Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Muse...

has been sitting on my shoulder ever since I started doing the play. I'm painting, writing, being inspired, and seeing things more clearly than I have in awhile. Day after day I find myself saying "I have no problems." Not because everything in my life is "perfect" per se (I can read you a litany of things I wish were different right now), but because there are people in the world who are really, really suffering: serious health problems, natural disasters, living in tortuous conditions from which they don't have the means to extricate themselves. It makes my "challenges" very small by comparison. It's like the old saying "I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man that had no feet." I have no problems. Things are as they should be, and as they change (or I change them), they will still be as they should be.

I firmly believe that all art comes from the same place- the need (not just desire) to express your truth, no matter how unwelcome or unpopular. When it is ego-driven, it destroys. When, however, the truth is set free with the humble knowledge that you are only the messenger (not the author), there is no reason for the ego to even be involved, and the truth serves humanity.

As artists, when we act, write, sing, paint, or CREATE from a place that is pure, it resonates with people: what comes from the heart, reaches the heart. Because we all have to make a living, we trade our art, usually for money, and can easily fall into the trap of creating for money. We use all sorts of tricks to churn out what looks like art, but is really a cheap imitation geared toward consumerism. The muse will not be prostituted, and soon leaves us wondering why we started down this path in the first place. Once we remember and settle back down into the stillness that made us fall in love with our craft in the first place, the muse can return.

I've been a little 'different' all of my life. At first it seemed like a childhood thing that I would outgrow, then adolescent angst, followed by the "who am i?" journey expected of young adults. Instead of outgrowing it and becoming more compliant in whatever role was assigned to me by virtue of my class, race, gender, or other checkbox label, I seem to have continued down a road less traveled. Right now, I'm looking around - it's unfamiliar, and a little scary at times. The people who started down the road with me aren't here, and some of them alternately wonder at and curse at me for taking this road in the first place. But this is my road. And nobody can walk it but me. The same is true of you. Live in your truth.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I've started taking a painting class, and I am sooo friggin' excited that I get goosebumps! I always felt like I would be able to paint, and for years I planned to buy an easel and some art supplies and try my hand at it. One year, for my birthday, I did just that. I remember talking on the phone to my grandmother (rest her beautiful soul) while I was in the store. I told her what I was doing, and she encouraged me. I started painting, learning as much as I could from books and tutorial videos on the internet. I did some that I was really proud of, and others that are doomed to hang out in my closet forever. When I painted, hours would go by. I really found flow.

I drove by an art studio last October, and saw a sign saying that they were having an open house for their Grand Opening. I stopped by, met the owner, saw the work that the students were doing (artwork so beautiful that I wanted to go live inside of it), and knew I had to study there.

So, here I am - week 2 of my studies. I wish class was more than once a week. I'm actually doing better than I thought I was going to do, but it's really a lesson in patience because I sooooo want to be better than I am, and I want it RIGHT NOW. When I tense up because I screwed something up and don't know how to fix it without the assistance of my teacher, I usually screw up even more. So I take a deep breath, look at the situation without judgement and put my focus toward conveying things as they are. What's funny is, when I am close to my painting, I am often convinced that I am failing miserably, everything is all wrong, and that I'll never be really good. When I stand back, however, things look a lot better: I can see the whole rather than it's seemingly incongruous individual parts, and, with one hand on my hip I find myself nodding "There's hope." A lot like life, huh?


P.S. - Here's my rendition of the photo above. It's a work in progress. I'll post the finished product when it's done.


  1. Truth and freedom are powerful words. They can be wonderful when they are combined together. I am so proud of you Nicole. I am proud that you are finding and ENJOYING your voice and heart in this world. Real truth is not eking out the path others have for us, but it is trekking our own. Keep it up. I love you painting much more, the vibrancy you have in your vision is beautiful.


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