Inspiration & Creativity

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Where do you usually get your inspiration from?

If someone cornered you and suddenly put you on the spot today and asked you this, what would your answer be?

Would you say, from God? from the greatest people that ever lived? from your family? from those geniuses that brought forth innovation and changes to the world?

or perhaps from a song that touched your deepest core (it’s redundant, isn’t it?)? or maybe from a great work of art, a movie that leaves you on the edge of your seat, a moving speech, a blog article?

While all of those are true and would probably be my answers too to that jerk who would be responsible for my sudden death due to a ruptured aneurysm triggered by him popping out of nowhere and cornering me just to ask this question (ang wild ng imagination!), I would like to say that well, God is first and foremost where I get my inspiration from, because after all, everything I mentioned right after Him came from Him. But that’s a given.

Also a given is my family, friends, loved ones or those people who go out of their way to help other people by all means, including their jobs, their creative work, their passion etc.

But had you asked me today, well, right before I wrote this entry, to be specific, I would probably say from the writers on MEDIUM. If you don’t have an account on this site yet, I suggest you make one. It will change your life forever.

Well, I might have exaggerated that last statement more than I should have. Though, I still have to say, signing up on Medium has got to be one of those precious “end-of-life-as-I-know-it” moments of my existence (not an exaggeration).

It’s not much different from Buzzfeed or Thought Catalog, except that I learn loads from Medium in terms of real life lessons supported by studies and research and experience, more thought provoking insights which don’t just circle around break ups and moving on, and perhaps more inspiration to get you moving or to put into action whatever you just read because you know that apart from your emotions, your thoughts have also been fired up! In fact, they even have articles that share the top sites where you can sign up for free online courses, articles that give tips on how to write more effectively and even articles that suggest great apps for productivity!

One more thing I like about Medium is it made me want to read more and not just more, but more substantial articles, which in turn made me want to write more, hence this uber long blog post.

I’m not saying that the other similar sites don’t offer such articles and don’t have such creative geniuses, because a lot would probably disagree, but I really want to stress on the fact that I get way more of these from Medium. Anyway, before this turns into a promotional entry, which it isn’t, I’d like to share 2 articles I read today that really inspired me to:

  1. Go after what I really want, and
  2. Become more introspective and self-aware to delve into what sparks creativity right within ourselves/myself

I won’t go far in explaining what the articles are about (although by the looks of it, I think I already have). You can read them yourselves. The first one being, “Give Yourself Something to Pursue” by Thomas Oppong. Judging by the title itself, you can already assume that it is a motivational/inspirational article, and a good one at that. Oppong authored lots of similarly moving articles which is why I’ve subscribed to his Postanly newsletter and followed him on Medium. He’s one of the best writers I’ve discovered, and I’m glad I did because his works are hands downs, my absolute pick-me-ups especially in troublesome, inspiration-less days.

And did I say that there’s an option for you to highlight words, statements or even paragraphs that you feel like saving, to read for later or to go back to in the future? Because there is. I did highlight quite a lot on this article alone because dayuummm, like what I said on the comment section, I really think that everything is “highlightable”. It’s either that good, or I’m just too emotional.

The other article I was talking about earlier (which is one of the recommended articles at the end of Oppong’s) is Jory MacKay‘s “Is solitude the secret to unlocking our creativity?. It is quite a lot to take in, a lot of Pyschological stuff, which made it more interesting, if you’re into that.

It mainly discussed how the creative process works inside our brains and how creativity is produced/stimulated through certain periods of……ten-nen-ten-nen-nen…, you guessed it right and it wasn’t even given away in the title earlier,”SOLITUDE“!! It also pointed out a lot of supporting discoveries by creativity researchers (which I think is a really great job btw), one of which I really liked, Graham Wallas‘ take on the creativity process that involved 4 steps: Preparation, INCUBATION (period of solitude), Illumination (the Eureka moment, which wouldn’t be possible if there wasn’t an Incubation period), and Verification.

I also liked the fact that creative thinkers were concluded to be BOTH “more primitive and more cultured, more destructive and more constructive, occasionally crazier yet adamantly saner, than the average person”. Ang gulo diba? Those are a lot of extremes!

Creative thinkers/geniuses were also concluded to have “an openness to one’s inner life; a preference for ambiguity and complexity; an unusually high tolerance for disorder and disarray”. We have Frank X. Barron to thank for coming up with these conclusions.

I find it quite comforting to know that there is an explanation for my tolerance for disorder. You see, I’ve always believed that artists are messy, so I’ve often pictured their desks to be chaotic, but nonetheless still very conducive to creativity. This is one reason why I appreciated this article very much. I mean, just look at my workplace below:

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There there! I told you it’s a lot to take in, but isn’t it worth the read? Anyway, if you noticed, I emphasized INCUBATION above. If I got it right, it is the most crucial step in the creative process, hence the title of MacKay’s article.

Wallas said that this is when the you let the unconscious take over the creative process. You let go and let the brain be. Isn’t God the greatest for creating our brain in such a powerful way that it can work without you having to give it commands? So basically, this period of rest, solitude, letting go or whatever you may want to call it, is significant because as MacKay pointed out, “letting go of your consciousness lets the deeper parts of your mind come in and make connections.”

Therefore, it is important for us to practice controlling our unconscious mind because this is how our brains develop or formulate the world’s greatest ideas. This is how the brain builds up to that certain point where the imaginary bulb lights up in our brains, and makes you cry out, EUREEEEEKA!!!!

There you go! That was my reaction paper for one of the most thought-provoking and another for one of the most moving articles I’ve read. Rume-reaction paper talaga! Gutom lang to!

So Imma go have my lunch now and maybe practice meditating so I can set out into the world to pursue my dream! Boy, these articles sure make a big and deep impact on my crazy brain!

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Manic Mondays (late post!)

Normally, I’d really hate Mondays and I’d be dreading them even just before weekends start. Each week, I sulk at having to cut short my fun Sunday with my family, because Monday just couldn’t wait to make her presence felt. Yes, I just referred to her as a girl, and no I wasn’t sarcastic at all. 😛

I want to say that Mondays are the best and they’re something to be thankful for, but most of the time, they really aren’t. For one, people tend to be extremely panicky AF on this day and on this day only that sometimes, I don’t know what rush hour means anymore. We could leave the house at 5:15am or earlier and it still wouldn’t be early enough to avoid the whole Monday madness. If we leave our house around the same time on a Tuesday though, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the roads almost completely empty. Like I’ve literally blurted out to my parents quite a few times, “where did all the people from yesterday go?”, in total shock. I can’t say for sure if that’s the same in other areas, but in this particular corner between Amang Rodriquez avenue and E bank road in Pasig, it almost always is. I guess people tend to relax more on the 4 remaining working days of the week? I wonder what difference that makes exactly.

For some reason, Mondays also made me feel anxious and agitated. Mondays had me wishing for any work interruption, may it be in a form of a weather disturbance or more often than not, something more realistic, say, a zombie apocalypse…anything that can stop me from going to work.

But now that I’ve been a bum for four 5 months, I feel like Mondays make me feel the complete opposite of all that! Funny how my perspective changed all of a sudden.

I feel like what once was a dreaded day is now a chance given by Him to redeem myself or to correct the mistakes of the week that has passed. I feel more energized and more optimistic. I wake up early, I work out a bit, I cook breakfast. I feel inspired. I try to be as optimistic as possible. Mondays never felt the same way.

It really isn’t going to be the same though once I find a job I would hate eventually, but I realized, what if I start thinking otherwise? Of course, I’d say this now because I’m bored to death, but I want to believe that maybe I can change that. Maybe I can try to see Monday as a clean slate, as a new beginning, as a day I should look forward to just as any other day of the week, just as they say in those motivational buzzfeed/thoughtcatalog/medium articles. Maybe I should give it a little more enthusiasm and maybe then, can it also bring much happiness and positivity in return.

P.S. was supposed to post this last week, but you know, Monday blues. LOL.

 

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30 Day Writing Challenge: DAY 4

Write about someone who inspires you

This is hard. I have quite a lot of people in mind who inspire me. First, there’s God. I don’t want to sound like I’m religious or that I have a perfect relationship with this GUY because I don’t; but He’s always the one who I think picks me up whenever I fall down and He doesn’t have to be with me physically here on earth for me to realize that. When I read the Bible, and the Didache that a friend gave me for Christmas, I feel like He’s always around, trying to reach out even when I know I’m being hypocritical, turning my back on Him at times. When I’m at church, I feel moved by His words through the priests’ homilies every time, and I feel that that’s His way of inspiring someone like me to be a much better person even if it’s so hard to. His words pierce through me mainly because I am guilty of doing wrong especially when there’s someone like Him out there, always ready to forgive and to give a sinner like me, infinite chances. It’s inspiring to have a God that doesn’t judge, that forgives and that believes in you no matter what.

Then there’s my Papa and Mama. I feel inspired seeing them do everything they can just to make our lives so much easier. I can see how almost everything they’ve been working hard for, they’re not doing for themselves, but for us and the people around them. They’re so selfless and generous, they don’t even expect anything in return. They give what they can and they do it through the goodness of their hearts. They’re not saints, but they have the most beautiful hearts. Also, seeing them together on their 26th year as a married couple makes me want to be a part of a relationship like that, and I’d like to believe so.

This brings me to my next inspiration, my boyfriend. He knows this, but I still want to say how much he inspires me to become a better me, to work even harder for us both, to sacrifice and wait til everything falls into place. The fact that he makes me happy and he loves me so much makes me fall in love with him all over again and this time, harder than I’ve been before.

Last of all, there’s my whole family. Seeing my them reunite and just spend time together in the simplest way possible makes my heart melt. We can be having lunch together or panicking when lola’s having one of her dyspneic moments, it doesn’t matter, as long as we know we’re all together and we have each other to lean on to. It just feels good that there will be people you can always come home to, talk to, have fun with and make fun of, all without reservation and they’d still take you in without hesitation.

There are people I look up to, those that inspire me to be more creative or do things I would only want to do just because we only live once, but then, there are these people/Him who inspire me to be good and to be content and happy for who or what I am even if the whole world would conspire against me.

No Time

I Just saw the movie “The Fault In Our Stars” and I cried as much as I have when I read the book. Such a crybaby! First of all, kudos to them TFIOS team for being so faithful to the book. The famous lines, their eulogies for each other, the green car they egged, the infected peg of Gus (what I was actually waiting for just because i missed seeing one), they made the movie equally as heartbreaking and meaningful. I’m impressed, but more importantly, I was moved…again.

I started reading the book a couple of months ago and I got to finish it just last week. Like any other movie adaptation I’m a fan of, I would like to read the book first before seeing it on the big screen and this one’s not an exception. Though I didn’t get to see it with anyone special like my family, friends or my forever movie date, B, I find it actually comforting to have seen it alone and at home. I just saw it now and like what I said, I didn’t mind at all that my tears + snot were flash flooding through my face.

Like any other book, movie or story that tackles death or loss of a loved one, it would leave you more or less thankful but not in a selfish way, remorseful but in a sense that it would lead you to do something about the things you feel sorry about. It moves you to be a better person. Easy for me to say, but really, I want the things I realized after seeing the movie and reading the book to linger on in me and change the way I see life from now on just as the Imperial Affliction moved Hazel Grace and Augustus’s lives. (phew!)

Although I don’t know for how long I could tell myself to be good to everyone, to live every day as if it were my last or to treasure each moment with the ones that I love, I would do my best to make my life as meaningful as possible. Bullsh*t, I know, I guess what I’m trying to say is people make books and movies and stories not just to fade into oblivion. I know it’s a reference to Gus’ fear, but it’s true. It’s what happened when I saw the “Passion of the Christ”, “Magnifico” and all the other inspirational tearjerkers. I watched, cried, got inspired, but it ended there and my life moved on. I don’t like for something as tragic to happen in my life before I realize what my purpose in life is or that I need to be at least a better person. I can take it if I’d be forgotten, to get thrown into oblivion. I don’t dream to become a hero. I don’t want to be be someone great, I just want to be someone better.

If being better instead of being great is absurd then forgive me. I just don’t want to make promises I can’t keep, even more because this is a promise that I’m making for and to myself. Like what the title says, there’s no time. Not that I’m saying tomorrow’s the end of the world, but who can tell, right? So there’s nothing wrong by being better instead of being great if it makes a difference in yours and someone else’s life, but if being great is possible, then that would be better.

My brain’s making me say things again. Anyway other than the book and movie, the soundtrack’s also responsible for making me overly sentimental and emotional. Before I saw the movie, I listened to this playlist below for a million times. I listened to it when I blog. I played it while painting my “Okay? Okay.” masterpiece etc. So I was familiar with the songs even before I watched the movie today. I guess this added to the intensity of how I felt during the scenes where these songs were played. Two songs struck me the most unknowingly. The first one is “Let Me In” by Grouplove and “Wait” by M83. Grouplove was introduced to me by my sister a few months back, while I got to know M83 through the movie, Warm Bodies. I love them both or them all. Such talented people.

Here’s LET ME IN (with scenes from the movie):

and the official video of WAIT (which looks apocalyptic to me): BTW, aside from this entry being an inspirational and Carpe Diem-y hence the title, it also is the lyrics to this song below that I thought was sung as “Hosanna”. Crazy! No time = hosanna, sounds the same right? haha! Try listening to it!

P.S. Funny how when I was choosing categories and tags for this entry, I clicked on love, life, loss, death, happiness, inspirational etc. Words were ironically connected to one another. 🙂

Graduation!

Today, I saw the final grade given by my peers for our final paragraph in my very first Coursera course, “Crafting an Effective Writer: Tools of the Trade”. Again, I got a perfect score from them along with all of the writing activities we did. I’m not sure if I really deserve this because I’ve given fair (but not perfect) grades to my peers and now it’s eating me up inside that I did. Oh well, I could really be a mean (but objective) teacher, if ever I do become one.

Anyway, here’s the final paragraph I did for the course and hopefully in two weeks, I’d get my certificate already! I can’t believe I’ve completed this course already! It has taught me so well not only in writing but also in completing online courses such as this one. I really owe it to my professors: Lorrie Ross, Lawrence (Larry) Barkley, Ted Blake, the teaching assistants who answered my questions on the discussion boards and to my fellow students who read, graded and given me constructive criticisms. Thank you! This has truly inspired me to enroll in other writing courses.

                                                       “DIY Crafting”

One of my favorite activities, which I find extremely enjoyable and meaningful is Do-It-Yourself Crafting. I started making small DIY projects as a way to provide myself relief from the stress that my job often gives me. Making these projects became a hobby, not to mention, one of my favorite day-to-day activities. I usually just see a wall decor, or a favorite cupcake or a camera in people’s Instagram accounts or blogs that I would also like to have, but I couldn’t afford to buy; therefore I buy the cheap materials, which mostly are just improvisations, and do these projects myself. Aside from it being stress relieving, it also comes in all shapes and sizes. The possibilities of making something creative and something you can call your own is endless. It may come in a form of a cupcake you’ve been wanting to eat, but only comes limited in stores you purchased them from. It may also be as simple as a wall decor made out of melted crayons, so unique and too kiddie of a project to be even sold anywhere. It may even come in a form of a DIY camera, which comes in a box of individual parts and a manual of instructions. Moreover, making things yourself can also give you a sense of purpose and can help you gain respect, catch people’s attention, or maybe create a small following from admirers of your creations. More often than not, people are too engrossed in making money that they find it hard to find time for simple pleasures such as this. I would know since I was once “all work, no play” because my previous job was also my first job after graduation. I was too focused on my job that I forgot how to have fun. Working came off as a routine that I often forgot my purpose for doing it in the first place. I forgot my own purpose in life, but in doing simple and small artsy projects, which may either be inspiring or useful, also help inspire others. I just got surprised one day, friends were already posting comments on photos of the projects I did, asking me how I did it or simply telling me that they would also want to do it. Another reason why I enjoy doing this is because it’s plain relaxing. As I’ve said earlier, doing the same things over and over again can be tiring, so breaking free from your job or your daily routine from time to time and creating simple projects can help you unwind and make you feel energized afterwards. If you’re tired from the same, old activities, you may want to just do something different; so why not do something helpful and purposeful as well? Do something you’d get to put on display at work to inspire you to do better or to make you smile from time to time, amidst the chaotic environment. It will do you good. In addition to those I’ve mentioned above, I also find DIYing enjoyable because I get to discover new things about myself. I remember chancing upon a blogger, who was so into crafts that she made it into a business by holding small workshops for those who wanted to learn. She was so good in painting with watercolor that she inspired me to start painting too. Now, I’m becoming better at it and I didn’t even know I could do it at first. I also finished the DIY camera I bought online which I never have imagined I could do because I wasn’t good in assembling stuff with screws, hinges, gears, etc. Lastly, making things yourself gives a touch of your own personality to that project and it also helps you appreciate the beauty of it more. It gives you pride in yourself knowing that you’ve accomplished something you can call your own. So if you ask me again why I find this activity enjoyable and meaningful, my answer would be simple. There may be lots of amazing creations done by talented artists out there, but there could never be a masterpiece more special than the one you have created yourself, with all the labor, inspiration and personal touch you have given it.