Recently I have had cause to reflect on what it means to feel ‘inspired’. That lovely feeling of flow when energy for a project seems to bubble up without much effort, a natural sense of confidence just arises and the next steps seem clear.
In the organising of our symposium in August, I have, over recent weeks, felt anything but inspired. Instead of the wonderful energy and enthusiasm that came with the conceptualisation of the project I have found doubt and impatience. What needs to be done nestles within and competes with everything else I have to do both at work and at home. Resentment builds.
Instead of flow there is a sense of ‘blockedness’, of being up against a wall I can’t see around, as ideas for blogs dry up and I lose sense of why I thought any of this was important in the first place. Also within that, more subtly, is an underlying loss of faith in my own capacities – everyone else seems to be doing amazing stuff so my contribution won’t matter/ won’t be as good/ isn’t worthwhile.
Negotiating with this has been interesting! It has been very easy for me in the past to get into increasingly tight mental states in which I become frustrated and impotent and ever more withdrawn as ‘others’ become increasingly threatening. A line gets drawn in the sand between the competent, brilliant ‘others’ and the incompetent, uninspiring ‘me’. However, on this occasion, I have found that reaching out to the contemplative pedagogy community with an honest reflection about how things are going and where I need help has been revolutionary. Being vulnerable enough to say ‘this isn’t going quite as we’d hoped, I need some support’ has brought with it much kindness, energy and inspiration from others. I no longer have to be my own inspiration generating machine and neither do I have to be intimidated by what else is going on around me. I am able to take a step back from the wall, look around and re-evaluate my judgement of what is going on and how to respond in relation to it.
There has not been some miracle shift, but subtle changes that have re-established space, enabled me to identify what I can do and thus move forward. I have been reminded by others of why the event is important and this has been key. At first glace it seems ironic that organising events that incorporate ideas such as contemplation and mindfulness should be accompanied by difficulty and stress. But there is real danger in seeing this work as some how easier or distinct from the complexity of the rest of human experience. I therefore felt inspired to share my experience of ‘uninspiredness’ 🙂
I am particularly grateful to Dr Mariana Funes for this great graphic and look forward to meeting some of you in August.