This quote by “Eat Pray Love”author Elizabeth Gilbert caught my eye on Twitter’s#MotivationMonday.
I have read two of Gilbert’s books (Eat Pray Love and The Last American Man) and I have seen her speak. She has a very engaging personality with a unique perspective on how to live a creative life. In her latest book “Big Magic” about living creatively without fear, she some asks some very big questions about letting curiosity not fear be your life’s compass.
“The central question upon which all creative living hinges:
Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?
I have never felt fully comfortable with the well planned upwardly mobile life. When I first left college I worked in a corporate environment. It was the days of shoulder pads and business attire like Diane Keaton’s character in “Baby Boom”. I moved up rapidly into a management position and then I imploded. I quickly got a second corporate job. Within a month of getting that job my mother had a car accident, she died and then that company let me go because I had been gone for 3 weeks. This was a clear sign for me to change directions.
I returned home after my mother’s funeral determined to live a life that was not focused on money and mobility. At the time my daughter was turning one. We had beautiful little home in Florida and I had some inheritance and a year of income from unemployment insurance. I decided to return to school and get a teaching certificate in art education.
Well intentioned lectures from the education professors, guidance counselors and friends urged me to major (or at least minor) in elementary education because I would never get a “steady job” in art. The income would be far less than I was used to and the rewards were limited.
Many years latter I retired from that unsteady job very glad that I had not opted to stick out a life didn’t inspire me.
After learning I was selling my house a few short weeks after I stopped teaching; many friends suggested I was making a mistake moving away from my social and artistic connections. Even I questioned the sanity of my radical changes . After more than a year I am sure my decision was good one. I moved more than a physical location. Mentally I live more fully in a life focused on creativity.
The upside of radical change is that you don’t know all the implications. Your dream has to be reimagined many times over until the transition is complete. Because exploration and experimentation are required processes of adjustment; one becomes used to the idea of living without stability for a period of time. Thankfully I have become far less attached to routine.
You have to let go of the old to make room for the new. I put less energy into projects that involve other people and more energy into self reflection. Time spent in organized blocks was keeping me from spending time working in depth so I drastically reduced scheduled commitments. Every pattern, assumption and every “requirement” is up for grabs.
Until next time……..