Creativity and the Muse

I was really stirred by Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED talk on creativity that I posted a few days ago.  It felt really true to how I experience my creativity. For me the process really has a collaborative feeling to it . Self-responsibility is important in terms of preparation of the ground for the seeds of creativity. However, the process itself really feels like slipping into a river with a strong current. Once I am in the river my only question is how can I ride the current and not fight it.

When life gets busy or demanding it is particularly pertinent to ask how I stop myself from hearing the creative muse in my life. Somedays I push it away or ignore it. Sometimes I cannot hear it because I am sick or exhausted; or I tell it I will be back later, like the story of Tom Waites shouting at that song waiting to be written, “Can’t you see I am driving on the freeway?”

Then, I began to account for the ways that I welcome my creative muse. As an extrovert, my muse often shows up when I am with others, especially when I am teaching. It is as though the muse gets into my students and has them ask me questions that pull new information out of me. Information I have never articulated in quite that way before. Information I did not know that I knew. I wrote parts of my book this way, in a group discussion forum.This is one reason I try to record as much of what I do as possible. That way my creativity is preserved, waiting to be harvested. (More on that later.)

I am also a hands-on person. So, put someone who is receptive to my particular healing gifts under my hands and I totally let my muse (and theirs!) come through and create healing in the time and space we have together. Again, things happen in their body and words may come out of my mouth or theirs that are wise and unique to that moment and deeply healing.

When I write these blog posts my muse is called in most days. This is the practice for me, that Elizabeth spoke about, that we all need to keep in our lives in order to be open and ready for the creative muse(s) to arrive. It is like the old car antennas that could be retracted for safety and car washes, and then raised to the sky again to get the radio signal. When I sit down to write my post, I am raising my receiving antenna to the Universe to let it know I am here and ready to listen.

The truth is I actually keep my antenna up as much as possible – I love being connected to my creative muse(s). Life is way too interesting to play it safe and keep that antenna retracted.

How are you doing in this area of your life? Are you familiar with your creative muses and how they tap you? Do you listen to them? Do you follow through?

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