"The Romans conceived of “genius” not as a quality which a person could possess, but a spirit that was born to look after you.
Myths depict this most desirable of spirits as the genie of lamp-rubbing lore. Genie and genius come from the same root word. Seriously cool, right? Aladdin had a genie/genius to help him get shit done.
As a creator, the guiding spirit concept certainly better describes my relationship with the magic act of creation. I don’t feel like I am a genius, I feel like genius sometimes visits me. Let’s be real — even if you did want to be a genius 24/7, that ain’t what it really feels like. I definitely don’t feel like a genius when I’m pissed off and stuck trying to write. Birthing new things into the world is bloody and painful.
I don’t want the pressure of being a genius 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Some days I want to lie in a cheap hotel bed under a floral polyester duvet and watch terrible TV. OMG, Storage Wars!! ❤
Some days I want scooping peanut butter straight out of the jar with a bar of white chocolate to be the most brilliant things I do all day. Who wants to be a genius all the damn time? That’s too much pressure. I’d much rather have a buddy who can come hang with me when it’s time to whip up some magic. So then, the question on my mind today, approximately 33k words into the first draft of my book, is —
How do you get your genius to come chill on the sofa with you?
Well, first you can call up and ask you genius to come hang out, duh. What, you don’t have their phone number? I’m being silly here, but no seriously you have to call ’em up.
Let’s do a thought experiment. Ask the smartest, best, most chill parts of yourself for advice of what to do in this situation.
I’m not trying to sell you on this idea in the sense of converting you to it. I want you to play with it. I’m just putting it forward as a possibility of life to think about. — Alan Watts
Close your eyes and take a few calming breaths. Let the fears and mental clutter clear for a second. Listen for the subtle whispers of an idea that float into your head. It’s not going to be some literal crack over the head with a 2x4. For me, it feels more like an opening up of my mind. Some random-seeming thought will pop into my head. That! That’s what you’re looking for. The more nonsensical it seems the better.
Yesterday I was meditating and at the end of the session I had a nice calm visual of a beautiful sunset over the SF Bay. I heard in my internal monologue “bacon girl” sort of soft and fuzzy in the distance. That is nonsensical. Bacon girl?!
Our genies don’t yell.
They show up from the distant corners of our minds where we haven’t been paying much attention bearing some dusty treasure we forgot we owned. The soft voice of my genie said “bacon girl,” to which my loud-mouthed self that runs the show replied “WTF?!” Then after a few seconds I thought, “Oh right, Lauren Bacon. Huh, wonder what she’s up to?” So I checked Twitter and she had just written a great article that spoke directly to the thing that was hanging me up. Thanks, genie!!
Is it a guardian spirit, the universe, the source, angels, or a something grown entirely inside my own mind? I don’t have a fucking clue, and I sort of don’t care. All I know is it’s been working for me. It’s a rather mind-bending idea – you can become your own counselor/mentor/genie. I gotta say, it’s been one of the most transformative techniques I’ve learned lately.
I wish there was more to say about it to write a longer article. The technique is about the simplest thing ever. Ask the genius parts of yourself for advice and explore whatever comes back. I asked my genie/genius for a song to help soothe my slightly broken heart, and it said after a few seconds “Kate Bush” which is what I’m listening to right now. I dunno. It just works. It’s great.
The hardest part is learning to listen to the subtle guidance.
They really are faint signals, and they take a minute to appear. They get stronger and more frequent ONLY if you listen to them. Learning the patience is so hard. Literally go with whatever floats through your head first, especially if it seems small, random or nonsensical. Have fun with it. Like, what would’ve been the worst thing that could’ve happened if I’d checked Lauren’s Twitter? Nothing, right? It’s got about zero consequences.
It feels like play, and it is. Don’t let what seems like silliness keep you from your genius. Genies are goofy, wonderful tricksters with wild, far out ideas. Play with them. See what happens."