Waaaay back in, say, 2014, I finished The Signature of All Things and promptly googled the author. I’d had a lackluster encounter with Eat, Pray, Love but this novel wrapped me up in a new way. I wanted to know more of what Elizabeth Gilbert (henceforth: Liz, because we have a relationship now) was up to. It turned out that she was coming to Ohio, thanks to the Toledo Public Library, in the following weeks. So I messaged my friends, Lori and Patty, and did exactly what was called for in such situations: I drove 3 hours on a Tuesday to hear an author talk about books. Then I turned around and drove the 3 hours back home.
That evening, Liz introduced me to Inspiration, Magic, and Enchantment. I’ve never been the same.
As it turns out, her library tour was to promote her forthcoming book, Big Magic. I’ve read it countless times. There are moments in life when I feel the world is grey, as if everything is written in Times New Roman, and the days seem to repeat themselves. So I walk into our library, go to the front row on the far right (just past the Young Adult section), on the second set of shelves on the second-from-the-bottom shelf and find what I call my personal copy of Big Magic.
Some mornings, I’ll pick it up and turn to a section and feel the rush of refreshment wash over me. It’s not a magical book, it’s a magical concept: that ideas come to visit, and that inspiration needs a human partner. Her generous approach to the creative life leaves room for whatever it is that you want to add to the universe. I’m a believer – and, apparently, now her Downline in selling this particular version of magic.
(That’s a lie. It’s not for sale. It can never be bought. But I feel as passionately about my Liz version of creativity as any essential oils distributor.)
Since this time, I have recommended, quoted, cited, and figuratively threw a copy of Big Magic to all my favorite people. I’ve hosted retreats where we simply say the words back and forth to one another. People come at me with thoughts and I practically push them to to follow that Idea “to its natural end.”
Just this past year, in my very town, I was talking with a gal who had bravely tried something. She had an idea that wouldn’t leave her alone, and so she opened her doors to it. There were struggles (hello, COVID) and learning curves. In a brief discussion I learned that while I was a tad obnoxious over my excitement at her very existence, other people were…. not so much. She actually endured so much criticism and “are you really sure you should do this?” that her continued existence is a miracle.
I told her: All of these people full of doubts are terrified you’ll succeed because it means that the big dream they have living within them could actually work. Your success means the reason their dream never comes into existence is THEY aren’t brave enough to try. They desperately want reason and logic and “that won’t work” to be true because they are scared of their own power.
Welcome to the Magic Hour
I’m surrounded by brave people who are willing to partner with Inspiration and try something. (Note: they’re not “fearless.” They’re just willing to try. We’ll talk about fear, don’t worry.)
I’m going to open my doors to all these brave souls.
I’m going to create space for Inspiration to come knocking.
I’m going to create time for you to tune your ear to the call of the Idea.
I’m going to tell you one million times that your worthiness has nothing to do with it.
And then I’ll finally shut up long enough for you to do your thing.
Who: Anyone who has ever had an idea come to visit.
What: I’m going to read Liz’s words, invite reactions that evoke hospitality to creativity, and then give space.
When: Some Tuesday nights. (Note: It’s known in these parts that Wednesday morning is when we Get Shit Done. Right after Rise & Shine yoga. Creativity does require you to show up and do the work.)
Where: Woven Yoga
Why: Because an Idea visited, and I don’t like to say no to a good idea without good reason. (“You don’t want word getting around the universe that you’re difficult to work with,” Liz writes on page 37.)
Your responsibility: Sign up & show up. (The signing up part is only loosely suggested.) It costs zero dollars and requires zero membership. No yoga, no touching toes, no chakras unless you want them, none of it. This is for the sake of the created/creative order. You might want to bring the notebook where you and Enchantment work out the details. And a good pen.