Cooper waves his arms and legs in pure joy. From his booster seat he has spotted the bright colours of his favourite play equipment at the park. The car stops and he waits; wiggling and complaining for almost two whole minutes while Mum gathers the goodies for their picnic. He leaps out of the car seat as soon as he feels the ‘click’ of release and gets frustrated when he finds his arms still entangled in the harness.
‘Cooper… just slow down.’ Mum smiles as she tries to place a hat on his bobbing head.
They hold hands as they walk towards a picnic table. Cooper struggles against his mum’s grasp, pulling as the equipment lures him; rising into the blue sky, its bright colours promising fun and laughter. The swings hold special appeal. Cooper doesn’t know how to swing himself but loves lying on his tummy on the seat and running up and back in the groove the bigger kids have created.
Cooper points with his free hand. ‘Schwings!’
‘Yes, the swings,’ Mum replies, ‘First let’s put these things down at the table. C’mon.’
Cooper stops and points again. ‘Schwings.’ It’s almost a whisper.
She knows she’s almost lost him, the swings are all he sees.
With much coaxing they make it to the shaded picnic table. Cooper seems oblivious to the fact that he is now seated on the picnic table, his eyes focused on the swings as Mum adjusts his hat and reapplies his sunscreen.
Mum rubs the lotion as she talks.
‘You have a little play, and then we’ll have some lunch. What would you like for lunch Cooper?’
But Cooper can’t hear her, he is already lost to the land of swings. She places herself in his line of vision and asks again. Cooper leans to see around this obstacle that has appeared between him and his beloved swings.
‘Schwings’ he points.
There is no connection. In Cooper’s mind, there are only swings. His mum sighs and places him on the ground, giving him a tap on the bottom as he runs off toward the swings.
This scene came to me as I ignored my muse for the umpteenth time. I’m amazed at how easily I can become distracted and not listen to wise advice.
But unlike little Cooper, I realised that I am not so compliant.
If I were in this scene, I would have refused a hat, probably violently tossed it to the ground and ran off without the protection of sunscreen. No connections would be made; I would only offer a vacant rebellious stare.
My gentle muse would wait until I returned; exhausted, hungry, and burnt; and begging for help and wisdom.
My creative life flows when I respect my muse, when I take responsibility and say no to distractions that will consume me. When I stop thinking that everyone else gets to go on the swings and begin to trust that sunscreen is best, whether it comes in the form of research or a rewrite. Respect is about trusting the creative process and not demanding my own way but moving with its flow. To respect my muse I must give the gift of my full attention so we can work together in flow and synchronicity.
Or at the very least, make an effort.