Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic
I have never read Eat, Pray, Love. I have never watched Julia Roberts start her life over in hopes of finding herself. And while I'm sharing, I never wanted to (nothing against you, Julia). So when our fearless leader Denisse suggested Big Magic as our next #LadyHustleReadingClub piece, I was a bit hesitant.
P.S. Sorry Denisse. Please still love me.
What the heck did I care what Elizabeth Gilbert had to say about finding and fueling creativity? I didn't.
BOY, HAS THAT CHANGED.
Five minutes into listening to Gilbert's silky and knowing voice narrate her own book, I frantically texted the LH Mag team because I felt like I was having an out of body experience. I think my exact words were something along the lines of, "God is speaking to me through an audiobook." Damn, this woman is good.
Since I started listening to Big Magic, aka my own personal gospel, many things have happened to me. I wrote a piece for Lady Hustle of which I'm particularly proud. I nailed my first ever yoga headstand (the book was actually playing at that exact moment). I spent time cooking delicious meals for myself instead of the usual egg sandwich while my boyfriend was away. These may seem like trivial successes, but along the way something became very clear: I was climbing out of my creative rut.
The most important thing that Big Magic taught me was that my ideas and dreams are worthy. They're worthy of my acknowledgement. Over the course of the last ten years, many yoga instructors have reminded me during my practice that self talk is extremely important. The way we address our own beings in our heads is often negative or outright mean. While I'm proud to say I have (mostly) changed that for myself, my solution was to just ignore my ideas. Instead of telling myself they were boring or pointless, I would simply not think about them at all. In the past few weeks, since listening to this book, I have learned to respect my own thoughts.
While I can't give Big Magic 100% of the credit for my gradual change of spirit (shout out to my extremely supportive LH team), I know that it is certainly undeniable that Gilbert's words played a pivotal role. Everytime I put my headphones in my ears to delve into another chapter, I felt the author holding out her hand, beckoning me to continue moving forward.
Truly, I know I sound a bit intense. I know Gilbert isn't really the Messiah, but my connection with this book was spiritual. I found myself constantly scribbling down my favorite quotes, or rewinding a specific passage over and over again. I let the words sink into me.
One of the most crucial pieces of this book was that Gilbert is not preaching to the reader. She was simply sharing what she has learned, and possibly still needs to work on, throughout her life. And she was funny while doing it! There were many times when I was listening to Big Magic on the train and outwardly laughed in the midst of a sea of strangers, at the risk of looking like I was off my rocker.
A Hogwarts reference about 30 pages in let me know right away that this book was right up my alley. Gilbert said, "I should explain at this point that I’ve spent my entire life in devotion to creativity, and along the way I’ve developed a set of beliefs about how it works—and how to work with it—that is entirely and unapologetically based upon magical thinking. And when I refer to magic here, I mean it literally. Like, in the Hogwarts sense. I am referring to the supernatural, the mystical, the inexplicable, the surreal, the divine, the transcendent, the otherworldly. Because the truth is, I believe that creativity is a force of enchantment— not entirely human in its origins."
This. What a refreshing perspective. To look at creativity as actual magic with which we as a species are gifted. I'm sure that many people who use creativity as a source of income - or even those who don't - often feel discouraged and disheartened when they fall short. When you do, I'm begging you, read this quote. Let this passage remind you that you have something magical to be shared with the world.
If you are feeling really lost, listen to Gilbert's advice, and keep going. "I work either way, you see—assisted or unassisted— because that is what you must do in order to live a fully creative life. I work steadily, and I always thank the process. Whether I am touched by grace or not, I thank creativity for allowing me to engage with it at all. Because either way, it’s all kind of amazing—what we get to do, what we get to attempt, what we sometimes get to commune with. Gratitude, always. Always, gratitude."
It's so hard to keep going when even your last bit of confidence has been stolen. But if this book has taught me one thing, it's that the journey is worth it.
We want to know what you thought of Big Magic! Did Elizabeth Gilbert's words resonate with you or did you feel totally uninspired by it all? Post on social media using the hashtag #LADYHUSTLEREADINGCLUB so we can see your reviews!