And so I come to the end of The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield. In which he makes the argument that we are already pre-programmed with our callings. That our mission in life is not to figure out what to do, but to figure out that which is already within us and serve its calling. That our callings come from on high and all we do is interpret the muse.
But how do you entice a muse to inspire you? Is she something that can be caught, or is she something to be enticed? Maybe she just needs to be invited.
A muse isn’t an ephemeral ghost sitting on your shoulder. The muse comes from our deepest inner self, whether you call it heavenly inspiration or the id seeking expression, the muse is who we are at our deepest level. Think back to what you wanted to be when you grew up. That is who you should be now. When you are the person you were meant to be, then you find your calling. Then you and your muse will be inseparable.
When I was a small child I had three goals in life. The first was to be a mommy. I thought that was the best thing to be. And I love being a mom. It is hard work, and sometimes I have those moments of “What was I thinking?”, but I also have the most fulfilling moments in my life. My second big ambition was to be an artist. My mother was an artist and she had a huge wooden easel that I loved. I wanted an easel and I wanted to create. I’d still love to be an artist like my mother and my sister, but it isn’t my passion. It isn’t the thing that I will get up early for and forget to pick up my kids for. I love art, but it turns out it wasn’t my passion
When I discovered the written word I knew that I wanted to be an author. To be the person who made fairy tales spring to life on the page. That is my star that I secretly desire, but have always put off in favor of something that will pull in the money. But none of my endeavors has pulled in the money. Why is that? It’s because the muse is elusive for those with no passion.
Who are you? Are you someone who loves to work with their hands? Do you love taking care of people? What is your passion? Our callings are varied and there are many ways to express who you are. When we follow the money instead of following our instincts many people find that they are unhappy. Unless you are very lucky and your choice to follow the money is also to do what you love. The muse doesn’t flock to money, but she brings financial success with her. It trails in her wake like a flock of birds after a Disney princess. And a muse loves to share that success.
As adults we take children to events that we think they are going to enjoy. We feel that we spent money on this, they should have fun. And it is inevitable that the thing they most enjoy isn’t whatever cost the most money. It’s the action of doing something fun that they enjoy. We can just as easily take them on a hike for zero dollars and they will have a good time. It turns out that children are happy doing and being. And so are adults. We just need to re-discover our inner joy.
Find what you love. Find that thing that makes you happy. Find the source of your soul. And you will discover the muse. She will cause you to forget everything but your passion. She will make you joyful. She will inspire you to follow your star and to be your dreams.