I want to wrap this moment in a blanket in time and label it: “Me at my most content.” I am fresh from a hot shower and my skin is drenched in olive oil and lavender. Wrapped in my towel, I rinse my tea cup and look out the window at this gray May Day. The dreariness makes the colors of the flowers (weeds) in my overgrown yard really pop! There are small Marguerite daisies, (yes, my name is derived from a sweet, simple flower!) and bell-shaped wild onions, vibrant yellow sorrel and a hot pink flower that I can’t believe is considered to be a weed, but there you have it! Labels can be limiting or uplifting, depending upon your attitude. Though my neighbors probably hate me for it, I love all of these weeds and wish I didn’t have to mow ever! I love the periwinkle forget-me-nots most of all. They remind me to appreciate all I have remembered in this life, and release what I have forgotten. ..
Soft jazz plays on my record player, and I ready myself for my favorite night of all nights: Jazz Underground with KHUM’s Ryan Lee. I open some red wine and let it breathe. I don my painting clothes and gather my art supplies. Who knows where the muse will lead me. “It’s not the destination,” as they say, “it’s the journey.” Each week I take this journey with Ryan Lee as my Creative Captain. I could listen to jazz any old time, and I do, often! But something happens between my muse and Ryan Lee’s musical choices that could only be described as magic. (Not that magic equals masterpieces, mind you!) It’s all about the joy that is released as the music enters my heart and exits my brush through the paint upon the canvas. It’s like I am sharing the creation of art with Ryan Lee, Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Thelonius Monk!
And there is magic in the ritual: in the setting aside of non-negotiable time each week for my creativity to be honored, expressed and respected. Your muse will love you if you love it enough to give it frequent quality time. I stumbled upon this process through serendipity. I thought that I didn’t like jazz, but then I heard Ryan Lee’s show and noticed that the music made me feel creatively expansive. It was like finding a secret door to guaranteed inspiration every time. I started painting during his shows, and it was like a meditation. I lost myself for awhile and my atoms merged with the music and the paint in a joyous dance of pure creativity!
Jazz is a vast sea of inspiration, and I learn as I go. As my interest grew, I started to study the subject of jazz. (The documentary “Jazz” by Ken Burns is a great place to start) Then I honed in on my favorite artists, and studied them individually. The list grows the more I listen and learn. My ear becomes attuned and discerning, and now I can pick out the nuances. Tonight a tune was played and I couldn’t figure out if it was Miles Davis or John Coltrane, and it turned out they were playing together! That’s one of the things I love about jazz: each musician is an individual, and these individuals come together in various formations to produce musical conversations that are one of a kind: always new and interesting. Creativity thrives upon the new and interesting.
How about you? Do you have a creative ritual or process that acts like a secret doorway to inspiration? If not, then try tuning into the moments when you feel most like you: the most content. Set aside time to do more of what makes you feel most like you. Your muse will love you for it.