Reflections on running the creative marathon - Whew I made it, the new album is born!
Well dear folks, it's taken more than a year of my life, but here it is, finally - Golden, revealed! I'm very happy with the result. Allow me to let you in on a secret however, that the creation process has been far from golden at times!

The result has been the alchemy of hard times at many different stages - Some of the songs reflect more difficult periods of my life from the past. In more modern times also, simply the process of recording alone in my home studio proved very challenging, even heart-breaking some days. I've learnt so much, and to you fellow creatives the best advice I can give you is to do your work when you are at your best, focus on giving one hundred percent, but let that be simply for even an hour or two a day. Do more with caution! I found that the times when I lost the most faith in my abilities, and when love for myself and this project waned, were the times when I was empty from having given my best already - an example being happily recording vocal parts in the morning, and then uneasily editing them in the afternoon, growing more and more frustrated that what I was hearing was not to my liking. Yet if I took the rest of the afternoon away from the process and came back refreshed the following morning, I found that my ears heard differently and my singing had not been so bad after all. We live in a time when most people work an eight hour day, and those of us in the creative arts or who are self employed may feel that we must meet a similar standard of 'hard work'. But what I've seen is that what we're giving is literally ourselves, our Souls, our Life force. We can only give our best to our highly concnetrated art for short periods of time, and then it's time to rebalance our energies again. So folks, less is more. Take one step at a time, even if it takes you more than a year to finish your creative marathon. You'll enjoy the process so much more, and oh boy will you feel the exhilaration of achievement at the end!

Let me share with you my very similar experience of running a half marathon when I was in my early twenties. Being 'the musical one' in the family, I'd never considered myself sporty, but after a three week course in the outdoors, I grea to love the feeling of connection from physical activity. I set the goal of running a half marathon in under two hours and followed the rigorous four month training schedule organisers had recommended. It meant running four times a week, initially for just 20 or 30 minutes at a time, but increasing to hour-long sessions, and in the last weeks for 90 minute stints. I kept to the schedule, but as the weeks went by it got colder. I was also working a full time job, and in the practice of writing 'morning pages' for half an hour when I woke up. Getting a run in meant setting the alarm for 5am, and then running in the freezing dark underneath the stars all by myself. The hardest part was always getting myself out of bed to the point where I was putting my shoes on. As soon as I was out the door I was fine, I found a momentum, a sense of rhythm and meditation on the breath. I was amazed at how by simply putting one foot in front of the other, I could cover miles and miles and be home again before I knew it. Despite the frosts, rainy days and tiredness I didn't miss a single session. I stuck with the process. As I eventually crossed the finish line with a time of one hour and fifty seven minutes I crumbled inside. No one but me knew how much it had taken for me to cross that line. No one had been on all of the runs with me. I felt a deep sense of achievement and knew that I had reached my goal through the sheer power of my own will. Again I marveled at how I'd done it all one step at a time, and I felt I'd found a really valuable process for achieving goals. I asked myself what I could achieve if I applied the process to something that really mattered. Approximately a decade on, whilst completing this album, I felt that I was again running a half marathon of sorts. To be honest, this one was even harder than my initial challenge. It took everything I had  - physically, emotionally, financially, to reach the finish line.  But I made it. So let me say 'whew!' and I hope that you LOVE the album!

 

With all of my Love and support to you, may all of your creative dreams be realised, one step at a time.
Muriel.