The queen of creativity. The master of inspiration. The breath of life within the soul of an artist.
At the end of a full day of homemaking, and holding, and breastfeeding, and laughing, and playing, and cooking, and cleaning, and attending to meltdowns, and loving like there’s no tomorrow, and forgetting to smile, and turning my head so they won’t see me cry, and running around like a maniac, and organizing, and failing, and feeling time slipping away… And after the longest most stretched out bedtime in the universe (with the yummiest most delicious cuddles a mama could have), I sit down to write. I make a coffee. Yes, it’s after 8pm. I need it. I sage the space. I chant a mantra or two as I light the candles. I put essential oils in the diffuser. I dedicate my writing to whoever needs to hear the message that moves through me. I begin. It flows. I’m grateful for that. My baby wakes up a couple of times during my writing time. I nurse him back to sleep. And I keep on writing. And it still flows. Muse has been merciful with me…
Then all of a sudden, she turns.
She doesn’t do schedules.
I have a few writing projects in the making. Exciting. Overflowing. Inspiration. Dedication. No deadline. Just this beautiful, organic, muse filled process. Fluid. Bubbly. Ideas streaming through me abundantly. Until a couple of weeks ago… I decide to give myself a little structure, and to make a commitment. I am going to write a weekly blog. Really good idea. Muse is on my side. I will publish a piece every Tuesday. Piece of pie.
You try to catch her and you can’t. You try to put her into your organized boxes of time, and she will bail. You try to make plans with her and she flakes. She doesn’t do structure. She likes to roam freely. She comes and goes as she pleases. She is in charge. Not you.
So there I was, here I’ve been, and here I am… Mr hot almond milk latte by my side. Long, luxurious sips of creamy caffeinated perfection. Candles lit. Pure essential oils in my diffuser. Energy all cleared by the power of both the lord of Sage and the lady of Palo Santo. Let’s do this!
You can call on her. You can invite her. You can entice her. You can create space for her. But ultimately, she will come when she does.
I guess a blog every Tuesday is not her thing.
She will show up when you’re not watching. She will seduce you away from what you’re doing. If you don’t follow her she will be pissed. If you do you will be kissed. She will tickle you like a feather, or shake your ground like a serious earthquake. She will land on you. And she will give you wings.
You can try to limit her to a certain time. But she will resist. You can try to bring her out to play at a certain place. But she might not show up there. Instead, she will wait for you in the middle of the night, in a dark corner. Startle you. Send shivers up and down your spine. Make crazy love to you. And in the morning you won’t know if she was for realz, or just a dream.
Muse needs her freedom.
Free from the schedule.
Schedules suffocates her. A tiger in a cage. A wild bird in captivity. She is gasping for air.
The schedule fucking kills my soul.
Some parents dread Summer break. Maybe I’ll totally get it one day. Maybe next week I’ll be all: Dang! How ‘bout them Summer Camps?!
But school’s out for Summer, and it tastes like freedom.
Free from having to do an early bedtime. From having to be home by 4pm, so we can eat at 5:30pm so we do the whole evening routine and turn the lights off by 7:30pm sharp.
Everything about being so tied to a schedule feels sharp. Except sometimes it feels really dull. Like someone took the breath of life out of my life.
Free from rushing a five year old every morning, as I try to get her out the door on time. “Brush your teeth already, my love.” “Come on sweetie, put on your pants a little faster, ok? I don’t want you to be late for school.” “I know you have a lot to tell me. I love hearing it. Can you please put your shoes on while you’re talking?”
Free to stay out longer if we feel like it. We’re having fun, goddammit!
Free from the bedtime colonel that lives inside of me, barking orders, and seeing only one goal – BED. TIME. Seriously! Sometimes I fell like I’m a machine – invented in order to get these two creatures bathed and fed and put to bed. On time!!! If it’s a bit later all my lights begin to blink. I make noisy beeping sounds, accompanied by a robotic voice repeatedly saying: Mission. Failed. Mission. Failed. Mission. Failed…
Free to give them more freedom.
Children need schedules. Consistency. A rhythm that they can rely on. But it breaks my heart to push them into these tight boundaries, and to close in on them with limitations made by time.
My five year old is a unicorn. She lives in fairy time. She does things at her own special pace. She doesn’t quite fit into the boxes of this world and its constraints of time.
We live in a world that focuses so much on achievement. We need to get a lot done all the time. And we never have enough time. We become addicted to productivity. And we keep having to check things off of lists. We have places to go. And we don’t have the luxury of time.
Then we look for something to help us cope with the endlessly demanding schedule.
We come to yoga or meditation only to find yet another avenue through which we go in order to get somewhere else… A balanced life. A balanced handstand. A great butt. A calmer state of mind. Freedom…
In its most commonly known role, yoga is a path to liberation. This destination, in most traditions, is approached by intense discipline.
Focus. Determination. Commitment.
Freedom is at the core of it all. More often than not, freedom is the goal. Another item on our list of things to achieve. Another thing we fit into our tightly organized schedule…
6:15am – Meditate.
Everything is stuffed into tightly squeezed time boxes. Getting shit done.
11pm – Do yoga.
And then we feel shitty if we miss a practice.
We are in her room. Baby brother and big sister are laughing together. They are developing their own language. Inner jokes in the making. The window is open and there’s a nice breeze. It’s later than our usual bedtime. Much later. I don’t care! It’s Summer time! The toys are put away. It’s not too tidy. Just organized enough, with a touch of carelessness. Their skin is soft. Their hair is silky. My heart is full. The shelves overflow with stuffed animals. A basket filled with origami paper creations from the school year. A bowl full of rocks. A basket full of pine cones. A vase full of tall, long sticks. And a collection of unicorns. So many unicorns. Fluffy ones. Paper ones. Wooden. Plastic. There’s a light blue, sparkly unicorn that my sister gave her. Her favorite. It’s time to call it a night. Teeth are brushed. Stories are told. The sparkly light blue unicorn smiles at me. “Go write, mama.” It whispers. I cuddle the babes. I fight my own urge to fall asleep. I can feel the sparkly blue unicorn breathing in the room.
I hear the breath of my children transitioning from awake to asleep.
I am free to go write.
Will muse come?
The freedom to move as we wish through the day, to follow my children’s muse, to be a little carefree, has brought us to a late night. Again. The new pattern of trying to not have a pattern is patterning. I am deeply enjoying my time with them. And I have very little time left for my own work.
I make a coffee. I light the candles. I sage the space. I diffuse some oil. I chant a mantra.
Will she grace me with her presence?
I sit on the floor in the living room.
Trying not to fall asleep.
It is Tuesday. And I’ve been trying to write this blog for a week and a day.
I hear galloping sounds coming from my daughter’s room.
Blue sparkles fly across the hallway and into the living room.
My eyes are getting heavy.
“Structure.” I hear a whisper. “I need structure, so that you can capture me!”
I didn’t schedule enough time for her to move my fingers on the keyboard.
Muse needs her freedom so that she can sprinkle you with creative power and inspiration in spontaneous outbursts of authenticity. And freedom… Freedom needs boundaries – the constraints of time and place.
Without them nothing exists.