Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Inspire


The Pond was warm and sunny in the middle of December--too warm, I thought to myself as I walked. I spent my nights watching Christmas movies while the days reached 80 degrees.

Walking on my usual path, I felt the familiar tiny feet on my arm. I looked down to see a delicate butterfly gently treading on my forearm.

"You're back," I smiled.

"Of course," the butterfly opened and closed his wings slowly. "Why do you always seem so surprised to see us? We always tell you we will return."

"I guess after all this time, I'm always surprised you come when I need you," I said thoughtfully, chewing on my lip.

I slowed my steps, letting the butterfly relax on my arm as I held it stiffly in front of me. "I had a lot of trouble the other week, you know," I began conversationally. "Why didn't you come then?"

"It was too cold," the butterfly said. I nodded my head. "It was in the 50s that week."

"The weather was not of concern," the butterfly slowly moved up to my shoulder. "There were other things that were too cold."

It took me a moment to process what he said. "I was too cold?" I gasped. The butterfly fluttered his wings gently. "What do you mean? I was upset, sure. But who wouldn't have been upset over that news. I was really hoping..." I trailed off and looked into the bright blue sky above me.

"I didn't say you didn't have a reason," the butterfly whispered gently, settling into my hair. "I merely said you were too cold. You had things to think about before we could see you. If we come too soon, we bring false comfort. You wouldn't have made the right choice."

"There were other signs to tell me I was making the right decision," I pointed out defensively. "Elle Woods was on T.V. Every time Elle is on, I know I'm going the right way."

"Precisely," the butterfly hummed softly to himself as he entwined thin strands of my hair around his tiny feet. "That's why I am here now."

"Oh." I couldn't think of a response.

"You're too concerned about your brilliant ideas," the butterfly said, languidly braiding strands of my hair. "You're too concerned about always being creative, always producing massive amounts. You're frustrated because you know you're sacrificing quality for quantity. You're desperate for that affirmation that you're still brilliant. You think without several new stories a day you're failing, and that worries you. And you, my dear, don't do well under stress."

"I know," I said glumly. "I just get so scared if I don't keep thinking of great things that they'll quit coming to me."

"Has it stopped before?" the butterfly asked practically.

"No," I admitted.

"Well, then," the butterfly twittered his wings. "Creativity is a gift that can not be forced. You're letting your frustration and daily boredom wear on you. You need to focus on your ideas and feed your inspiration. Once you do that, the creativity and your "brilliant ideas" will come. They might come slowly at first, but they will come. Besides, it gives you more time to write down your other brilliant ideas."

"I'm worried the holidays will derail me," I said. "I'm worried all this party planning I have to do and gift crap is sucking the creativity out of me."

"Your creativity comes from you," the butterfly reminded me. "You must remember: there are times to live, and time to reflect. Right now, it's a time to live. Think of all the ideas you'll have later on."

"Very true," I sighed. I held out my finger, and the butterfly kissed it gravely. "Why can't you be here always?" I whispered. "If you were around, I wouldn't always lose my faith. I wouldn't doubt myself. My hope wouldn't waver and my thoughts wouldn't consume me."

"Because," the butterfly said, and I could hear the smile in his voice. "I am here to inspire." With that, he floated gently into the breeze toward a field of flowers. Smiling behind him, I nodded in agreement.

"And you do," I whispered to myself. "You do."