“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.