I was reminded last night how some of my best ideas come when I least expect it. Why is that? Often I put in long hard days toiling away at my paintings. The next morning I survey the lot and just can’t see that any progress has been made. It’s as if I worked in a circle, gaining some ground, then taking steps backwards only to start all over. Its during these times that every so often I’ll give up, stop painting, and do something else.

Yesterday I pondered some new canvases for a long time, feeling uninspired. Thankfully I had enough insight to see it was one of “those times” where its best not paint and take a break. I rented a movie (Woody Allen’s latest), made a chocolate ice cream sundae, and got into bed early with a good book (The Edge of the Sea by Rachel Carson). It was only several minutes into reading my book, while my mind was completely off duty, that I got a complete vision for my next painting series. I woke up this morning with a fresh outlook, armed with new territory to conquer, and inspired enthusiasm.

So again I ask, why is that? I believe our mind, although mysterious and amazing, is still somewhat limited. Our mind constantly absorbs things from the outside through our senses, combining with our own preferential judgments from the inside to create a thought or idea. It keeps very busy absorbing and judging. While we can get some successful ideas from this process, these ideas will usually be limited by what we have been exposed to. When our mind rests, for example during meditation, physical activities, or just plain old fun, then it opens up to a larger universe – our larger selves, our collective unconscious, or divine source. It is here, then, that we can surprise ourselves by accessing ideas that can be totally new.

Onwards then, to more ice cream, movies and nature hikes.