“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” —
Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets J.K. Rowlings
What is a creative muse? Dictionaries define the word muse in different ways – either as a verb, a noun, or as a proper noun.
- Verb – to muse; to ponder; to think deeply and at great length; to meditate.
- A proper noun – In Greek mythology any one of the nine goddesses who were the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne — Calliope, Clio, Euterpe, Melpomene, Terpsichore, Erato, Polyhymnia, Urania, and Thalia. They were each given providence over various aspects of the arts and sciences and thought to favor and inspire selected humans.
- A noun – The spirit or power that is thought to inspire or watch over poets, musicians, artists, or scientists; the source of one’s genius or inspiration.
Potentially, each of us has sources of genius or inspiration. The tricks are first finding them and then honoring them. Some of us have found our well-springs or touchstones — places, activities, rituals, people, or things — which in some way support the attainment of inner peace, joy, creativity, or well-being. The secret here is in maintaining these sources.
These elements, these sources, are our muses. They may be living or nonliving. They may be pursuits or activities, active or reflective, but they are important to us because they have the potential to heal, inspire, motivate, uplift, and reveal. In our fast paced world, these things often become islands of solace and they become a very necessary part of our inner growth and the evolution of humans as a species.
We may have stumbled upon our muses accidentally, or through intentional or very deliberate processes, or simply by processing what we like and don’t like to do, or through the natural process of maturation. Many of us find sources of inspiration and solace through great searching and dogged determination, or even through experiencing personal tragedy. Our journeys toward places of inner knowledge are often as important as the fact that we do eventually arrive. And once we do arrive, what is also important is that there be a continuance with which we return to our muses and experience the inspiration, joy, peace, and creativity that they offer. It is the frequency with which we return to our sources, as well as the caliber of these experiences, that become important to the quality of joyful, productive, and happy lives.
I believe that searching for ones muses is part of ones life script. I also think that it is a form of modern questing. In this adventure, I do not pretend to have any definitive answers, magic formulas or award-winning cookbooks. I am simply a fellow traveler who is also looking, but who is willing to share parts of my discoveries and tales of my travels.
Thus, the focus of this portion of my creativity pages and related discussions are not only on caring for the “muse,” but looking for her. In this context this portion of my site is simply a discussion and brief participatory investigation into some of the resources and techniques that are available to help nurture both our inner and outer beings. The suggestions offered during this electronic dialogue are but samples of things that I have found that have worked for me or for others. Ultimately, each participant will have to create their own personalized concoction, formulate their own sequences, and develop their special forms of inner self-knowledge.
In essence, it is time to search for, discover and make friends with your muse. Best wishes to you on your journey. And please, remember to share what you find with others.
Looking for your muse:
Like others before me, the things that I find about creativity are:
1. It is essential for a balanced, full life.
2. It is enjoyable, exhilarating, and fun.
3. It needs to be honored and nurtured on a regular basis.
4. Without constant vigilance, it can be easily ignored, impaired or impeded. Leslie
In today’s bizarre political climate the word “integrity” has been bantered about quite a lot lately. This term simply means “to become integral.” This is an important quest because humans are complex beings and combinations of many different facets. Unless we attempt to meld these facets into some sort of cohesive whole, we will remain fragmented, disjointed, and incongruent. We will be without knowledge of our true centers, and in essence we will be without personal creative integrity.
In order to accomplish being integral and becoming more whole and fully integrated, we need to carefully examine what we hold most dear, and name those things we value above all others. In naming and defining these precious things we need to be truthful — for these are our muses, our sources of inspiration and renewal.
Why is this process important?
First, the process of honest self-examination is a way toward health at different levels, and it will readily help identify what motivates and inspires us. Also, personal reflection may help begin the revealing of the thing(s) that nurtures and inspires your muse (personal creativity). As humans, forms of inspiration seem vital to our happiness and important to sustaining a healthy emotional existence.
Next, the processes involved in defining the self forms a bond that gives each of us a special and unique persona. Acts of self-definition, active and deep reflection, and periodic sessions of intense inner self-examination, these keep us centered, balanced, and insightful. These kinds of processes aid us in developing acute awareness of who and what we are, of why we are here, and ultimately, in helping to define that which directs our lives and helps us find bliss.
The following questions are designed to help you in finding, maintaining, and caring for your muse(s). But none of the exercises, books, techniques in the world will help or work unless you honestly examine what makes you tick. Please note there are no right or wrong answers — there are only your answers.
So, take a moment, sit down and think about your life. It may help to answer the following questions. You may find that your answers are about much the same things or are very similar in theme or nature. Some of you may not like your answers. Remember, muses are not always attractive, socially acceptable, moral, or lovable. (Some common answers might be: power, wealth, position, children, home, family, professional expertise, respect, love, physical pleasure, amassing material goods, physical thrills, security, social harmony, food, and so forth.)
Self-assessment Questions: Try to be very honest with yourself!
1. What moves you — physically, spiritually, and emotionally?
2. What is really important to you?
3. What things do you cherish or revere?
4. On what aspects of your life are you unwilling to compromise?
5. What purposes define your life?
6. What makes you feel vital and alive?
7. What inspires you?
8. What drives you?
9. What enthuses and excites you?
10. What provokes you?
11. What lifts you out of yourself?
12. What things help you define and focus on certain goals?
Refining your answers:
Now go back and look at this list of questions and your answers again. How many of the things listed are things that you have defined for yourself? How many were simply things that have been defined by others for you? After you have answered those two questions, you may wish to give other answers to the questions above concentrating on giving your own answers.
This exercise should help you identify your muse(s). Remember, being integral implies that you need to be true to these values. One of the unfortunate ramifications of letting others distract you from your sources of inspiration means you may become uninspired and/or unfulfilled. If you find that you didn’t like what you discovered about your muses, then you have some serious inner work to do.
*Now you have had help finding your muse, check out how to care for it with Caring for your muse
Books that might help you sustain your creative muse:
Michael Gelb’s (2014) Creativity On Demand: How to Ignite and Sustain the Fire of Genius
Other areas of exploration
*What is it like to be obsessed with a creative project? Explore the thought process of a creative mind. Consumption by Inspiration
Original materials on this site are copyrighted to Leslie Owen Wilson – E-mail