Finding Your Place: Get There If You Can

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Welcome to for a song. I’m your host, Cari Ray. In our last segment, we talked about rescuing your muse from your own self-judgement. Now assuming that practice is going well and you are feeling more inspired and free to create, what now? Well, I believe there’s another important step before you’re ready to put pen to paper. I call it finding your place.

No, not a physical place. And I don’t mean “place” in the sense of your place in the community, this world, or the universe. That would be an entirely different sort of program which, I assure you, I would be entirely unqualified to host! No, I’m talking about a place that is conducive to The flow of your imagination. This place is a state of mind that flips your switch from toiling human to creative vessel.

Now I wish I could tell you a formula for how to create your perfect petri dish for the growth of amazing ideas. Honestly, I wish there had been someone to tell me. Unfortunately, like many aspects of a creative life, there is no rulebook, training manual, or college curriculum that can show you the way. There are many such things that can help you along on your journey. But at the end of the class and at the end of the day it’s still up to you to find your path.

So here’s a bit of what I’ve learned for myself. I’m sort of person who’s mind, from the time my consciousness first begins to emerge from the fog of sleep, seems constantly to be racing. And so long as I let that gerbil continue to run, I find little room for fresh inspiration to come calling. For me, a sense of mental emptiness along with giving my mind permission to wander are keys to getting the creative juices flowing. Now earlier I said that this place wasn’t a physical place, but a state of mind. And while that’s true, a physical place or circumstance can certainly help you get there. For example, I’ve noticed that new song ideas often come to me while standing in the shower, driving down the road in my car, on a walk in the woods. Or while doing chores like raking leaves, cutting grass or chopping wood.

A years ago, I learned a compelling lesson about this for myself. I have long been a journal keeper. Well in this case, I was headed to Europe for a few weeks with only a backpack, a couple of changes of clothes, a camera and a journal. But the lesson didn’t come while I was across the pond, it came after I returned. Once home, I flipped back in my journal to relive some of my trip. And as I read, I was frankly a little amazed by myself… My journal entries were Creative and colorful, full of scents, sights and sounds, painting detailed pictures that took me right back to those moments in time. Then I looked back to entries spanning a few weeks prior to my departure and, had I not known better, I would’ve never guessed that they were written by the same person. These entries were lifeless and dull, nothing more than a high level recounting of happenings day to day devoid of sensory detail.

So what was the difference what have the European entries bear such a stark contrast to those I had made prior? Well, I’m certainly no psychology expert, but I would surmise while in Europe I gave my mind some time off from its day-to-day responsibilities and also gave permission to wonder. For those few weeks I decided that my only jobWhat’s to experience and observe the world around me. And the result was simply stunning.

Now I understand that most of us don’t have the luxury of allowing our mind to wander all day long. But I’m here to tell you that, whether your goal is to become a more prolific songwriter or simply to find a fresh and creative approach to a project or problem, cultivating your ability to more easily access that wandering state of mind is bound to have a positive impact on your pursuits. So dig around a little and find your place. You,ll be amazed at the places you can go when you set off from there.