Creative Solutions from the 9 Modern Day Muses
As you take flight to the wondrous weaving of your dreams, know that you may need some help. Embarking upon the journey your soul may be saying: "Excuse me, excuse me, I have something I want to shaaaaarrre!" Or perhaps it is your heart that exclaims, "A life artfully lived? Yes! Yes! That's the ticket, I'd love to be, do, and have that!" And, as is the reality of the creative process, you are feeling . . . well, sort of alone.
However, the urge is still strong to be creative. So how do you start the dream with all the scary things lurking out there to stop you? You consider the scope of your fear, but advance forward anyhow, realizing that being true to dreams is essential to the fabric of your happiness. You weave on.
All of a sudden, you see someone else doing exactly what it is you want to do, only they are further along in the process. You get slimed with an attack of ENVY. Yuk, the green stuff stains the best of your intentions. Mustering up more courage you say, "That's okay, I'm still going to do it."
Then you start to express a little of yourself in some creative medium and this loud voice that seems to be coming right from the inside of your own head says, "YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING, WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING? YOU CAN'T DO THAT …. YOU'RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH … YOU'LL LOOK LIKE A FOOL!" Or maybe someone close to you glances at what you are doing and gives you a look like "THAT IS NOT A GOOD IDEA."
Ok, ok ... then there is this one: You fear that if you try to rise to your true potential it would mean you would have to take on too much … RESPONSIBILITY. AHHHHHWWWWW!
Or, what about the clincher? You stop even before you start by announcing "THAT'S ME, ALRIGHT" referring to one of the statements you see above, exaggerated in caps and quotes. You are defeated before departure. Or maybe not.
Regardless of what you are saying or not saying, Jill Badonsky's Nine Modern Day Muses have assigned you a Bodyguard. "A Bodyguard?" Yes, a Bodyguard, to protect you from all of these adversaries of the creative process — the traitors to your unfolding as a creative possibility in self-realized splendor. Use his powers as your own. Or if you like, let a female image embody the qualities of protection and imagine her participation in keeping your idea safe.
The bodyguard is a spirit in defender form. He takes this form because it gives you an image to conjure up when you come face to face with those forces that stop you from finding and acknowledging creative fulfillment. He reminds you that you have power inside of you and that to give that power away to others by putting their opinions ahead of your own is a crime of unnecessary defeat.
The most powerful form of defense against quitting or discouragement is your strength of desire. If you want the dream badly enough, desire opens up your reservoirs of passion. Desire can create a creative flow so forceful that it washes away anything that stands in your way. Fueling this reservoir includes visualizing the dream coming true. See the results of the process completed and feel the rewards of letting the divine power of creativity express through you. See the appreciation and prosperity that you gain. This mindset of strong desire is the first avenue the bodyguard requests that you explore.
As promised, here are some specific ways you can use your creative bodyguard to protect your creative process and in fact stay in the process instead of procrastinating or putting projects, pursuits and new paths off until the year 2525 if man is still alive (I so just dated myself!).
You have just witnessed a thought process that has gone through The Bodyguard Car Wash. A process designed to rid your creative vehicle, the mind, of the grim, mud and sludge that keeps you from moving forward with sparkling success.
Explanation keyed to the stages above (see stages above then read corresponding number).
You could go through the instant Bodyguard Car Wash which looks like this:
Anyone who's ever faced a ruthless Inner Critic or the demons of procrastination and self-doubt knows it can be tough to be an artist. Good news for all of us mortals…the Nine Modern-Day Muses have assigned a bodyguard to protect each and every one of us from the evil forces that prevent the expression of creative magnificence. He's big, he's bad, and he has the power to demolish creative blocks with a single blow. He can help reframe your thoughts, anchor you to a place of strength, and help you give the Inner Critic the brush-off.
Q: What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
A: What mortals need the most protection from are their perceived fears. They don't understand that the voices inside their heads that create fears are not coming from a place of reality, trust or sometimes even sanity. These voices are rarely helpful. Mortals don't question this distorted thinking. If you're having these thoughts, push the bodyguard button to summon me. I can help you reframe thoughts so that they are empowering. Fears are just perception. One mortal's fear is another mortal's fuel. When they DO find something that protects their creative process, they often forget about it. It's frustrating…but then again, it keeps me employed.
Q: What is your favorite way to relax and spoil yourself a little when you're off-duty?
A: I watch action-thrillers. My recent favorite is Iron Man…looking forward to the sequel.
Q: What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
A: There are a number of rewarding aspects:
Q: Are some Muses more difficult to work with than others? Who is the Muse that challenges you the most? Does anyone ever try to give you the slip?
A: The Muses all work together fairly well. There have been occasions when I've had parties in the fortress and Audacity's Tarzan yodel has kept the neighbors up, but they seem to understand. Bea Silly frequently leaves grape juice stains on the white carpet because she shoots it through a straw at Lull when Lull is napping. Other than that, we all are here for a similar cause so we cooperate and give each other group massages.
Q: It's a well-known fact that many artists, writers, and musicians have a self-destructive bent. How do you protect such tortured souls from the harm they intend upon themselves? Is there anyone you simply can't help?
A: Good question. It depends on the definition of "tortured." If mortals are channeling their angst into their art, they are actually in a place of healing and universal connection — angst, pain, sorrow, anger, and frustration can stir creative fires. The Shadow Muse helps them with this. Paul Simon said: "My words trickle down from a wound I don't intend on healing," because his pain creates much of his brilliance.
In order to enlist my services, artists need to be willing to protect themselves. The best way to protect those who seem to think self-destruction is a badge of creativity is to hold up examples which defy this belief. Although drugs and alcohol have been associated with the creative process, only a few people have the physical make-up to use them reliably because of their genes. Churchill was one. Edgar Allan Poe, Ernest Hemingway, and Jackson Pollock used alcohol to their eventual demise.
Researcher Roger Yepsen says, "It might seem that if a little nip of alcohol helps, then a few more drinks would really open the floodgates of creative energy. But in fact, these effects are temporary, and more does not mean better. After an initial period of stimulation, the brain's cells become less active, and the brief alcohol/sugar energy boost is followed by the inevitable onset of fatigue."
For most mortals their talent is a gift that thrives on clarity most of the time. There is a connection between vibrant health and prolific creativity. More and more artists are discovering this, making the tortured souls look a little outdated.
Q: Even a tough guy has weaknesses — what are yours, and how do you combat them? How do you guard against your own weaknesses and failings and demons?
A: I am an archetype of strength. Weakness, failings, and demons are not in my nature. However, I do like to drive monster trucks on Sundays, and I also get a hankering for beef jerky when the doctor says I should be eating celery.
Q: Procrastination is one of my demons…any advice for those of us who love to put things off until the last minute?
A: Absolutely: Call on Marge for small steps, Bea Silly to make it fun, Albert to approach it differently, Aha-phrodite to ask questions that spur motivation, Muse Song to make it easier to get to, or Lull, when you need to refuel. I'll intervene with added determination and passion when you need to protect your confidence, your time, and your intentions
Q: What are your creative dreams, or current projects?
A: I'm tearing down walls in my neighborhood and putting up bridges. I'm also inventing an electrified barrier for those who interrupt creative people when they're in their creative process, and a quick little shock mechanism for people who say discouraging remarks.
My creative dream is to invent software for mortal brains so that the fears that stop them from engaging in their creative brilliance are replaced with strengths, confidence, and the ability to whistle in flute music.
Q: Who/what is your nemesis, your greatest enemy?
A: Rigid disbelievers so stuck in their story that they are not open to alternative ways of existing.
Q: Who among the other Muses inspires you most? Who's your biggest cheerleader?
A: I like it when they create a group cheer. There are nine of them so when they get in a line it's a perfect number to spell out BODYGUARD.
Q. Any last words of inspiration for the mortals reading this?
A: Yes, enlist the bodyguard in whatever way it works for you. It might be a quote, a statement, a song, an image of strength, or a movement. Protect your time, your ideas, and your will to engage. It's important to be true to your creative call. The most important riches of the world will be yours if you do.
©2001-2009 Jill Badonsky. All rights reserved.
Based on Jill Badonsky's The Nine Modern Day Muses (and a Bodyguard)
Arnold (The Bodyguard)
SUMMON THE BODYGUARD
Anytime you are feeling creatively discouraged or fearful.
When you need to be reminded that you have an inner strength that can overcome any odds.
To unleash your best defense: your arsenal of passion and desire for your creative dream.
The Bodyguard persona mobilizes fantasy and mirth to instantly call upon a tangible image of protection. An image of a bodyguard can be easier to employ than the abstract qualities of bravado, patience, or will. This energy empowers us not to give our power away to others. When our passion and commitment to the expression of our talents comes from a source inside that's unaffected by anything external, no wordily fear or discouragement will stop us from bringing them into fruition. We are always protected if we remember our connection to our creative source. We replace feelings of fear, discouragement, disregard, disillusionment, aNd frustration with peace and determination.
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
An Owner's Manual for Your Creativity
Dear Muse Column