“Creativity is a crushing chore and a glorious mystery. The work wants to be made, and it wants to be made through you.” – Elizabeth Gilbert
It’s been just over a year since I first read Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic: Creative Living without Fear, a delightful exploration about how each one of us can awaken and nurture our creativity. This should be required reading for every creative. It resonated so deeply with me then, that I gave it to many friends and family last year for the holidays.
When I learned Elizabeth was bringing her #BigMagicTour to New York City to promote the paperback release of her book, I jumped at the chance to hear her speak in person. It was definitely a highlight of my September (that had more than its share of trouble with mercury in retrograde and all that… ) and I wanted to share my experience with you.
My night was VERY different from what I expected. . .
|Imagine this Cathedral filled with weepy women clutching their Eat Pray Love books|
When I walked into the cathedral that evening with a friend from my husband’s work, every single pew was packed with women as well as a few men sprinkled among them.
Elizabeth’s talk in New York City was just a few weeks after she shared on Facebook that she not only loved her best friend Elias, she realized she was IN love with her. To prevent her talk that evening from getting off track with questions about the gossip surrounding her love life, she addressed the group obliquely saying she would not talk about it. She actually addressed it without directly addressing it, but we all got the message.
I figured since the tour was called #BigMagic, the evening would be a discussion of the main messages in her book; however the first hour of her presentation was all fresh content. She shared entertaining stories from her experiences on her book tour. Most of her tales were humorous, but a very poignant segment for me was when she went deep about the connection between humans and dogs. She talked about animal instincts, and how our dogs teach us about death and complete the human they are attached to. As many of you know, the concept of animal spirits is often a part of my art classes, and I’ve always believed when an animal crosses my path they are delivering to me secret messages from the spirit world.
The second hour was dedicated to audience questions. She warned us to ask questions and not share stories. True to her word if someone started sharing a story, she told the usher to take away the microphone!
Command without commandeering
I found Elizabeth’s command of the audience refreshing and interesting. She used humor and grace. She was firm, yet friendly. She communicated her expectations without making us feel like she was dictating. And you know what? Nobody asked her a question about her love life.
Live a life driven by curiosity and not held back out of fear
Although I couldn’t take you all with me to experience Elizabeth’s magic first-hand, I hope you will grab a copy of Big Magic and read her inspiring words for yourself.
“Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you? . . . The hunt to uncover those jewels — that’s creative living.”
We all have the capacity to build up our courage. When we embrace our curiosity and face down our fears, we can tackle just about anything.
So, what’s it going to be?
Learn to fly a plane? To draw? To speak French or to pursue that dream you gave up long ago?
Whatever it is, don’t be afraid. You can do it with Big Magic!
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In Case We Haven’t Met Yet…
In case we haven’t met yet, I’m an artist and founder of The Inspiration Place, where I help other artists learn how to profit from their passion or become better artists. Through online classes, business coaching programs, and a top-ranked podcast, I’ve helped thousands of artists around the world develop their skill sets and create more time and freedom to do what they love. My signature coaching program, The Artist Incubator, helps artists go from so-so sales to sold-out collections.
A graduate of Dartmouth College and M.I.T, I initially pursued finance but after witnessing 9/11, I abandoned a lucrative hedge fund job to work on my art full time. Since then, my art and my story have been featured in major publications including Forbes, The New York Times, Art of Man, Art Journaling magazine as well as featured on NBC’s “Parenthood” and the Amazon series “Hunters” with Al Pacino. My forthcoming book with HarperCollins Leadership on how to make it as an artist is scheduled to be released January 31, 2023. When I’m not in the studio, you can find me hanging out with my husband, adult kids, and a tuxedo cat named Ebony. I’d love to invite you to check out one of my free resources for art lovers (of every passion level) at schulmanart.com/freebies