from The Day Job Survival Kit by Durga Walker | Updated February 6, 2019
It's a challenge to create joy where you think it doesn't exist. It's like having to be creative when you don't feel inspired. But there are ways to manufacture inspiration, and there are ways to manufacture joy.
Inspiration and joy are like fairy dust. Stick your hand into a pile and the stuff flies everywhere. If you're feeling a lack of inspiration, you've been letting the dust settle for too long. Wiggle your hand a bit and stir it around. Let it fly!
Energy is everything and everything is energy. As artists, our media may appear to be to be paint or words or movement or music, but as creative souls our medium is energy. You cannot use energy effectively if you stop it from flowing. You won't have any material to work with.
Inspiration and joy are no different. If you want ripples in a pond, toss a stone. If you want inspiration, stick your hand in it. And if you want joy, do something joyous. When your muscle needs stretching, do you wait for the stretch to come to you? No, you stretch your muscle. And how good it feels! Never wait for inspiration and joy to come to you. Toss a stone and watch the ripples reach the other shore.
Joy on the job can transform your entire life. After all, what more could you possibly want while you're working than to feel good? If you've got joy on your day job, you can throw this book away. And joy is infectious. Become a joy-manufacturing plant and you'll transform the working lives of everyone around you.
Start by smiling. Surely you can manage this. If you can't toss a stone, toss a pebble. If it's too much to smile at other people, practice smiling when you're alone. Imagine that every time you smile at work, you're increasing your ability to manufacture creative inspiration.
This is true, by the way. Contrary to popular belief, inspiration does not come from the depths of depression and nihilism. Inspiration is the drawing in of breath, the gift of life. Creative inspiration comes from clarity, a sudden parting of the clouds to let the light explode. If your clouds are thick and heavy from not enough joy, no light will get through no matter how much inspiration's raging on the other side. So start by smiling. Thin the clouds out a bit.
Joy and inspiration are good partners. They both come like fairy dust and they both need stirring up on occasion. Feeling stuck in the mud? Play with a kitten. I guarantee you the energy will fly.
Bring joy to the workplace. It's one of the ultimate challenges. If you can create joy on your day job, you can create it anywhere. And if creating joy teaches you to create inspiration any time, anywhere your creative life is blessed.
Fun can really jog the energy and get it moving in a more creative direction. Listen to music, if you can. If you work at home, pet your dog. Open a window and breathe in some fresh air. Walk around the hallways and pirouette when no one's looking. Tell a joke and make someone smile. Pack yourself an unusual lunch. Have a cappuccino instead of tea.
Fun is everywhere in this delightful universe, just there for the picking. Plan a reward for when you get home: a hot bath, a good meal, a romantic comedy. Laugh. Relaxing into laughter or contentment renews the connection with your creative self. It can be as refreshing as a nap. Clear the fuzz and blast through the cement ceiling in your head.
Welcome in the sunshine and let the energy flow. Be its friend, invite it in, learn to dance!
Picture piles of fairy dust just lying around and wave your hand through them as you walk by. Stash a pile by the filing cabinets, the storage closet, the archive basement your secret stash of fairy dust. Watch it rustle as you walk past.
Know that your inspiration is lying around like this, in secret corners, along the hall, in the cash register. You never know where you'll find it. Let your heart smile when you stumble on a pile and see it lift in the breeze. Practice stirring and smiling and stirring and smiling until you laugh out loud. Inspiration is that easy. Let it take you back to when there was no struggle, no dark clouds. Just crayons and fairies.
Begin thinking of inspiration as a joyful thing, accessible and available, piled up everywhere, especially at work!
©2006 Durga Walker / Jori Keyser. All rights reserved.
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Durga Walker is living proof that day jobs need not stand in the way of creative dreams. ...