The Ancients often talked of spiritual beings in human form who provided them with inspiration, energy, and creative ideas. They called them “Muses” and each of the arts had a specific muse. In the above painting, we see three Greek muses: Clio for history, Euterpe for song and poetry, and Thalia for comedy.
As times have changed, the term “muse” took on a more personal meaning. No longer mythical gods, our more modern muses are real people, but with a special “something”.
Our mortal, yet mystical muses give the psychic “oomph” for creative art to occur.
A muse shares some aspects of coaching, mentoring, facilitating, and teaching, but in my mind, the muse is subtly different … less of a formal relationship, more emotional and psychological.
A muse is not a wizard or a teacher, but a fountain of energy from which one can drink again and again.
In recent times, this term has fallen out of use. “The Muse” was a clever, but not terribly well-received film with Albert Brooks and Sharon Stone as a writer and his modern muse, along with sterling support from Andie McDowell, Jeff Bridges, and Cybil Shepherd (as herself). Released in 1999, this is the only relatively recent example of the use of a muse I can think of without doing a Google search.
Maybe Google is our new muse for all occasions:)
We often use the term “inspirational” to describe personal leadership and as an essential characteristic of leadership in general. We want someone or something to inspire us, to influence us to be our best selves, to create great things.
Michael Bungay Stanier uses the phrase “Do Great Work” to describe his personal mission to instill this attitude of high goals and excellent output. Great work might be considered the end focus of all our efforts.
So some questions for you this cold, but clear January weekend morning:
Who is your muse?
How do you use your muse intentionally to create great work?
How do you become someone else’s muse?
How does having and being a muse affect you?
Musing on all this talk about muses and planning a phone call to a “friend” real soon in the Heartland ….