Shadow Work Journal Exercise: Inspiration

Think of a time when you felt a spark of joy and imagination. Your mind was full of awe and wonder. Where were you? What were you doing? Were you with someone? Write about what inspires you.

My first reaction to a lot of these prompts are ????????????????????????? like…at first I just feel so far removed from anything inspiring or anything that sparked joy or happiness from my past because it was clouded by so much trauma.

But okay. I will try to zero in on some things.

I remember when I went on girl scout camping trips. I might have done a week long camp thing too that wasn’t girl scouts, but was a girls only thing, I don’t remember much about the specifics of it now. I loved being away from home. It was my escape, it was my freedom. And I think with certain creative activities we did, I got to be crafty and I got to hang out with other bad ass girls while crafting fun stuff (okay, I never thought of it like that at the time, but like…as an adult I’m going to assume they were all bad asses). At night we would often have a bonfire and roast some marshmallows for s’mores. I find myself really missing these simpler times, that’s for sure. It was also inspiring to be out in nature and be able to just run around in the daytime or listen to the cacophony of bugs at night.

I also remember elementary school music classes. My school was very fortunate to have an incredible music teacher who had been well traveled and had collected many unique instruments from other countries and found really cool and creative ways to incorporate them into the songs we practiced and performed. The classroom also had many props or things like scarves or ribbons and we were often given the choice when we were practicing songs to use them and kind of create our own simple choreography for things. I feel like those classes really helped me cultivate a lifelong appreciation for music of different cultures and genres. I feel like those classes really jump started my inspirations and creativity at a crucial time for my development.

I started to lose my connection with inspiration/creativity once I started getting crushed with adult responsibilities and felt ostracized for being different than most of my neurotypical peers. It was also about masking and trying to chameleon my way into the friend groups I wanted. I had to be as basic as possible. Or as interesting as was socially acceptable.

I also remember a particular special time when I was at the start of a relationship and was all happy and giddy, that I took that boyfriend to the natatorium that I often swam in for big swim meets. Often qualifying swim meets, like age group state, or sectionals, or zones, etc. I also had the privilege of being able to volunteer for the Olympic Swimming Trials in….96? Maybe? I was young. I got to meet and stand next to Summer Sanders, and for a girl of my age and a Nickelodeon lover at the time, I was floooooooored. My life was maaade. And they paint the names of the people that qualified on a wall, and I got to see that happen in real time. Long story short, I had a lot of life changing memories there, so while I was experiencing the new relationship high, while also remember all my past highs from being at that natatorium, I felt very inspired. I’m not entirely sure if it drove me to do anything swimming related after that, but I think it was more about sharing a special place with a special person.

So what inspires me now…Pffffffft. Got me there. My inspiration comes and goes in waves. I feel like it’s ever changing all the time. Like, right now I’m doing embroidery work, because I sucked at crochet and knitting (I don’t have very good motor skills for it, my fingers are very hypermobile and I can’t quite hold the hooks right). For some reason I’m better with a smaller needle and doing sewing work by hand than I am at crocheting. So I’ll roll with it for now. I think a part of me might want to dabble in digital design stuff, but I am the kind of person who gets overwhelmed by where to start with things like that, and I look to Google and then I realize it’s too expensive for something I might try for like 5 minutes and then decide it was too hard and never pick it back up again. Unfortunately, with all the self-awareness work I do now and with my ADHD being what it is, I know myself all too well.

Unrelated to the prompt, but if it isn’t obvious, I am determined to try to go through every shadow work prompt until my free 30 days are up again. Then I will probably hop to another writing platform (you can’t make me pay for this, but I do still love that it is preserved). I guess if anything feels inspiring again, it’s trying to get back into journaling again. I don’t remember the last time I felt so in touch with how I feel about things in the present while surprisingly holding on to the precious, joyful memories of my past. I thought many of them would be long forgotten. I love to prove myself wrong sometimes.

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