Liz Gilbert's new book has some central themes that made me want to leap out of my chair and start this blog.
1) Ideas as sentient beings: Gilbert sees ideas and creativity in an unapologetically magical way. Ideas travel all around us, looking for a partner to make them come alive. When you've been chosen, you'll know it - you'll experience the symptoms many artists and entrepreneurs have described through history - a tingling, a punch in the gut, vertigo, knowing somewhere that this is something that's right, that you have to do. This idea of partnering with an idea that wants to happen, that you can see the full potential of, changed the way I view creativity. Rather than wrestling with ideas that don't quite want to mould to my expectations, perhaps it's time to relax and open up to the possibility of inviting the right idea in. If I'm chosen to bring something beautiful into this world, I'll know it.
2) Fear and creativity co-habiting: The way Gilbert deals with the inevitable fear and self-doubt that comes from living a creative life is also interesting. In the vein of mindfulness, she describes letting the two personas of fear and creativity co-habit in her body. Importantly, fear is never allowed to take the wheel, but it's not suppressed, denied, shamed, or fought against. It's allowed to come along for the ride, gently, because we know that it will only respond to kindness. Allowing them both to exist within us, recognising where they came from and how the effect us, without emotion or judgement, is a much more peaceful way of living a creative life.
And it is 'creative living' that Gilbert really seeks to promote. Living a life that is led more by curiosity than fear, and where we show up to the genuine desires and creative forces within us, however that creativity takes form, is her message. To live a creative, curious life is scary, and that fear can cause us to hunker down and become small, unassuming, settled. Creativity is life force, like prana in the Indian tradition, and Chi in the Chinese, and can make life a big, huge, great, spectacular adventure.