There have been a number of times in my life when I have been super productive, creative and just overflowing with energy, ideas and passion. I’m not just talking about being motivated, that general state of getting things done and celebrating a completed to-do list.
No, I’m talking about waking up in the middle of the night to write poetry, drawing visual masterpieces on every scrap of paper you can find and skipping everywhere because you just can’t wait to get there.
There are some funny reactions to finding a muse, and if I caught a glimpse of myself at any of those times, I probably would have checked myself for excessive medication or minor brain trauma.
But that’s what a muse does to you. It removes any blockages you may have restricting the flow of your creative energies into their desired forms. For me, my writing went from dredging out unremarkable blog posts to an endless river of poetry and prose that, in reading back over, even moved me… and I wrote it!
Then one day, my muse had gone. I sat down immediately to write, as if to squeeze the last drops of inspiration from my imagination, but even before I had finished the first line, I knew the magic had vanished. As quickly as it had arrived it left, leaving an emptiness echoing inside. I went back to meaningless tapping on the keyboard in front of me.
A few technical issues later and almost every drop of proof that my muse had ever existed were digitally wiped out. I couldn’t even read the ideas my muse had inspired. The emptiness seemed to spread, and even the echoes went silent.
I don’t know who said that it’s better to have loved and lost than to never have loved before, but that person clearly wasn’t the creative type. Your PM (post muse) work just seems poor, no matter what you compare it to. At least your AM work (avant muse) seemed ok because you didn’t know what you were really capable of. You may have only peeked inside Pandora’s box, but that single glimpse eternally changed your perspective of possibility. Now, unless your work reaches that level, you seem doomed to disappointment.
Since then, I have spent a lot of time seeking another muse. I’ve looked in different places; women, sport, drugs, exercise, money, but none have ever really come close to those moments of true clarity. I resigned myself to average, hoping that occasional sparks of inspiration would raise me just above the bar of mediocrity.
That is until I started writing this post.
This post started like so many of the others. Think of a title and start tapping away whilst on the train or in the back of a cab. However, from the moment the very first character appeared on the screen, I felt this was going to be different. I felt my muse was back.
But how? Was it because I was heading to the airport? Well I had been to the airport so many times and none of those visits had got me feeling this way. Was it a woman? I was single and enjoying it that way so that wasn’t the case. I also hadn’t worked out in a month because of injury so it couldn’t be that either. And I definitely wasn’t under the influence of anything.
Perhaps it was just a moment of awakening rather than the presence of a muse again? But that wasn’t the case either. As I continued writing the next day the same feeling flowed through me, as if the right word was waiting there for me to type. I felt myself wishing I could type faster to get it all out!
My thoughts came round to pondering the concept of a muse. What was it that a muse did that allowed me to previously create such results? As I thought back, the following things came into my mind.
- I was in the moment. I wanted to experience every single second of my life. I saw beauty in everything around me. Time simultaneously went slowly and raced along, as if people around me were moving much faster, the way a tourist feels on the streets of NYC. I wasn’t waiting for anything else to happen, I was happy in the now.
- I didn’t care about anything else. Other people’s opinions ceased to matter. People watching me in that moment might have commented to each other at the social faux pas that I was committing, but even if I did notice, I didn’t give a fuck. Even though I had awareness of everything, my blinkers focused me into the only thing that mattered in that moment.
- I could only see a positive future. My muse allowed me to know everything was going to work out just fine. Sure there would be challenges but together we would be able to get through anything. The future seemed a perfect balance of rich and simple, surrounded only by the most important of life’s possessions.
I started to brainstorm all of the different things I could have in my life that would give me that same feeling. Who or what would be able to instil in me those same sensations that my muse had so effortlessly accomplished? I had been here before, looking outside for an answer that had never come. I started to feel the all too familiar frustration creeping over the horizon.
Then it came to me, like a whisper that had been echoing around my head for eternity. What if the answer wasn’t outside of me, but inside of me instead? What if all those self help books talking about looking inside had some relevance to this question too? What was happening inside of me that made my muse so effective?
I realised I could reproduce each of the elements that the muse offered me simply by believing in myself and enjoying the journey (two of the hardest lessons I have had to learn in my life). When I was truly present and my self confidence was at its highest, I was more than capable of creating such results over and over again.
My muse was nothing more than a Moment of Unlimited Self Esteem, a feeling that came from within but which I thought had originated externally. It was my self confidence that had inspired my creativity. It was my passion and belief that had caused the words the flow onto the screen. There may have been an external catalyst but the fire had been burning inside of me that whole time.
Knowing that, I now know what to do to recreate for myself the power of a muse. Self esteem holds the keys to creativity, of the positive variety at least, so do whatever you can to boost this within yourself. There is nothing wrong with finding a must for yourself, just remember this isn’t the only source of inspiration you have available.