Inspiration, Big Magic & What Sets my Soul On Fire: A Glimpse Into My Inspiration Notebook
I finally did it. During this first official weekend of summer, I finally broke out of my reading funk. YEEEESSSS! Ever since the pandemic started, I haven't been able to read anything other than a magazine and I've been struggling with this lack of focus for months. I'm a huuuge bookworm and normally I devour books, staying up till late into the night joyfully eating up page after page of delicious literature.
Since the end of March though, I haven't been able to read more than a few pages at a time of anything other than a magazine without falling asleep. That or having to reread the same sentence 3 times and still not absorbing a word and simply giving up and turning in for the night, exhausted.
This difficulty did not sit well with me. While I knew it was because of overall tiredness, heightened anxiety, and my energy tank depleting at a faster rate dealing with all the changes to daily life during this pandemic, this knowledge didn't provide me with any comfort. I love reading just as much as I love tea so it was beyond frustrating to feel so blocked and to seemingly not be able to absorb a thing.
However, if my spiritual practice, path, and learning has taught me anything in the last 6 months is this: what you resist will persist, and surrender, surrender, and surrender some more. There had to be a better way. There was no sense in banging my head against the wall trying to force myself to read at night when my eyelids felt like droopy teabags the second I turned on my bedside lamp, and to force myself to continue reading texts that I'd been trying to engage with for weeks to no avail.
There was no shame in putting those down and simply deciding and choosing to move on to something else and maybe coming back to them at a later time, and to also switch up my routine. I surrendered to the care of the universe and allowed myself to be guided.
So this weekend, instead of starting a fresh book before bed, I made it a point to not start any work in the morning and to instead set aside that time to delve into something new. And that something new was Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.
In Big Magic, Elizabeth talks about the mystique of inspiration and the process of generating creativity and ideas and finding the hidden treasures and gifts within your heart and soul as you go through life, and how courage and fear and all the feelings are wrapped up on our creative journeys, adventures, and quests. Oh, the pure joy that washed over me as I read the first few pages. Instantly I felt all the blocks from the past few months clear and my heart smiled so big. YES YES YES. Oh the relief. I settled in and began devouring, slowly, but joyfully.
So while reading, it got me thinking. While I've shared parts of my story with you all in different blog posts, it occured to me that I hadn't yet begun to delve into all the nooks and crannies of my inspiration: where I seek it, how it comes to me, where I record it, what lights me up, what sets my soul on fire. And how different areas of my life, interests, aspirations, dreams, and passions tie into my bigger love of tea. I want to share a part of my inspiration and creative world with all of you here.
I've got this thing I call my "Inspiration Notebook". I began this notebook years and years ago, before vision boards got popular and trendy. I began tearing things out of magazines that resonated deeply with the core of who I was, what I loved about life, and the visions I had for myself and my future. Sometimes they would be quotes, sometimes full articles, other times just vibrant colour combinations that inspired the heck out of me. Over time I would remove things and replace them with other bits and pieces that were more "me" as I found new interests and embarked on different life paths and phases of life.
This inspiration notebook, along with my tea journals and scrapbooks, guided me through the darkest days and my brightest moments. Whenever I needed a pick-me-up, a glimmer of hope, or a smack upside the head to get realigned if only for a day, I'd take out my inspiration notebook and flip through its pages, touching the images, absorbing the words, knowing that no matter what life had thrown at me, nothing could ever take away my visions and my love. I was bigger than all my problems or any fleeting external badge of success.
I gather inspiration from all walks of life. Even though I love tea to the depths of my soul and Dessert by Deb is all about creating sweet teas and products that aim to make people's lives brighter, most of my inspiration actually does not come from the tea industry. I actually derive much of my inspiration outside of my industry and I believe that it should be this way. You give your work a level of depth and richness that simply can't be duplicated or replicated because your sources of inspiration are so unique to you.
Yes, it's important to be aware of industry trends and business practices, but to situate your creative process and sources of inspiration in your industry and only your industry alone confines and stifles you, not to mention it leaves you feeling like you're living in a fish bowl, where everyone's just looking over their shoulder seeing what others are doing and not expanding peripheries.
I loooove art, fashion, cooking and culinary, flowers, gardens, and botany, travel, women's stories and female empowerment, editorial and publishing, photography, and more. And all of this is reflected in my inspiration notebook, as well as the things I choose to surround myself with and the hobbies I've enjoyed over the years outside of my work. Here's a look into my beloved Inspiration Notebook, one of my most treasured possessions. I urge everyone to create one of their own, so you will always have "Big Magic".