Photos courtesy of SOUL AMSTERDAM
What's a goddess to you?
Do forces outside your limited sense of self inspire your daily life, your practice, your art and your work?
What is a muse in your mind?
Who is your muse?
Or do you have one?
Amuse: A Course in Contemplative Creativity allows you to investigate the energy of the "muse" in creative and contemplative practice.
The course encourages you to find fresh metaphors to reinvigorate your practice, to give vitality to your work, to offer new energy to your every day life.
Amuse: A Course in Contemplative Creativity gives you the opportunity to open up a little more to the unknown dimension of creativity. As artists are we completely in control, or do we co-create with agencies and influences beyond our limited perception of the self?
The course follows three cycles of three weeks. Each week, you'll be introduced to a Boecian Muse, or goddess of inspiration.
What is a Muse?
A muse might be an androgynous figure. It may be a friend, male or female. A muse might be a stranger you look up to.
A muse might be a composite character that includes the traits of many characters. It might be more like an energy, or a force of nature. It might be the ocean, a daffodil, a sandpiper. If you want, the muse might transverse species and forms like a shamanic beast.
The muses might be any energy that bring you what you need in any moment. They might offer medicine. They might offer romance. In ancient literature, the muse tends to possess a spirited, flirtatious and delightful quality.
If you need pleasure, your muse might point you to pleasure.
If you need materials, the muse might point you to the right set of pens.
If you need support, the muse might point you to the financial or emotional support you need to get your art off the ground.
Your muse might whisper in words, notes or signs.
So who are the muses of Amuse?
Let's meet them.
1. Melete or Attention
The first muse of Amuse is Melete. But if you don't speak Ancient Greek, call her by her English name: Attention.
Sometimes she goes by the name, "Contemplation" or "Meditation."
According to the mythology, Melete is born of water.
The first muse inspires the flow of attention, the flow or ideas, the flow of creativity. She moves like water. Perhaps like water, she transforms states and circumstances.
In addition to paying attention to flow states in contemplative and creative practice, in the first cycle of Amuse: A Course in Contemplative Creativity, we focus on listening.
Sometimes, the muses' clues are subtle. Listening is an art that helps us get in touch with whatever muse we need in any moment.
2. Mneme or Memory
Have you heard of a meme?
If so, you may already be familiar with the second muse, Mneme.
"Meme" comes from the same root as Mneme.
Mneme means memory.
In weeks 4-6 of Amuse, we'll be musing with our memories, investigating what memory is and how it plays out in our physical bodies, in our individual consciousnes and in the collective unconsciousness.
We look at things like limitations, rituals and "murmuration."
Melete, or Attention, influences, Mneme, or Memory. What we attend to mindfully, we often remember.
Artists must tune in consciously and continuously with the world. They must listen to the world, to themselves, to their bodies, to others.
Attention and memory, Melete and Mneme come into play in parenting, teaching, drawing, hairdressing, dancing, public speaking, cooking, gardening, performing, yoga - you name it.
In the second cycle, we lightly touch on different theories of memory. Walter Benjamin calls memory a theatre of the mind. Biologists like Richard Semon envision cell to hold memories that play out in our physical bodies and in our experience of the world.
How do the theatres of our minds/bodies meet the theatres of other minds/bodies? How does the memory of one single event differ from one person to the next? What happens when two people explore the gaps and crossings between personal and interpersonal memories?
The second cycle of Amuse allows you to investigate what memory is and how it might inspire your practices.
3. Aoide or Song
Aoide is the Ancient Greek name for the muse of the human voice. So in the last cycle of Amuse, you'll tune into your own Muse of Song.
But I like to see the "human" voice to include all the inhuman things that help us be who we are. We are interdependent beings after all. Our existence wouldn't be possible without the bees, the trees and the snakes.
Maybe you already have a Muse of Song?
Singing is one expression of Aoide. If you play a guitar, you likely pay attention to the instrument. You might memorize chords or patterns of sounds.
Once you've done a bit of work with attention and memory, you might fiddle, play, or sing more freely with your instrument.
Amuse gives you the opportunity to rekindle your musical, magical, enchanted relationship with the world.
Exactly how you sing through last three weeks of Amuse is up to you, but the guided practices and meditations give you a safe framework in which to explore your own voice.
In Amuse: A Course in Contemplative Creativity, you'll have an opportunity to dive into many dimensions of your own practice.
We work contemplatively. We'll enter into a reflective practice along with a creative practice. We'll ask questions.
I model this aspect of the course on the state of enquiry, the Keatsian mode of negative capability.
At Amuse, we honour the openness to possibility.
You might want to check out the Modern Muses page. Parts of these interviews will be available exclusively to those who register for the paid version of Amuse,
With Amuse, you can go at your own pace.
Amuse takes an approach creativity that sees it as a pleasure, a joy, a delight.