Big Magic (In real time) with Elizabeth Gilbert

“You have to be childlike in the pursuit of your life, but you cannot be childish.”
– Elizabeth Gilbert (from this interview with Marie Forleo)

As I mentioned previously, I spent a huge chunk of the summer writing a thing.  I wrote this thing and it did not go how I planned.  I was going to post it here just to… keep it somewhere.  Then I got my copy of Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book, BIG MAGIC: CREATIVE LIVING BEYOND FEAR and I started reading it after I wrote that last post and when my pal Sus commented about life and creativity informing each other and existing together, it was like this book was talking back to me through her words. (Thanks, Sus!)  So, instead of getting discouraged I combated the nagging idea of failure by going to see Liz Gilbert speak this past Friday in Pasadena.

Confession:  I love Elizabeth Gilbert.  There is no one whose words I love more than hers.  She is truly one of my favorite humans on this planet.  I was reading EAT PRAY LOVE when the first door to my own life opened nearly ten years ago.  That book changed the way I saw the entire world and softened me to the idea of letting the family in that I have now. I just become so empowered when I read her words that I run off a cliff without a parachute with my creativity and the intention to fly. It lights a fire, for sure.  So getting to see her speak? Forget it.  I knew I needed it and it was something else.

I have to say, it was the first time in my life that I sat in a room with a group of strangers and it seemed as though all of our brains were wired the same way.  It was the first time I didn’t feel alone as far as how I live and see the world.  My lovely Kyla calls me a “childlike wonder” because I can exist in a solid reality, but so much of my life is engulfed in magical thinking.  People tend to lose that as they get older, in this room there were the people like me, the ones who hang onto it for dear life, and we embraced the others who wanted to exist there with us.  I just… I went to a completely different place the other night.  For someone who loves words so much, I can’t seem to find the right ones capture what this night was.

I’ve never seen connection happen between people the way it happened on this night.  The whole room stopped for each person.  Not only were they growing in wisdom as their questions were answered, but there was a little morsel that EVERYONE could benefit from as well.  Did I ask a question?  Before I got there, I had planned on it. However, I did not.  Once I was sitting in that room, my brain activated “little sponge” mode and I ended up just soaking up everything going on around me.  It was seriously something powerful just to behold.  (And now Kyla is reading this wondering if I thought of something to ask at all… Yes, Kyla.  in the middle of reading the book last night, there was my question on paper, so I got an answer anyway. Funny how that happens.)

Also, Liz loves karaoke so someone asked if we could end the event in song.  (Because who doesn’t love singing out of sheer joy at the top of their lungs with other people?! I hear those people exist, but I don’t know them.) So we sang John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” together.  I honestly felt like I could have jumped out of my chair and ran across the world afterwards.  It was SO MUCH FUN. This was Big Magic in real time, and I was so grateful to experience it.  I was so filled with joy and inspiration after this that I finished the last page in my lyric art journal, which sat unfinished on my coffee table for months.  I’m kind of proud of myself.

The one thing Liz said that seems to be lingering with me?  “It’s so weird to be a PERSON. It’s the hardest job I’ve ever had.”  She’s not wrong.  In these moments I was grateful to be the person that I am, living this life, no matter how hard it is sometimes.  Thank you, Liz.  For everything.

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The Break in the Drought

As I write this on the last day of June, it is dark, humid and raining in my little corner of Southern California.  We desperately need this rain.

I’ve been feeling entirely too overwhelmed by social media as of late.  The idea that you need to be connected on Facebook or Twitter, or whatever social media outlet to stay in the know of your loved ones lives was just something that has been really getting to me. I just feel like I need a break for a little while; it could be a few days, weeks, I don’t know. I will be back, just unplugged for now.  The weird thing is, usually I’d try to get to the root of why I’m feeling this way, but right now I’m just letting it be.  I like it.

I’ve been in a bit of a creative drought. There is one blank page left in my art journal before it’s filled up.  I know what song will fill that last page, I just can’t bring myself to be finished with it.  I’ve been avoiding doing anything with it because I know that means one of two things: buying a new one OR going to the craft store to buy new paint supplies.  It’s not that I can’t decide between the two, my plan when this journal was full was to buy some canvases and recreate a few of the pieces in the journal. The thing is, I started  with the paint when I got the journal and I hated everything I created.  Maybe I’m scared I’ll mess up again, or maybe I should just see what comes of it.  In any case, I haven’t created anything in about a month.  I mean we built a footstool but that doesn’t really count, does it? I was reading something recently which said that creative people go through equal cycles of creative bliss and a kind of depression.  I am not really in a “depression” but I am still finding this to be true.  I need something to reignite my creative fire.  I’m sure I’ll find it.  Meanwhile, I can’t seem to stop reading. Books have always been my thing, going hand-in-hand with words, but I can’t seem to stop.  One right after the other these days and I am okay with that.

On the other hand, I have given myself a project that I cannot really talk about yet.  A writing project dropped itself into the universe and I said to someone, “I think I want to do this.”  So I’m doing it.  A book I have read more times than I can count for inspiration has become more like a textbook for this project.  It’s strange having this project sitting in my lap.  Brainstorming, writing, rewriting, words words words and deadlines.  Maybe this is what my social media break is for, to focus on this, even if nothing comes of it.

Focus on something else and the break in the drought will come.