February 13, 2013

Coffee Talk ~ Creativity

It's been documented here before, but one of my great joys in life is visiting cafes. To me, luxury is time. The time to allow yourself to go somewhere nice, and sit for awhile, and just be with yourself. I like to read, write, do work, or just people-watch. I've been writing nearly every day as part of my "creative recovery" process, and I've been finding out a lot of interesting things tucked away in my mind and heart.

Like the other day, I was on a cafe date with myself and thinking about the future. I've been kind of mean in telling myself lately that this "artist" thing is over for me. I should just set my sights on a whole new role in life, with all new goals. More attainable ones. It's been sad to feel like I have to let go of this wild part of myself, that just wants to spend every day creating and feeling inspired (nevermind that I feel like it has to be one kind of life or the other- it can never be both.) But everything else I've ever wanted to do is too hard, so I might as well relax and get comfortable becoming someone completely new.

But as I was in this cafe, the gentleman pictured below sat down at the table next to me. He simply started talking to his friend about his life. As I was eavesdropping on his exciting stories about traveling Europe, meditation, yoga, organic farms, and other frou-frou artsy stuff, I realized how much they were sparking my inspiration. So I asked him if I could take his picture to remember the moment.

guitar 2

I think it's really important to take notice of what inspires us and draws out our energy. They give us clues about ourselves. They can uncover secret dreams we might have buried beneath negative beliefs- what we want to be doing, and what kind of people we want to be. As the excitement of this man's stories was welling up inside of me, I realized that it's not frivolous at all to want to experience things like this for myself. It's normal and natural for me, and it's part of who I am.

Also, I've been taking stock of things that sap my energy... what makes me feel too run-down to try anymore. A big part of that is making creative goals, and them not leading to the "correct" place. If I make a record, it must be super successful in order to justify making another. If I have a blog, I must have tons of followers, or I suck and will never be any good. I let the non-fulfillment of my too-high expectations get me down. And although it's certainly never stopped me from doing exactly what I wanted to do, it's slowed me down. I've allowed it to take too much wind out of my sails over the years, delaying so many dreams. Killing ideas before they even began.

I used to think that having a new idea, that twinge of excitement, and the possibility of a new project meant that it was going to take me somewhere. It meant I was going to Be Something or Do Something. And if it didn't go where I wanted, well, then I was a failure. But now I see that the real joy of having an idea and being excited about it is that excitement! It doesn't have to have any real result other than to make you happy. This is such a liberating thought to me, I can't believe it's never even occurred to me before!

I know that the words "magical" and "inspiration" are a little cliched in the blogging world. But I really believe that we need to feel that magic in our lives- both for every-day good feelings, and especially for creative purposes. That childlike sense of wonder that helps us see things in a different way. We are so lucky when we get to experience this. And often, it takes a lot of work to really experience it.

I have to wake up, look at myself in the mirror single every day, and tell myself that I deserve joy. I deserve creativity. Actively try to seek it out and cultivate it. And do you know what happens when I do that? I get it.

So ask yourself these questions today-

~ What feels like luxury to me?
~ What event, situation, idea (etc.) genuinely perked up my inspiration or this week?
~ How have I been sapping energy away from myself?
~ How can I bring the "magic" back into my life?



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  1. I have been sapping away energy by being in not the best living situation which unfortunately cannot currently be changed :/ I need to spend more time creating and less time stressing about everything

  2. I completely agree with this. I gave up a lot of my artistic dreams a couple of years ago, and I still struggle with the decision. I initially made it out of a combination of low-selfesteem/lack of self-confidence, and also just finally acknowledging that I do, in fact, have a highly pragmatic side to me. I believed I could pursue my artistic passions, but the truth is, creativity needs energy and devotion, time to see what comes. I just thought songs would appear to me in my head and I could just write them down when I got home, but the truth is, without devoting the time to just sit down regularly with my guitar, I haven't written a full song in at least two years. It's always inspiring to hear about other people's lives, but also mildly frustrating and bittersweet, I think. I love that you took a picture of that guy, to remind you of the moment! I also love the questions you ask yourself -- time is, indeed, the ultimate luxury, and I think it's ultimately what people are trying to all buy themselves.


  3. This is a beautiful post. I know exactly what you mean about constantly gauging your success. Props to you for listening to your heart!


  4. I am so glad that I read this today :) It seems that more people than you realize are quietly putting aside creative endeavors for more "practical" ones. Conventional jobs... Safe jobs... *shrug* I totally agree that luxury is time. It's time to sink down into whatever activity you want to without pressure. Whenever I think like this, I have the haunting thought in the back of my mind that says 'you shouldn't be wasting your time crocheting or making things... you're no child anymore... there's no time for arts&crafts in this adult world...' Sometimes that voice gets me down, but frankly it is whenever I put my energies into creative work, whether it's writing a post or designing a hat, that those energies are best used and I'm fulfilled. I suppose the rub is finding the delicate balance of being a creative-minded individual in a world that isn't. In that space is our luxury and happiness.


  5. What a great post! I'll admit, since I started blogging it's like I see everything through a "how will it look through a lens?" prespective. I've noticed that this sometimes feels like I'm missing out on my experiences. I have attempted to go on long walks and evenings out without my phone or camera, and just enjoy. Enjoy the person next to me, the scenery, the coffee or food, the dirty city, or just whatever. Your posts are always so inspiring, Chantilly! Thank you.


  6. A really inspiring post, I know what I want to do, but the thought of failure is so scary, sometimes it just stops me before I even start. We can't do that! What if? That's no way to live.

  7. You are amazing. That takes balls to just ask someone if they can take their photo due to an eavesdrop...I love it!

  8. Those are very good questions! Very inspiring. As an artist who has three or four different 'paths' going on in her life, I find it difficult to focus and remain inspired enough to paint. Maybe I need to get out and just DO it more. Ya know?

  9. Such excellent questions. They are all something I really need to ponder, especially the question about what situation or idea perked up my inspiration this week. Sometimes we get stuck in the rut of life and never really look at what happened in our week and what was good about it. There could be many things, or only one thing. I need to take more time to stop and think about that. Thank you :)

    LC from theworldofellesee

  10. This is exactly the kind of thing I needed to read right now. I'm bookmarking it for future reference! Lately I've been feeling so uninspired and flat, mostly in relation to my blog and my other creative outlets, and I've felt like a failure watching other people's blogs grow way quicker than mine, or having days where I don't feel good enough to do this anymore. Thank you for reminding me to bring the magic back into my life!I AM good enough, and all I need to do to find inspiration is look for it in the right places :)
    Maybe a trip to the coffee shop is in order for me?

  11. This is lovely and really speaking to me today. Something I need to go away and ponder more about

  12. This blog post is just what I needed right now.


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