Inspiration finds you

On creation feeling more like surrender than accomplishment

Artist Pablo Picasso using flashlight to make light drawing in the air. (Photo by Gjon Mili//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

It’s ironic, we spend most of our energy doing, trying to do, thinking about what we should do, when all we really should be doing is figuring out how to not do anything at all.

Our job as artists (and by artists I mean ALL of us) is simply to be present and do our best to get out of the way.

We are conduits.

Sadly, though, most of us live our lives as reservoirs — closed off from the creative energies that dwell within us.

It’s easy to live our lives believing the art we make belongs to us — that it was the product of something we, ourselves, did, but the reality is it was inspiration that found us; and happened to do so in one of the rare moments when we found the courage within ourselves to get out of the way.

Creation feels much more like surrender than accomplishment.

I still struggle when people congratulate me on having a written a book because I didn’t choose to write the words that are in those pages — they chose me. Spark was the result of an unrelenting pressure that I had no other choice but to find a medium of expression that would save me from spontaneously combusting (as Rob Bell often puts it).

And, after trying a number of different mediums as a means of alleviating the pressure, writing turned out to be the one that worked.

To this day, I still don’t know why I spent a year and a half filling those blank pages one letter, word, sentence, paragraph, chapter, at a time.

And I don’t think I ever will.

Are the words in those pages of any importance? Who knows? Maybe to someone, someday? Of course part of me hopes so. But, to be honest, it doesn’t really matter to me one way or the other. Because the experience of creating it has changed me somehow. In a way that I still don’t fully understand.

All I know it that I will never be the same. And having opened myself up to the world in those pages more than I ever have, I’ve never felt so small.

And that’s a good thing. Because, at the same time, I’ve never felt more me.

🤝 Stay in touch

I send an email several times a year with a handful of the most interesting things I’ve written or uncovered at home, abroad, and on the web.

One thought on “Inspiration finds you”

  1. David Gerber says:

    Great thoughts! Thanks for sharing!

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