The Muses: Encounter

Here is how I encounter the Muse.  She always comes to me just after I come face to face with a problem.  The washing machine has not only died, but it has leaked water all over the floor.  Or, I prepare this really cool techno-language lesson ready for my students.  They come in (and so does an administrator who is doing a surprise observation) and the internet connection in our school goes down.  Or, I am driving up to one of the busiest intersections in my area of metro Atlanta and while I am stopped waiting on the light, my clutch burns out.  Or, I realize I have missed a deadline for an opportunity to participate in a marvelous gathering of healers and mystics. Now what?

Common thread?  Some momentary disaster or threat of difficulty strikes me and in that very moment I have absolutely no idea what to do.  Then, she comes to me.  The Muse begins to work within me in ways that I still struggle to describe, but she works.  She has helped me find a way to pay for a new washing machine and repair the floor.  She has shown me how to do what I wanted with my students without the technology that it all seemed to depend on and help them make progress anyway.  She has helped me find a creative way to get a broken down car out of traffic and get it to a repair shop in fair amount of time.  She has given me the courage to call the organizers of a special event and ask the question:  is it too late for me to sign up?

In his TEDtalk, Tim Harford makes a brilliant case for the necessity of the “messes” of our lives.  He contends, and I find it to be true for me, that when life presents us with a mess, it not only pushes us out of our comfort zone, but it invokes our creativity.  Invoking our creativity is also known as “the Muse.”

So, I invite us to two considerations today.  Take a few minutes and journey back over some of the messes in your life.  Notice how any of them invoked your creativity, to consider options and solutions that you would not have otherwise.  How did you get past the mess?  And then, just be open today–to today’s messes.  Can you hear the Muse beginning to speak to you as today’s current mess moves you out of your comfort zone?

Bob Patrick

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