Creative Inspiration and Visiting Family

family, creative inspiration

While visiting family in Connecticut last week, I was reminded how creative inspiration shifts whenever I’m reconnecting with them and my hometown. There are predictable places and faces so it doesn’t feel quite a “vacation”. There’s also an existing history to align with or rebel against, instead of a “new” adventure type feel to the travel experience.

I always see my trips back east as sort of a clashing of the new and the old in the same viewfinder, kind of like a set of before and after pictures. And despite the blurring picture, visiting family offers a unique opportunity to break through old boundaries and find new creative inspiration.

The Benefits of “Time Travel”

On this trip, the late fall smells and crunchy, drying leaves filled my senses, pushing me into a time and space where I felt young and old at the same time. My parents still live in the house they bought because I was on the way, and my old bedroom will always be “mine”. Spending time in it always reminds me of how I first wanted to be a writer. I would devour books that churned up new mindsets and potential adventures, cracking open the door to my creative inspiration and desire to write — even if I wasn’t sure what to do with my inspirations just yet.

Coming to my childhood home also helps me connect my past and present in a way that I would never be able to do if I only thought about it. Physically being in a place that is familiar but I am not the same helps me truly see things differently, and sometimes, closes loops to thoughts that were laying open ended. And because each trip to visit my family is different, my creative inspiration is ignited differently, as I renew or shift something within my “viewfinder” simply by being present as best I can. Being in the moment provides the opportunity to see the difference between what was true in the past and what the truth is right now, which is where the real creative inspiration lies.

Breaking Routine Amps up Creative Inspiration and Meaning Behind Insights

Even though visiting family has it’s good and bad familiarities, it still breaks you away from your current routine, pushing open creative inspiration and shifting perspective. Maybe you love your Mom’s mashed potatoes, or catching up with crazy Uncle Lou and the stories of his youth is always a kick. These family cornerstones feel good and comforting and transport you in time. Except now, you may realize that Uncle Lou is still stuck in his stories and has never dared to expand beyond them. And that can be not only eye-opening but personally insightful.

The trick to creative inspiration and visiting family is not to stay stuck in the past while you visit or once you’ve returned to your current home.

That’s easy to say, but not always easy to do. The same family patterns can emerge from your past during a visit and be really irritating, causing you to go on “autopilot” without even realizing it. There is a real gift in reliving these past patterns, however. You get a chance to notice any places where you might have gotten stuck in the past that still drain your creative inspiration to this day. Then you can figure out how to shift those patterns to something more supportive for yourself.

For example, maybe one of your parents does not feel terribly creative and they shy away from or talk negatively about their creative ability. Now that you are no longer young, you can clearly see the ways they talk down about themselves and abilities, and the impact it’s had on you personally. Do you do something similar? Do you immediately get defensive or create defeating self-talk when you begin new creative projects?

Another example would be going through your old stuff. Perhaps you come across old poems, drawings, toys or photos that remind you of a skill or talent that you forgot about, and the simple joy and creative inspiration that resurfaces when you take in those memories. It can rekindle a big love for an old hobby or creative part of yourself. Awareness about these creative foundations can help you rekindle what you feel might be missing in your life now, and find a way to reintegrate the creative inspiration into the “modern” you.

Go Beyond the Familiar Road Trip in your Mind

As the holiday season gears up over the next few months, it’s a perfect time to decide how you want to look at your time visiting with family or old friends. It’s not about already knowing how you expect things to go or want them to, but how willing you are to be present and clear within yourself to stand in your own power to create the experience YOU want.

So what are some of the ways you find creative inspiration in family visits or old familiar stomping grounds?

Photo credit: photon_de