"I want the one rapture of an inspiration."
—Gerard Manly Hopkins

Hi and welcome to a new column at Artella. It's the Dear Muse column . . . a column where you can write in and get advice, suggestions and random musings to help you better maneuver the mystery of your creative magnificence. In the interest of expanding your understanding, mastery and joy of the creative process, the nine modern day Muses (and a Bodyguard) will be equipping you with wisdom, tools, perspectives, and inspiration to mobilize your elsewhere of possibilities, to defy your frustrating creative blocks and surpass your own expectations as to what you can creatively accomplish and how. Creativity has no ceiling . . . as you involve yourself more in it doors fly open and life's joy becomes ever-new.

The Nine Modern Day Muses (and a Bodyguard) Primer to catch you up: In the book by the same name I updated the nine Greek Muses because they had been laid off in a downsizing that happened on Mount Olympus. They became ineffective because they were unable to reach the modern mortal due to the amount of distractions, rationalizations, avoidant strategies and addictions to TV that we now experience. So nine new more savvy muses materialized better able to help move us through those things that make us cranky because we are not getting to our creative passions.

Here are the new muses and some of their mottos:

Aha-phrodite, the Muse of Paying Attention and Possibilities:
"Pay attention . . . ideas happen everyday but you must see and listen."

Albert, The Muse of Imagination and Innovation:
"Break the rules, think something different, see from another perspective."

Bea Silly, the Muse of Play, Laughter and Dance:
"Lighten up, have fun, dance with it, play with it, be free and do it despite your rigid inner critic."

Muse Song, The Muse of Nurturing, Encouragement and Good Company:
"Treat yourself like the special instrument of creativity that you are, hang around people who lift you higher, see the relationship of
pampering to productivity."

Spills, The Muse of Practice, Process and Imperfection:
"Give yourself permission to make mistakes, to be imperfect. Practice
will make you excellent and embrace the discovery with which the process is filled."

Audacity, The Muse of Courage and Uninhibited Uniqueness:
"Be true to yourself, don't worry what others think, mobilize courage and remember, if everyone likes what you're doing . . . you haven't gone far enough."

Lull, The Muse of Pause, Diversion and Gratitude:
"Take a break once in awhile, create a space to invite new inspiration, divert your attention with things that inspire you, be inspired by how much there is to be grateful."

Shadow Muse, The Muse of Gifts of the Dark Side:
"Embrace, rather than abandon, the dark side of your personality. Let
anger, sadness, unlikable qualities, and your quirks be channeled into creative expression for compassion, healing, process and connecting with others."

Marge: The Muse of Okay-Now-Let's-Get-Started:
"Just get started, the inspiration will come . . . I have some easy ways to
help you overcome overwhelm and defy procrastination."

The Bodyguard:
Is here to strengthen your conviction and protect you against detractors. "Access your strength, your creativity is vital and needs expression, let nothing stop you."


Dear Muses,

I have these callings, inspirations, ideas, creative yearnings, you know . . . That stuff and it seems I can never find the time to get to them. I'm busy with all the responsibilities in life. But the callings continually tell me there is something creative I need to be doing. What's a mortal to do?

Answers from all the muses . . .

Aha-phrodite, The Muse of Paying Attention and Possibilities:
Not finding the time for creativity translates to me as "I'm not finding the time to do one of the things I'm truly here to do." As you pay attention to the inspirations, pay attention to what part of your being they come from . . . It's a pure, and spiritual side. As you follow
these nudges you are following a path paved in possibility for everything you are as a mortal. Pay attention to when you are most creative. When you are driving, showering, walking and cleaning pay attention at the same time to your ideas. All of a sudden they will start to become irresistible and you will FIND the time to get to them.

Albert, The Muse of Imagination and Innovation (German accent):
You must zink differently about your time. Zink dat it is your creative verk zat will make all other verk more dazzling. Zink about the time you are driving and other routine activities as times to gather ideas and develop them a little more before you even have to sit down. Sometimes Jill thinks about ideas so much while doing other things that she can't vait to begin and she simply must make the time so she does. This is priming motivation and motivation in the creative process is exhilarating. Za heartbeats loudly and joyously it also helps to envision the finished product . . . Dis again primes motivation and you will find it easier to find the time when ze exhilaration sets you on fire.

Bea Silly, The Muse of Play, Humor and Dance:
Framing your passion as play vs. work will mobilize you to make time for it. Instead of saying I should do my creative work . . . say I GET TO do my creative work and notice the difference. Play and make it fun. Send yourself an e-card invitation to invite your child self to play at your creative passion. State time and day and show up with your best kid clothes on. Repeat after me . . . "It may not seem like I have enough time to do my stuff . . . but I'm going to do it anyway,
so there."

Muse Song, The Muse of Encouragement and Good Company:
If you beat yourself up, you're less likely to even attempt to find the
time again. Just delicately say "ooops, missed that time .. But there's more time ahead I haven't even used yet."

Spills, The Muse of Practice, Process and Imperfection:
Embrace the process and it's potential for serendipity. Take away the pressure of being perfect. Sometimes not finding the time is an avoidance strategy for not being able to deal with the overwhelm or fears involved with creativity. Inadequacy is one of those fears. Giving yourself permission to make mistakes is getting around the fear.

Lull, The Muse of Pause, Diversion and Gratitude:
Lull was on a break . . . A postcard she sent said "There's time you
haven't even used yet. Use wisely"

Marge, The Muse of Okay-Now-Let's-Get-Started:
Well okeedokee, it only takes 30 second to 15 minutes a day, ya know. You can find the time for that, can't cha? Use the time to set up your space at first, use the time to gather ideas and momentum, make itsy bitsy small steps. Use the time to simply hold the intention of your idea for a while. Just a page, just a scribble, just a footprint . . . Don't overwhelm yourself with high expectations . . . Just set yourself in motion. Once you establish a habit, it will feel funny not doing your creative pursuit. Take a class, that helps structure time. Get a coach . . . by the way Jill is a creativity coach.

Signed the Muses . . . Give us another challenge.

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