Thursday, February 24, 2011

On muses and rules

I have been pondering on much lately... On how I got at the point that I don't blog, don't bead, don't create at all for that matter. Why has my muse left me? Or should I say: why have I abandoned my muse? Did I leave her somewhere and forgot all about her? Then, what is inspiration? Who is my muse? How can I meet her, and tap into her energy? Now that I re-read my last post, I realize that I have tried to examine my sudden lack of creativity and found some answers already. But still, all these big questions won't leave me.

Last year I embarked on this journey called The Bead Journal Project, or shortly the BJP. I was filled with enthusiasm, new ideas and had even managed to get a compassionate look at me, for I was a beginner. But somewhere over time my inner critic must have gotten a strong hold of me again and pushed the other voices into the background, leaving them too little space to breathe, be and create. Consuming a lot of the space they left open with new rules, set to keep in control of everything. Wait a minute... that's exactly what I wrote last time, and then I felt I could ignore her because she was shouting so blatantly in my face. That was October of last year, and I have still to pick up my beads again. Alas, I did pick them up once about 5 weeks ago or so, to start back at my May project... to no avail it seems.

Last time I wrote:
"Loyal as I usually am to the rules I set myself - and believe me, they are quite strict - I wouldn't allow me to start another project before the last one was finished and since I got stuck on that one... there is a huge roadblock to overcome."
Apparently, there are more rules than only this one or I would probably be back on track. What are those new rules then?

For starters, I was adamant about keeping up with each month (as I found out already), about making my own life the subject of all pieces, and about blogging on my doings regularly... Hmm, the first I failed at the start: it was well into February that I finished my January project. But at that point I did blog about my doings and thoughts, even about my life, so I wasn't too upset with myself. I still could be compassionate with me, so far so good. I kept up my work, but slowly got behind more and more. Next I realized that making my own, inner life the subject of all my pieces was a hard-core rule that kept me from simply having fun beading. I cut myself some slack and told myself that is was O.K. if I took a break and beaded about something else. But still this wasn't enough to silence my critic. She kept on shouting and I faltered on my blogging too, feeling that I wasn't worth being read if I didn't have anything good to tell.

Now I am at this point of return... I do want to get back to beading again, but am not sure whether or not to pick up last years BJP. Naturally, my inner critic wants me too, she won't be content with unfinished business. It was better to never have started if you aren't going to stick to it. Yet another rule unveiled!

From February untill early July 2010 I have spent more time in the hospital then at home, going through an emotional journey that felt like a roller-coaster from hell. During those months I switched medication 3 times, weaned off medicine at all, lost 11 kg (approximately 24 pounds), was nauseous every single day, didn't sleep well, had anxiety attacks... That was my status quo on homecoming. Getting back into a normal life was hard on these conditions, getting back to beading even more.

Still I have to see how I can make a grand come-back! Backstage I am well on my way. Starting November 29th. I got into a new therapy, based on the Schema Focused Therapy that was invented by Dr. Jeffrey Young. So far it has brought me back in touch with my inner voices, trying to lure the more silent ones out of their little corners. Giving them speech lessons on how to be heard more clearly. As far as I can tell now, it works for me and I grow stronger little by little. I knew that was the case when I realized today (3 weeks after starting writing this post!) that I could finish it... even if it wasn't perfect. AND I came up with a brand new idea!

A short while ago I visited Robin Atkinson's Flickr-page on which she exhibits a wonderfull project of hers: beaded Decade Dolls. Then today I saw a post by Susan Elliot over on Plays with Needles on her concept of an inner Queen... Combined with an idea that was already simmering in my mind to make spirit dolls, I came up with the inspiration to make dolls that represent all of my inner voices.

Now first to set some new rules:
  • make no rules!
  • enjoy the beading
  • share the fun
How's that for a re-entry? I embark again today, and hope to keep you posted. Will you still be with me?

Surely all art is the result of one's having been in danger, of having gone through an experience all the way to the end, where no one can go any further.

Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) Austro-German poet.


  1. First of all, I love no rules. And I have decided to call all of my bjp projects -- simply, bead journals -- I have no intention of doing one per month. That doesn't suit me. But bead journaling does suit me.

    I can't tell you how excited I was to see that you had posted today. Just showing up is the most important thing. Just show up.

    And one warning...I think I smell another "rule" -- making dolls for ALL your inner voices? Why not start with one...and see where it leads.

    Just Bead. Just Be.

    Big, warm welcome-back hugs,

  2. Sounds like you are the road to recovery. I too fell behind with the BJP & haven't picked up the project since August when Fiona was very ill & then everything in my life went upside down. I still was beading & creating, but for me forcing myself to finish the BJP was not the answer. I put everything in a box & maybe someday will finish 2010. But for now, I have no rules, I just bead what I want, create what I can & just learn to love myself.

  3. O Dees, we have missed you. No rules. Don't even call No Rules a Rule!! Dolls are a great restart. They take a life of their own, you'll see!

  4. Thank you so much girls for visiting me so quickly!
    @susan: you are absolutely right... just starting with one is challenge enough. Not forcing myself in yet another "you gotta finish this..."-project.
    @Dot: learning to love ourselves, that's what it is all about right? Maybe strange, but reading that even accomplished beader like yourself struggles with this kind of things makes me feel better.
    @Carol: we will see! Thanks for the encouragement.

  5. WOW! I was so floored by your post, this was the first time that I read your blog and I feel that I have found an old friend. I too have the "rules", did we read the same handbook? I too am on a journey to recovery after several hospital stays last year. I too struggle with finding my muse (haven't yet). I just started beading in December and can't stop. I'm trying to make it enjoyable by letting myself wander. I found a wonderful project called the 365 A Day project where you make something every day for a year. I am doing that with beading and it is keeping it fresh and alive for me, since the only expectation is a little swatch a day. I hope to read more of your adventures in beading. Just string that bead, come on, you can do it... :-)

  6. Did you change your email address?


Thank you for reading my blog and joining me on my voyage into life with and without beads. I hope it brings you new thoughts and inspiration.
Love to see you back!


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