August 13, 2009 – St. Benedict’s Monastery
Wowza! Summer has arrived in our region this week, at long last, and it’s a sauna out there. Thankfully, we discovered the reason my air-conditioning hadn’t been working a few days back. It was a case of operator ineptness. Oh yeah, just as I assumed might be the problem, I’d turned a dial wrong and messed it all up. But it’s been going now for 24 hours and all is well…at least on the inside.
I am at an exhilarating point in my week, though, so temperature is not an obstacle. I feel like dancing! Instead, I’m going to sneak away to the mall. Though I’m not much of a shopper, the chance to shop child-free is very appealing just now, and there are a few things I actually need. So off I’ll go soon. Dinnertime, I’ll meet up with my friend, Mary, for Italian — the same place we went to last year. Though I’ve absolutely loved the meals here, I know that our time at Ciatti’s will be a lovely treat. The company guarantees it.
Before I present the final in the bouquet of flowers to you, then lilt away for the afternoon, I wanted to share some thoughts I’ve had in recent days about the presence of the muse.
It never fails to amaze me how the muse works. The muse, of course, is not really another entity at all, but that part of us that, if we are astute enough to know how to free it, will give us all that we need in our creative endeavors. Of course, freeing the muse can be a complex operation. There are many doors to walk through, and oftentimes, we become distracted along the way. The halls toward our muse are often cluttered with other things. Some of these things are a priority. We simply cannot walk by without taking time to straighten them out. Other times, less necessary obstacles present themselves, and we allow ourselves to get hung up on them. Our muse fades into the background, out of reach. Mostly, though, we are simply trying to live our lives the best we know how, and the hall toward our muse seems to lengthen even as we near it, like in a nightmare when we are trying to reach something but we cannot quite get there.
This is why a retreat such as the one I’ve been blessed to be on is so valuable. In a place like this, the muse is not in some far-off place. We open the door to a quiet hall and find the muse sitting at the ready. And what a reunion! How we’ve missed one another. And how easy it seems, in an environment like this, to discover one another again. All the conditions are right — everything has been set up perfectly. The doors to our muse have been flung wide open and all we have to do is walk in and join forces.
The trick about the muse, however, is that, by its nature, it is a fleeting character. That is how it was designed to be. And so we must somehow reconcile with the fact that our relationship will wax and wane. Sometimes, the time will be right for a lengthy visit. Other times, we’ll have to be satisfied with quick conversations, much like the relationships we have with our faraway friends we see only every once in a while.
But when it is, at last, time to dance with the muse once again, to leap through words and thoughts and dreams together, that is a time to celebrate, to immerse ourselves in the a-musing synchronicity of it all, and know that while it will not always be this easy to visit our fair friend, our muse has always been, and always will be, here for us when the time is right.
Do you sense your muse? How would you describe this muse, and when have you felt your muse most vibrantly? What things do you do to lay the foundation for productive visits with your muse?