An Interview With Artist and Certified Life Coach Melissa “MUSE” Colon On Culture, Arts Policy, and How You Can Identify Your Real Tribe

Sep 11, 2023 | Art Insights, Artist Interviews

Written By: Chiara Atoyebi

Photo Courtesy of Muse 2022

A few years back, I found myself yearning to rekindle my creative flame and unleash the passions that had been quietly simmering beneath the surface of my heart. Having dedicated years to the care of my children and the nurturing of my family, I gazed into the mirror one day and realized that the reflection looking back at me seemed unfamiliar. The youthful exasperation that used to accompany those late-night breastfeeding sessions, the endless sleep training, and the meticulous consideration of healthy baby food choices was gradually fading away, replaced by a gaze filled with love and bewilderment as my children forged their own bonds and embarked on exciting new adventures, leaving me feeling somewhat adrift.

I want to emphasize that I cherish the wonderful years I spent at home with my children. They are truly exceptional, and I wouldn’t change a thing about that experience. However, as an artist, I came to understand that sometimes, merely painting the walls of your home or adding a creative touch to birthday cookies, cakes, and parties isn’t enough. 

The phases of womanhood reflect the changing face of the moon, with each stage presenting its own distinctive qualities and presenting fresh opportunities for discovery along the journey.

“Black By The Ocean” Graphic by Chiara Atoyebi 2022

The sensation of being adrift isn’t exclusive to mothers; it can affect women regardless of their parental status. Whether we’re deeply in love or tirelessly serving others, it’s a common tendency to immerse ourselves entirely in caring for others, often to our own detriment. On a profound level, we recognize the beauty of cultivating friendships, but there’s something truly transcendent about forming a women’s circle. When these two elements coexist in the same space, it becomes nothing short of magical.

For millennia, our female ancestors have gathered together beneath the moon’s gentle glow, in sacred spaces, or simply within their communities to engage in healing practices and reclaim their innate power. This timeless tradition of rituals, ceremonies, and sisterhood belongs to every community of women, transcending backgrounds and cultural differences.  

In the West African tradition, the Dagara Tribe exemplifies a profound spiritual connection with nature through their practices. Engaging in rituals that bridge the gap between the earthly and spiritual realms, they cultivate a harmonious bond with the natural world. Similarly, the Yoruba tradition emphasizes the importance of spiritual communion, advocating for prayers, invigorating dances, and establishing meaningful connections with revered deities such as Oshun and Ogun. For black individuals, spirituality has consistently revolved around the profound and nurturing relationship with our beloved Earth. This enduring connection serves as a powerful source of guidance, inspiration, and solace, enriching the spiritual tapestry of our collective journey. 

Additionally, there are Red Tent  communities, Diosa Retreats, and Lakota Talking Circles to name a few.

You will have to find one that resonates with you, unleashes your creativity, heals your womb. Mine came a few years back when an old friend now life coach reached out to me, and invited me to a retreat she was holding on the Juneteenth weekend I readily accepted. This was a radical moment of acceptance and transformation for me that served as the catalyst for change in my life. Between vegan meals, petting animals, honest conversations and sound healing in the grass–my life was changed forever. 

 If you’ve ever wondered how to connect with your tribe, form your own, or if working with a life coach is for you this inspiring interview is for you.

*This interview was originally in conjuction with Civic Arts and the collaboration of art and community partnerships.*

In our interview together MUSE addresses some of today’s most important questions regarding the inner life of women.

Hi Muse, nice to have you hear today. Can you tell us about yourself? Where are you from? What do you do? And how did you arrive at the wonderfully inspirational work you do now?

My name is Melissa Colon, and I go by Muse. I was born in the Dominican Republic, and I currently reside on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I am a Life Coach and Personal Growth advisor.

For me, the path toward coaching full-time was really the path toward myself. I spent many years doing different types of jobs, always feeling like something was missing. Like I wasn’t fulfilling my purpose. A couple of years ago, I sat with myself and thought about what had been the most consistent thing in my life, and the answer was my personal development. My passion for bettering myself led me to my purpose of helping others to better themselves.

I feel that at this moment, Public Policy is trying to shape itself around creatives and provide spaces and opportunities for underserved communities. Can you speak about what you are hearing from other creatives and the work they do that would be deemed helpful?

I’m hearing other creatives wanting to serve their communities through healing modalities, art, and products. This next generation of creatives is highly innovative and more motivated than ever before. They are not waiting for community or access. They are creating it for themselves! More affordable studios and programs are always helpful and refreshing, and I find our communities taking advantage of all the opportunities afforded to them in the public space. Based on what I see in New York, there is a great balance between creativity/entrepreneurship and resources. With that being said, the more resources, the better!

How would city or state funding help your work and the work of other mothers? Who could benefit from it?

City and State funding would allow for a wider reach. There are so many marketing tools such as SEO etc. that would boost the visibility of personal development workshops, retreats, the arts, and products. There is a middle class, that for many years has gone unserved, those who make too much for public services, but not enough to personally invest resources that could offer their creativity wider exposure.

You encourage women to be free and go for their dreams. What does that look like to you when you offer that encouragement? (I know for me; I really stepped into my femininity and reclaimed my voice after our meetings)

I think what sets me apart is that I offer personalized encouragement. It’s about understanding the women I’m working with by truly getting to know their stories, fears, and strengths. The relationship I cultivate builds trust. As women, when we feel like we can trust someone and feel safe, something powerful happens. We become more open, and we dance; we become all the things we were meant to be.

I often tell people that you attract the most beautiful, free, feminine, and diverse women into your tribe. I know that this energy is something women are yearning for right now. Why is it so important? How do we get it?

Community is a core requirement for being human. It’s where it all started and where it will all come to a culmination. We are social and community-oriented beings. My workshops and classes capitalize on that core need. That need is met when we feel safe, secure, heard, and seen. The main ingredients in creating a safe and sustainable tribe are LOVE, EQUALITY, and RESPECT. The only way to do this is to lead by example. My tribe is a reflection of the woman I have chosen to be.

Nice! Tell us about your creative practice and why it’s important.

I am most known for my paintings; however, my life is my most consistent creative practice. From the way in which I choose to rise each day, to the foods I eat, to how I decorate my surroundings. It is all a creative practice — one in which I am fully immersed, intentional about, and constantly building upon.

Why is community so important? Especially for women.

It is a core aspect of our humanity, as I mentioned earlier. We are multifaceted emotional beings, and only other women can fully understand the aspects and inner workings of the female psyche. There is also the natural aspect of nurture. It is in our nature to nurture everything around us and make it more. How powerful is it when we pour that nurture into each other?

How do you balance your work schedule and staying creative with a newborn at home?

I’m still new to this …only about two weeks in, but I feel a better word is flow rather than balance. Balance denotes that everything gets equal attention, and some days that’s just not so. Some days baby needs more attention than work, and some days baby allows for more time for work. Some days just sleep, and work comes the next day. There is this idea that we can do it all — and on some level, we can. Just not at the same time or on the same day.

Flow allows me to be fully present in all aspects of my life. It allows me to reprioritize according to what is presenting itself in the moment. Flow allows me to FEEL through my day rather than think through it. Flow is my anchor. It is my reminder that life is not the same every day and that my life is living and breathing, it is pulsing, and I get to keep my finger on that pulse as long as I’m flowing with it.

I agree. Remaining in the flow is everything. What advice or words of wisdom would you like to leave us with today?

Live In Your Power. As women, we can be very judgmental of ourselves. We often look at our weaknesses and want to make ourselves better rather than owning our strengths. Owning our personal power, owning and living up to all we’ve beautifully created thus far, and flowing into our growth. List your wins every day, and remind yourself of your strengths. That’s the true springboard for change.

To learn more about life coaching and the work that Melissa does visit her website here.

2 Comments

    • Chiara Atoyebi

      Great! Glad you liked it.