Not Attending

Pink on Blue

Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm. – Anon

Have you ever had an idea, a dream, or a creative inspiration that wouldn’t let go of you until you did something with it? If you have then you know what it’s like when the muse strikes and you are the match.

Whether your idea is for something that resides in uncharted territory or an ingeniously twisted reincarnation of an old theme, it doesn’t matter. Muses are relentless – and perhaps unforgiving. (Hmm. A topic for another post.)

But this post isn’t about hearing the call. It’s about after that. After you answered the call. Painted your heart out. Sang for your supper. Written your novel. Built your homeless shelter. Erected your church. Re-mortgaged your house. Maxed out your credit cards. And sacrificed your retirement fund.

It’s about what happens after you hang your shingle and send out invites for the concert, poetry reading, gallery showing, taste party, patent demonstration, animal adoption clinic or wellness workshop – and find yourself waiting for the world to show up. For the world to embrace this gift that you burned to share. Waiting with – God love ‘em – the usual suspects/supporters who always show up. (If you are not a creative-activist-entrepreneur who’s had this experience you might want to stop reading now while the rest of us wait.)

Okay, so where am I going with this? It is my belief that those who continue to invent and create when confronted with the ‘not attending’ know a lot about forgiving it forward. See, the very act of continuing to dream and dare and create is what forgiveness looks like to a muse.

Some might say that the act of gifting the world – anyway – with something that may not be recognized or even noticed in the span of one’s life is a precarious kind of forgiveness. Agreed. That’s why I am writing this. I’m back at the Pandora’s box and lifting the lid.

Thirteen muses contributed to this forgive it forward project. Muses that I have the utmost respect and admiration for and that, I suspect, have a lot to say about the forgiveness challenges found in sustaining their creative process in a distracted, overwhelmed, not attending world – whether it be with the world or with themselves.

So, I am opening this post to some honest “do you dare” discussion. (Even if it is just amongst us.) The world needs us to keep sharing, creating and contributing our gifts. And WE need to be able to do the same while knowing peace and joy regardless of the outcome. We all need to forgive it forward while answering the call of our muses.

Pick a point and jump on in!

FIF: Earth boy

Did you miss the Forgive it Forward video? Click here to see the 3-minute video!

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©2010 Enlightened Ink – If you are inspired to share or quote from this article please share The Messy Room with it. Together we grow.

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52 thoughts on “Not Attending

  • July 12, 2010 at 1:11 am

    This is amazing. So colorful! Thanks for sharing.

  • July 15, 2010 at 11:33 am

    So, one aspect for me is to remember to BE in attendance of the moment and then to remember WHY I do WHAT I do … I love these words from Mother Teresa (keep them on our frig). “Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; give the world the best you’ve got anyway. You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them …”

    When I check in with my Creator … my Master Muse 🙂 … it is very clear when I’ve given my best or when I can do better. I am met with Gratitude or Humor. I make God laugh a LOT! 🙂

  • July 16, 2010 at 9:26 am

    This so totally resonated with me!!!! So, much so, that I have to add a few more exclamation points!!!!! Over the course of the last 5 yrs., as I began sharing my songs/music with congregations, through concerts, etc…it’s been very challenging to my “ego”. I found it difficult when the same people that asked me if I had a CD were nowhere to be seen when I made one – low attendance at concerts, etc… I even got to the point where I didn’t want to share anymore because my ego wanted to protect me from further hurt. And, then I had to step back (several steps) and look at why I was doing what I was doing. I had to take the focus off of money as the objective and Know that as I continued to do what I enjoyed and do it as a way of serving that the joy I would get from sharing would be far greater than any money I might possibly generate. And, the biggest “lesson” was to learn to not take it personally – rather than “if you love/like me you’ll show up…buy a cd, etc…” – be able to give without the attactchment or judgement…and, most of all forgive those that I felt slighted by – because, they have the power to not show up; but, only I have the power to decide how I’m going to feel or respond to it….AND, because I’m a glutton for “lessons” (apparently) I’ve gone through much the same things in the time that I’ve been doing alternative ministry ; ) <3

    • July 17, 2010 at 9:09 am

      I love these thoughts, Michele … been ‘there’ too … in the echoing rooms and empty P.O. boxes … or comment-less posts where I wonder if I am talking to myself. There is a challenge to ‘protect’ the heart in the work that those of us who are following a passion or calling do – whether it is for expression or livelihood or trying to find a way to balance both. Ray and I have a LOOONG list of ideas that we went for only to fail … or arrive too early and then leave the party (before the world knew there was one) while we followed our muses elsewhere. 12 step recovery people know a lot about sitting in meetings and seeing where people come in who truly need what is offered but choose not to ‘attend’ … it can be heartbreaking … sometimes it just comes down to gratitude that one has heard the call, gotten the message, shared in the joy and found others like ourselves to support in the effort. Ray has a song by Bob Dylan that he quotes from time to time … in jest … “Ballad of a Thin Man” … the quote? “My God, am I here all alone?” 🙂 Glad to be in attendance with you, Michele!

    • July 17, 2010 at 9:31 am

      Ah, Michele – I sooooooooooooo resonate with this one! As you may know, I show “love offering” movies for Unity G. (I pay for it; Unity gets 100% of the proceeds). Most of them are informational, enlightening, and well worth the effort of “showing up”. Support has been limited….a core group of 5 or 10 if we’re lucky, sometimes more, and sometimes no one at all shows up. It took me quite a while to get out of “ego” (look at my effort, my sacrifice; you could at least show up…you just might learn something). I finally learned how to show them without attachment or judgment. Those who show up will be richly rewarded; if no one shows up, I just watch it myself. “Forgiving it forward” is such a great practice!

      • July 17, 2010 at 10:29 am

        I sit here sipping coffee and reading ALL these words written with so much heart wishing I could teleport … (Is that a word?) … travel through time and space … to hug you all. Yes, we get lots of practice honing these skills of acceptance, non-attachment, surrender … WHILE STILL extending what we are moved to share … ANYWAY. How fortunate for Unity G to receive those movie nights through you, Sharron. Wish we lived up there!!! Planting seeds … planting seeds … In moments like those when I find myself sitting alone I envision the angels re-distributing the energy deposit made through my intention … nothing is ever wasted … but warm bodies are nice 🙂

  • July 16, 2010 at 10:31 am

    PS – Some artists make a “living” from their artistry and others don’t…but, the one thing I think most – if not all – would agree on is that if you touch just one person – make a difference in the life of just one person – you are successful…

    • July 17, 2010 at 9:32 am

      Amen. (Even if that one person is “you”).

      • July 17, 2010 at 9:57 am

        Exactly Sharron – and in Reality that person IS you. We do volunteer work to help others…we give presents to people because we love or like them or want to help…we share our talents, time & often tithes…however, when you look at the bottom line we do it as much OR MORE for ourselves and how it makes us feel to give. And, we can only be responsible for our giving part…not how it’s received. Of course, it does feel better though when there’s actually somebody(s) on the receiving end : D <3

  • July 17, 2010 at 9:46 am

    Wow!! A LOT of food for thought Ladies! ;D Because I think I may be ‘stuck’ in that ‘ego’ part right now!! Thank-YOU for helping me to *see* it in another way! *hugs*

    • July 17, 2010 at 9:59 am

      Hi karla ~ Now that you’re “seeing” it in another way, try taking it into your heart and “feeling” it….the yin and the yang…balance… <3

      • July 17, 2010 at 10:39 am

        Can’t BE in the sun without that shadow!!! I don’t know that I am ever without that ‘ego’ part, Karla. The question for me today is what I do with the mumblings and grumblings … I AM known to pout from time to time … maybe it gets down to WHO I listen to and how seriously I want to take myself … You know, there is an artist stuck … yes, stuck … in me. Sometimes I wonder, with all that I get myself into … will I ever get back to her. When I get ‘befuddled’ with ‘what and why’ am I doing THIS, I think, well, nobody would notice if I just left the scene, found a quiet corner and did my art … but I don’t want to leave on a pout … 🙂 … and if I had, I wouldn’t know ALL of you!!! We need to plan a cruise together … have to work on the money part though!

  • July 17, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    Per my last comment (under Karla): We could call it a MuseCruise! My sister is a travel agent … she could line it up for us. STILL have to work on the money thing though … gonna buy that lottery ticket 🙂 with an ADDITIONAL intention to take our muse-friends with us!!

    • July 17, 2010 at 5:36 pm

      I’m happy to join in you holding that intention : D As for those “not attending” … we’re not just attending..we’re fully present lol… <3

  • July 17, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    PS ~ please make a note when you set your intention that I require private accomodations lol (’cause if Chuck behaves I’ll have to ask him along) <3

    • July 17, 2010 at 6:22 pm

      OF COURSE this includes private accommodations … that way if Chuck is behaving ‘badly’ it will be between you all … in your own cabin … or wherever you fancy … 🙂

      Ships are big … :O

  • July 18, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    I have never met a person who didn’t radiate or directly express the need to find or continue on some sort of creative path. Without their passions, latent or expressed, I wouldn’t experience the rich tapestry of possibilities inherent in the universe. My father’s gardens and homemade bread. My mother’s quilts. My children’s and grandchildren’s various arts and ways of thinking outside the box. Every artist and poet who has jarred my status quo. For those who express, it’s all the keepin’ on, yes, that must be a form of forgiveness in the face of loss or limited gain by limited standards. You’re a genius, Ms. B!

    • July 18, 2010 at 3:59 pm

      Yes, Mickey ~ the rich tapestry of possibility is a beautiful way to put it (it reminds me of a Unity song called “Weave”). Sometimes I’m called weird or strange and I say “well, I prefer to say I’m a unique expression of The One” – but, that’s what it boils down to. In general we value those that we feel are gifted in the arts, medicine or something like that and can forget what a gift it is to be able to take this ‘n’ that out of a pantry and make a wonderful meal…or the patience it takes to cultivate a garden…the arts of nourishing and healing our bodies and souls… I think it goes back too, to the very first post of B’s. Why we do, what we do…I do what I do to serve – because no matter what it is, it’s a ministry to me…and, I know that on some level everyone of us is “serving” through creating – because we’ve put love…a bit of ourselves into it..and, it’s in that love that we really feel our connection and are touched by the music, art, poetry, food, bread, etc.. AND, another yes to B being a genius…providing a platform to share and learn from each other…and, it would be great if more people would take the opp to participate – but, for me – I’m just happy to have been part of the group of muses and have the opp to share… <3

      • July 18, 2010 at 5:26 pm

        “Every artist and poet who has jarred my status quo.” YES!!! THAT’S what I’m talking about. Well put, Mickey. THAT’S what so many miss out on in ‘not attending.’ … being in attendance creates opportunities for those “happy accidents” that make life so rich and meaningful … and to experience the love that Michele talks about … those threads of love that we weave into our creative expressions … whatever they may be.

  • July 18, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    I “attend” most things, but not all things. I am good at pottery (attending) and bad at record and paper keeping (not attending) as B and my accountant can attest to.

    Any artist has to learn to survive the sting of rejection or of not being noticed or appreciated by most people. Even great artists have times of despair, that is part of it. Some, like van Gogh, went their entire lives hardly selling anything and not receiving any recognition. What kept them going? I think the answer is passion. Passion pulls and pushes and doesn’t stop. As B says “Muses are relentless” and so is what makes us all continue even when most around us are “Not Attending”.

    Passion says I need to have my hands in clay, plus I want to put your hands in clay, too. I want to spread my passion. Am I capable of reaching everyone, no, but I will get some of you or one of you or maybe none of you. Maybe no one will show up, but singers have to sing, painters have to paint, poets have to poet, muses have to muse, potters have to pot. We keep on keepin’ on.

    • July 19, 2010 at 5:18 pm

      What? You don’t attend to paper keeping? But you keep LOTS of paper!!! Okay, I’m twisting it just a little … 🙂

      Yes, PASSION … well put, my dear clay goddess. And I can honestly say your passion to ” have my hands in clay, plus I want to put your hands in clay, too. I want to spread my passion” has never died no matter what you’ve been through. You consistently come back to ‘earth and wheel.’ I think that is what makes you such a great (and patient) teacher. For you, it is about meeting joy and not expectations. And you are great at forgiving it forward for ALL those times you tried to get MY hands in clay 🙂 WHAT? Cut my nails?

      • July 19, 2010 at 6:08 pm

        What makes you think I have given up on you? I have a nail clipper in my pocket!

  • July 18, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    By the way, B, you are an artist, you paint on our souls like the virtuoso you are!

  • July 19, 2010 at 11:44 am

    When everyone is consuming our personal time and creative energy, when the noise is so busy around us we can’t think and when we are overwhelmed with all there is to do to stay alive, it is then that creative inspiration, ideas and dreams are hard to access. Time out is hard to find and if you do you are too tired. What then? I tell my friends to take their lives back, to reclaim some time for themselves. Easier said than done.

    • July 19, 2010 at 11:57 am

      Gail – your comment brought back memories of taking care of a baby/little person and a 96-97 yr old grandmother with Alzheimer’s (at a time that there was no support available)…and even with a hubby that did as much as he could – often feeling too tired to just take a bath…..let alone work on my crafts, that i did at the time, to generate a little extra income. For me, I had to learn that taking time for myself wasn’t “selfish”… that it was ok sometimes to put me first – because if I didn’t take some time to recharge and renew I would just stay on “tilt”… and, then wasn’t any good to anyone…

      • July 19, 2010 at 5:24 pm

        Gail Marie … we need a smoothie break, girl! When this dust settles a little lets meet somewhere and recharge … And, Michele, thank you for sharing that piece of your story. I had no idea! But it certainly points to your compassion in the counseling work that you now do with people. AND why music is so important to you!!!

  • July 19, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    I have been looking for “authentic support” all my life, to in some way embrace my creativity. What I got in return was “no applause”. I am celebrating 20 years in business this year and I have to tell you I learned to embrace it all especially co-dependency and approval from family. At almost 50yrs. old (one month away) I am liberating myself and continuing my journey. I get up every day to do what I LOVE and it shows. At the end of the day, I am ok with that. When I stripped away all the things people told me I should have and where I should be with my talent, Looking back, I realized a way out of no way has always been made. For that, I am learning to be grateful, R E L E A S E and Heal.

    • July 20, 2010 at 3:02 pm

      “I get up every day to do what I LOVE and it shows. At the end of the day, I am ok with that.” What a treasure that is … Stripping away the “shoulds” of others really does free us up. I call it “breaking the yardsticks.” Congratulations on 20 years in business, Letitia. I always enjoy seeing your smile :0

  • July 19, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    I regret that I’ve only this evening read this blog. (I know, “loser” only with a capital “L”!) The words, thoughts and expression of all these artists are an inspiration to my soul as a “hopeful” artist. I am in awe of every artist that has chosen, or been chosen, to be a part of this launch. You are all truly amazing. and hats off to each and every one! <3

    • July 20, 2010 at 10:02 am

      No, you are a winner with a capital “W”. You are “Attending”.

  • July 20, 2010 at 11:01 am

    Wow…I’m reading all the comments and am in awe. One thing I realized through my health experience is that its ok to take time for me and its okay to say NO.
    It took me years on *tilt* to realize…that its okay to do for others but you have to take care of YOU or you’re no good to anyone.
    I agree its hard to reclaim our lives at times because so much is outta control that is not under our roofs… Reclaiming it meant staying under my own roof which starting out felt selfish… But its really not. Its life altering setting a new boundary to get back with the real you. Its saying to yourself: You are Enough. Not letting all the other outside jazz take your life over.
    This is why my art is so important to me…Its kept me grounded during hard times. It was just about putting the expression of what I felt out there…That in itself is healing.

    Michele…Your comment brought me full circle on a few things. * We can only be responsible for our giving part…not how it’s received* How true… and why is it we always worry about how its received. I am really working on that one!!

    No one is a loser here … Winners are attending!!

    • July 20, 2010 at 11:42 am

      Kerry – learning to say “no” was the biggest challenge, for me. I spent so many years active in the community, church, etc…always saying yes because I wanted people to like me..not get mad at me..not let anyone down…My mom had even given me a pin that said “stress is when your stomach says no but, your mouth says “I’d be glad to”. Then at one point many years ago I developed high BP (which to some degree continues to be a challenge) and the minister I had, at that time asked “what’s the pay-off?” I didn’t know what he meant and he said there must be a pay-off. And, I realized that because it was extrememly high (220/140) – and, they had to bring it down slowly that I had been told to try to avoid situations that could be stressful and that for the first time I had what I felt was permission to say no. As volunteer coordinator, it was an important lesson for me – not just myself – but, to be able to tell others when they felt they couldn’t do something and had to give a reason that NO IS A COMPLETE SENTENCE. So, to make a long story longer…just remember that no is a complete sentence…you don’t have to justify why to anyone. Do those things that make your heart sing and give you joy & leave the rest… <3

  • July 30, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    I really like this blog… Actually, I’ve never participated in a blog before (Hi, Michele!), but here I am in this one.

    I feel like one of you – the creative, sensitives that want to share the riches inside, but sometimes don’t know how, or get discouraged.

    I feel like an under-milked cow. Sure, I’ve written and performed music, I’ve written articles and stories, drawn and painted at times, and even received accolades for my work. But there seems to be this great lethargy… And I don’t feel like judging myself for it, as though the judging – just like the creating – takes entirely too much effort.

    Sometimes I think of this “illness” as an existential problem. I’ve spent long hours meditating, visited wonderful “lands” inside of me, and received lots of guidance. And I have no problem saying “no”. My physical energy is very limited; I need a lot of down time. Everything affects me…

    Not quite sure what I’m saying here. Sorry to be blathering on… I’ve taken to allowing the nothing, instead of feeling like I should be doing something. But when I do create something, an article, a piece of music, whatever, it feels so good, and I want more of that. Don’t seem to be able to lift my finger to do it, though. A lazy bum? Hmmm….

    • July 30, 2010 at 8:24 pm

      Kathleen …a lazy bum?? lol…I’ve seen you in action (like when you were helping us move into our house) and I would’ve liked to harness that energy : D Maybe it’s during those “nothing” times that you’re actually getting your inspiration (consciously, or not) for the doing times. It sounds to me like you’ve got a balance of do-be-do-be-do. That doesn’t mean you have 50% down/rest/lazy time and 50% creative/doing/busy time. It just means that however you’re spending your time proportionately, it’s working for you – as you’ve created some wonderful songs…written some great articles…and, touched many people’s lives <3

      • July 31, 2010 at 11:11 am

        Welcome, Kathleen!!! I am so glad you followed Michele here 🙂 and hope you keep coming back. It is always wonderful to meet a kindred creative spirit and by what you share … you are just that. I identified with what you shared.

        Finding peace with the ebb and flow in my creative process is something I ‘grapple’ with … well not really grapple in a negative way but I am always aware of it. When I passed the 50 mark I started this process of re-calibrating HOW I did things … not just creative things but everything. (Can’t say it was voluntary, though.) And that meant finding peace with downtime (my mental diffuseness!) and recognizing, as Michele said, that I was opening to “unconscious” inspiration in those times that felt so “unproductive.” I’ve gone enough rounds with it (I’m now 55) to where I see that, AFTER one of those downtimes, inspiration becomes “conscious” and some of my most joyful creations are birthed … in a much more balanced fashion. (I used to be one of those A-personality, adrenaline junkies in my 20s and 30s. I had a list and enough high anxiety for everything on that list.) The wise woman in me won’t let me get away with that anymore … as Michele has been known to say … NO is a complete sentence in my book! So, now I am blathering but it feels good to be able to do it! Just come back … you are in the right place!

  • April 22, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Why Mrs. B, I gots nuttin to say to you except…well you know….

    • April 22, 2011 at 2:39 pm

      Well, YOU know … too!!! 🙂 Your attendance is always a present, Antony … I told Joseph the same earlier … Hey, where’s your mug shot?

      • April 22, 2011 at 5:53 pm

        I just read through this thread again – after seeing notification of the last two posts. There was some really wonderful sharing going on. I did want to mention as a follow-up to Kathleen’s post that you can find an example of her musical artistry on Youtube under JMR’s videos. Her’s is “The One Who Knows”. I know you’ll love it! <3

  • April 22, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    Thanks for that info, Michele … I will check it out! Yes, I read through this again after posting it and love the wisdom shared! Needed it at this “juncture” 🙂

  • April 24, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    “You glorious children of Memory and Olympian Zeus, Muses of Pieria, hear me as I pray: Grant your muses from the blessed gods prosperity, and from all mankind their possession ever of good repute; and that they may thus be a delight to their friends… by the first revered, and by all others beheld with Love …Wealth they do desire to possess, but to gain it unjustly they have no wish; without fail in after-time comes reward. Skilled in their works, they are able craftsman, collecting a loving by means of their heart and hands. Trained in the gifts of the Olympian Muses, their knowledge of lovely poesy’s measure I know does please us mortals…and you..
    (Solon’s pray to the muses) Edited by Antony….
    As for the pic..I don’t know how…Squeek!

    • April 25, 2011 at 8:56 am

      Beautiful! You are the smartest most loving ant I know, Antony. 🙂 As for the pic … Gravatar … or is that Gravetar … hmmm … Anyway, WordPress accepts Gravatar pics … but Juliette signed me up and got it posted. Hey, maybe J.m. could do it for you … that is if you want your mug to be seen here … it’s so cute on Facebook!

    • April 26, 2011 at 10:14 pm

      Well, bumblebees don’t believe that it’s not possible for them to fly, according to aerodynamics, and look where it’s gotten them : D

      • May 1, 2011 at 9:25 pm

        Okay, Antony … I honestly had to THINK about that. “Believe? Gravity? What does he mean? ” 🙂 Great to see your mug, at least YOU believe in gravity … And Michele … good to see Metta here. I am a bit slow, seems your mug has been here for awhile???

  • May 2, 2011 at 1:49 am

    So I’m cleaning out a bunch of old CD’s and thinking about what makes a muse?…really that’s how my brain works…I decide to pick out one from this huge stack spread out all over the floor…don’t ask me why they’re all on the floor…anyway I’m going to see if FATE will tell me what makes a muse….well…here is the result.
    (if the link doesn’t work go to jmrproductions on youtube)

    • May 4, 2011 at 9:55 pm

      Love this, Antony. Thanks for the share … oh, and don’t follow me 🙂

  • May 2, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    I just decided that Michele got far too much credit – when I was most of the thinking – and she was just doing most of the posting ; ) So, I put my picture on her most recent post, (not realizing it would show up on ALL the posts) and, she hasn’t learned how to change it back : D

    • May 4, 2011 at 9:58 pm

      Got to love technology. Good thing you two know how to share 🙂 It’s nice to see your happy heart dance everywhere!!

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