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Mothering the Muse

by Milissa on May 8, 2011

in Creativity,Dharma

The Muse—that ancient Greek divinity—keeps coming up in my 21st century life lately. In The War of Art, which I just read on a mentor’s recommendation, Steven Pressfield talks about showing up consistently for your creative work, giving the Muse a chance to express through you. Despite the privileged connotation the word Muse brings up for me—of men draped in togas eating grapes fed to them by servants, while they philosophize about white male-dominated society—the thought of opening to the Muse makes my heart all aflutter.

Perhaps there is a word that is more resonant for you (I wonder if there is one for me, but so as not to procrastinate I’ll go with Muse for now) to describe that cosmic creativity that flows through us mortals.

So, feeling lit up with this renewed commitment to welcoming the Muse—like a mother creating the perfect conditions for her child to be born—why did I wake up this Mother’s Day and feel self doubt seeping in? Luckily, I know that Mother’s Day is a bit loaded for me, so I decided to feel into it, instead of buying into it.

The sticking point on Mother’s Day? I’m not actually a mother, biologically at least. Much of my creative nonfiction writing has been about what I call “other ways to mother.” I’ve written a book length memoir, Dog Ma, about how I became mom to a puppy and a nurturer of many—like the many-nippled archaic goddess figurines—through Tree of Life Yoga. Several of my essays have hashed out the unfolding of my life—through choice and, perhaps, Fate (another of the Greek goddesses)—as a woman without children.

For me, not having the duties of parenthood has allowed me to channel an abundance of nurturing energy into my work. Currently, I am on fire with the desire to help mothers—especially those with young children—to get their own needs met so they can be compassionate and inspired parents. To keep visioning the programs for mothers and children, and to get them out there in front of those who can benefit from them, I need to mother the Muse. And bring Tree of Life Yoga into this new phase.

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