My book club's selection for this past month was Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. She speaks of creativity and ideas as sort of magical creatures. They move about until they find a home in someone who is willing to do the work to bring them to fruition. It is an interesting perspective and one I have not thought of before. I don't think I believe in the magic as strongly as she, but I do like the whimsy and possibility it offers. Here are a few snippets that expanded my way of thinking.
A sometimes daunting question for me is, "What am I passionate about?" It can involve so much pressure especially as we're told to find our passion and pursue it relentlessly. What is the one thing to which I would dedicate my life? I have not a clue. I have many interests, but it is so hard for me to discern between those and passion. Elizabeth Gilbert spoke to this very struggle when she said, "Passion can seem so intimidatingly out of reach at times...But curiosity is a milder, quieter, more welcoming, and more democratic entity." Oh what freedom! It is immensely easier for me to answer what things make me curious. And how fun to imagine that a small curiosity may lead to something so much bigger.
One of my greatest weaknesses is that I am almost constantly pondering what other people think of me. It prevents me from being my true self and takes up precious time and space in my life. It limits what I put out into the world. Liz Gilbert gives a no nonsense response to this, "Always remember that people's judgements about you are none of your business." That statement is almost shocking to me. But if true, again what freedom! I want to choose it to be true for my life. She goes on to say, "Whatever you do, try not to dwell too long on your failures. You don't need to conduct autopsies on your disasters." Doing these very things allows us to stay open to whatever creative endeavors are calling us.
"If I am not actively creating something, then I am probably actively destroying something." This seems a bit intense at first read, but I think it rings true for me. When I have gone some time without creating, I do see that I am destroying things. For me, this looks like harming my own worth with negative self talk or harboring bitterness in other relationships. Certainly, lack of creativity isn't the only things spurring these negative behaviors, but I do think it plays a role.
Creativity is something I feel most, if not all, of us were made to do. The multitude and range of things we humans create is incredible. This book left me with an even greater appreciation of creativity and encourages me to pursue it with less limitations and more whimsy.