About fear, authenticity and Big Magic

I’ve always been fascinated by writers.

Their creativity, their ability to play with words, to connect with their inner voice and wisdom, to dedicate themselves for years   – sometimes even decades – despite their total uncertainty of achievement or prediction of where it might or might not lead, combined with not being paid for a while, yet keeping faith, being driven by their higher purpose to share their gift to the world.

No need to say that I’m fantasizing it. But it doesn’t change that I admire the work they do and believe it takes courage, vulnerability and determination.

I’ve always fantasized about creative people in general. First, I thought they had some gifts and talents that I didn’t have for sure. I know now it’s not true. I also thought it was easy for them and spontaneous. Where it actually takes time and effort. I thought anyone’s higher purpose could only be found in helping others and saving the World. What a scary thing to think when you lack self confidence and are a perfectionist. No need to say it seems like a tremendous work and an impossible goal to achieve. It can lead to depression, frustration, never ending dissatisfaction, etc…

Considering myself a lifelong learner, in constant introspection and a recovering perfectionist on a quest for finding my higher purpose, alignment and becoming the most authentic version of myself – both professionally, creatively, spiritually and personally – I’ll admit that a little help is always welcome.

Over time, I got to understand that I am okay ! That I am different and that’s okay ! That I have fears and doubts and change my mind often, but that’s okay too ! It’s all part of the process. And i’m not alone. At times I even get to think that I am enough, finally…

Also, lately I’ve learned to listen to my inner voice more, to respect my own needs, to enjoy life as it is, to stop comparing… And I understand that no one is perfect and that there isn’t such thing as perfection.

There is so much to learn in a lifetime !

So, when I stumbled across this video, I thought this needed to be shared ! Not only because it means so much to me, but because if it does, it might do to you too !!!

There is also this interview of Elizabeth Gilbert (God knows I LOVE her and her work !), by Marie Forleo (and I ADMIRE her too !!!), that opened up my eyes and gave me a honest insight and understanding of the creative processes  (of writing or any enterprise) alongside with understanding the power of fear, thinking patterns and toxic belief systems that we –human beings –have.

I believe that we all need a bit of their wisdom in our lives and I’m therefore willing to share with you what resonated with me most.

About fear :

« There are people who are making and doing very interesting things out there.

And then there are people who want to be making and doing very interesting things. They have ideas and inspiration, but they are not making those things. They always have very articulate reasons for why they are not doing that work. And the reasons are real ; financial difficulties, family problem, question of time, living in the wrong city, having the wrong training, not having collaborators, …

There are always good reasons for not engaging with creativity. When I started to scratch (what’s behind it) : it is always FEAR.

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

Here is a list of fears :

  • You’re afraid you have no talent,
  •  you’re afraid you’ll be rejected, criticized, ridicule, misunderstood or worse of all : ignored
  • you’re afraid there is no market for your idea and therefore no point in pursuing it.
  • You’re afraid somebody else already did it better. Everybody else already did it better.
  • You’re afraid somebody will steal your idea so it’s safer to keep it hidden forever in the dark
  • You’re afraid you won’t be taken seriously
  • You’re afraid your work is not politically, emotionally or artistically important enough to change people’s life and isn’t  therefore worth doing
  • You’re afraid your dreams are embarassing,
  • You’re afraid that some day you’ll look back on your creative endeavours and that it has been a giant waste of time, effort and money,
  • You’re afraid that you don’t have the right kind of discipline,
  • You’re afraid that you don’t have the workspace, or financial freedom or empty hours on which to focus on exploration…
  • You’re afraid to encounter your worst demons
  • … That you are too old or too young …

Scary, scary, scary …everything is SO SCARY.

Creativity is a path for the brave but not for the fearless.

Bravery means doing something scary.

Trust me, your fears will always show up. Especially if you want to be innovative. It will always be afraid of creativity… it hates to enter realms of uncertain outcomes…

We have to be careful about how we handle our fear… When people try to kill their fear, they usually end up murdering their creativity in the process…

I don’t try to kill my fear. I don’t go to war against it… It seems to me that the less I fight my fear, the less it fights back. When I relax, it relaxes too… » – excerpt from BIG MAGIC, by Elizabeth Gilbert

About Originality & Authenticity :

To those who feel like they are not good enough or that they are imposters :

« We are all just borrowing from each other… But you are allowed to add to the pile.

Everything has been done before, but not yet by YOU !

What moves me is the authenticity… »

About helping others :

To those who, like me, believe it only matters if it helps others :

« MY ART IS MINE. I create because it brings me JOY, not because it helps people.

There are far better ways for me to help, like volunteering or giving money…

When I wrote this book (‘EAT, PRAY AND LOVE’), I was a mess ; I was looking for some grace and resurrection in my own life. It accidentally ended up helping people…

ALL LOVE EVENTUALLY BECOMES HELP » – Elizabeth Gilbert

About fantasizing your true purpose:

« Finding your true purpose is deciding what sort of shit sandwich you’re really in for » – excerpt from BIG MAGIC, by Elizabeth Guilbert

The idea is : every pursuit, no matter how glamourous  it may seem, no matter how exciting it feels, or you feel you’re born to do it, comes with a shit sandwich.

The question is not : What do I love ? BUT What do I love so much that I don’t mind eating the shit sandwich that comes along with that thing ?

Don’t believe : If you try really hard and put everything into it, it will happen or you’ll get everything you want. We’re all grown-ups here. The truth is : You might put everything you have into something and it might  – OR NOT work.

People murder their creativity by insisting they’re not truly creative unless their creativity pays the bills.

Don’t put yourself  in a precarious situation so that you can never do it again…

YOU HAVE TO BE CHILDLIKE IN THE PURSUIT OF YOUR LIFE BUT YOU CANNOT BE CHILDISH.” – Elizabeth Gilbert

Childlike = Walk into the world with wide open wonder. Being open and let go of bitterness, ready to be amazed, ready to be taught, ready for everything to be new. (= mature)

Childish= I want that and I should have it. And if it doesn’t happen it’s not fair – tantrum – nobody likes me etc… (=immature) »

About perfectionism and the power of finishing:

« The only way I finished my first novel was my thinking : I don’t want it to be perfect. I want it to be done and finished.

Perfectionism is a serial killer. It is fear in high heel shoes. It is not a virtue.

A perfectionist won’t finish and won’t even start.

WHAT WILL MAKE YOU FINISH IT IS NOT DISCIPLINE BUT SELF-FORGIVENESS.” » – Elizabeth Gilbert

About failure:

« Failure has a function, it asks you if you want to keep going. »

A last wise word  from Elizabeth Gilbert:

« WHAT IF NOTHING IS HOLY AND EVERYTHING IS ALLOWED ? »

I hope you liked this article and that it gave you something to think about… It personally makes me wanna read her book ‘BIG MAGIC’ and keep on doing, creating, trying, living fully and authentically !

Take care,

x

Axelle

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s