Certain aspects of reality appeal to us by crossing the boundary between Self and Other. Not just reflections, inspiration is an external twin of our most internal core. Exactly the same, yet separate, in union they form something new.
Within me is the child naturalist and when I stumble across something related to the natural sciences such as botany or geology, I can identify my excitement as the moment my external world perfectly aligns in some small way with my internal world. I am pulled both inward and outward, my child self yanking me by the collar to respect myself and who I am, while the world around me cheers and offers me myself.
Inspiration is a gift of self.
Recently I’ve been learning to process my own completely natural watercolour paint using only foraged materials from around my home. Every step of this journey has been of self discovery. I remembered why I’d pray to plants before I’d harvest, why it was so important to me to communicate before taking. I saw my own blood in the resin which I collected gently from around scabbed tree wounds, careful to only skim off the surface layer knowing the pain of having a scab ripped off. I remembered old tramping grounds as I searched for a specific plant with a specific pigment. I felt accomplished in a deep, spiritual, primal way which can only come from being known by the world.
The pull we feel toward something isn’t to be ignored. There is an existence inside us which is desperately reaching out to what it can identify as kin, a long lost twin eager to come home. Inspiration is a reversed-mitosis.
We aren’t isolated. We are seen by the inspiring circumstances surrounding us, even the ones we feel we have no time to attend to or assume we don’t have the skills to make the most of. Ignoring the pull won’t make it disappear. It’ll be there when you’re ready.
We’re ready now. To describe, this is all the preparation needed. Relay back and complete the circle, return the gravitational pull by returning the favour. If your inspiration describes you in some way, describe it. Put words to what you experience.
Acknowledge the existence of something you were meant to pay attention to. I’ve been invested in finding the few sparse yarrow patches around our orchard— after taking the time to admit that I was drawn to it because I was scared, I could form a true relationship with the plant. I was in need of healing and despite being surrounded by medicine, I hyperfocused on the one common weed I could scarcely find. In desperation, blind to my own state of being, I lost my yarrow flowers in a sea of Queen Anne’s lace because I was more focused on the fact I couldn’t find them than the fact they were certainly out there somewhere. Once I could admit I didn’t need the yarrow, I simply wanted to understand, experience, and connect with the yarrow, I began finding it easily.
By refusing to describe my inspiration, I became frustrated and disappointed. I was driven by superficial need. I wasn’t being led by my values and delight, I wasn’t seeking to find that piece of myself I knew was within the feathered leaves and tiny umbral flowers. I was being selfish and unwilling to give my full time, patience, and respect to the process.
Relationships and self awareness are some of the most treacherous and trying journeys we undertake. Making them too simple or too complicated only hinders progress. Learning to describe things as they are and being known for who and what you are, this is how we fully appreciate all we’re given. Our relationships with ourselves and our inspiration are as important as other bonds we make in life.
It’s rarely easy to put words to concepts without a moment’s introspection. Describing inspiration takes some learnt wisdom, but every time we pay our respect to the Outside Within and the Within Outside, the next time comes more naturally and more accurately.
Don’t deny the pull of inspiration and don’t deny the right to be inspired.