"You have to show the muse you're serious."
-Steven Pressfield, The War of Art
Because I learn best through auditory means, I love listening to podcasts and interviews with prominent figures who are changing the world by expressing their thoughts and engaging in action. One of my favorite podcasts is On Being with Krista Tippet, where she explores the ideas of faith and human life by exploring everything from new science to ancient traditions.
Recently, Krista interviewed singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash, daughter of Johnny Cash, who shared a love of language and quantum mechanics as a means to uncover new sources of creativity and ways to think about the Divine. During their chat, Rosanne shares the above quote from her friend Steven Pressfield, who wrote The War of Art, in which he writes, "You have to show the muse you're serious."
And suddenly, it hit me, that I am not showing my muse that I'm serious. In fact, I quit my job as a Director of Marketing a few months ago expressly to commit to writing my memoir. Shortly before that, I met a New York editor during a press trip. She had recently published a compilation of essays from notable female writers, was interviewed on The Today Show and more, and when I shared with her what my memoir would be able, she was intrigued. By the time she returned to New York, she had mentioned my idea to numerous renowned editors who were all ready to read my manuscript. It was an opportunity that I could not turn down. So, I quit.
Yet, what's happened in that time? I've moved towards all the other things I also love to do: teach yoga, practice Reiki, develop a Karma Yoga program, explore the world as a travel writer, be active outdoors, share delicious meals with heart friends, and the list grows.
What have I not done in that time? Write, write, write my memoir. Interestingly, I've also developed a fairly hearty pain in my backside. It's a dull ache that sometimes calls even louder for my attention, to the point that I've sought bodywork and acupuncture in an attempt to heal it. Because I've been reading Ken Dychtwald's book, BodyMind, I'm aware of the psychosomatic element to pain and how our bodies store much more information that we often give it credit for.
Yesterday morning, I gave myself a bit of Reiki love before getting out of bed. I quieted my mind and began to brew wonderful "everythings" for the day ahead. As I began to think about my book and how I wasn't writing much of it, the pain in my backside began to intensify. The more I mused on the topic, the more the right side of my body began to hurt.
In yoga, we learn that the left sides of our bodies correspond to the feminine "Yin" energy, while the right sides of our bodies correlated to the masculine "Yang" energy. The Yin is the receptive, while the Yang is the action. Looking at it purely from that point of view, I could surmise that my pain could be coming from not taking action on what I know is a true purpose in my life.
I've not been showing my literary muse that I'm serious. I've been dallying in so many other ventures — all of them good — but none of them are what I've told myself for most of my adult life that I wanted to do. In an effort to ease the pain in my backside and to gather more peace in my heart, I am moving past false starts towards a real one.
Rosanne notes that showing your muse you're serious is a process of being diligent, doing your best, being open, and... waiting. It could take one year, two years or more, but it's something you have to commit to. Then, as though you're catching a Divine idea — a beautiful thought floating in the ether — it comes to you. And, it's extremely important that you have your catcher's mitt ready.
I honor the Universal energies around us. Like most things that are near and dear to our hearts, I ask that the Universe support me with strength, love, and compassion as I embark on this journey to step into my fullest potential. With all of my heart and soul, I'm serious.
I'm writing my book.