My Grandmother was quite possibly, the greatest muser of all.
I remember as a child, riding in the back seat with her on long car trips. She would spend hours and hours doing the following three things.
Watch the passing scenery through the car windows.
Twiddle her thumbs.
There came a point when I asked her…
“Oma, don’t you ever get bored twiddling your thumbs?”
“Oh yes,” she immediately replied, “I get very bored.”
“Well,” I then asked her…
“What do you do when you get bored”?
“I do this…”
At that moment, my grandmother’s thumbs stopped twiddling and froze in place.
After a few moments silence… before my very own eyes… they began to twiddle again…
– however, now they were being twiddled in the opposite direction.
That story has given me an enormous amount of muse over the decades since that wonderful revelation.
There’s nothing like a good inner dialogue of muse to transport us away from the tedium of long waits in line, the drive home, the moments just before we fall asleep.
To further help me explain the importance of muse are two sweet true stories.
The first was told by Stephen Hawking’s mother.
During a party, guests became concerned when they noticed the physicist had separated himself to a far away corner of the house where he laid down his head and closed his eyes. Worried that he was in pain, they approached his mother and addressed their fears.
Undaunted, his mother approached her son, leaned down and whispered into his ear:
“Now, Stephen dear, I know that you’re perfectly content to sit here all alone while you contemplate your theories, but you must now come along as you have worried your guests.”
The second true story is about a brilliant Russian scientist who was always so preoccupied with theorems and scientific calculations that he could only be given the simplest of tasks when at home.
His wife told the camera how he only had the ability to fetch water or potatoes because his mind was always entrenched in the mysteries of the cosmos.
The story then continued to tell how he one day decided to sell his car, so that the hour long commute to work could be spent figuring out his theories rather than having to concentrate on the traffic.
And of course, let us not forget the following:
Had it not been for the muses of the ancients we would not have mythology, stories, heros, folklore or even starry constellations.
I’ve learned that it’s best not to disturb those who appear to be happily lost amidst their own thoughts and musings… because quite frankly, usually what I have to say can wait.
Because chances are, that good, thoughtful and interesting inner muse can be far more powerful and healing than anything I could ever say.