Muse, oh muse.... Wherefore art thou, oh muse?

soul's expression spiritual adventure trust Nov 12, 2022
long trail winding through the forest

Sometimes we set aside time to create, and nothing happens.  What happened to the muse?  Has that ever happened to you?  Here’s how I found her again.

Staring at the blank screen had paralyzed me so I sidetracked myself by doing research on the internet.  I looked at definitions, at historical aspects, and at other treatments of my topic.  In the background, though, I was wondering, “Crystal, where are you?” 

I named my muse Crystal when I moved to NW Arkansas because she helps me take random ideas and crystalize them into coherent thought. Arkansas is home to incredible quartz and diamond mines; I find the energy invigorating. Crystal sits atop a coffee filter on the shelf in front of me so she can filter the inspirational downloads into comprehensible words.

But, on that day she was nowhere to be found.  I decided to abandon ship and go for a walk. 

My favorite nearby trail is hilly and beautiful.  Situated near one of the lakes, the trail winds through the sturdy oaks and towering pines. This trail is a physical challenge and it always reminds me why I love the outdoors.   

Walking along, I sank into a feeling of gratitude for finding my home in the Ozarks, and for all my new friends.  As my head cleared, I began to ponder what was so inspiring about this trail.  Why here? There are other nearby trails, why this one?

Then, I realized that surely Crystal hangs out here.  She’s lurking in the bucolic view of the lake, in the strenuous final uphill climb, and in the crisp fall air.  All the elements for inspiration wait for me there. 

Does everyone have a muse?

As humans, we tend to anthropomorphize concepts, so we turn our inspiration into something with human characteristics.

Our muse is like a mystical being that bestows us with great imagination and expressive abilities. When she is near, we are endowed with a special sensitivity to our work.  When our muse alights on our shoulder, our creation manifests magically.

This is not a new concept.  In Greek mythology, the 9 muses were the daughters of Zeus.  They presided over song and poetry and the arts and science. The muses began their lives as nymphs that appeared as whispers in the ears of those who invoked them. 

That’s what we want!  We plead for assistance and then passively wait for our Muse to land on our shoulder like Tinkerbell with her magic wand.

Zing!  A masterpiece!!

But that’s rarely how it works.  For her to appear, it’s best if we have a few things in place:

  • Trust - we need to believe she exists and is there to support us. When we doubt our natural creativity, we negate our muse.
  • Openness - we  need to release pre-judgment of our endeavors. Our muse inspires by connecting unusual dots. We let go of the probable so the impossible can appear.
  • Willingness - we need to be willing to show up. This is akin to trust. Sometimes the muse will refuse to appear; she’s building her trust in you as well. When we’re willing, we show up whether or not she does too.
  • Consistency - we need to predictably appear where she can find us.  That might mean setting a regular time to create or perhaps preparing a consistent spot, like a studio.

Crystal is near my computer and her playground is the trail by the lake.  We have learned where to find each other.  I trust that when I sit down to write, she is there to assist. When I leave the keyboard after our time together, I understand myself a little better.

Pathway to the Divine

Creativity is less about making something desirable than about being lost in a state of flow.  That state holds the gate to the divine ajar.

We quiet our mind and focus on the moment, on the task, on the creation and release expectations for the final result.  We lose ourselves in the process and eventually are led back with a little more self acceptance than when we left.

Our muse leads us toward our own path to the divine.

When we make the effort, we are rewarded with insight and clarity about our true nature and our greater purpose. 

Our muse helps us become who we truly are.

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