Excerpts from “Big Magic”

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I just finished this book this weekend, recommended to me by some amazing Denver yoginis & artists. Elizabeth Gilbert is the author most famous for the wild success of “Eat, Pray, Love” and this book is a pretty cool urge to go on a ride with creativity and to uncover the treasures within you that the Universe has placed there.

The direct quotes below are in quotation marks. The thoughts without quotation marks are me paraphrasing from her work. The first quote is what I shared in all of my yoga classes last week 🙂

  • “Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you? Those treasures hope you do. Surely something wonderful is sheltered inside you. We are all walking repositories of buried treasures. The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all and then stands back to see if we can ever find them.”
  • “Express your inner most truth aloud.”
  • “Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them”
  • It seems the less I fight my fear, the less it fights back. If I can relax, fear relaxes, too.
  • Story of her neighbor Eileen who gets tattoos on whims. “‘Oh, but you misunderstand. It’s not permanent. It’s just temporary.’ ‘You mean all your tattoos are temporary?’ ‘No, my tattoos are permanent. It’s just my body that’s temporary. So is yours. We’re only here on earth for a short while so I decided a long time ago that I want to decorate myself as playfully as I can while I still have time.’ Like Eileen I also want to live the most vividly decorated temporary life that I can. I don’t just mean physically, I mean emotionally, spiritually, intellectually. I don’t want to be afraid of bright colors or new sounds or big love or risky decisions or strange experiences or weird endeavors or sudden changes or even failure. I am going to spend as much time as I can creating delightful things out of my existence because that’s what brings me awake and that’s what brings me alive.”
  • Love her commentary and caution on expensive college advanced degrees and private universities and coming out with debt in exchange for a fake make believe validation that you’re legit, when YOU decide if you’re legit or not.
  • “Music is nothing more than decoration for the imagination”
  • You kill your creativity by demanding that it provide your paycheck
  • Regarding having an affair with your creativity: “Let yourself fall in love with your creativity like that and see what happens. Stop treating your creativity like its a tired old unhappy marriage, a grind, a drag, and start regarding it with the fresh eyes of a passionate lover.” Also try to present yourself to your creativity as if you are sexy, someone worthy to spend time with.
  • The worst thing about perfectionism is it disguises itself as a virtue. Perfectionism is just fear in fancy heals and mink coat.
  • Too many women are afraid to put forth their work unless it is completely perfect. They hold back. Men often have an amazing over confidence about themselves. They will tell themselves they are 41% qualified for a given task or job and apply for the job and often somehow grow into it in an amazing successful away. However when it comes to women they say. “I am 99.8% qualified for this task for this job so I must wait until I get that last smidge perfected.” Women often hold themselves back by thinking that they need to be perfect. This came about because of all of human history. But it’s up to us women to break this within ourselves. We must understand that perfectionism is an illusion. Everything will be open to criticism.
  • If I am not actively creating something, likely I am actively destroying something either myself or relationship. We need to be actively engaged in some kind of activity that lights us up so much that we forget to resent our enemies and we forget to brood on our insecurities. Prayer can do it for some of us, community service can do it, sex can do it, exercise can do it, substance abuse can do it with terrible consequences, but creative living can most certainly do it. Creativity has a way of sweeping you up and holding your attention for a sweet and magical spell, with the added benefit that you have souvenir something that you’ve created that is beautiful that reminds you of that magical time in your life.
  • Creativity comes to the tricksters not the martyrs
  • “Following that scavenger hunt of curiosity can lead you to amazing unexpected places and may even eventually lead you to your passion…. Or it may lead you nowhere. You may spend your whole life following your curiosity and have absolutely nothing to show for it at the end except one thing. You will have the satisfaction of knowing that you passed your entire existence and devotion to the noble human virtue of inquisitiveness. And that should be more than enough for anyone to say that they’ve lived a rich and splendid life.”
  • Know the difference between your ego and your soul. Sometimes it’s just your ego that gets offended but never your soul.
  • I can always steady my life once more by returning to my soul. I ask it, what is it that you want, dear one? The answer is always the same. More wonder please. As long as I am still moving in that direction toward wonder then I know that I will always be fine in my soul, which is where it counts.
  • Be the giant red lobster and walk into the ballroom (to understand this one you have to read the last story in her book, lol)

I love how Liz Gilbert beautifully wrote a guide to writers, artists, musicians, anyone about how we need to RELAX and not take things so seriously, to have an affair with our creativity, to nurture it, to take a road trip with it, to follow the trail of clues of curiosity.  Be lit up in life. Whatever that might look like for you. Love.

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