By Lisa Tener
Even the most prolific of writers can get stuck. Elizabeth Bohorquez has written and published over 400 CD programs, articles and books. And since childhood she derived both creative inspiration and strength from her muse.
“My muse has been sitting by my side throughout my life—inspiring my writing and quiet contemplation in my closet since I was three. During an abusive marriage, my muse took over and provided me a very successful professional life. Throughout my life, my muse guided me.
Yet a decade of heavy caregiving and the deaths of both her son and husband, followed by COVID, left her emotionally and physically wrought. “My health declined. Everything I turned to fell apart right before my eyes. I lost my business as I had to relocate to be nearer to family. I could no longer write, since my husband needed constant attention and was a fall risk. My health deteriorated as I could no longer exercise or even sleep without a baby monitor under my pillow.
“After my husband died, it shocked me that my muse hadn’t helped me pull myself together. I asked my muse, ‘Why did you let me down when I needed you so badly?’”
Elizabeth’s Muse Responds
Elizabeth shared that, “My muse hangs out in a workshop in my mind. I haven’t visited her there in the last decade. I didn’t make or find the time because of my heavy caregiving load, my son’s death and what occurred as I fought for him.
“My muse was actually laughing when I came into my workshop. It was like some big joke…”
Elizabeth’s muse told her, “You needed to experience all of this….everything from your birth forward. You needed to experience your deepest level of despair so you could do the work you’re meant to do.”
Elizabeth shares, “I was stunned because I saw my life in segments, not as a whole. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t return to my life’s work, my dharma, after my husband died. I had seen him as the block to my creativity.
“My muse told me that I still wasn’t seeing my true dharma and I had to go further down both emotionally and physically; rather like an alcoholic, I had to experience my bottom. Then I had to take full responsibility for myself by accepting the reality that I had the choice to live in depression, get physically sick or even die, or I could pull myself up and get healthy. And, her last words…’Accepting this will not be easy.’”
Elizabeth’s muse pushed her into action, first in a program with Deepak Chopra that incorporated meditation and yoga, then in my Get Your Writing Done program. Writing had freed her in the past and she believed it could free her again.
Elizabeth began to write from her subconscious. “I found myself delving into my past work that I thought was finished. I came to the realization through this inner journey that neither my work nor I were finished. This led me to start writing a book with a working title The Healthy Widow.
“I had an outline for interviewing other widows, but now realized I had everything I needed right before me. My book is not just about widows, but about women who have been “widowed” from life for so many reasons. Many of these women, like me, have been high producers of work, but were never free to experience the level of joy they deserved.
Elizabeth then asked her muse, “Should I reframe my book? Am I the right person to write this given of all the pain and dysfunction I’ve been through? After all, I’m not a typical widow, given that I felt relieved to have all the pain leave. Was my depression afterwards some sort of punishment?”
Elizabeth’s muse told her, “Sit down.” Then the lecture came. “You were born to address these issues. We are born alone, die alone and the time in-between is where we work with our experiences to help others.
“You were given hard lessons so you can teach from them.”
After this inner discourse, Elizabeth’s writing flowed easily.”I felt confident in sharing with my readers. I saw them in an audience. Some had happy marriages; others not so much. All were fine with what they experienced, for they felt my authenticity.
“I also received more clarity about my readers as I wrote: widows are not the only ones who lose partners; don’t forget the widowers and the same-sex partnerships who also deal with the expectations of other people and society, which may keep them from being healthy.
“As I wrote, it became clear to me that one can grieve and be healthy at the same time. This is NOT to be judged.”
Elizabeth realized that she was her first reader, writing a book to help herself that would, in turn, help her readers.
Do you see any of yourself in Elizabeth’s story? It’s common for us as writers to experience times where we resist our dharma. We stop writing. We blame our situation for the blockage.
The truth and ensuing breakthrough first require us to take responsibility for our situation, to look at it with fresh eyes. To be curious and open to what our muse can teach us. And to write!
For Elizabeth, free writing, a form of journaling, helped reveal her misconceptions and her truth. Once she reconnected with her creative muse, took responsibility for her situation, allowed herself time and space to write and opened her mind in curiosity, truth came forward and she was freed to write and to understand her forthcoming book more deeply.
Her muse’s parting words: “Do not give your power away.”
Good advice for any writer. If something seems to keep you from your writing, be bold and explore what you may be running from. Ask your muse to guide you.
Lisa Tener is a leading book writing and publishing coach, entrepreneur, speaker, and author of the award winning book, The Joy of Writing Journal: Spark Your Creativity in 8 Minutes a Day. Winner of the Silver Stevie Award for Coach/Mentor of the year and known as “The Creativity Catalyst,” she has helped thousands of aspiring writers through her coaching services and courses. Lisa Tener’s clients have signed five- and six-figure book deals with HarperCollins, Random House, Hachette, Beyond Words, New World Library, New Harbinger, St. Martin’s Press, Yale University Press, Johns Hopkins University Press, HCI and other major publishers