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Courting the Muse: Part I – Focused Time

   “One reason I don’t suffer writer’s block is that I don’t wait on the muse. I summon it at need.” Piers Anthony

If we were to invite a colleague or other esteemed person to be an honored guest in our home or workplace, there are some things we would probably do; tidy up the place, make it a comfortable to hang out in, have some light refreshments on hand, and perhaps put out some fresh flowers. If that person were someone we wanted to meet with on a regular basis, we would do our best to entice that person into wanting to return.

So it should be with our Muse. She has valuable gifts to share with us and it behooves us to use whatever means we have at our disposal to woo her and charm her into wanting to return, again and again.

Here are some suggestions for you to try. As always, use what works for you and let the rest go.

Create an inviting space in which to meet. Most of all, this space needs to be comfortable. A good chair with adequate light and lighting. An orderly surface is important; a place where you can spread out your work for good overview and perspective. And finally, if at all possible, the space should be protected from other users. This insures that it is available for you at scheduled and unscheduled times, that it is not changed or ‘vandalized,’ (children, as much as we love them, can wreak unintended havoc in a trice), and that the energetic vibration that you create there, remains unaltered. (If it works better for you, your space could also be a favorite café or park bench.)

Schedule protected times in which to meet. These meetings need dedicated and protected blocks of time. This is time that cannot arbitrarily be used for some other urgent or important demand. This is time that you will protect from all usurpers, time that will not be subject to negotiation. And if there is some emergency situation beyond your control that arises and interferes, reschedule this time at the earliest possible date. In addition, protect this time from interruptions so that your creative flow will not be endangered. If your Muse knows that your time with her is honored, she is more likely to show up.

Show up at the required time. Bring your cup of tea or whatever it is that comforts and supports you. It is good to have water to drink. (Keeping the body hydrated is essential in order to maintain health and to function at maximum efficiency, and increases energy, clarity and a sense of well-being.) Then get comfortable and settle in to work.

Create a ritual space and invite your Muse to join you. Light a candle, put on some music that will inspire but not distract. Breathe deeply. Come to the present. Gather all your worries and concerns and put them in a basket, real or imagined, for a later time. Set your intention for this session of work and visualize the way you wish to see the time unfold. Then, call upon your Muse and invite her in. If you do not yet know her name, ask her to reveal it to you. Visualize her. (At some point, look for pictures that represent her. Put them up in your space.) Ask her for inspiration, clarity, support, and whatever else you need that day to help you. Invite her to participate in conversation!

Reconnect with the work. Each time you leave the work, leave yourself a simple note saying where to begin and perhaps a short list of things to do next. Each time you come back to the work, read your notes. If you are inspired to digress, honor that inspiration. If not, simply pick up where you left off. But above all, Begin!

Persevere. Keep remembering what you are devoted to, what you have dedicated yourself to. (See also Discipline as Discipleship.) This deep dedication is the antidote to our fears and uncertainties. It is the vehicle that carries us through frightening and tiresome landscapes. Remember that through the Laws of Resonance, what we are longing and searching for is also longing and searching for us.

Close your meeting. Leave your work with some notes for yourself about where to begin when you come back to it; an unfinished sentence or paragraph, a short list of to do’s, an inspirational thought or quote.

Say Thank You! At the end of your time, acknowledge your Muse and yourself, and say thank you for what you accomplished that day, whether it seems like a little or a lot. Don’t pass judgment on your project when you are still in the middle of it. Then, predict positive things for your next meeting!

This practice of preparation, protection, dedication and appreciation transforms us from disciplinarians into stewards. It helps us more easily enlist our Muse and quiet our Critics. We become our own best friend and supporter and enter into a cooperative, co-creative partnership with our own best interests at heart.

Here are two inspirational talks that you might find helpful.

Elizabeth Gilbert on Your Elusive Creative Genius

http://www.ted.com/talks/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius.html

John Cleese on the Origin of Creativity

http://www.openculture.com/2010/09/john_cleese_on_the_origin_of_creativity.html

I wish you well!

© 2012 Anacaria Myrrha ~ All Rights Reserved

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