Obeying My Muse

Lately, inspiration has been coming to me big buckets rather than little drips. Rather than working to flesh out an inkling of an idea, I’ve been scrambling to get these whole complete finished concepts down on paper before they disappear. I feel a little like those people who’ve had near-death or other transcendental experiences who come back saying that for a moment they understood everything, how it all fit together – they still know it’s true, but they just can’t remember the details…

I am grateful. It could just as easily not be this way. I’ve gone through periods when my mind was a desert of new ideas. It’s hard to be patient with that – to keep showing up even when nothing else shows up to meet you. So I am grateful for all this flow. I take it as a sign that I am in right relationship with things…

But I’ve learned these bucket have small holes; that if I wait too long to drink, much of what was in a bucket will have leaked away. I don’t know why this is. I mean, if these are such great ideas, why can’t I recall the details later? So far, this hasn’t been the case – it’s been a flash of insight, a momentary illumination, take as much as you can see before the lights go out… [sorry for the mixed metaphor]

So I’ve been doing my best to obey my muse. To the greatest extent possible, I put everything on pause until I empty whatever bucket of goodness she has brought me. At first, this felt a little irresponsible, like I was playing a sort of hooky from work, until I learned about the leaks in the buckets. It is completely irksome to have lost good ideas to being “responsible,” to have given priority to minutiae – to realize you’ve rejected a gift you can’t get back. So I don’t do that anymore. My muse is my livelihood and ultimately my responsibility is to her – she will take good care of me if I take good care of her. And a big part of that is giving her my undivided attention when she has something to say.

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How do you obey your muse? How do you handle the inevitable ebb and flow of ideas?


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Third Hand Works

from overwhelmed to ready for anything | organization and time management for people in their "right" minds | administrative guidance for independent creative professionals [more info]



© 2008 Cairene MacDonald, Third Hand Works. All Rights Reserved.

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