Much inspiration will come from your observations of the life that goes on all around you. But openness to life in general isn’t usually what causes you to shiver and doubt. What takes real courage is openness to your own soul. Most of the scary stuff is right there.
Think of your soul as a great well. At the top and mouth of that well is your conscious life-your thoughts, opinions, known emotions and accessible memories. Down a little deeper is your unconscious life-your dreams, intuitions, the memories you’re not always conscious of. Deeper still-so deep that is flows from the groundwaters that connect you to other people-is what I call the Beyond Conscious. Some psychologists would call it the collective unconscious. Many Christians would call it the communion of saints. Whatever you call it, this deepest part of you is what connects you to the larger world of souls, the “great cloud of witnesses” mentioned in the New Testament letter.
Your well goes down deeper than you know, and it has been gathering information for a very long time. When you are doing work that is truly creative, you are tapping the well. You will tap a lot of things that are already in your life but that you just weren’t aware of-such as your fears and desires, or the physical sensations of walking through a day. Sometimes you tap memories you didn’t know you had or information you didn’t realize you’d learned. From time to time you tap information you really haven’t learned, at least not in a conscious way.
– from “The Soul Tells a Story: Engaging Creativity with Spirituality in the Writing Life” by Vinita Hampton Wright Loyola Press