It is an exceptionally clear, warm and gorgeous day at the park on the side of Haleakala. The ocean, glowing blue mystery, merges with the sky in the distance and holds the floating green/purple island of Lanai, and the striated majesty of the West Maui Mountains, draped in cumulus. I really do live in paradise.
I am in my little tent under the trees, having a daylong retreat. The tent is an open container for me, making fragile definition of that which defies boundaries. I am anchored here, pointed out into vast space. The vista is so swelling and magnificent I shut my eyes for relief from it, my perception overwhelmed.
Then I hear the singing of the meadow larks, and the rustling of wind in the invasive black wattle, rumble of some far-off construction equipment, the bark of a distant dog.
I smell the slight mustiness of the tent, carelessly bundled away by the kids on their last camping trip, and the faint sweetness of the wattle bloom. Not much else as my nose has never been acute and even now, I have allergies.
The afternoon clouds are beginning to gather, and cool wind, the same wind that gyrates and swirls the paragliders in bright magic above me, reaches in and touches my cheek, soft and kind. I feel restfulness creeping over me, the need to sleep that usually comes over me first thing when I arrive, as if slipping the bonds of my life were so exhausting that the first thing I can do when I am free is fall asleep- and wake up, my true self.
I saw her the other day. She was young, slim and beautiful, wearing a bright swirly dress, waving to me from the round mirror I glimpsed her in. I cried when I saw her, tears rolling down the frozen expanse of my cheeks. I’d missed her, that happy, brave dancing girl with nothing but freckles on her creamy skin and hair like a gold coin.
Coming here brings her back for awhile, and I need her to stay and play. She’s my muse, my creative self, and while she doesn’t mind being disciplined and on a schedule, she likes it best when I make time for her, feed her with beauty, nurture her with praise, and present her with the occasional rose.
What do you do to nurture your inner self and get him or her to come out and create with you?
Well, given that I have no vista like *that* to use (nor such a poetic way of describing it), I trend toward music. Different playlists for different manuscripts, and I can usually get in the zone. When my husband needs a break from work, we go up to the Tennessee mountains and rent a cabin (with all the amenities). I can sit on the porch there and watch the tree-topped mountains and find peace. Sometimes my muse appears then. My last trick is the shower. It’s a horrid waste of water, but there’s something about hot, running water that stimulates the creative side. 😀
It’s so good to get to know her and to know she can be courted into writing, painting and creating. I will have to try the shower, I’ve been too water-conscious to do that. Hm…
Noelle’s right. Hot showers are the best, though for me they have to be in context, as in, “I’m tired. I’m going to take a shower & sleep.” Then the ideas start to come!
My muse and I have a dysfunctional relationship. There are many love songs written about her, such as U2’s “Sweetest Thing”–“My love she throws me like a rubber ball; But she won’t catch me or break my fall…” 😉
The Sweetest Thing- I love that song. You have a naughty muse with a mischievous streak!
I have a very big problem taking time for myself so I have to grab at the muse when ever I hear an interesting story while talking to friends, whenever I’m out digging in the garden ideas seem to flood my head and while walking the dog through the neighborhood my imagination starts to grind.
I have plenty of inspiration but it’s the ability to allow myself that time to create that has been my nemesis.
Karen, your blog is wonderful and it’s so worth it for you to continue to grow as a writer and creative person. Keep grabbing the time when it comes to you.
Thank you Toby.
Just happened upon this post as I was browsing through. It slammed me into a bit of a brick wall.
I read your description of your true self and for a while I was flummoxed until I realised – my true self has always been a dumpy, bespectacled, middle-aged sort of pompus type. What do I do to nurture my inner self? I’m not sure she needs nurturing – more reigning in if anything.
I am enjoying this blog a lot. I haven’t been here for a while. I hope I remember to pop in more often now.
wonderful and your description of your true self made me smile. Stop by more often!
Do I have a muse? I’m not sure. Something sneaks into my brain at 3am and asks me questions I can’t answer. And you know what? Sometimes she’s wrong. She’s the eternal editor. Maybe my muse is the other one, who has the young me put on another personality and go have adventures. I’m not sure. But I am sure it’s not that old tart I see in the mirror.
Lovely, dreamy post, by the way, Toby. Beautifully written.
Great, you are great! Thanks so much for the comment and for listening to those questions. THe young me… as I wish I had been when I was young!