9 Modern Day Muses
"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." —Eleanor Roosevelt
Many creative people seem to have a quality of self indulgence, self absorption, and self preoccupation. Does this contribute to their ability to BE creative? It could in that the creative juices require a lot of inward examination as well as a healthy if not vigorously substantial belief and support of one's self. The creative process requires at times building a world of one's own and nurturing that world with time, protection from criticism, and generous supplies of self attention, musings and idea evolution.
In the process of teaching people how to break through creative blocks, I have observed that many of us have a problem putting ourselves first, pampering ourselves, finding an hour for an outing related to our creative life rather than to the roles and responsibilities of our rushed, everyday world. I have also witnessed the creative energy and resources an individual experiences when given permission to nurture her or himself in the name of creative expansion. I was clued into this phenomenon by the modern day Muse from my book called Muse Song.
"The energy that Muse Song emits is about care and nurturing. This energy has been considered important enough to be "Muse-worthy" because the art of self-nourishment has a profound effect on mortals' creative productivity. Pampering has not gotten the attention and publicity it deserves since the days of Cleopatra. Both underrated and underused, the act of nurturing ourselves for the intention of self-expression is one of the secrets to an enchanting surge of creative brilliance. The explanation is mysterious — it has something to do with the fact that, if we generously take care of ourselves, we will be more effortlessly inclined to want to express and share ourselves with others. If you are always verbally haranguing yourself, why would you want to share that beat up side of you with anyone? It seems that the harangued side is in control of our creativity and can shut when it is not receiving compassionate care."
"Creativity is so delicate a flower that praise tends to make it bloom while discouragement often nips it at the bud. Creativity is not something we can turn on and off like a faucet. It is an experience and expression in our lives that must be nurtured. This nurturing process means that creativity is at once a skill, an art, and a life-style." —Alex Osborn
Muse Song also encourages us to hang around those mortals who believe in our creativity and set boundaries or restraining orders up with those who diminish us in any way. Some people do not even realize their own jealousy around our creativity and may subconsciously try to discourage it. Do a visual of this idea by drawing a circle with yourself in the middle, in another outer circle draw a group of people you believe support you (if that circle is empty, go to classes and groups and FIND people — this circle is important) and outside the circle draw people who are not invited in your sphere of creativity.
Muse Song solicits unconditional self-kindness as a way to excellence. If you follow her prescriptions, you will find some colossal results — as if magic was seeping out of your desk drawers, or was wafting through your air conditioning vents in gratitude for a self well treated.
By Molly Anderson-Childers
Q: How is self-love and nurturing related to creative expression?
A: The art of self-nourishment has a profound effect on mortals' creative productivity. Pampering has not gotten the attention and publicity it deserves since the days of Cleopatra. Both underrated and underused, the act of nurturing ourselves for the intention of self-expression is one of the secrets to an enchanting surge of creative brilliance. If we generously take care of ourselves, we will be more effortlessly inclined to want to express and share ourselves with others. If you are always verbally haranguing yourself, why would you want to share that beat up side of you with anyone? It seems that the harangued side is in control of our creativity and can shut down when it is not receiving compassionate care.
Q: What's your favorite way to spoil yourself?
A: Since I'm a Muse I have a plethora of ways to answer this depending on my mood, my resources, the lighting and the fluency of pampering-ingenuity (p.i.) in the moment. Pampering can mean a massage, followed by a delicious facial, followed by a walk in an art gallery gift shop, giving myself $25 to spend however I like, and then dinner with friends who cook really well and adore me. Or it can be taking a nap.
I encourage mortals to ask themselves frequently, "How can I be kind to myself in this moment?" Even without the massage and the pasta with vodka sauce, in each moment there is a potential for self-kindness: a relaxing breath, an appreciative thought about who we are, shifting our position to a more comfortable one, removing ourselves from exposure to things that don't serve us, taking off a tight piece of clothing, hanging up the phone, saying no.
Finding ways to be kind to yourself energizes the part of you that is responsible for your creativity…and it wants to create in exchange for these acts of self-consideration. When you are inconsiderate and harsh with yourself, you can be sure you'll feel resistance to being creative. It's a Muse law.
Q: What is your most unusual, shocking, top-secret guilty pleasure?
A: Withholding juicy information about my guilty pleasures. And big girl underwear.
Q: What are some surefire ways that mortals can nurture their creative selves on a tight budget?
A: The best nurturing costs nothing. It is opening your heart to yourself, believing you deserve to spend time creating, paying attention to the joy possible in every moment, appreciating connections made to kindred spirits, accepting compliments, being authentically yourself. A gentle stretch, a cleansing breath, reframing fear to trust, reframing dread to eagerness, reframing your high school graduation photo, thinking up an idea and thinking about a time to play with it, laughing at yourselves and your species, eating a papaya. Buying a new pair of comfy socks doesn't hurt either.
Q: When in need of some creative, cuddly, nurturing energy, how can mortals summon Muse Song?
A: You can read quotes that nurture your spirit, allow yourself to indulge in your creative passion 3 times longer than you were planning, have the intention to be good to yourself so you can more easily plug into your higher purpose.
Undo your negative inner-talk. Surround yourself with people who inspire and support you. Support others. Stand for a cause, or, make a cause for celebration.
Q: What is the importance of the "Good Witch" for an artist?
A: In her book, The Captive Muse, Susan Kolondy explains that almost every individual who ventures into the creative realm is inflicted with voices that try to torment and discourage them. It is the successful artists, poets, writers, and expressers of creative passions that replace the critical, chiding or discouraging voices with voices that applaud, praise and encourage. We have that choice. The benevolent new voices come from mentors, teachers, or other guides from the creative individual's past or present. And if encouraging voices cannot be recalled, successful artists invent them. Creating a new, reassuring voice to replace the inner-critic, will make the difference between quitting and triumphing.
My voice can replace the voices of discouraging fear, criticism and mockery. Learning to use the same nurturing voice for yourselves that you often use for others is a skill that takes practice and results in progress unequal to its effort. Find voices that work for you. Hear the benevolent voice in a form that comforts you. It could be an auditory visualization of a creative advocate, a friend, a mentor, from your past or present. If you choose to exercise the power of your imagination, your mechanism for encouragement could be a protective and nurturing image like an angel, a spirit guide, or a big Italian Mama showing pride in her offspring with grand gestures and gushing. Find what works for you, and make it a voice from the Spirit inside of you.
Q: What is the role of music in creativity? What is your favorite music to inspire, delight, and make you feel like dancing?
A: Music is creativity. Its very existence is proof that the human spirit in motion is capable of miracles. Listening to it also unleashes more creativity in the areas of writing, art, movement, film, and thinking. Music opens the doors to our deepest centers of imagination, gives us rhythm in our thinking, unearths stuck emotions that can then be melted into writing and art, and brings forth stories that might be hiding when there's no music. Music makes our bodies move and thus frees up creativity related to movement.
Muses like all kinds of music because variety's potential is inspiration in a creative myriad of ways….
Music can lure suppressed feelings out of hiding behind mortals' everyday default thinking, keeping them numb and distracted. Music can change a stuck mood to a mood that flows in verse and poetry, images and intentions, violet and peach. Music can connect you to yourselves others in a manner that's way more creative than when there's no music.
Q: Any last words of support and encouragement for us?
A: Develop an inner circle of your own creative angels: people who support, believe in and encourage you. If you don't have these people, find them by taking classes or joining creative support groups and notice which people you gravitate towards. Wake up when you spot people who are encouraging to you and make an effort to bring them into your inner circle. Have a mutual admiration club. Find people who are easy for you to encourage and praise, as well.
Watch over your ideas until you feel strong enough to be undaunted in the face of anything from a questioning look to downright harsh criticism. Spend more time, thought and energy on the people who can see your brilliance and can encourage it. And chill. •
©2001-2009 Jill Badonsky. All rights reserved.
Based on Jill Badonsky's The Nine Modern Day Muses (and a Bodyguard)
Nurturing, encouragement, & good company
MEANING OF NAME
Someone to sing your praises — both your inner voice and the voice of those you choose to share your company
Replacing discouraging voices with encouraging ones
THE SELECTION of MUSE SONG
The next modern day Muse manifestation embodies one of the most the powerful influences of creative rebirth: Self-love. Mortals seemed to be sadly lacking in this area; a perplexing condition to the Muses who have another book out entitled, Self Pamper Profusely Without Apology. They thought, "How can a precious instrument of God's creative expression operate with smooth excellence, if it is not properly maintained with praise, pampering, and pleasurably positive experiences?" So they vowed to change the mortal tune of self-badgering to a song of self-praise. They materialized a Muse named Muse Song whose melodic compassion can soothe the savage beast that sometimes resides in the mortal's own mind. She inspires harmony within us, and in our relationships with others.
Self-love is vital for creativity. When we treat ourselves like precious instruments of the Creative Spirit, the result is high quality creative output. Undoing our negative inner-talk is vital to the process of moving past thinking that does not serve us, and is instrumental to our creative and spiritual growth. Surround yourself with people who inspire and support you. Support others. Stand for a cause, or, make a cause for celebration.
Jill Badonsky is a creativity coaching pioneer, inspirational humorist, artist, and founder of Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coaching™. More
The Nine Modern Day Muses (and a Bodyguard)
The Awe-Manac: A Daily Dose of Wonder
Body Blissmas: Creativity & Wellness
Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coaching Stories
Owner's Manual for Your Creativity
Dear Muse Column