Exercise #1 of Stage Six of the Creativity Journey – Rest and Listen
The best description of what it’s like to be inspired by the Muse was in Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic. She relays the story of a poet who described receiving inspiration as if on a wind and of having to race back to the house for a pencil and paper to capture the poem before the wind blew on and took the poem with it. When I heard the voice of the Muse for the first time, it was similar though not nearly so dramatic. There was no wind and I didn’t have to get out of my chair.
I was sitting quietly at my sewing machine one day, mulling over life and the cares of the world. It was a few days after the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida and that was on my mind. I was thinking about answering the call for blocks or quilts to comfort the victims’ families when I heard a voice in my mind say, “No, you need to make a quilt for the victims instead.” The voice was not thunderously loud like the Voice of God or anything. There were no trumpets or burning bushes. But the voice I heard was not my voice and I did actually turn around just to peek and see if I was alone. I was, which made me wonder if I might just be losing my mind. I decided to just roll with it and see what happened, but I am embarrassed to admit that I argued with the voice because making a quilt for victims of mass shootings was not a project I really wanted to take on. (Now I was really wondering about my sanity since I was having an argument within my own head.) In the end, the Muse won the argument, as I am sure she often does, and I began making memorial quilts for the victims of mass shootings in the U.S. It was this project that opened the flood gates of my creativity; work began pouring out of me that I didn’t plan for and didn’t anticipate. I started making art that surprised even me and that was thrilling.
At this stage in your journey, the Muse may be ready to speak to you as well. Most likely, she will come to you when you least expect it as she did to me when I as just minding my own business quilting or as she did for the poet in Gilbert’s book who was out in the garden. Still, close your eyes and listen now. Sit silently for a while. Can you hear the voice of the Muse? What is she saying to you? If you don’t yet hear her voice, be patient. Now that she knows you’re listening, she will speak to you.
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