Inspiration Is All Around, Simply Open Your Mind’s Eye

People often ask where I find inspiration. My answer: everywhere. To quote one of my favorite movies, Sister Act 2:

If you want to be somebody, if you want to go somewhere, you better wake up and pay attention.

This video by Jarbas Agnelli, Birds on the Wires, is a prime example of finding inspiration in everyday places. You may have seen it before—it’s made its rounds and has even been the subject of a TED talk—but if not, may it serve as a wake-up call for your Muse.


Today, if able, set aside thirty minutes or more to go outside and take a walk. Take your notebook and pen, camera, or whatever else you need to document your experience. Pay attention to your six (yes, six) senses: What do you see? What noises do you hear? What aroma does the world have today? How does the air taste? Feel the wind or sun or snow against your skin.

And finally, to address that sixth sense, what does your intuition tell you? What does your mind’s eye see? Where does your muse lead you with all this information? That, my friend, is inspiration.

I’ll end with the wise words of Anne Lamott in Bird by Bird:

There is ecstasy in paying attention…You get your intuition back when you make space for it, when you stop the chattering of the rational mind.


ML Swift

MikeBeachML Swift is a writer of Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Adult fiction, although he dabbles in many genres.

An Alzheimer’s caregiver for the past ten years, he has published several articles on The Alzheimer’s Reading Room, the largest online website catering to that community, and plans to write a novel about his experience in caregiving.

He resides in Florida with his dogs, Rameses and Buster, attempting to reclaim his side of the bed.


24 thoughts on “Inspiration Is All Around, Simply Open Your Mind’s Eye

  1. Love that quote from Sister Act. I’ve been in a rut and need to wake up and start paying attention again. I think the arrival of spring will help. I always seems to find lots of inspiration while walking outside.

    1. Yes, winter does allow for us to hole up in our houses and snooze through life. Spring brings renewal. I agree, let the muse of spring be your guide! Thanks for coming by, Julie.

  2. Mike, I LOVE that video (nope, hadn’t seen it before) and that quote. They both struck me today, and hopefully, yes, will nudge my Muse! Thank you for the inspiration!

  3. The only thing I’d noticed if I took a walk outside today would be bitter cold and greyish white snow. Of course, maybe I’m not paying enough attention to the little things I should be paying attention to.

    1. Even in the bitter cold, let your intuition (about your surroundings…a deeper sense into what it feels like) be your guide. The paradox of fire and ice found in the bitter cold—”The snowflakes were many, and even though I knew they were, in fact, ice, nature’s six-sided lacework sparked a fire across my face and burned a trail of frostbite through my body.” Something like that. Become a part of your environment.

      Thanks for visiting, Ken. It’s always good to see you.

  4. Great post. Reminds me of a sign I saw sitting next to a writer’s desk in a picture.
    I’m paraphrasing… “Warning: I’m a writer. Anything you do or say may end up in a story.”

    IWSG #268 (until Alex culls the list again or I goof and get myself deleted. :P)

    1. He intuitively knew there was more than merely birds on the wires…opened his mind’s eye and saw notes; and there, a natural symphony lay before him. Thanks for coming by, Alex. I realize yesterday was a busy blogging day for you. 🙂

  5. I love this Mike. It so resonates with me. Getting outside, indulging in a creative activity– it all feeds my heart. This reminds me of the message in Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way and why she encourages artist’s dates, the one aspect of her book I was least likely to take the time for. That video was really fun. 🙂

    1. Yes, I’ve got to revisit The Artist’s Way and go through the workbook thoroughly. When I first read through it (or partially) was about the time Mom was sick…never did get it finished.

      I love the outdoors and find much inspiration with every venture. I’ve been holed up in this house for too long and need a hike again.

    1. Thank goodness for the rain! For some reason, I thought you were in Oregon, where it always seems to rain. And yes…even within the house there’s inspiration. Just open the eyes and you will see.

    1. Isn’t it, Lyn? I loved it when I saw it…wanted to blog about it rather than make a quick FB status update or shared link. Thanks for coming over. I know yesterday was a busy one.

  6. Excellent advice. I typically don’t spend time observing my surroundings. I’m usually rushing from here to there or occupied by children. I often forget to stop and just breathe for a minute.

    Great video. Haven’t seen it before!

    1. You know, at the risk of sounding cliche (which cliches are cliches for a reason…they resonate truth), “You gotta stop and smell the roses along the way.” Take those moments…slow down. Yeah, I know…easier said than done (another cliche!), especially when kids are involved. But, perhaps if you make it more game-like; point out the birds on the wires (or the things you see); make forms out of the clouds; music from the pounding of the jackhammers; I don’t know, my mom always did that stuff with me and it fed my creativity. Thanks for coming by, Loni. 🙂

    1. A church I attended did the movie’s arrangement of “Joyful, Joyful” for a Christmas concert once. It was a huge church (huge!) with some talented folks (talented!), an orchestra, etc., and was quite a professional production.

    1. Elizabeth, Anne’s book has a place on my desk shelf for easy accessibility. It’s one of those books that I’ll refer to time and again for guidance and inspiration—to remember when to turn off KFKD.

  7. Like you, Mike, I find inspiration from everywhere. I’m naturally an observer of people, places, and things. My introverted ways makes me most times prefer observation over conversation.

  8. Ha! Sometimes I feel my art (writing) is horrendous and then I realize it takes real skill to be this good at being so bad 🙂

    PS… I saw your comment over at Julie Leuk’s for her recent ’80s post and you started with “Everybody loves an 80’s post.”

    Now, *that’s* a killer slogan for an ’80s blogfest 🙂

    Cheers 🙂

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