Inspiration had been the Big Glow for most of my life. An energizing radiance arrived uninvited to power creative work, travel adventures and loving relationships. It came knocking, calling me out and pointing the way toward expansive realms of knowledge and wonder. The muses seemed to have moved in for the duration. I came to expect their vitalizing presence at the breakfast table, bright eyed and ready to fill each day with creativity.
One morning, the table where the muses usually laughed and bantered was empty. The Big Glow that surrounded them and energized me was gone. I called to them. My voice didn't find an echo. There was no reply. I went out searching for them, traveling to the world's most inspiring places. Their glow was there, but it wasn't big anymore. Luminous electricity didn't surround me. The days of grand inspiration seem to have dimmed and seemed to have no hope of returning.
Little did I know the Big Glow was the same. It only appeared smaller in relation to my perception of it. Over the years, the concepts and beliefs that had limited my awareness had become more transparent, revealing the expansiveness and silence that had been behind the scenes all along. But my mind had not caught up with this dawning awareness. Through the outdated lens of my old patterns of seeing, I still looked for inspiration in the Big Glow. Not finding that grand energy, I was lost.
I continued to create, but felt like I was just going through the motions. My work inspired others, but, for me, there was little vitality in the doing. Instead I felt vulnerable and confused. Unexpectedly, this was just what opened me to a new and enriching inspiration. One that goes beyond the Big Glow to include ever-shifting mixtures of light, shadow and silence. Since the energizing radiance no longer descend from above, I had to open my mind, heart and body to invite it to rise within me. This was scary. What if my call wasn't answered? What if I no longer had the creative juice? If I did find some inspiration, would I fail to translate it into successful work?
This vulnerability and questioning increased my ability to listen and respond to creative impulses that arise. It opened me beyond the sense that the Big Glow was an object, separate from me, to be gained, possessed and lost. My confusion pushed me outside the limits of knowing to explore the elusive and indescribable currents of living. Instead of being a separate-self creator, I realized I was a participant in the ongoing creative work of life discovering its possibilities through each one of us. Inspiration was no longer limited to the Big Glow. It came from every wrinkle in the daily play between light and shadow withing the playground silence. It was there for me to access in a crumpled piece of paper or a soaring cathedral, in an obstacle or a breakthrough. Energizing radiance showed itself in all sizes and moods. The bigness of inspiration's glow had less to do with it and more to do with the largeness with which I embraced it.
Big Glow inspiration was wonderful while it lasted. In hindsight, I see how it became an armor against richer inspirations. Through the vulnerability and responsiveness life urged me to discover, I found the continuously nourishing inspiration of radiance, shadows and silence.