Creating a Big Magic
I am the kind of person who is constantly seeking for inspiration. Sometimes it comes in the form of a person surpassing grand obstacles, sometimes is someone doing an unbelievable job to help Mother Earth and sometimes its a piece of art that touches me (I'm talking art in the widest range possible, including music, book, ceramic, embroidery, etc).
Recently I discovered the work of Elizabeth Gilbert. You probably are familiar with her most famous book Eat Pray Love, that became a movie starring Julia Roberts, nonetheless. But I didn't read that book, Liz Gilbert came into my life last year. One of my friends recommended her Ted Talk, the one she speaks about Inspiration. I haven't seen anybody talking about it in the same way Liz did. Even Taylor Swift was impacted. A couple of months later I learnt that Liz has written a book all about that topic, called Big Magic and that is what I'm gonna talk about today.
If you are a person living on this planet I would recommend this book to you. But if you are a person living on this planet and happen to work with creativity, my friend you NEED to buy this book.
First things first. Let me share my vision of why we are here on planet Earth. I do believe that we are here to learn, to experience, to make mistakes and to create. We came here to find solutions for our problems, to get better - evolutionary speaking and this is where creativity comes. In our journey into life, we came across difficulties, impasses and to overcome these situations we need to be resourceful. And being resourceful is nothing more than being creative.
Let me give you an example, an engineer, for instance, is someone capable of find solutions, fix problems. Sure he/she will get through that using science & mathematician, but first, he/she needs to find a way of putting all the numbers together so the solution will make sense for their particular problem. In other words, this person needs to be creative.
And that is why my friends, creativity is for everybody.
Now that we are clear about creativity, let's dive right into the book. Liz divides the book into 6 parts, which seems to me, 6 steps to create that Big Magic. Courage is the first one, courage to give the first step and to put yourself out there. Let's make a pause here and reflect on this: how many times did you give up on something, just because you thought that you are not talented enough, you are not good enough, that people won't appreciate what you are doing, that you don't have all the requirement necessary, that are already so many people doing what you want to do, etc, etc, etc... I'm pretty sure this listing is almost infinite, but in the end, it all resumes in one word: fear.
The solution Liz proposes in the book is brilliant! She acknowledges and respects fear. She treats it as an entity and assumes that fear will always be part of the journey, so there is no reason to hide it or pretend that it doesn't exist. You can simply invite it to be part of the trip. But make sure that YOU are the one who is taking decisions, you are the one in charge.
Besides fear and creativity, there are other characters in the book too, inspiration is one of them, she simply calls it ideas:
"I believe that our planet is inhabited not only by animal and plants and bacteria and viruses, but also by ideas. (...) Ideas have no material body, but they do have consciousness, and they most certainly have will. Ideas are driven by a single impulse: to be made manifest. And the only way an idea can be manifest in our world is through collaboration with a human partner."
She defines inspiration in a simple way, just an idea looking to be manifested. And it will need a partner, YOU. So your job is to open the door when inspiration knocks and you can start working together. This way of thinking removes a lot of pressure from the artist's shoulder, after all, if something goes wrong, you are justing helping out an idea to come to this world, it doesn't mean that your work is not good. In the end, all that matters is your dedication to follow that idea, the persistence to create.
Within the persistence theme, comes one of my favourite parts: motive. That was an important topic for me, last year I learnt a lot about my motive, why I create what I do. In her own words: "you are not required to save the world with your creativity. Your art not only doesn't have to be original, it doesn't have to be important." or "I would so much rather that you wrote a book in order to entertain yourself than to help me." I was blown away! Should I ignore tendencies and analytics and what people seem to like? Am I allowed to work and have fun?
"Your own reasons to create are reason enough. Merely by pursuing what you love, you may inadvertently end up helping us plenty."
"Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart."
Apparently YES. If you think about what I said at the beginning of the post, that we are here to experience, learn and create, now can I add "have fun"? Why not? If I remember correctly my times of school I did work hard! But I also had fun, so yeah I think the two things can happen at the same time. Thank you, Liz, for saying that.
There are soooo many other teachings between those pages that I would have to tell you the whole book, so I hope an idea comes knocking in your door and convinces you to read this book :) I strongly believe that we are nothing without our creative skills, or in Elizabeth Gilbert words:
"I firmly believe that we all need to find something to do in our lives that stops us from eating the couch. Whether we make a profession out of it or not, we all need an activity that is beyond the mundane and that takes us out of our established and limiting roles in society (mother, employee, neighbour, etc..). We all need something that helps us to forget ourselves for a while (...) something that takes us so far out that we forget to brood over our insecurities.
Creative living can do it by completely absorbing our attention for a short and magical spell, it can relieve us temporarily from the dreadful burden of being who we are. Best of all, at the end of your creative adventure, you have a souvenir - something that you made, something to remind you forever of your brief but transformative encounter with inspiration."
Thank you so much for being here and for trusting your precious time reading my words on this book.
With much love,
PS: If you have a creative friend that might like to know about this book, please share this post. Together we can create a positive and inspiring world.
>> Read more about Big Magic here
>> Elizabeth Gilbert on Instagram