Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Make a Path for the Muse: Clear the Chaos

Life Takes Time 
Clearing the Chaos and
Making a Path for the Muse

A sense of order invites creativity into my life.
Discouraged was the description of my mindset as I began writing today at 10:08 a.m.
“I have been awake four hours. I haven’t wasted time on social media. I limited myself to a two-minute peek. I haven’t written or read endless e-mails. I haven’t cruised my favorite news sites, well, maybe only one or two. Now the jangling cursor awaits my words. And I have them, waiting to spill onto the document.
The four-hour interlude between the time I woke and the time I sat down to write spawned my discouragement. I decided to put aside my “to-do” list and scan my “done” list. Wrote in journal, fed and walked dogs almost two miles, practiced yoga, fed cats, cleaned two bathrooms, prepared and ate breakfast, read the newspaper, cleaned kitchen, emptied cat litter, watered plants in front yard, showered, dressed, started laundry. I didn’t rush through the “done” items, but nor did I poke along.
As I pondered the annoying jumping cursor, I studied my feeling of lack of accomplishment. I had those feelings because I considered my priorities skewed (they weren't). Shouldn’t what I love—writing and gardening—take precedence over the daily chores and obligations? Perhaps, but I recalled that in The War of Art, Steven Pressfield says that a professional must get rid of disorder and mess so “the Muse may enter and not soil her gown.”
Any chaos around me distracts me. I can’t work in mess. Any dirt or disorder calls out, “Nanny, nanny boo-boo” when I’m trying to do my work. I am affected by my environment. Tending to that environment frees me for creative time because I have silenced the chastising chant of the undone.

A clean kitchen means it's fine to invite the Muse for tea.
This morning, although frustrated by my lack of creative accomplishment, I recalled that everything I did is part of my life, part of what keeps my personal machine well oiled. It’s life, and I said aloud: “Life takes time.” Four hours of "life" free the remaining hours for creativity, for my real work.
Better yet, when the muse steps on the walkway to my door, she won’t say “Goodness! These flowers need a drink; they’re so wilted. Maybe I'll come back later after you’ve watered them.” Instead, I can invite her inside and I won’t be embarrassed if she needs to visit the powder room. The odor of cat litter will not soil her delicate senses. I will be wearing clean clothes, and I will greet her with a sense of calm and well-being because I walked and did yoga. I can serve her tea in a clean kitchen. And then, we can sit down together and get our real work done.
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What daily routines free you for creativity? Does chaos or disorder distract you? What works to balance your "life" with your calling?

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