Part 2 of 6 of a read through of Elizabeth Gilbert's book 'Big Magic'. Check out part one here.
I agree with Elizabeth, that ideas and inspiration are magic and magical. They seem to come from no where, as if something has connected, that was not connected before. They pop into our minds and wait for us to so something. If we choose not to take action we may forget the idea.
I love the way Elizabeth describes ideas as something that lives around us with consciousness but no form. Ideas live outside of ourselves trying to get our attention, but often we are too absorbed in our own world to notice. But when we are relaxed sometimes we grasp these ideas and they inhabit us-we can decide whether we pursue the idea or let go. I found it really interesting that often we have an idea that we dismiss and later we find someone else has picked it up and done it. We didn't pay enough attention to the idea and the idea left to someone that would. Perhaps the timing for us wasn't right yet.
When we say yes to an idea it places coincidences and breadcrumbs on our path to keep us interested. This reminds me of Paulo Coelho's book "The Alchemist", where opportunities present themselves to us so many times before they move on.
She mentions that often we feel that a creative path needs to be the path of the tormented artist, thoughts of failure, and unworthiness. To many times we attach our self worth to things that are outside of us rather than the journey we have taken with in.
I believe creativity begets more creativity. You have to keep at it and show up. It is a collaboration between you, inspiration, and creativity. We need to remember that not everything we do will be perfect and to approach the work with curiosity and an open heart, to find the joy and challenge in the process, rather than the end result.
Elizabeth mentions that the Romans believed that genius was an external force, that some one had heinous not was a genius; genius is more of a guide, and visits you from time to time. It seems to me in our society we feel that the only people who can create (sing, write, dance, etc) are the professionals. We forget that they had to start some where and learn from their mistakes, they didn't just wake up one morning as pros. It took time and showing up to greet the work, and accepting failure, but kept going anyway. Elizabeth says we assume there is a top and that means that we often feel the only motive to create is to reach the top to be better than our peers and our precious self. To me that route sounds very harsh and lonely. Creativity is a gift to yourself. And finding something you enjoy that makes time disappear is amazing. When you find it don't dismiss it, don't let it go, keep at it, do for the joy.
When do you feel the magic of inspiration? How would you describe it that feeling?
How do we slow down to hear the ideas that are calling us? How do we learn to take joy in the process of our creativity and not stress about the end product? How do we nurture this or reteach it to our children (even ourselves and other adults)? As a teacher of music and art I have heard 5 year olds tell me they cannot draw or sing-because they are not good. They are afraid to make a mistake and feel like a first attempt must be perfect and it only gets worse as we grow up.
I challenge you to approach your creativity with the curiosity and boldness of a toddler. Don't worry what it looks, or sounds like, be in the now and enjoy where you are at with your creativity-you have to start somewhere.
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Jennifer Russell was born and raised in New Brunswick, Canada.She is an Intentional artist who focuses on creating meaning full connections to her work for herself and others. Nothing is more satisfying to her than hearing that her work has inspired someone in their own life.