The Muse LELA

The Muse LELA

This is my first week back to work/writing since my return from Mount Hermon.

I feel inspired and excited and beyond enthusiastic. I also feel sick to my stomach, as if I’ve taken on too much and am overwhelmed.

Enter, LELA.

In my mind’s eye, Lela is a vermillion-haired beauty with twinkling green eyes, dimples and a smattering of freckles across sun-kissed cheeks. An enchantress you would find on the moors with mist about her feet and the laugh of a devious sprite. She is part muse, part conscience.

Besides all of those things in my mind’s eye, LELA is a command center writing collaboration built with two other artists. LELA is a brain trust, a conservation of effort, a duplication of exposure, a wellspring of encouragement and enthusiasm and sometimes even the shackles that keep my feet planted firmly on terra firma. It is my pride and my modesty, it is my will and my conscience. It is my lofty dreams and my fear. It is reckless abandon and common sense all rolled into one. It is exactly the kind of grouping an artist needs, the kind of grouping I need. These artists are my “Go Pro” team and our collaboration is named LELA.

If you’ve read Steven Pressfield’s War of Art, you will instantly know what “Going Pro” is. (If you haven’t read it, check out my review here.)

As for the team element of Going Pro, it is a concoction of a mastermind group, a support group and a group of new, but trustworthy friends. When I decided to become a professional writer, it required a mental commitment. Since writing isn’t always the surest of incomes, it is sometimes hard to remember you are a professional writer when you are in between paychecks. When you are “in the trenches” so to speak. Especially in a society where success is measured in dollar signs.

A GoPro Team helps you stay focused and reminds you that you are in it for the art of it all, not just for the money. Money is lagniappe. You are in it because your soul tells you to be in it. You are driven there. It is easy for an artist to be solely driven and lonely and to hold an audience of zero in the pursuit of their art, but it isn’t necessary. As a matter of fact, I highly suggest you don’t go it alone. Having some steadfast, intelligent, similarly structured beings with whom to share your ideas can sometimes keep you from making a boneheaded mistake in the name of art. It can save you from wasting valuable hours.

However, not just any group will do. I’ve been a part of different, wide-ranging groups and I’ve met countless people in the writing world and it took me ages to find LELA and it happened rather organically.

I pursued two-thirds of my group (for you math wise folks, yes, it means I pursued everyone but myself). These were artists I met, admired, and wanted to be when I grow up — even though I’m the oldest of the bunch. I pursued them as friends. I pursued them as people to look up to, mentors. However, I did not pursue them as a GoPro Team. Yet that is what they became. And I’m grateful for that organic metamorphosis. Truly. And I pray I give as good as I get.

I will introduce you to my beautiful, exquisite GoPro team in weeks to come. No need keeping all of their greatness to myself, as tempting as that is.

I urge all of you artists out there to recognize that this doesn’t have to be a solo venture. God brings people in and out of your life for a purpose. You may already be in the presence of those who will help you reach greater depth in your art. Look around. Pursue if you have to.

By all means, Go Pro.

The War of Art – by Steve Pressfield

The War of Art – by Steve Pressfield

“Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.” – Steven Pressfield

It is rather appropriate that the first book I’m choosing to review for this blog is a book that I am driven to live every day.

I have wrestled with the artist part of my being for as long as I can remember.  I pushed it down and tried to find more acceptable pursuits. (Acceptable in the eyes of friends, family and society where success is measured in dollar signs.)   If not art, then in law as a paralegal, or in teaching.

I suffocated in self-inflicted professions as anything but author.

The most fun I’ve had outside of writing is teaching.  Perhaps because teaching can be an art — when done with passion. And a part of me gained satisfaction knowing I could be something important to a few. As gratifying as it often was, I still was very aware of it not being the best of me.

There have been many voices keeping my artistry pushed deep within me and keeping me hiding it from the world.  Oddly, the ones I listened to so completely had never read a word of my writing.

However, The War of Art  points out something I never wanted to believe.  It points out that this Resistance with a capital R — the influence that keeps us from our higher selves — is something we’ve each created within ourselves.  There becomes an addiction to not living up to our potential. And not living to our potential is easy.  An even easier with the multitude of excuses so readily available to the angst riddled artist.

Do we have to stare death in the face to make us stand up and confront Resistance? – Steven Pressfield

This book helped me realize I was the only thing keeping me back.  I need to make changes and I need to change now. And the power to push through is within me.

If you have even the slightest inkling to pursue something that puts you on a higher plane — painting, writing, singing, entrepreneurship to name but a few — then by all means read this book.

See what you can achieve. But don’t only try once.  Work every day at being the higher, better you. It is a war of sorts, made of many battles, none of which are cheap.

The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day. – Steven Pressfield

I know that “following my dream” is just another way of saying “living to my potential.”  Living to the capabilities given me by my Creator.  And I know the greater my pursuit is of IT, the greater the pull of Resistance.

The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we feel toward pursuing it. – Steven Pressfield

Buy the book here: