When You Lose Your Ability to Fly

“But we each need to find our own inspiration, Kiki. Sometimes it’s not easy.” – Ursula, from Kiki’s Delivery Service.

Kiki Painting

It happens to all of us Creative Souls at one time or another. The passion we have for doing what we love seems to fade, or become disjointed, or disappear altogether. We lose our ability to step into that ‘zone’ of inspiration and use its flow of energy to fuel our talents. Nothing we do seems to come out right. The things which once emanated so easily are choking to a halt, or crumbling out in obscure fractures. It’s almost as if our natural talents have simply up and abandoned us, leaving behind an emptiness we desperately need filled.

Sometimes our efforts to restore this sudden, awful loss of inner-ability come to futility. We end up trying to force something out, or copy a design from someone else which, in the end, only makes us feel worse.

When this happens, the residue left behind is a mire of unwanted thoughts and feelings; sometimes frustration, sometimes despair, and more often than not a combination of both tied with a nasty pinch of anger or sense of uselessness.

There are many reasons why this sort of thing occurs to the creative heart, just as there are many ways to recover from it. For each individual the situation is different, yet the problems often stem from a comparable origin. Sometimes it’s an external issue: an unexpected turn of events, or relational shift with those in your family or friendship circles. Sometimes it’s internal: a sudden loss of self-belief, or an unwanted health issue.

You can be sure then, that the solution is equally connected, regardless of whether you are a writer, a painter, an actor, a musician, or a craftsman.

The following excerpt is from the animated movie Kiki’s Delivery Service, which I found both inspiring and relevant for every creative person out there who has struggled with the loss or diminished flame of their greatly loved talents. So, if you’re reading this and happen to be in the unfortunate predicament mentioned above, I hope this scene from the movie helps to rekindle your inspiration.

This scene is a conversation between Ursula, a young, independent artist living in the woods, and Kiki, a 13-year old witch-in-training who has recently lost her ability to fly.

Kiki and Ursula

Ursula: (talks while working on a portrait sketch of Kiki) Painting and magical powers seem very much the same. Sometimes I’m unable to paint a thing.

Kiki: You mean it? Then what? What happens?

Ursula: Kiki, please don’t move. It’s hard to draw a moving target.

Kiki: Without even thinking about it, I used to be able to fly. Now I’m trying to look inside myself to find out how I did it. But I just can’t figure it out.

Ursula: You know, could be you’re working at it too hard. Maybe you should just take a break.

Kiki: Yeah, but still if I can’t fly …

Ursula: Then stop trying. Take long walks. Look at the scenery. Doze off at noon. Don’t even think about flying. And then, pretty soon you’ll be flying again.

Kiki: You think my problems will …

Ursula: Go away? That’s right. It’s going to be fine. I promise.

Later on that night.

Ursula: When I was your age, I’d already decided to become an artist. I loved to paint so much. I’d paint all day until I fell asleep right at my easel. And then one day, for some reason, I just couldn’t paint anymore. I tried and tried, but nothing I did seemed any good. They were copies of paintings I’d seen somewhere before … and not very good copies either. I just felt like I’d lost my ability.

Kiki: That sounds like me.

Ursula: It’s exactly the same, but then I found the answer. You see, I hadn’t figured out what or why I wanted to paint. I had to discover my own style. When you fly, you rely on what’s inside of you, don’t you?

Kiki: Uh-huh. We fly with our spirit.

Ursula: Trusting your spirit! Yes, yes! That’s exactly what I’m talking about. That same spirit is what makes me paint and makes your friend bake. But we each need to find our own inspiration, Kiki. Sometimes it’s not easy.

Kiki: I guess I never gave much thought to why I wanted to do this. I got so caught up in all the training and stuff. Maybe I have to find my own inspiration.


May those of you who have lost your ability to fly at this time, find the inspiration that is uniquely yours deep down inside, and soar once more above the clouds where you belong.

Here is the link to my latest short story Final Flight, which recently won Best Novella, in the Queensland division of The Best of Supanova 2012! So, no matter how difficult it may be to find your own inspiration, the trouble and effort is worth it in the end. Always.


About WhimsicalWerecat

In short - Creative extraordinaire, warrior princess, dragon-lover, anime enthusiast, partisan of fantastical things, and most assuredly and proudly peculiar!
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5 Responses to When You Lose Your Ability to Fly

  1. I love this, thank you. I needed to read this today and will come back to it a lot in the coming weeks!

  2. Thank you for writing this article! Kiki’s Delivery Service is one of my favorite Ghibli films. Adding the whole dialogue for Ursula’s inspiration speech was a nice reminder of her message.

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