Breathing in, deeply, makes me feel good. I just came from an exercise class and after the aerobics, the hand weights, and the floor exercises, we breathe deeply. To be honest, the part of the class I like best is the very end when about twenty-five people over fifty have to carefully and with restrained grunts get up off the floor. But after that, I like the feel-good part. It’s more than just feeling smug and noble about having worked out. It’s a kind of essential well-being.
The link between breathing and having creative ideas is Greek. It goes back to the idea that we can be filled with the spirit of the gods, and today’s breathing exercises got me thinking about a friend who surrounds herself with objects that give her inspiration. She is an artist, and her inspiring objects are many and various. They are visually pleasing and seem to invite touching. They are on the walls, tables, windowsills, and floors. They are overhead, underfoot, indoors and outdoors. They are in every room of the house, even the bathrooms. Some of her paintings are wonderfully derived from the things, and occasionally just a part of a thing, she sees every day.
What do I see every day? As I look around my home I realize that I have become a minimalist. I have been practical in not having too much stuff because I want to make it easier to move one day. I don’t like waste, so I buy what I need and not much more. I am afraid that I could easily become a hoarder, so I make regular trips to the thrift store and the dump. I can justify my minimalism in many ways.
On the other hand, I have also minimized the inspiration—the feel-good part of daily living. My retirement dream of learning to paint again has been stunted by a lack of inspiration. I have all the gear: paints, brushes, canvases etc., but I don’t know what to paint. The reason I don’t know what to paint is because I have successfully removed a lot of the inspiration from my life. If I put a few unnecessary but pleasing objects in my home, maybe I’ll be able to paint again.