Thank you so much for the discussion of inspiration under my previous post. It inspired me even more 🙂 To be precise – to think about the places (and some other things) that bring a spark of inspiration in me (I just stopped to think of the word “spark”. While in English it means a small fiery particle, the same word means a “kick” in Norwegian. Which brings me to the words of Manja, in the same comment section, calling it a “kick-yourself-in-the-butt” attitude. Well, yes. While in other countries you can catch a perfect light, as an artist, in the North it is all about kicking yourself up to some action during these dark months :))
While we were talking in the comments about things and places that inspire us, I came to think of a practice from the book “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron (aka my favorite book on creativity). She called it the dates with your Inner Artist (also your Inner child). The book is made as a course of 12 weeks, with exercises for each week. But the dates should be done regularly, once a week. This may be anything that your inner artist would love, no other meaning to it. A stationary store, a museum, a walk in the nature – anything that brings you joy and playfulness.
the spring spirit
in the Nordic garden
To be honest, I forgot this practice a while ago. I was not so fantastic good at it while reading the book, and after the book was finished, I was no more reminded of it. But, luckily, I developed a habit of going to places that I like to feel that spark.
Here I want to share the list of places that make me feel inspired:
The bookstores. Especially, the big ones. There was this one in Oslo, which got its building from the cinema. There were comfy chairs and a free coffee machine (doing only black coffee, so I never tried it). There were rooms and rooms filled with books, and you could pick one, sit in the chair and look through its pages. I especially loved their books on arts. It felt almost like a library.
a public library. I particularly am fond of the main library of Oslo, great and old, with its murals and high shelves. It puts me into a special good mood to see people reading, studying, browsing through the books there. Maybe, since books were my best friends in childhood, I like this air of respect and seriousness 🙂
the concept stores. Those who sell clothes, some interior pieces, maybe, also skin care products and candles. It is kinda hip now – and I cannot stop myself from falling for it. Every time 🙂
the parks and even more – the botanical gardens. There is so many positive effects on my mind and soul, when I am there. The everchanging nature makes me keep my breath – and breathe deeper. It is my place of strength – the botanical garden.
Oslo botanical garden
Barcelona botanical garden
you may laugh, but I will go and name this one – Ikea. Yes, the Swedish furniture store makes me inspired. And I will tell you why. Because Ikea is not just about decoration and furniture – it is about ideas. It seems like some smart heads work there, and when they find some smart solutions – I cannot help but get excited. I love how they think of small things (of which others don’t seem to think), I love how they set up the rooms and decorate – I even love how they promote Sweden, writing “Hej!” at the entrance, names in Swedish in the food store, and in other small ways (I mean, as Norwegian I should not feel so enthusiastic about it, there is a bittersweet relationship with this neighbor – but, sorry, I do feel inspired in Ikea :))
And here are some other things that make me inspired:
the interior magazines. After looking through one closely, I cannot believe how many small pretty details I start seeing around me (and grabbing my camera to photograph them).
coffee. Yepp, this one is always a winner. Maybe, it is a caffeine high – but ooh, it lifts me up. A morning coffee and writing has been one of my favorite habits. And sometimes I would get out, grab a coffee to go or sip a cappuccino in my favorite hipster bar – and after that I feel more for life and creativity. So much more :))
some music. For example, the music of 90s when I was a teen. Makes me wanna sing and dance – and when I do neither, the creative energy needs to be channeled elsewhere (but sometimes I choose just to sing and dance :))
Movies about creative minds. The past two weeks I was lucky: I went to see “Colette” about the French writer and “Bohemian Rhapsody” (well, you know, about Queen). The stories of the artists in their making is such an inspiration. It makes me wanna shake myself up and say: “Get up and go. Walk your walk”.
Do you have your special places or activities that make you feel this spark? Let’s make this list even longer 🙂
I have discovered recently that I love small simple things in my life. I really love them – that is, I feel a sweet emotion when I see them, use them, touch them. When I can throw a lip balm, a mobile and a card holder in my little bag and go – I feel small wings behind my back like those of a butterfly. I believe I can fly :)) No, I don’t feel like flying. But I feel appreciation of all the simple things that work in my life – that give me space to breathe and think of other things (which are not things-things).
I came to value simplicity. Surprisingly for myself :)) In my post “Pack lightly. Travel lightly” I dwelled on my philosophy of it. Here I just want to share some actual things, small simple things, that keep me happy.
There are favorite colors – and then there are favorite color combos. I never thought of it that way. But after sharing the interior trends I love in my previous post, I suddenly realized that I totally love that trendy combination of soft pink and green, especially its dusty eucalyptus shade. Now, you may have any attitude to trends (considering them anything from important to silly) – but I think, that if it gives you a good feeling, why not?
I seem to become that classical Norwegian girl who doesn’t care much about her appearance, wears a lot of casual style – but spends a lot of time (and money) at her home interior. I got a sparkle of inspiration when I had to do styling of our flat when we were selling it – and since then I became an addict of interior shops, checking them both online and offline.
After visiting several of them, I could analyze and see what are the new trends of this year – and I must admit, I am in love with all of them. In this post I want to share my love – and who knows, maybe it will give some of you a sparkle too. Doesn’t matter if you want to redecorate – or just do any creative act.
Decluttering teaches me some basic wisdom. Going through old things, getting rid of many of them (including some postcards and notes from friends, which is a heart-ripping activity) the old idea downs on me. We spend so much of our life worrying about things and money – but in the end of the day it’s people that matter.
We spend our lives working hard for money, buying stuff, accumulating things – and then we discover that we need to declutter, to get rid of much in order to get a better quality of life. Time flies. We may stress over various aspects, focus on different areas of our life. But at certain times we cast a look over all our possessions and realize that all that hardship and stress was unnecessary. As someone reminded, on their deathbed people don’t ask for their diplomas, trophies or things – they want to be surrounded by the people that matter to them.
Somewhere on the subway I have seen a commercial for the storage services, and it had this tagline: “The more you live, the more space you need”. It referred to different kinds of people, sport enthusiasts, parents, nonconformists, who collect things and need extra space to store them. Something felt wrong with this tagline. And then my man expressed this for me: “This sentence is wrong. The more you live – the less space you should need”. Right!
Some time ago I got inspired by the photos on a site for free photo borrowing (a blogging friend of mine, Life is now, shared some links in her post). Well, what I mean by “inspired” is that I saw them and understood that I stand a long long way from them. But I want to be there too.
Still, I am glad that I have learnt the difference between envy and inspiration. They seem to have the same root – a feeling like “I want that too”. The difference is that envy adds “but I can’t”, while inspiration says “I can. I just have to work on it”. There is a great book which helped me realize this, “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron.
So, been inspired by those photos, I decided to give myself a challenge. One photo a day. That must be easy. Of course, it will start with some days with no photos, and some days with plenty. But somewhere it must start.
And I thought of sharing some. Not to see the progress, but just so. To share. Today, as I was going through the recent images, picking some to share, I saw this pic of a book page with a quote: “The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his own feet”. And I realized that a challenge of collecting images of my immediate world is in the vein with the philosophy of growing happiness under my own feet. Start noticing the simple beauty around you – and there is a feeling of gratitude and happiness in the heart.
Wishing you all a nice spot where you can plant and grow your own happiness! 🙂
It is interesting, how we talk about a thing, using the same word – but we have different meanings behind it. And still we think that we are talking about one and the same thing! Take October, for example.
I say October and we think about different things, maybe. Some say, pumpkins and Halloween, some say, rains and hygge. Somewhere in the Mediterranean they still go to the beach in October. While here, in Norway, it feels like a Barcelonian winter: chilly and wet.
October has arrived and I definitely feel it. There is no slight glide like between August and September. When it is still all late summer/early autumn, with blurry borders like the tree shadows in the morning light. October is more distinct. It is getting dark around 8pm and we all know for sure: winter is coming, and darkness is coming. It is getting cold, and we pull out our warm jackets and solid scarfs. There is no more wardrobe flirting that September does: one day – light leather jacket, another – no jacket at all. October doesn’t fool around. Jackets and coats, please.