“We can never be born enough. We are human beings; for whom birth is a supremely welcome mystery, the mystery of growing: the mystery which happens only and whenever we are faithful to ourselves." - e. e. cummings
Liz Gilbert, who has done a lot of very inspired writing, observes in this TED talk (one of my favorite things on the whole internet) that considering an artist responsible for the quality of her own work, rather than leaving that responsibility to the gods/muses/daemons, may be a grave mistake.
This is a tremendously comforting concept for me, and I imagine it's the same for every creative person (and by that I mean every person). It means that my job is not to create. My job is to remain inspired, so that my heart will be open to the creative force.
For me, remaining inspired requires being honest, growing personally, feeling passionately, and having adventures. It generally requires a deep and vibrant experience of music, poetry, sensuality, and/or love. It absolutely requires continually becoming the person I want to be, at risk of facing fears, disappointing people, and breaking with convention.
By choosing to live a creative life, I have made a commitment to my muse: she is always welcome in my house. That means that I will remain open to inspiration at all times, regardless of what I might have to sacrifice to do so. So far, I have only had to sacrifice money, security, and routine, all of which I am lucky enough to have no taste for.
I believe in muses of the arts, but also of science, childcare, computer programming, baking, dog training, and human relationships. It's my strong suspicion that everyone has a muse, and that everyone - somewhere deep inside themselves - knows what they have to do to invite her into their lives. What have you done for your muse lately?