I was stuck. I tried, increasingly dejectedly, one anemic idea after another.
Duds. All of them.
Limping along, I wondered if the muse would ever turn and smile upon me. I ran through the usual inspirations--drooling over a dazzling new book about Paris, going to the ocean, being with loved ones. Nothin'.
Finally, I viewed someone else's lovely work. I felt the glow of art's beauty wash over me, warm honey. And then, almost imperceptibly, envy unwelcomely slithered her way in. Again.
If you're competitive, this can happen a lot. You see another artist create something wonderful, garner a grant, build an audience, receive critical acclaim and wish it were you. But when I get to that place, which I wish I could say is rarely, I need to remind myself of the Expanding Pie Theory.
You see, with an expanding pie, there are oodles and oodles of creative ideas and oeuvres and audiences. Other folks' inspiration ignites yours and vice versa. You and I and the whole, wide, benefiting world win. Unlike under the shrinking pie mindset which sucks the mojo right out of us as we each desperately stake out our piece of the pie and hoard it, refuse to share, decline to support other artists. We're small, we think small and we generate small.
I have to ask myself, which world do I want to help create? One of boundless beauty and creativity and generosity or one that is mean-spirited and limiting and stingy? I kept envisioning the vast and powerful ocean we had visited in the morning. An endless expanse of possibility and beauty.
YES. That's what I want (maybe the ocean DID inspire, after all :)).
So after I wished briefly that I could have made something as excellent as that gifted artist, I wrestled myself free from envy's potent but unhelpful grasp. I spread the word about the other artist's magnificence. Applause! Applause! Yay for you, baby. We certainly can use more beauty and art to relish here on Planet Earth.
Funny thing: the instant I let myself expand into full appreciation of someone else's achievement and gifts, the inspiration for my own art making reignited. Three blog posts, a dance phrase and plans for a luscious dinner (coq au vin. rosemary potatoes and peppermint and chocolate ice cream cake :)). Bam.
Oh, wait.... I remember. There is more than enough pie to go around and then some. Yay for us all.