Ancient Greece is generally considered to be the cradle of Western civilization. From philosophy and art to science and technology, medicine, sports and architecture. Heck - they even had indoor plumbing! No wonder we find them so illuminating, though obviously, they didn't always have their, um... act together or they would still be here, right? But they were pretty cool while they were around. So cool, in fact, that in many ways we still try to emulate them today. Here is one of their best lessons.
Life is short. We only get so many years to make the most of it because who knows when a mountain is gonna rain down its thunder and wipe us right out. Remember, the goal while we're on this planet isn't to stay here forever. If that were the case, then everyone who has ever lived is a total failure! The real goal is to leave our mark. Ancient Greece has shown us a lot about that.*
The key to success, happiness, fulfillment and longevity is to LIVE WELL. To employ our gifts to their fullest. To find and follow our muse.
The Roman scholar Varro stated that there are only three Muses: one born from water (Practice), another the air (Memory), and a third from the human voice (Song). But Greek mythology claims three times as many Muses. There is a reason why (besides the fact that it is my favorite number, squared). The Greeks believed it took nine days to fall from heaven to earth, and nine more to fall into the underworld. The Land of Nine, in other words, is where we are right now. Today, that is a pretty complicated place. While the Muses of Greek mythology had to do mainly with the Arts, modern day muses must inspire us in a variety of endeavors.
Finding your muse requires self awareness. What are your interests, your talents? What brings you joy? What comes naturally and benefits not only yourself, but those around you? Inspiration, if we look inward, already resides with us in the form of our uniquity. We come with a purpose - seeds, if you will - and it is up to us to nurture that potential into fruition. We don't have to do it alone; indeed, we cannot. We need all that each of us has to offer. We grow - or languish - together.
Lest we go the way of the ancient Greeks without leaving a laudable mark, finding our muses has never been more important.
Are you looking for yours? Have you already found it?
*Yes, the Greeks were into that whole slavery thing; I never said they were perfect!
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It's a lonely walk, this crazy life I've chosen. More often than not it feels like I'm just going in circles. Deciding to be a full time writer is like hopping into a hamster wheel... until suddenly, you realize you might actually get somewhere.
I'm still spinning, but this wheel is the only way to get where I hope to go.
How could I do otherwise? It has always been my dream to write. I wasn't getting any further as an artist - another dream job, right? - but I'm also not giving up on it. There is more security in a nine-to-five, an actual paycheck at least. Yet, if that was what I was supposed to do with me life, I imagine there would be more satisfaction in it. But no. This is the best I have to offer. To deny these parts of myself is to give the world the lesser portion, the leftovers.
Sure, I create worlds to please myself, but I also send them as a benediction into the world. Who knows but what something I've written may touch someone just when they need it most. That person may touch countless others with their particular giftedness, and soon that wheel I'm on becomes a whirlwind of people recreating the world into a better place.
That's what what makes it worthwhile; knowing that even as I spin, momentum is building.
What are you walking toward today?
I normally steer clear of the fray, but it has been an election year like no other. Usually it's the mudslinging that gets to me, along with endless commercials and media obsession, as if squabbling politicians are more interesting than REAL news. The divisiveness promulgated by talking heads was bad enough, but now everyone is weighing in on social media. The very medium meant to foster open communication and connectivity is driving deeper wedges between us. Yes, the antics of both current major party candidates reminds us of middle school, and just how badly our political system is broken. It is sad to think we don't have better options.
But...maybe we do. A third party candidate might just sweep in and gobble up those of us disgusted with the whole affair. True...though that isn't what I'm suggesting. It's time to think outside the box. I believe it's time for a "NO CONFIDENCE" vote to be an option. If a majority withdrew support from ALL candidates, declaring them unfit to lead, wouldn't we as a nation be obligated to look elsewhere?
I'm not naive enough to think we could ever get a consensus on one candidate; there are too many conflicting opinions for that. But what if our common disdain for what we have been offered was enough to at least get some more palatable choices on the table?
It's something to think about.
What do you see? A friendly jumble of coffee mugs, right? Makes you want to reach in and have a cup with me, doesn't it?
I used to have this little quirk. It's not as pronounced as it was before motherhood christened me continuously rushed, but back in the day, I would to try to use each mug in the cupboard equally. What's so weird about that? Nothing, really... if the reason for the rotation is to promote equal wear and tear. In my case though, it was so that it wouldn't seem like I was playing favorites. To whom, you might ask? Why, to the mugs, of course!
While a psychiatrist might label me wacko, I prefer to think this penchant for fair play is due to a highly developed empathetic nature. I mean, what about the poor chipped fellow in the back corner that never gets picked - how do you think he feels?
Yeah... nothing, I know. It's a mug, not a person.
But it got me thinking...
What if we thought of people like coffee mugs? There they are, all crammed together in the cupboard in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes, all sharing a common function. I might prefer one over another (I like being able to fit four fingers through the handle), but that doesn't change the fact that they are all essentially the same thing, with the same purpose. It's not until we start labeling them that their differences emerge.
First let's sort them by color, not that it matters one iota. I have never known a coffee mug to be less of a mug because it wasn't a particular shade. In fact, some of my favorites are wildly colorful. But still, just for the sake of experiment...
There's one problem: They won't all fit now, and some of my favorites aren't even on the shelf. Sure, it looks neat and tidy, and everyone's got space, but coffee break just got a whole lot less interesting. Let's try again...
Maybe if I get rid of all of the irregular ones... they're not easily labeled anyhow, and there is that handle deficiency issue. But they're beautiful, aren't they, and they make me feel all rustic and cozy when I hold them, more real somehow...
What if I got rid of the ones I find inconvenient? The ones that get in my way?
Or the one's that take up too much space?
The ones that preach should go. Who needs their advice?
The frou-frou ones, too. Or better yet, let's just hide them in another cupboard and pretend they don't exist...
...right after we get rid of those that might offend the other mugs.