Lately I’ve been writing in my journal almost daily and taking pictures as a way to stay in touch with my creativity in the midst of a busy life with a two year old.
One quick insight I had while writing in my journal (inbetween reading Winnie the Pooh) was how something that may have been stirring around in your subconscious for awhile will instantly burst to the surface of your mind. You have to grab the thought quickly before it retreats back to its unseen place. I am going to call this phenomenon the “creative impulse” – our inner self seeking attention and expression.
An impulse may not be an earth shattering idea, it may simply be an unexpected desire to go to the beach at dusk to watch the full moon rise or to spend the whole day roaming in the forest and sketching. Sometimes a it is an irrational, unplanned and spontaneous feeling requiring us to wake up and step out of our comfort zones. If so, we will easily find 100 rational reasons why we shouldn’t follow it. We may feel it’s a good idea but all of a sudden feel so tired, or think we’ll do it later etc…
However, if you feel inspired about a thought that comes to you, it is probably worth pursuing to some degree. If it is something clearly undoable (climbing Everest for example – which I wouldn’t really recommend) you may still follow the impulse. It might look like: checking out a book of walking trails in the valley, joining in on a group hike at the Recreation Centre, or having a goal to hike up one different mountain each year (I have tried that). Even if you never end up hiking Everest, you are still enriching your life and benefiting from learning something new. And perhaps the initial “impulse” was actually your subconscious making a valiant effort in leading you to meet someone new, become an environmentalist or paint landscapes.
In the end I think that we never know where these impulses may lead. The more we stay open to the unknown with its many opportunities, the easier time we will have listening to our inner selves.
(This blogpost was edited from a 2008 post – my son is 13 now, and still busy)
Image: “Drawing En Plein Air” at Millard Creek; Lupine Art Studio, June 2019