One day I was with my cousin, who is a doctor, in the port of Santos in Brazil, watching the ships entering and leaving their docks. When a huge cargo ship, that was old, all rusty and marked by a life of great adventures, crossed our path. Immediately, seized by the power of that vision, I told her; "Look what a beautiful thing this ship is." After a long silenced pause, she timidly replied, "I think it's amazing how you can see beauty in this old, battered thing." We stayed like this, side by side, for a long minute without saying anything.
I kept reflecting on that moment for a long time, until today I find myself reliving that feeling. For me what was pure beauty and poetry, for her it was an old, disposable thing, a sign of poverty and decay. I kept thinking at that moment, as proof that how we perceive the things we look at is what shapes how we experience life.
Is it my creative personality that allows me to see the old ship as a fantastic world of stories and adventures on the high seas? Stories of love and separation, stories of boys who are taken out of their mothers' arms too early to help the family in their livelihood, stories of storms and sea monsters. I often find myself thinking and imagining stories about anything or person that crosses my path. This is something that has always happened to me quite naturally, I have always been curious and creative. But as I developed as an artist, maturing my creativity and doing it more consciously, I discovered a path to inspiration there.
I believe that inspiration is like a muscle to be trained. There are those moments when an idea reaches you like lightning, an idea that incorporates you. But being at the mercy, waiting for that moment to arrive, is quite limiting when we work with creative processes. Of course, there are several creative branches and each one has a specificity to train this aesthetic look. However, in general, being aware of your surroundings, being present and being curious are one of the universal ways of training your creativity.
For example, when I'm on public transport, I don't drown myself in my cellphone. As a storyteller, I love watching people, imagining the plots that led them there. What they are thinking, whether or not they are suffering for love, are they lonely people, is there a working mom thriving to raise her children, is he a deserted son, or that other one an unlucky man who won the lottery? I can spend hours creating a thousand worlds in my head watching these unknown people, who in my imagination come to life and become part of me.
However, being attentive and being observant does not help only with storytelling. If you are a visual artist, observe colors, movements, landscapes, houses, fields ... See how the world around you is built. There are so many textures, so many combinations, there is so much to be explored. Walk with a notebook, make notes, sketches, doodles, take photos. We tend to romanticize the creative process. We idealize that an art genius is brilliant all the time. But how will you be able to do something great if you never tried it? If you have never observed your surroundings? Or does fear of not being brilliant paralyzes you? To get out of it, do as many mediocre things as necessary until you find what makes you unique, until you master your creative process. Don't forget, creativity is like a muscle that needs to be trained. Practice!
I leave here my request for any creative being lost out there ... let your imagination run free. Cultivate the sweet, imaginative and fantastic look upon the little things. Creativity or inspiration can be in front of you right now or just around the corner. Be aware, get off autopilot.
This text is part of a series of contents written by the creative and blog contributor Stephanie Stierli. As a storyteller, Stephanie is passionate about studying human behavior, this experience on earth, and creativity. As a "multipotentiality", she’s a filmmaker, a therapist and an artist. As her personal point of view, and how she’s wired, life shouldn’t be limited to a single passion or path. Her curiosity guides her to explore multiple areas. As a critical thinker, her goal is to provoke change and help people to escape the norm and explore new realities. Graduated in Social Communications, with a specialization in Filmmaking, Stephanie has work experience in feature films, series, and advertisement. As a floral therapist, she helps people with their personal self-discovery and living a more balanced life. Nevertheless, art is the way she found to express herself and explore all her potential.
To travel, to explore, to insert myself in other cultures. This kind of experience kicks me out of my own context. Pushes me to change perspectives. To question my own habits and behaviours. The mind and heart seem to expand almost immediately. The creative process gains other layers that connect to other experiences.
I am just undressing myself to my own - beautiful - naked truth - of my relationship to myself.
what I found out in the last couple of years, is that when we change "brand" for "story", our mind expands. A story does not depend on anybody's approval, it is interesting by nature and does not need acceptance or niche markets to exist, because when a story is honestly told, a circle of people will naturally be formed.