ALM 11: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

By Elizabeth Gilbert


The Universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.

The hunt to uncover those jewels- that’s creative living.

The Courage to go on that hunt in the first place- that’s what separates a mundane existence form a more enchanted one.


A creative life is an amplified life. Its a bigger life, happier life, an expanded life, and one hell of a lot more interesting life. Living in this manner- continually and stubbornly bringing forth the jewels that are hidden with you- is a fine are, in and of itself.


Creative living is a path for the brave, because when courage dies, creativity dies with it.


You’re afraid you have no talent

You’re afraid you’ll be rejected or criticized

You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of talent or degree

You’re afraid your too fat.

You’re afraid your too old to start

You’re afraid your too young to start

As the saying goes, “Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them.”


Trust me, your fear will always show up- especially when you’re trying to be inventive or innovated.  Your fear will always be triggered by your creativity, because creativity ask you to enter into realms of uncertain outcome, and fear hates uncertain outcome. Your fear- programmed by evolution to be hyper vigilant and insanely overprotective- will always assume that any uncertain outcome is destined to end in a bloody horrible death.


“Dearest Fear: creativity and I are about to go on a road trip together. I understand you’ll be joining us, because you always do.  I acknowledge that you believe you have an important job to do in my life, and that you take your job seriously. Apparently your job is to induce complete panic whenever i’m about to do anything interesting- and may I say, you are superb at your job. So by all means, keep doing your job, if you feel you must. But I will also be doing my job on this road trip, which is to work hard and stay focused. And Creativity will be doing its job, which is to remain stimulating and inspiring. There’s plenty of room in this vehicle for all of us, so make yourself at home, but understand this: Creativity and I are the only ones who will be making any decisions along the way. I recognize and respect that you are part of this family, and so I will never exclude you form our activities, but still- your suggestions will ever be followed. You’re allowed to have a seat, and you’re allowed to have a voice, but you are not allowed to have a vote. You’re not to allowed to touch the road maps, you’re not allowed to suggest detours, you’re not allowed to fiddle with the tempter. Dude- your not even allowed to touch the radio. But above all else, my dear old familiar friend, you are absolutely forbidden to drive.” 


Every single pursuit- no matter how wonderful and exciting and glamorous it may initially seem- comes with its own brand of shit sandwich.

What are you most passionate enough that you can endure the most disagreeable aspects of the work?