“If we live to be 100 years old, we will have only experienced Spring 100 times” … if we’re paying attention. –unknown
Sometimes, life takes our breath away.
One July, while camping at Acadia National Park in Maine, I stood in silent wonder at the unexpected and magnificent beauty of a vast field of lupine edging up to Somes Sound. Whether it was the crashing of the ocean along the rocks bordering the lupine, the Bald Eagle circling above me, or the veil of fog filtering the summer sun, I don’t know, but somehow the experience impacted me. Profoundly.
Frequently, I’m asked where I find inspiration for my writing, my painting, and my work. But the truth is I don’t often feel at a loss for inspiration. Life has kept me quite filled with a well from which to work, from which to tap to create, and to keep my mind fascinated with the beauty which can be found in our world. I am deeply grateful.
Have you ever had an experience that changes you? The way you see things? The way the world looks afterward? I love how this phenomenon is described in this great post by Michael Hyatt, on the healing power of beauty and art and an experience that changed him for better.
I once heard the definition of an artist as “a collector of experience.” Art then might be defined as the application of a collection of experience. Run-of-the-mill art might happen as a result of a collection of a lifetime of contained non-risky experiences. Whereas broad-sweeping art may be created from a lifetime’s worth of stretching—of opening ourselves to the wide collection of experience available in everyday living.
In my mind, inspiration comes quietly, in the serenity of a sherbet-colored sunrise, the sharing of stories over dinner, the crackling warmth of a fire, the bells pealing from a church belfry, or the bursting color of Spring—experiencing it all as if for the first time.
Maybe this week, dare to do something new, to go somewhere you’ve not previously gone, to sit and share and listen to the life of friend. Just for the fun of it—just for the new experience, try driving a new road, sitting at a different table at a restaurant, reading a new book, or trying out a new food. Perhaps when life takes our breath away, we can take in a fresh beauty, and can remember He made it all just for you, and me.
I think as we collect experience we are further inspired for our art and for creativity. But we also may be furthered as human beings to love more deeply and to live more richly, and to express our life and gratitude as its own work of art.
Starting the conversation: What inspires you? Can you remember a time when life changed, inexplicably, and the experience took your breath away?