Excerpt From “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert

A dear friend of mine recommended the book “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert. I’m only on page 40, but it is insightful and entertaining. The first few pages describe the fear that consumes us in perusing our interests in a creative light. We are afraid someone else already did it, someone else did it better, we’re going to piss off other people by what we create, etc. Fears, fears, fears and always saying no, no, no. But she expresses the fact that her fears were boring. She never experienced anything. And one day she decided to say “yes” to those creative ideas that kept knocking on her door. I feel like I am in this phase right now, and am enjoying the book.  I’ve said yes to following a few of my passions despite my fears, so now what? How do I not let my fears stop me?

She defines creativity as not just painting or drawing or writing. It can be anything you are passionate about and not specifically devoted to the arts. She states, “No, when I refer to ‘creative living’ I am speaking more broadly. I’m talking about living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear.”

There is one part that made me laugh out loud, and it is one I will share here. It made me laugh out loud because it was such an exaggerated example, however also spot on for some people in their creative process, but also some people in regular life who have a flair for drama.

Sometimes we continually say no to things out of fear but then we say yes and become consumed with whatever we want to accomplish. We don’t develop balance when creating and we become the “tormented artist” as she calls it. We put expectations of perfection on ourselves, end up being our own worst critic, and sabotage our journey. Our minds once again become so filled and distracted that we forget to be calm, silent, and observe so that we can hear the creative messages coming through.

This concept doesn’t only apply to the creative process. It directly applies to living a peaceful and conscious life. The Universe is always trying to show us the way. Our inner wisdom is always trying to get our attention. You already have all the answers you desire within yourself. But most of the time we are too insecure, anxious, angry, and distracted to hear them. This concept applies directly to meditation and yoga and healing.  Which is why I probably why I enjoyed this excerpt so much! Many people, it seems, have contracted to be the tormented artist in their everyday life.

“If you do say yes to an idea, now it’s showtime.

Now your job becomes both simple and difficult. You have officially entered into a contract with inspiration, and you must try to see it through, all the way to its impossible-to-predict outcome.

You may set the terms for this contract however you like. It contemporary Western civilization, the most common creative contract still seems to be one of suffering. This is the contract that says ‘I shall destroy myself and everyone around me in an effort to bring forth my inspiration, and my martyrdom shall be the badge of my creative legitimacy!’

If you choose to enter into a contract of suffering, you should try to identify yourself as much as possible with the stereotype of the Tormented Artist. You will find no shortage of role models. To honor their example, follow these fundamental rules: drink as much as you possibly can; sabotage all your relationships; wrestle so vehemently against yourself that you come up bloodied every time; express constant dissatisfaction with your work; jealoausly compete against your peers; begrudge anybody else’s victories; proclaim yourself cursed (not blessed) by your talents; attach your sense of self-worth to external rewards; be arrogant when you are successful and self-pitying when you fail; honor darkness above light; die young; blame creativity for having killed you.

Does it work, this method?

Yeah, sure. It works great. Till it kills you.

So you can do it this way if you really want to. (By all means, do not let me or anyone else ever take away your suffering, if you’re committed to it!) But I’m not sure this route is especially productive, or that it will bring you or your loved ones enduring satisfaction and peace. I will concede that this method of creative living can be extremely glamorous, and it can make for an excellent biopic after you die, so if you prefer a short life of tragic glamour to a long life of such satisfaction (and many do), knock yourself out.

However, I’ve always had the sense that the muse of the tormented artist – while the artist himself is throwing temper tantrums – is sitting quietly in a corner of the studio, buffing it’s fingernails, patiently waiting for the guy to calm down and sober up so everyone can get back to work.

Because in the end, it’s all about the work, isn’t it? Or shouldn’t it be?”

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“Learn the alchemy true human beings know. The moment you accept what troubles you’ve been given, the door will open.” ~Rumi

This a wonderful article. There are many views out there on how to be happy, and many of them promote shutting out negative feelings. We cannot truly heal if we do not understand our negative and difficult emotions. For true healing to occur, we must face our fears and look within ourselves for the answers we already have. This can be scary and seem like an endless fight, but stick with it. There is a brighter light on the other side.

This article outlines the unrealistic pressure we and other people sometimes put on us to “always be happy.” He talks about the actual options you have when you’re in a tough place and how to work on accepting your emotions instead of fighting them.

Enjoy!

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What Strikes You as Funny?

Recently, I was playing a social skills question game with my clients, and one of the most dear to my heart clients chose a question that asked, “what strikes you as funny?” His primary diagnosis is schizophrenia but he is also cognitively impaired.  He exhibits thought blocking, so even if he wants to share something with you, he has a difficult time organizing his thoughts to do so.  He also will become distracted when attempting to verbally communicate with others, and you will have to remind him of the question you asked him.

He is an incredibly sweet person whom I love to interact with.  When you get him on a good day and he shows some excitement to share something with you, it’s the best experience.

However yesterday, my interaction with him concerning what he thinks is funny and makes him laugh saddened me.  He was unable to identify anything that he thought was funny or had made him laugh.  He sat for a while and I reiterated the question a few times, but he stated, “I don’t know.”  He was genuinely confused about anything that could make him laugh or feel joyful.

And then I realized… I have worked with him for about a year and a half and have never seen him laugh, or smile for that matter.

I am eternally grateful I am able to experience life fully, and at my will.

Hate Filled Heart

Do you ever feel like you are made of glass and at any moment you could break into a million pieces and never be okay again? I’m in a constant cycle, an ebb and flow… of trying to balance out my life and not let my emotions overtake me. I’ve learned that emotions are fleeting things and the longer you hold onto that emotion, the more ingrained it becomes in you. And then it becomes a mood. And then it becomes a personality trait. So this can happen with anger and sadness, and any other emotion we find undesirable. I know for a fact, now that I have learned more about myself, that I have lived a large part of my life with anger in my heart. It creeps over me and invades everything like a plague. It takes over each and every cell in my body, one by one. And then spreads to my thoughts. My actions. My interactions with others. Interactions with myself. And before I know it, I’m right back where I was for a very long time. Snappy towards other people, finding no comfort in others, finding no comfort within myself, and keeping everyone at a distance because I’m judging everything they are doing, or not doing. Someone simply taking too long to do something or acting in a certain way will irritate me to the point where I feel I can’t cope and I need to isolate myself. I don’t want to be angry and judgmental and unhappy so I feel bad and want to distance myself as much as possible. I indulge myself with the idea that I am separate from others and perpetuate this with negative thoughts and actions, almost like a self-sabotaging adventure. Sometimes I can catch it and nip in the bud, and other times it seeps in slower and more stealthily, and before I know it, I’m in deep. Maybe this is where I am recently because of the season change. The time change. The impending winter. This ridiculous election. This transitional phase I’m going through. This fear that is starting to set in about the transitional phase and what I am capable of. Me living within my full divine power. I have to admit social media does not help. And I know this, and this is why I got rid of it before. And got rid of it again. Taking in all that information on a regular basis and being bombarded with everyone’s ideas and opinions and successes and failures and the list goes on… can be overwhelming. It doesn’t HAVE to be, yet somehow it starts to be. Whatever the reason for this recent irritability, anger, and annoyance with others, it needs to be taken care of. I used to let this go on for a lot longer than a week… how did I live? Now my threshold for misery, anger, and the illusion of separateness is low so I’m more quick to find a remedy. A beautiful thought came to mind as I started writing this…. in connection with feeling like glass and that I could break apart at any time, I know that this is the foundation for rebuilding yourself, but every time it is scary. I know sometimes we need to break ourselves down to build ourselves back up even stronger and in a higher consciousness. I know that we sometimes need to break into a million pieces to be put back together in something even more beautiful. But for some reason when I see through this intense fearful and angry lens, the idea of putting myself back together scares me even more. It feels impossible. Everything feels heavy and chaotic, and too much. Everything feels miscommunicated and misconstrued and out of control. I start to ruminate that people find me annoying, that they don’t want to hear all this spiritual shit, that they don’t like me, that they won’t like me, that people don’t see a true vision of who I am. And then I give up, shut down, distance myself or react outwardly because I feel the vision people have of me is distorted. And this upsets me because I want to be understood. Everyone wants to be understood. And then I want to just fix everything and everyone to restore order and understanding. And when I obviously cannot control life and other people and the way they interpret me, I become even more isolated and frustrated. Maybe this comes from being an adult who grew up with substance abuse in the family (check out characteristics of adult children of alcoholics). This side of me that becomes fearful if things are not stable, and feels relentlessly judged must be part of my inner child that needs to be healed. And will heal. Anyways, I needed to get all that out there and I suppose I will end on this:

Nothing needs to be fixed. 

I am exactly where I need to be.

Spiral Out

Well, once again I have shied away from Facebook. The first time I ever got rid of it was because so many people were judging what I posted and offering their opinion on how I could fix my life. There were great suggestions, however at that time in my life I needed to shrink my world a little bit. And being continually connected to hundreds of people via a social networking site wasn’t serving me. I got it back to reconnect to others. A little while later a jealous ex-girlfriend of a guy I was introduced to by my friends stole my picture and created a fake profile of me. Once again Facebook brought drama I wanted no part of. And at that point I started to realize the negative impacts of social media, along with the simple fact that I was spending way too much time on it. Once again, I was Facebook-less for a year and a half. A few months ago I decided to get it back to help my Mary Kay business. Recently I’ve decided I want to put my energy into other things, so Facebook seems more like a time-suck than anything at this point. It doesn’t add anything of value to my life, and the more conscious decisions I make about the way I’m spending my time, the information I’m letting bombard me, and who I interact with, the better. I find myself again wanting to disconnect and making a life for myself as simple and non-technologically based as possible.

I plan to post my own thoughts here along with helpful articles, music, and healthy recipes. I also will be including personal updates, pictures, and what I’m currently reading/book suggestions.

Much love and light, everyone ✌🏻