Drawing upon the mama muse
At the beginning of a new year, many single moms want to envision a fresh reality for ourselves—something new and uninfluenced by the events of the past year. To become inspired about our lives, we can tune into the muse, our inner creative potential, to create something unique. Artistic expression comes in many forms; it is diverse and exciting with unlimited possibilities.
Helen Keller said, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” When it comes to creating, what inhibits us from being inspired and following through with a project? Is it the intimidation of starting from scratch? Or the notion that there are more useful things we could be doing? We all have a unique style or voice that needs an outlet. Are you already aware of those ways in which you like to create? Do you enjoy creating for yourself, by yourself, for others, or with others?
The mental relaxation and healing energies that are present when creating often spill over and benefit our lives. Everyone has an inherent spark of inner vision. It is our birthright as humans. Sometimes it takes some experimentation to find the muse. Creativity comes in many forms, including but not limited to photography, singing, playing music, writing, reciting poetry, yoga, collage, pottery, cooking, etc.
A beloved instructor in art school once gave me this valuable insight: “Your first idea is usually not your best idea.” This was reassuring in that I might spend quite a bit of time on a project only to find that I would scrap or rework it. Chefs, especially, know this. Not every project is meant to be framed and hung on the wall. To embolden myself, next to my mirror on a large poster board, I had written a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote: “All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better.” This saying let me off the hook for impossible perfection.
Some of us may have been discouraged from finding our own creativity early on, for instance, by a myopic teacher or a controlling relative. Kids sustain early wounds from experiences such as having their art publicly ranked in grade school or having a parent who forces a particular instrument on them. If that was your misfortune early on, it is time to toss out such unrealistic expectations of yourself. Artistic expression is meant to be more spontaneous and unique.
One area in which our public education system suffers greatly is through cutting funding to the arts. As Solo Moms, our children can especially benefit from having at least one parent who values creativity in a free and easy manner. Some kids will even remind their moms to create because mamas tend to be more patient or happy in general when we have that artistic outlet.
A dear friend of mine often laments that she is not creative; however, in her free time, she immerses herself in travel books and designs theoretical trip itineraries for possible adventures. To me it is obvious that she is daydreaming. Imagining possible journeys and educating herself about the history of places has actually materialized in her having the opportunity to go on some of these trips. When she travels, she is prepared, and her personal style reflects the context of the places she visits. What a unique form of drawing upon her muse.
Joyce Carol Oates tell us, “A daydreamer is prepared for most things.” By exercising the right side of the brain, which is the subdominant side, single moms are unwittingly practicing the art of intuition and perception of relationships. Imagination is a type of intelligence that gets stronger with practice. Being too busy or stressed out inhibits imagination; however, as my friend demonstrates, the imagination is often a gateway to actual realization.
It is reassuring that none of us is alone in feeling conflicted. How is it possible to balance being a Solo Mom, a worker, a creative person, and a calm person? While it’s true that none of us has extra time to draw upon the mama muse, it can be so essential to carve out that time. Women throughout history have made art happen, against all odds. Most female artists were not destined to make a livelihood from their art, but the ones who did become famous offer us their stories, which are always conflicted.
ESME.com provides an entire creative platform under its Showcase tab. Here, you can browse imaginative submissions from other Solo Moms in the categories of music, short film, visual art, and writing. So much inspiration can be gleaned from others’ experiences in the arts. If you feel inclined to share where your artistic muse has led you, please add your unique voice and submit your creation.
As Goethe admonishes, “The dangers of life are infinite, and among them is safety.” With a new year full of possibilities, why not create? What do we have to lose?
Turn your creativity into dollars. Check out our ESME Showcase Awards in music, short film, visual art, and writing!
Sarah Sheen is a certified holistic health coach who resides in the Southwest. She previously completed studies in studio art and art history at the State University of New York at Purchase. Her passion is to integrate art and health, discovering custom, creative paths to wellness for herself and her community. She is also a Solo Mom to a very busy toddler. You can follow her on Twitter.
Please feel free to contact us with any comments or questions.