Hey everyone, it's a happy day for discussing the second part of Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert! On Monday it was both the one year anniversary of Blessed Bookworm beginning its journey into existence and Ms. Gilbert's birthday so we are going to be getting into the section of the book entitled: Enchantment and celebrating together.
I really loved this section. It really clicked for me to see an explanation of how Blessed Bookworm came into existence but also highlighted some encounters I've had with inspiration in the past that I haven't yet given their full due attention. I'll get into that all below, but first I wanted to ask that if you're reading this you take a second to contemplate times where you've had an idea or gotten true inspiration for a project of some kind. Thinking about those past or current experiences are going to be really eye opening during this post.
In Enchantment, Gilbert starts really explaining to us what she means by the term Big Magic. She explains that she believes that creativity, ideas, inspiration - whatever you want to refer to it as - exist in a magical realm. She says,
"And when I refer to magic here, I mean it literally. Like, in a 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."
First of all, be still my heart while Liz Gilbert is making me weak in the knees with a Harry Potter reference. Second, what an incredibly beautiful concept. I think anyone who embraces creativity or art in their life can attest to inspiration being a force that just seems to have its own will, but the idea that it is its own entity of spirituality or magic - its beautiful. If you're religious you could see this as these strikes of inspiration or ideas as gifts from God. And that's really the same thing (please don't read that disrespectfully). It's recognizing the gifts that come to us as a mystical presence that is not from us but through us. Gilbert writes about how ideas are a kind of "disembodied, energetic life form" that will move from one person to the next until they find a person who will host the proposed project. That ideas are actively looking for their host in order to reach the ultimate goal of their existence: to be made.
Gilbert writes about how there are times when ideas come to us asking to be taken on and for different reasons we say no or don't even notice them in the first place. I took note of a few of these ideas that I've had which I don't give attention to quickly enough and then found I had lost the core of the concept when I returned to it later on. Poems or songs, ideas for a few books, curriculum outlines for teaching I wanted to use one day when I reach a classroom. I told the idea to wait, and it said, "No thanks." and went off to find someone else with more available focus.
She writes about how sometimes when an idea is being more persistent, you'll feel what she calls "universal physical and emotional signals of inspiration" and the idea will continue to use different tactics working its hardest to garner your full attention. This was the point where I saw a few ideas of mine start really coming into the forefront of my memory. A book of essays I have been slowly curating as ideas strike me. Blessed Bookworm Designs and its future. This blog series as an addendum to the business. These are the ideas that gripped me so tightly and continued to vie for my attention, waking me up early or keeping me from falling asleep while I made notes on my phone so as to not forget some crucial detail at 3 am. These are the ideas that I said yes to.
Gilbert writes about how we can choose to say yes, to give ideas the respect and love they deserve, and to remember always that we can support one another on creative quests without working to undercut someone else's success. #CommunityOverCompetition guys! She writes about committing to an idea, and what happens when you get sidetracked and possibly lose an idea. What is it that we should do when that happens? As my dad would've said, "Keep on truckin'." Respect the idea's right to leave when you abandoned it and keep looking for the next idea. Put in the effort and work until that next strike of greatness appears asking for your focus.
At one point, Gilbert writes about how the Romans believed that a person was not a genius but that they had genius; and that the Greeks believed in daemons which would be thought of as an external spiritual guide of some kind. It's this externalization of our creative and intellectual feats that is worth noting. We are able to coexist with these ideas when we are not crippled under the pressure of finding the next one. They will come when they are ready. We are merely the instrument, not the creator. How much less stressful our lives would be if we could all remember this. Our job is to be available for the idea and to manifest it as best we can. It isn't to feel boxed in to a specific medium or genre. It isn't committing to something so as to become phobic of trying anything new. Our job is to follow the path the idea leads us down. To get it made.
You may see a neglected idea leave you and then show up as someone else's - that's okay. You weren't available for that project for whatever reason, but you could be available for the next one. Just let yourself be open to enchantments.
Have you let an idea pass you by in the past? Is there an idea trying to seek your attention now?
Are you saying yes or no to inspiration and enchantment in your life?
Talk about this with me in the comments below or on Instagram!
This week in celebration of our 1 year anniversary and Elizabeth Gilbert's birthday I made a special free printable for you all to enjoy. It's a print and trim style that is sized to be 5x7 so you can print it on whatever paper you like and then just snip it to be ready for enjoyment and encouragement around your house. I'll be getting mine printed on a little nicer cardstock so keep an eye out for it in pictures to come! May the words of Ms. Gilbert shepherd some miraculous Big Magic into your life. Happy Wednesday!