From the Inner Critic to the Muse

by Julie Claire on September 25, 2014

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This past weekend, I led a two day intuitive painting workshop entitled: Finding Your Creative Flow. I had a blast. It was a beautiful gathering of six painters and me, everyone asking for greater connection to their innate creative energies.

Most everyone wanted to let loose and some participants particularly wanted to jumpstart their creativity with hopes of continuing to paint at home. Some wanted to grow personally, and others wanted to pick up a paintbrush for the first time with hopes that they might find they had a natural affinity to paint.

And amidst our beautiful intentions and open hearts, what became clear to all of us on the first day was that the inner critic was a force to reckon with.

The first day and the inner critic.


• The inner critic is great at stopping you from venturing forth into new ground.
• The critic tells you to go back to where you started.
• The inner critic is MEAN

And we did reckon with it. I shared how the inner critic is an archetype and not necessarily “personal”. Others shared the language the critic was using—phrases like: “That’s ugly”, “You can’t paint”, “You’re not getting this”, “What are you thinking, coming to this workshop?”

woman painting copyAnd we laughed. It’s amazing how enjoyable it can be to share the words the inner critic is using on us. We are not crazy, we are not the only ones, its just a fact of life….that when we show up to expand creatively we often have to work with the inner critic.

On Sunday morning as I was prepping for our second day of painting, I felt called to invoke an energy that was not at all in the camp of the critic, but an archetype of movement and flow. I asked my deeper self: what is wanting to be known in us today that knows how to experiment and explore? And my guidance brought me ”The muse. The muse is always in the room. Go there.”

So we went to the muse. We talked about who the muse is, we played with pastels for a few minutes as a way of releasing tension and perfectionism. We invoked her (the muse can be female or male), invited her into the painting time; I put music on that might call her forth; We danced…

How does the muse help us paint? The very nature of the muse is movement and flow. She is not the evaluator; she is the dancer, the singer, the painter–one step ahead of us (or many steps ahead), calling us to jump into the waters of creativity, asking us to let one word or one brushstroke, follow another.

wednesday morning hands adjustedWhat happened in the workshop? I am amazed by what people were able to paint. By the end of Sunday I felt like everyone had moved beyond their intellect and into a zone of creative exploration—new ground. There were paintings of expression, of color play, of personal meaning; One woman remarked how she is used to painting on one painting for several months, and that she had painted in two days what might usually take 6 months. Everyone had their own experience.

Where are you being stopped creatively these days? And in what ways might you invite the muse in to guide you into flow and ease, and beyond the cage of the inner critic?

If you’d like help experiencing your inner muse, sign up for a painting workshop and we’ll go there together. OR Try individual coaching with me and make it a priority to engage your inner muse.

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The gift of a little dream

by Julie Claire on September 15, 2014

Julie Claire photo shoot

Sometimes I distance myself from ideas of what my dreams are in life, because I want to be present to what is already magnificently showing up in my life.  At these times, the talk of “dreams” turns me off.  So often, so quickly, the conversation about dreams becomes too externally oriented–too “thingy”, too disconnected from life.

And sometimes hearing someone talk of how their dreams came true and how it happened for them, has me tuned in and salivating.

So, after hearing a friend speak of a dream she was acting on and I found myself salivating, I took the plunge myself, going for a little dream….


The back story:  for the last 1-2 years I have had the uncomfortable idea of getting myself professionally photoagraphed for my website…”Wow, wouldn’t it be incredible to have Jennifer Esperanza –that photographer who takes all those great photos I see around– take my photos for my website.” Jennifer Esperanza.  She’s incredible.  I consider her famous.  She’s taken photos of Krishna Das, Gloria Steinem, and cool young people with tattoos.

Most of the photos I have of myself are self taken with a couple thrown in taken by my husband.  I like them, they feel like me, they’re plenty good enough.

The jump:  Two weeks ago I contacted Jennifer Esperanza and a couple of weeks later I was photographed by her.  OH MY GOD.  Turns out all I had to do was email her.  She lives in Santa Fe.  And have the money, which I did.  Luckily I had my husband’s opinion with me –”Yes, Jennifer Esperanza, what a great idea.”

The experience:  Pre-photo session I was a wreck–nervous I mean.  I felt out of my league and like I was crazy for making such a fuss about photographs. UNCOMFORTABLE.  But now, two days after the photo shoot…I feel I am living in a smile. I am living in a sense of true joy of giving myself something I really wanted.  Something I didn’t think was possible initially.  Was too good for me.  Unnecessary.

And now I feel the joy spreading into the rest of my life.  What about that dream of having a piece of writing I am working on done in three weeks?  Hm mm…why not spend the time on it and print it up professionally?  And so it goes…

What about you?  What one small gift could you give yourself that could be considered a dream?  Is there something in the periphery of your daily life that seems a bit impractical, a bit over the top, but excites you when you think of it?  Is there one call, or one conversation, or one request to make of a friend that might make a difference?


Coaching is a great way of getting to your dreams. If you’d like to take some courageous next steps, contact me and we can talk about how we might work together.

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      Martin Rutte took these pictures of his painting in process in last week’s Wednesday morning creativity group. When he sent these pictures to a friend of his, his friend wrote back:  What an amazing chronicle of the creative journey; almost like going on a pilgrimage with you….Thanks for sharing… I love the […]

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