Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Relationship Problems

Lao Tzu

“Spend time every day listening to what your muse is trying to tell you.”

Saint Bartholomew

“Many things are possible if you cinch your attention to them.”

Ken Alstead – Savvy Sayin’s

I’m having relationship problems – with my Muse.  She’s giving me the silent treatment.  And if she doesn’t speak, then I am the one who has nothing to say.  That is always the hard part, waiting for the Muse to speak to me, to give me something to say.  Needless to say, it’s not a pleasant experience.  It’s like wanting to go somewhere but waiting on someone else to get ready.  And in this case, while I’m waiting, I not allowed to just sit around and watch TV, or take a nap, or read a comic book.  No, I have to keep working.  In fact, the Muse will make me wait longer if she peeks around the corner and sees me off-task. 
I’ve written about the Muse before (  I love her but she can be very frustrating.  Being in relationship with her is like being in relationship with anyone else.  It has its rewards, but there’s also a cost.   She wants what everyone else wants when I am with her – all of me.  She wants my full attention, my full devotion and all of my energy.  She gets hurt or irritable if she sees me doing something else while I’m supposed to be with her.  She wants me to be completely present with her.  She doesn’t want me on Facebook or on the phone or playing an online game.  She will allow me to stop what I’m doing to research a reference or a relevant quote, but she only tolerates this.  She prefers that I wait until she is done talking. 
She also wants my time.  And she’s not consistent about how she does this.  First, she expects me to be with her every day, without fail.  She doesn’t want me to miss a day.  In fact, what she prefers is a scheduled time, not just when I can squeeze her in, but a time devoted solely to her.  Her favorite time to meet with me is 5:00 a.m.  If I am not up at that time, then when I do wake up she says, in a small voice filled with hurt and resolve, “Where have you been?”
She’s kind enough to allow me my morning rituals, a little Bible reading, taking the dogs out, and getting a cup of coffee.  God help me though if I let anything else distract me.  And if I wake up too late and other demands take over, then she will express her irritability in one of two ways.
She will either say, “Forget it.  I had something I needed you to say, but obviously I’m not a priority right now, so I will give this message to someone else.” 
Or she will say, “I have something I need you to say and I am not going to let you rest until you get to work.  Do whatever else you choose to do, but know that you’re not going to enjoy any of it until you get to work.”
In addition to my scheduled time, she also expects me to be on call.  She has come to me at all hours of the day and night.  Sometimes she will whisper something in my ear while I’m working on something else and she expects me to write a quick note about it so I don’t forget.  Sometimes she wakes me up with a dream.  Sometimes she does this in the middle of the night and she wants me to wake up and write down what she said.  Other times she will wake me up in the morning with a message that I am supposed to share with the world. 
She did this with John Lennon when she gave him Instant Karma.  She whispered the title in his head and he got up, rushed to the studio and recorded the song.

"One day Lennon awoke with a lyric in his mind and wrote a rough melody on his piano, repeating the melody until he was satisfied with it. He immediately proceeded to call producer Phil Spector: "Come over to Apple (studio) quick, I've just written a monster."

The Muse is jealous, demanding and exacting.  She wants and expects only my very best, all the time and attention I can give her, and my fullest devotion.  Still, I love her with all my heart.  Yes, there is a cost to being in relationship with her, but there are rewards that far exceed any costs.
1.              She is incredibly patient with me.  Despite my failures and inconsistencies, she never leaves me.  She might not speak to me for a while, but as long as I sit down and do my work, she will always share something new with me.
2.              She doesn’t get upset if I get attention or positive feedback for the work she has given me.  If someone says, “Robert, you are a good writer,” she lets me enjoy that even though she and I both know that everything came from her.  We just wink and smile at each other.
3.              She gives me Purpose and structure.  Without her, honestly, I’d be a mess.  I would be walking around not knowing what to do with my time.  I’d have no energy, no motivation and no joy.  Honestly, I’d have no reason for living.  That is not a suicidal thought; I’m simply saying that without Purpose, all I’m doing is taking up space.  I remember how often I would wander around wondering what to do, when so much was and so many were waiting for me to get to work with full presence.
4.              She makes me better at everything she has asked me to do.  When I am writing, she makes me a better writer.  When I am doing career coaching or teaching or speaking, she makes me better.  When I am studying, she gives me the right materials so that I don’t waste my time.  In fact, there are no wrong materials because she teaches me how to use anything and everything and give it back to the world as a blessing.
5.              This is the best part:  she loves me.  She loves me with all her heart.  She has told me this many times.  She wants the best for me.  She wants me to be happy.  She wants me to feel good about myself and to be able to look at myself in the mirror.  She wants me to be better than I am.  She wants me to be the person I am meant to be.  When she and I struggle, it is always because I am not living to my fullest potential.  It is always because I am not doing my best.  And this hurts her because she knows it hurts me.  When I am present with her, she holds my hand, sits on my lap or rubs my back. 

So, the relationship problems I have with the Muse are easily fixed.  I just have to do what she wants.  All I have to do is to Get Started and Keep Going.  And I don’t mind at all because I love her with all my heart, too.