Everyone can use a little nudge every now and again. If you need a little encouragement to get your creative juices flowing — this is the perfect list for you. This guest post is from a wonderful friend of mine. Karen Bussen is an entertaining expert, event and wedding planner to the stars and an amazingly creative mind.
by Karen Bussen
Are you in a bit of a rut? Would you like to infuse your life with a little extra something-something? In my office, where we spend our days producing fabulous parties, we must always innovate and think creatively, so I started hosting “Inspiration Meetings,” where each member of our team is invited to bring “something inspirational.” Could be anything at all—I don’t limit it to photos or objects. Just “whatever inspires you today.”
In June 2011, I brought in a postcard from the Alexander McQueen exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum. I had treated myself to a museum membership for my birthday, and as soon as I got my membership card, I headed straight for this show, which was inspirational on so many levels, even though I don’t consider myself a “fashion person.” The postcard I brought to the meeting captured a dress crafted entirely of black duck feathers, which made the mannequin look like a darkly romantic 40s movie star-raven hybrid.
The McQueen show proved to me what genius really is—it’s the product of a one-of-a-kind perspective, a brilliant vision reflected to us in ways that are both familiar and foreign.
In the spirit of my “inspiration meeting,” I created the below list of inspirational to-dos to spark my–and your–imagination, because, after all, a list doesn’t always have to represent a series of chores. Why can’t it be a tool for transformation, a few words to suggest a new perspective, an open door to fresh ways of experiencing our every day? I’ve provided a dozen sparks on this list to get you started. Explore them in any order you like, or just choose your favorites.
1. For just a moment, right now, focus on your breathing. Take three deep breaths, exhaling twice as long as you inhale. Each time you exhale, let your head fall back gently, relaxing your jaw and neck.
2. Think back on the last week. What’s one thing someone said to you that really stuck? How can their words inspire your life?
3. Before the end of the day, schedule a one-hour private ballroom dancing lesson (I suggest Cha-Cha).
4. When you overhear someone speaking a foreign language you don’t recognize, say, “Excuse me, what language are you speaking?” and strike up a conversation about where they’re from.
5. On your coffee break, choose three travel-related words and type them into Google (think: “desert island beaches,” “luxury African lodge,” “yachts for rent,” or “markets of Paris”). Spend ten minutes reading the articles about your chosen topic.
6. Walk to a bookstore. On your way, stop into a café and drink a good glass of Champagne. Then head straight to the design section and thumb slowly through over-sized books filled with photos of beautiful homes.
7. On three strips of paper, write the names of three people you like but haven’t seen for at least three years. Fold the papers, then put them in a bowl and pick one. If you have that person’s contact info, immediately call them or send them a short email that simply says, “Hi Stranger—I’ve missed you.” If you don’t have their contact info, Google them and then contact them right away. If you don’t hear from the person within 24 hours, select another name.
8. Ask yourself, what are three things of beauty I see on my way to work every day?
9. Buy a CD from an artist you have never heard of (or download an album on iTunes without previewing it). Listen to it on your way to work or while you’re out for a walk.
10. Ask yourself this question while you drink your morning coffee every day for a week: If I had to choose my “mission” in this life right at this moment, what would it be?
11. Read the love poems of Pablo Neruda.
12. Sit down at your desk or kitchen table with a blank sheet of paper in front of you. Set your phone’s alarm for ten minutes from now. Pick up a pen and start writing without thinking. Do not think about anything at all. There is no agenda. Just write for ten minutes without stopping, without worrying about spelling or punctuation or neat penmanship. Do not stop. Just write.
Karen Bussen is one of America’s most exciting entertaining experts. Her party clients include celebrities, social luminaries, and global business leaders. She is the author of “Simple Stunning Parties at Home,” and six other books in the Simple Stunning series. She lives in Manhattan, where it is possible to find inspiration around every corner.