I’m not a morning person. I make no bones about it, either. I don’t snap out of bed as soon as the alarm rings. Instead, I hit the snooze button repeatedly until I can no longer fool myself into thinking that it’s not actually morning yet.
I don’t transition well from slumber to activity.
Some mornings, it takes two full minutes before I remember what day it is. Often, the first thought in my head is “Am I late for something?” I don’t oversleep very often, actually, but the few times I did, it was so drastic that it left a deep, lasting impression on my psyche. One morning in graduate school, I woke up at 10:00 on the last day of the ESL class I was teaching. The problem was that my class started at 9:00 a.m. Oops.
If I have to go to work, I get up with enough time to allow myself to linger a little while over coffee, or to stand under the hot shower just a few minutes longer. If I don’t have to be anywhere, my mornings are slow, languid, and punctuated by cups of coffee and play sessions with the girls.
This pattern has repeated itself in a larger scale throughout my whole life. I’ve often said that I suffer from inertia. Once in motion, I’ll work steadily for a long time. Then I’ll slow down. After a while, I’ll tell myself that it’s time to get working on something, but I hit the snooze button for several weeks before I finally take any action.
As for my current semester, the Middle Ages are over. I’m heading into the corner that leads me into the home stretch. I know it. I can feel it. I can almost taste it. I’m waking up.
But…I’m still groggy from the 5-week stupor. My inspiration lags. My motivation is abstract and slippery. I have a hard time keeping hold of it.
What is inspiration anyway? Where does it come from? How do we tap into it? Coffee works for my morning routine, but how can I get myself kick-started in the larger sense?
Inspiration. From the Latin: inspirare, meaning ‘to breathe in’. It meant ‘immediate influence of God or a god’ from circa 1300. Around 250 years later, it referred to the literal act of breathing in air. It took another 300 or so years before inspiration also meant ‘one who inspires others’.
So, maybe some deep breathing will do the trick? Finding a muse?
Sometimes I think that the problem I find with defining – or finding – inspiration is that my mind gets in the way. What I mean is that when I try to reason my way into being inspired, it rarely works. When I stop looking for inspiration and let my mind wander, I am inundated with sparks, epiphanies, and eurekas. That’s all well and good, but it only takes me so far. I still need my rational brain to make something of those flashes, otherwise they float away, back into the ether whence they came.
When the morning fog is still sitting in the twists and turns of my brain, however, letting my mind wander in order to find inspiration often results in falling asleep. Even if I do get an idea, my rational left brain is telling my inspired right brain to shut the heck up because it’s tired and overworked and has yet to get a raise or a Christmas bonus.
In short, my muse is still sleepy and confused, but my ego is disgruntled and apathetic, and the super-ego is on strike.
This post, in fact, was written by a scab.
In the midst of this minor existential crisis, I have not been writing. There have been too many factions still inactive, warring with each other, or struggling with completing tasks that need to be done regardless of my state of mind.
I have looked for inspiration and have found hints here and there, and germs of ideas have been planted, waiting to be given form. Slowly, I will find ways to emerge from slumber. The weather is cooler, which always energizes me and also allows me to start running again without vomiting (which happens when I try to run in warm weather.) The semester’s end game will begin after Thanksgiving, and that also tends to quicken the pace of life.
In the meantime, I beg forgiveness for the erratic nature of my posting and commenting, which will probably continue for another few weeks, but will settle as soon as I’ve had another metaphorical cup of coffee.
I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving!
How do you all find inspiration?