Even when you‘re feeling unmotivated and uninspired, you don’t have to embark on the quest of a lifetime to reignite your zeal for life. If you open your eyes, you’ll find rejuvenating sources all around you. Take a minute to ponder what you perhaps have been taking for granted and then you’ll be able to see that you can actually find all kinds of inspiration even in the mundane aspects of life.
1. Look at Nature
We’re often reminded to wake up and smell the roses so, if you’re really struggling for inspiration, start by taking a walk outside through nature. Notice the fragrant scents, the vibrant colors, the faint sounds, the intricate patterns. Watch the leaves rustle in the wind and rub your fingers across the different textures of bark, petals and grass. Look in the sky and contemplate how the sun rises and sets each day. Think about the vastness of the universe and yet the order of it all. Take in the pretty and majestic landscapes as well as the delicate and fragile state of what you’re standing next to.
Notice the insects and undomesticated animals running around, following the beat of a drum that has no interest in who’s the national president, what style of jeans is currently trendy and what the price of milk is. Ponder the co-existence of all these creatures, recognizing the presence of peace and sacrifice inherently embedded in the circle of life. When you really take the time to soak in our natural surroundings, it’s nearly impossible to not walk away feeling inspired.
2. Look at Humanity
When looking for insight, encouragement and stimulation, notice the people surrounding you. Watch the loving husband gently put his arm around his bride, the doting mom rock her infant to sleep and two kids who meet for the first time yet are able to seamlessly play together. Recognize these tender moments, but also look for the distraught face indicating the depth of human emotion. Pay attention when two loved ones have to part, when an unexpected phone call is met with a nervous question asking if the other party is okay or when someone around you starts to cry.
You can observe those who naturally pass you, but you can also schedule in a people-watching session by purposefully going somewhere to take in the highs and lows of what we each can feel in the day-to-day of life. Spend an hour at the airport, a local food court or even a courthouse. Soak up the range of emotions that are both verbally and nonverbally expressed. Look for the strangers who show compassion and love despite knowing nothing about each other, for the individuals who must silently be carrying a heavy emotional burden and for the smiles of some who are filled with unspeakable joy.
Watch a documentary or read a biography about someone’s life. Notice the nuance and identify what ways you’re like that person and what ways you can’t actually relate to their circumstances. Stir up those feelings of empathy, sympathy and love that reside within you–those universal emotions that are within each of us. Pay special attention when, during the show or book, you notice that your heart has actually been moved by what you’re taking in.
3. Look at the Arts
To get your creative juices flowing, let the arts inspire you. Go to a museum, watch a play, throw in a movie, listen to a CD, pick up an art book from the library or visit a local gallery. Experience something new and ponder what the artist, creator or musician was thinking when she produced such a work.
Walk through your home with a fresh pair of eyes, noticing the interesting architectural choices that must have been made during construction, the intricate wood patterns evidenced in your bookshelves and the artistry of technicians as shown by all of your electronic devices. Play a few notes on the piano or a guitar as if you’re hearing these sounds for the first time.
4. Look at Yourself
When you really want to see the height of brilliance, take a deep breath in and a deep breath out. Wiggle your fingers and toes, rotate your shoulders and swivel your hips. Blink your eyes, say a word and inhale with your lips closed. Think about your brain, lungs, muscles and bones–about every part of your body including your blood vessels, gastrointestinal system and skin. Marvel at how perfect the body’s design is to be able to function, enabling thought, emotion and the power to heal itself.
Since the beat of your heart is what enables life, the most ordinary yet vital facet of living could, in fact, be the heart itself. Ponder the meaning behind why we say that love comes from the heart. Reflect on times you’ve been in love, in pain, nervous, excited, distressed. Take a trip down memory lane and let the revival of emotions stir your soul.
5. Look for Adventure
For illumination and revelation, go on an adventure. Drive to work using a different route than you usually take, walk up the stairs instead of taking the elevator, don’t plan ahead for lunch and just wander around the market to see what appeals to you in that very moment. Take a little field trip to somewhere you’ve never been before despite it being so close to where you live. Try out a crazy new restaurant, read a book that’s totally not your style and take the bus just so you can chat up a stranger.
To find inspiration, you don’t have to schedule a trip to some foreign and exotic place. Likely, there are plenty of adventures awaiting you in your own neighborhood if you start to look for opportunities to really experience your surroundings rather than stick to what you know and are already comfortable with. Even in the midst of the most mundane life, you can find masterpieces all around you. If you go through life with your eyes wide open and don’t take anything for granted, you’re sure to be inspired constantly.