Life-changing conversations on going big, and catching the muse
“Spend time every day listening to what your muse is trying to tell you.” ~Saint Bartholomew, 1st century AD
I had the opportunity to speak with Leo Babauta yesterday for the first time (for the freedom business summit).
By the end of our call, my heart had melted, and a whole swell of tears came through as I hung up the phone. I’m not a sentimental guy generally speaking -- I can be pretty tough-shelled -- but it was hard for me to say goodbye...!
This is it -- this is what it’s about, I thought, so much love and Truth...
It was overwhelmingly real...for a change.
When your entire outlook changes in an instant, it's a pretty good indicator of something big. It's been happening to me quite a bit, lately, so I’m going to share a couple reasons why you might consider seeking out deeper conversations with people you respect and admire.
That call with Leo wasn’t the first time I’ve been so deeply moved with some of the remarkable people involved in this event (there’s been a few incidents). I guess that comes with the territory of speaking about what I truly love, with some of the most remarkable people I’ve ever met...
Like Gwen Bell.
Speaking with Gwen was like having the holes in my head fused shut with a welding gun of hot compassion. It was like she saw right through me and branded my heart with the mark of compassionate self-reflection. It was the kind of reflection that makes you say to yourself “S*** - why am I doing this again...? Oh, that’s right, well I guess I don’t have to keep wasting my time with all this other extraneous crap, just 'cause Chris Brogan says that’s the way it should be done...” -- (full respect to Chris, but yeah, that feels pretty good...).
Since we spoke I refused to write any new blog posts until today -- until 4 am this morning to be exact -- until I was totally 100% clear on my motivation, and able to let the muse carry me to this place instead of some other forced motive.
In my mind, “Catching the muse” is just another way of saying “letting spirit work through you.”
There’s something about catching that wave of a project, or a mission, that’s bigger than you, and letting it ride through you -- there’s nothing more powerful in my experience, because the force of your spirit is working through that wave. I’m not going to differentiate between “Spirit” (as in “Great Spirit”) and “your spirit,” because let’s face it, they’re one and the same.
Catching the Banshee
I've found there’s this place where the muse comes to the surface of awareness, and I have to catch her at that moment and ride the wave. It’s sort of this rippling tension where my life purpose and passion converge with what I’m working towards.
It happens when I’m most connected to the great beauty of existence, and rooted in my awareness to really take it all in.
Have you experienced something like this? I’d say capturing that muse, that wave of gripping inspiration, is the defining factor in the success of all truly great creators.
Riding that wave reminds me of catching the flying banshee in Avatar, the movie. There’s this moment when you know it’s yours, you’ve spotted it, and for that brief moment everything hangs in the balance...then you seize the moment -- jump the dragon, plug into the energy, and let it take you...!
At the moment the banshee takes off, there’s this monumental force of nature -- a flow of universal energy -- that’s coursing through this union. It’s glorious, and it’s something quite bigger than the small you that’s fighting to achieve your goals, get somewhere or “be somebody.”
Learning to steer the ship while the universal energy force carries you.
Picture maneuvering a small sailboat in a strong tail wind as you cruise across the water. You’re managing the sails, but you're not in charge of the wind -- you can’t make it blow harder, and you don't need to! There’s always this underlying danger of catching a drift and running ashore, but it's easy enough to just catch your stride, ease up a little, and let the wind carry you as it may. Therein's the joy....
Maybe you have a destination in mind, but the great joy is in this windswept journey along the way.
When it comes to living a life in alignment with your passion and calling, most people will say what they want, and then do the opposite.
Everyone wants to succeed, but not everyone’s willing to put their ass on the line for it.
The space between hearing the muse, and taking action with that calling, is huge -- it's a big chasm really -- when it comes to taking action in alignment with your life’s calling, man that can be some scary s***!
Deep inside there’s this fear that if I fail at what I really want, then there’s nothing left, so maybe I just shouldn’t go for it.... It's a lot safer to know you have a dream you could go after any time, than to imagine knowing you had a dream -- you leaped -- and you fell flat on your face...again.
Could you see how that might be holding you back, without you even knowing? I battle with this fear every day, and then push on. This is my struggle...
The thing is, everyone has their own struggle.
Even the most successful people in the world. We all have our own battles, and we have the choice to determine how we look at them.
This is our great privilege as thinking humans, we have the opportunity to witness our situation and choose how we see it.... What a divine privilege.
The drive for success fuels so much great progress in the world, but it can also fuel our unhappiness, or discontent. It has the potential to really throw off the balance, and make us forget the things that really matter. Things like good health, family, and the simple fact that we are alive. Isn’t that the greatest miracle....?
The real meaning of success
Two things that stuck with me from my call with Leo: First, the overwhelming gentleness and joyfulness emanating from this man; and second, the sense of humble openness to the world, optimism and wakefulness to his life.
My biggest takeaway, though, was his approach to success. For someone steering the ship of one of the world's most successful personal blogs, his simple down-to-earth humility is striking. For him, the great success is being present and awake to life -- really savoring the journey -- there’s just this sense of richness and enjoyment in everything he does. As he said in our call...
If you enjoy doing what you're doing, then you're already a success, you know...? You're already a success, because how many people get to do that? -- you're already having a great time. It's not something that might happen in the future...you're doing it right now. And for me, when i do that...? It also results in a nice side benefit of getting a lot of readers, and making money.... That's a nice side benefit, but the main benefit is just enjoying it, and doing what I love.
In the end, the greatest success is in being able to say -- “hey, I love this life, I enjoy what I’m doing, this isn’t half bad.” That’s your choice to make, regardless of your situation. It's so clear, and yet why is that so hard to just be present with sometimes...?
If I can really look at my life, and think “hey, this is fundamentally good, this feels right, I'm doing what I’m meant to be doing at this very moment.” Wow, that feels so good. I can feel it still today, and I had it yesterday for most of the day. (I may be a little tired at the moment, but it's there for me to drop into, whenever I want it).
That’s life changing. Thank you, Leo... and thanks for life.
Now, you’ve read this far, so I have a request -- you can take it or leave it...
Ask yourself this: Is there some place in your life where you’re ignoring the calling of your spirit, and replacing it instead with tasks that are supposedly formulated to get you to the goal or destination you have in mind...?
Maybe you can ease up a little, and let the flow carry you through with open wonderment, regardless of your particular struggle, whatever that may be. I'd say life is pretty miraculous as is, don't you reckon...?
Hey, if you agree with me, shout it out in the comments, or share this post with your friends. I had a lot of fun with writing this -- I hope you've enjoyed it too! :)
Much love, Satya