Monday, April 12, 2010

Know your Muse

I found this amazing video from TED, a cool site collecting videos of talks on it looks like about everything-need to dig deeper- am always looking for entertainment to occupy my "other voices" while I am in the studio.
But this talk is by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the hugely popular book and soon to be released movie ,Eat Pray Love, about where the source of creativity comes from. I have to give credit to finding it to Writer Musings blog- though she has some disagreement with Ms. Gilberts belief in something outside herself being the source of her creativity. Watch the video and then read below for my take- for what it is worth and check out Writer Musing's blog as well and please throw in your two cents too.

So what did you think?
I think Ms. Gilbert is spot on- Artists throughout history have given credit where credit is due- to someting greater than themselves. Julie Cameron in her widely popular books- Artist's Way- talks about an Energy Source in the Universe that is just there to tap into.
I think, I know what that source is and at the end of the video Ms. Gilbert hit on it- God.
I have felt the transendence she talks about on numerous occasion- I have watched my hand move across a piece of paper and captured the lines of the model in front of me ( yes- Christain artist draw nude models) and wondered to myself how I was doing this- other days nothing magnificant comes from my hands- in fact sometimes I lack the ability to draw- go figure that one?
I have also had argument with God, like the write in the car Ms. Gilbert talked about- when He has tried to instruct me in really inconvinient times.
Once at a writers conference He would not leave me alone, so I went to the snack bar during lunch break and sat down and humored Him and read Hebrews- but then it was time for the next workshop, so I ignored Him and headed out to my next workshop, I had paid money to go to this conference- traveled hundreds of miles  and not to  sit and read my bible- well- twenty minutes later I sat in an empty room- the instructor never showing up, and all  the other writers finally giving up and heading out, and finished reading Hebrews. In all the time I have been going to conferences, I have never heard of a instructor just not showing up. Explain that?
He sent me up into the mountains another day of the conference I had paid good money for- and you know what I have the skeleton of an entire book etched out because of that "vision quest" or whatever you want to call it. Wilderness for me being Rocky Mountain National Park- when I was surround by hordes of other people and relatively close to the parking lot at all times and the snack bar.
Ms Gilbert did not get into this and I totally disagree with Julia Cameron about an energy source just there for us to tap into- God is a jealous god- he says so on many occasions- there is a spirtual realm we as artists tap into to- but there is also consequences- we are "for or against God"- I know a whole other discussion- but I'd just like to stay with the discussion of yielding to a source- a muse, a genius, a spirit, a daemon or God- without well....a proper interview of intent, bacground check and references. Just because there is a spirit- far more knowing and powerful then me that is offering to lead me- doesn't mean it is wise to listen to it... unless you know its intent.
I know God's intent- I know what he want of me- he has laid out all parts of our mutual Contract- His part way more heavy and  dangerous then my little part of completely surrendering to His will for me. He breathed this gift into me and all credit goes where it should - to Him and I am very very wise when I actually listen to Him and not so much when I don't.


  1. Is it OK if we agree in essence but not in details? I'm a Buddhist - which means I don't take refuge in a god. I take refuge in the three jewels - the Buddha (like Christ - a human example of engaged enlightenment), the Dharma (the teachings of the Buddha and those who have followed him) and the Sangha (the community of practioners)I believe that there is nothing separating me and all the parts of the universe so I do believe the universe reminds me from time to time to wake up - in whatever way that is needed for me to be a bodhisaatva. No difference really from what you are describing - just that you believe the voice to be external and I believe it to be both external and internal as there is neither in my belief system. Always good to talk about it!

  2. Jan- of course you can disagree with me, but I do think it is a HUGE difference in what we are saying.
    Question- How does a Buddhist see creation- who created us?

  3. Oh, just went back here as I've been on a bit of a blog retreat - not meaning to ignore your comment on my comment! Yes and I don't see a huge or any difference in what we're saying - that is hard to explain because it gets at the very root of the core difference - which is that I do not believe in 'this' or 'that' but one. I think you do too and perhaps I am wrong - I've been wrong lots and am getting used to it. ;) Buddhism regards creation as self-existing - that is a big topic of course. A way that I, a simple layperson, might say it is that we are unconcerned with where we came from or where we are going but more with what we are doing in this present moment to wake up. Existance is an illusion in ultimate sense but of course we live in the relative world! Liberation is possible through the understanding of the nature of suffering - attachment being the cause of all suffering. So, in the words of Jesus 'consider the lilies of the field' might be a helpful way to consider this. To answer your question - a Buddhist doesn't see a 'who' who created us or really even an 'us' that is created, only a oneness that is both empty and luminous. I hope this is helpful. In a way, it might be like me asking you how a Christian sees creation - who created the creator?