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Marry Your Muse: An Interview with Jan Phillips

In an earlier post, I quote Jan Phillips about the inner voices that can keep us from creative work: “They’re voices we inherit along the way, from our parents, our teachers, the culture, the church – voices that say ‘I’m not smart enough, I’m not good enough, I don’t have a story worth telling, I’m not creative, I shouldn’t stand out’ – they’re all (k)nots that keep us bound up and silent.”

From Artists are Crazy; Mothers Can’t Be Artists, and Other Myths.

In an interview for the Sounds True site, she talks about other aspects of our thinking, attitudes and inner life that can prevent or allow greater access to our creativity. Here is an excerpt:

Sounds True: How does somebody make a commitment to their own creativity?

Jan Phillips: The whole point about the concept of “marrying your Muse” is to recognize that our relationship with the inner world is every bit as important as our relationship with the outer world. If we want to experience the Muse, to really know and feel her as a collaborator in our creative work, then we have to commit our time and attention to her on a regular basis.

We have to have a quiet, private space to be with her. We have to make it perfectly clear that when we are in that space we are not to be interrupted, that what we are doing is as sacred as prayer.

We have to establish a discipline of silence and space where we give our time and attention to the deep below. Imagine trying to have a love affair with someone without setting aside any time to meet.

Time is the medium of our relationship with the Muse. If we don’t provide an opening for her to enter and merge with our consciousness, then we don’t have a right to complain about lack of imagination or inspiration. We are the ones keeping the door locked.

Sounds True: What do you think is the most important action someone can take to develop creativity?

Jan Phillips: It helps to get clear about the whole point of creative expression, since so many of us have been trained to think of it as a self-indulgent or frivolous activity that should only be engaged in when everyone else’s needs have been tended to first.

I don’t think the Creation ended on the seventh day. I think every one of us is continuing to co-create the universe. I think we each hold a critical piece of the puzzle. We are living in a culture more committed to profit than people.

Rarely do you hear anyone speak of the prophetic and redemptive power of our creative work, of the potential our creations have to foster change and alter consciousness.

But it is only our creative work that really matters. We came here to create. Our souls had a divine purpose and they needed our bodies to fulfill it. This purpose—whatever it is—is only achieved through our creative and imaginative expressions.

The question is never “Am I creative?” The question is “What am I being called upon to create at this point?”

To be aware of our own potential and calling to contribute is an important part of the creative process.

Being conscious is the first step—conscious of our words, thoughts, and ways of being with others. Paying attention to who we are and coming to grips with why we’re here is a crucial part of the creative process in my opinion.

Because the work we put out into the world has a force of its own, and we want to be mindful of that—mindful of what we’re up to, why we’re up to it, and how we’re going to accomplish it.

And of course, to have any kind of mindfulness practice, one needs to have a place of one’s own that is absolutely private—and to go there regularly to be with the beloved, the Muse, the creative spirit within us all.

Continued in article: How to Marry Your Muse: An Interview with Jan Phillips.

Jan Phillips is an award-winning photographer, writer, multimedia artist, and national workshop leader.

She is the author of many books, including Marry Your Muse: Making a Lasting Commitment to Your Creativity, and God Is at Eye Level: Photography as a Healing Art – and also The Marry Your Muse Workshop – a Digital Download from Sounds True.

I learned of the interview with Phillips from the excellent Demon Muse site by Matt Cardin, in his post Muselinks for June 7, 2011: daimonic imagination, creative cycles, and marrying your muse – which lists other articles and resources.

To eliminate self-limiting beliefs, using The Lefkoe Method (acclaimed by Jack Canfield among many others), visit ReCreate Your Life to try the method for free.

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Marry Your Muse: An Interview with Jan Phillips

Douglas Eby

Douglas EbyDouglas Eby, MA/Psychology, is a writer and researcher on psychology and personal development related to creativity; creator of the , and author of books including [link to book site with excerpts.]
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Some excerpts from The Creative Mind are included in his newsletter .
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APA Reference
Eby, D. (2011). Marry Your Muse: An Interview with Jan Phillips. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 25, 2018, from


Last updated: 1 Aug 2011
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 1 Aug 2011
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