I’m back with more on Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic. For anyone who missed Part 1 of my book review, and the reason I decided to start doing some creative things I’ve been only thinking about over the past four years, you can read my previous post.
I want to start this post by saying that this book really helped me find my way back to some creative urges that I had been ignoring. If you’re not able to read everything I’ve written so far about Elizabeth’s Gilbert book Big Magic, no problem. (This turned out to be so much longer than even I expected!) Think of Liz and her book as if they were your creative guardian angel. You know, that little voice that says “Hey, you keep thinking about taking ballroom dancing lessons. You’re thinking about it all day long, week after week. Please, please, please DANCE! Do the thing you love and you will be much happier!”.
Back to the book. Remember, we’re having an imaginary conversation with Liz over coffee (why not?). She’s arguing all of the excuses I’ve been clinging to over the years to play it safe and ignore my creative instincts. She’s doing a great job arguing with me . . .
Me: As a mom of two little girls under the age of 6, I feel as If I sometimes lose myself in taking care of my family. Sometimes, it’s overwhelming. I’m frequently in what I like to call “survival mode”. I’m just doing the best I can to keep my head above whater so I’ve lost that bounce in my step. I think I’ve lost touch with so many things that light me up.
Liz: “I want to live the most vividly decorated temporary life that I can. I don’t just mean physically; I mean emotionally, spiritually, intellectually.” “. . . I am going to spend as much time as I can creating delightful things out of my existence, because that’s what brings me awake and that’s what brings me alive.” (page 91)
Me: So often I think that just getting things done are going to keep me feeling “alive”. This reminds me that sometimes I have to take time out for myself and really nurture myself to feel “alive”. Not focusing on the things I truly love makes for a really sad existence. I don’t want my girls to grow up with a sad, uninspired, exhausted Mom. I want them to see and share in my personal “spark”.
Me: I’ve been thinking about starting a blog, sharing my thoughts about motherhood and my family, but also incorporating the transformation of our home because I’ll be doing a lot of work on it in the future and I love the design process. It feels like there are so many blogs out there now. I’m worried that I’m not going to create anything interesting or different.
Liz: “We’re all related, after all, so there’s going to be some repetition of creative instinct. Everything reminds us of something. But once you put your own expression and passion behind an idea, that idea becomes yours.” “Attempts at originality can often feel forced and precious, but authenticity has quiet resonance that never fails to stir me. Just say what you want to say, then, and say it with all your heart.” (page 97-98)
Me: This makes me feel so much better. (Again, I want to hug Liz!)
Me: Once I get the nerve to share my thoughts publicly, I’m a bit afraid of criticism. People can sometimes be mean. (I know generally, people are kind, but there’s always someone out there that’s having a bad day.)
Liz: “If I am allowed to speak my inner truth, then my critics are allowed to speak their inner truths, as well. Fair’s fair. If you dare to create something and put it out there, after all, then it may accidentally stir up a response. That’s the natural order of life: the eternal inhale and exhale of action and reaction. But you are definitely not in charge of the reaction — even when the reaction is flat-out bizarre.” (page 124)
Me: This makes sense to me. It’s easy to forget that everyone is going to have an opinion and usually it says so much more about what is going on in their life. I have no control over the reception of my own words or creativity. That’s part of the process and I constantly need to remind myself of this.
Me: Here’s my biggest fear of all. What if I fail?
Liz: “You are worthy dear one – regardless of the outcome. You will keep making your work, regardless of the outcome. You will keep sharing your work, regardless of the outcome. You were born to create, regardless of the outcome.” “Anyhow, what else are you going to do with your time here on earth — not make things? Not do interesting stuff? Not follow your love and your curiosity?”(pages 258-259)
Me: Thank you so much for writing this book Liz! Please don’t ever stop writing and sharing your thoughts. I’ve never read a book quite like this before and It’s provided me so much inspiration and motivation to do the things I love!