THE PROPER COURTSHIP OF YOUR MUSES, PART 1
One of the primary reasons I work so hard to make it easy for everyone to listen to meditations on headphones is that I know that it helps with consistency. Inner work IS magic, but the magic needs you to show up. It needs to know that you are there and that you care. And the more you show up, the more it does too.
Let's let my favorite poet Mary Oliver explain this phenomenon - even describing it within the parameters of poetry she gets at the heart of this idea of courting your muses better than I can.
"If Romeo and Juliet had made appointments to meet, in the moonlight-swept orchard, in all the peril and sweetness of conspiracy, and then more often than now failed to meet - one or the other lagging, or afraid, or busy elsewhere - there would have been no romance, no passion, none of the drama for which we remember and celebrate them. Writing a poem is not so different - it is a kind of possible love affair between something like the heart (that courageous but also shy factory of emotion) and the learned skills of the conscious mind. They make appointments with each other but are casual and often fail to keep them: count on it, nothing happens.
The part of the psyche that works in concert with consciousness and supplies a necessary part of the poem - the heat of a star as opposed to the shape of a star, let us say - exists in a mysterious, unmapped zone: not unconscious, not subconscious, but cautious. It learns quickly what sort of courtship it is going to be. Say you promise to be at your desk in the evenings, from seven to nine. It waits, it watches. If you are reliably there, it begins to show itself - soon it begins to arrive when you do. But if you are only there sometimes and are frequently late or inattentive, it will appear fleetingly, or it will not appear at all.
Why should it? It can wait. It can stay silent a lifetime. Who knows anyway what it is, that wild, silky part of ourselves without which no poem can live? But we do know this: if it is going to enter into a passionate relationship and speak what is in its own portion of your mind, the other responsible and purposeful part of you had better be a Romeo."
- Mary Oliver, A Poetry Handbook
So be encouraged to show up, be the Romeo - close your eyes for at least a little time each day and see what you find. If you want to make a friend on the inside (like I talk about at length in the VIP episode (#6) of the podcast) there are many meditations on this site to help you; one of my favorites being this one...