“My closets had never been so clean as they were when I decided
to write a book.” A friend told me this. I knew exactly what she
meant. It is that temptation to straighten things up before we start
following inspiration’s tug. Somehow everything must be neat and orderly before we begin.
If you want to get rid of the muse, the best thing you can do is to
delay. The muse calls us no matter the condition of our closets,
kitchen sink, or the pile of laundry in the corner. It’s a lesson I’ve
been learning again and again.
In fact, that seems to be the very time we get called. When it
seems inconvenient, we are tested to see how much we really
care about where our longing leads.
Being in Ajijic, Mexico has taught me that self-expression can spring forth no matter the surrounding conditions. Paintings on the outside walls of buildings are wondrous. Color and form are used in the most exuberant manner. And yet, sidewalks are a mess, piles of dirt dot the streets, littered lots of trash are here and there. Dog poop on the sidewalk is a walking hazard.
It’s that juxtaposition between great beauty and the everyday dirt we encounter that is inspiring. Imagine if someone said you can’t start painting these glorious paintings until every crack in the sidewalk is repaired. Or, don’t pick up your paintbrush, until you clean up every vacant lot.
This often happens with us. Some part of us starts screaming that our life needs to be orderly before we answer inspiration’s call. Maybe it isn’t our closets that need to be neat. Maybe it is something else. Do you know what you are waiting for?”
I am waiting for the…
kids to grow up
mortgage to be paid
401(k) fully vested
Or fill in the blank ____
These questions and others linger at the edge of inspiration.
Here in Ajijic, we stay in Casa de los Sueños, “House of Dreams.” It’s such a perfect name for this inn. Mary, the innkeeper, dreamed this place into existence. As she said, step by step, not knowing for sure how to do it. She trusted that the next step would become obvious. She also shared a story about a corporate job she once held.
There was a group of women doing data entry. She sat with them
and asked what their dreams were. “What would you do if you
were not doing data entry?” Their answers to this question
astonished her. They each had something else they were wishing
to do. One woman said she always dreamed of having a
greenhouse and growing amazing plants. The woman had figured
out everything, what it looked like, what she would grow. And yet
she didn’t do it.
She may still be waiting.
Any of us can fall into that pattern. Somehow it seems safer not to
act. In truth, not acting is dangerous. I’ve read many Dream
quotes. They boil down to, “Don’t die with your dreams still within
you.” To me, that would be such a sad loss for you and the world.
We each have gifts and talents to share. Risking and sharing
makes the world a better place.
My friend did write her book. A book that touched many hearts.
She decided that doing what she longed for was more important
than a tidy closet. She could always do that someday. But on
that day, she sat down.
She began to write.
She stopped waiting.
Are you waiting?
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- 2023 Women Writing to Unfold (Taos, NM)
- 21 Aug 23