which might include being busy! But should also include creativity. But ho hum Guilty as charged.

    • Having felt the surge of inspiration that came from looking and taking in the creativity of others at that exhibition, I’m hopefully going to be more mindful and diligent with giving myself the time and space to go on more frequent artist’s dates, which if I (or you) don’t, I fear we are at risk of drying up in a little muddy puddle in stead of swimming free in a small pond! 😉

  5. First of all, I love that end of the year map you created with each month having a section. I would never have thought of creating something like that so kudos to you. Beautiful work and great way to catalog your life!
    I wish I had more illustrating type art skills to gather inspiration from, however my inspiration comes from literally breathing in and out of my French Horn. Was a classically trained French Horn player from the age of 8, however, I have let it slip. But I think 2017 may be a time to return and dust off my old now perhaps rusty skills and learn to breath again!
    Eric || The Bucket List Project recently posted..The Bucket List Guide to the Taj MahalMy Profile

    • As long as the journals and the sketches do their job of reminding you of all the wonderful places you have visited their work is done no matter what they look like! 😀

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