Last night I had the pleasure of attending a talk given by the wonderfully talented and enigmatic Elizabeth Gilbert.
Elizabeth is more well known for her best selling book Eat, Pray, Love however she is a passionate and committed writer and her work goes beyond this ‘Hollywoodised’ story. She is responsible for producing amongst other things, a best selling novel The Signature of All Things and her latest book Big Magic, which is all about Creativity….one of my favourite topics of conversation! In fact I mentioned this book when I was reading it a few weeks ago…
Well, in light of the fact that I saw, let’s call her Liz (why not!), last night, I thought it would be apt to share a few insights from her talk. Things that you might find useful in your own life, especially if you looking to feel more creative, alive, passionate about what you are doing or just inspired….because I can tell you that I can away feeling all of those things.
– Things to take away –
First of all, Liz is a fantastic speaker. She is a natural story teller and she had no issue whatsoever in keeping a room hooked, awaiting her next piece of wisdom.
Every time she was asked a question by the host or audience member she not only answered the question by saying what she believed, she also usually had a story to go along with it. It’s a fantastic way for an answer to come alive.
I went to hear Liz speak with a dear friend from back in my days working for HM Prison Service. After the talk we asked each other what we got from the night. Between us we came up with the following:
– We felt inspired to go away and play, create, be curious and have fun-
– We felt more content with the prospect that not everything goes your way in the manner that you wish it to and that not all things you enjoy, bring about happiness, fun and perfection….the notion that everything comes with a ‘s**t sandwich’ or bits that you don’t really like doing –
– We felt like we were not alone in our pursuits creative or otherwise-
– That ideas, especially creative ideas change form over time. They may even end or get somehow passed on to others to complete. Tis the nature of creative energy –
– That the question ‘what are you most excited about right now?’ is a much better question when trying to get to know someone than ‘what do you do for a living?’
– That no ones life is without grief, suffering and difficulties, but out of that can come strength, creativity and growth…it may even be exciting! –
– We felt that if you really want to get something done. If you really truly love it, not only will you eat the ‘s**t sandwich’ bit you will ignore all the other mundane, distracting stuff that gets in the way or has you stop doing what you really want to do …
…in fact Liz ended the night with a reminder to us all to do this, and in doing so she read a poem to inspire us to do just this. The poem was by by Louise Erdrich and it was called Advice to Myself and its brilliant.
So, I would like to leave this as my parting words this week, in the hope that it inspires you as much as it did me. Enjoy and I look forward to seeing you again next week!
Advice to Myself
Leave the dishes.
Let the celery rot in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator
and an earthen scum harden on the kitchen floor.
Leave the black crumbs in the bottom of the toaster.
Throw the cracked bowl out and don’t patch the cup.
Don’t patch anything. Don’t mend. Buy safety pins.
Don’t even sew on a button.
Let the wind have its way, then the earth
that invades as dust and then the dead
foaming up in gray rolls underneath the couch.
Talk to them. Tell them they are welcome.
Don’t keep all the pieces of the puzzles
or the doll’s tiny shoes in pairs, don’t worry
who uses whose toothbrush or if anything
matches, at all.
Except one word to another. Or a thought.
Pursue the authentic-decide first
what is authentic,
then go after it with all your heart.
Your heart, that place
you don’t even think of cleaning out.
That closet stuffed with savage mementos.
Don’t sort the paper clips from screws from saved baby teeth
or worry if we’re all eating cereal for dinner
again. Don’t answer the telephone, ever,
or weep over anything at all that breaks.
Pink molds will grow within those sealed cartons
in the refrigerator. Accept new forms of life
and talk to the dead
who drift in though the screened windows, who collect
patiently on the tops of food jars and books.
Recycle the mail, don’t read it, don’t read anything
except what destroys
the insulation between yourself and your experience
or what pulls down or what strikes at or what shatters
this ruse you call necessity.