I’ve been a fan of Liz, ever since I read her best selling book, “Eat, Pray, Love”, and saw the film adapted from that true story. Her authenticity, her sometimes painful growth as a result of the challenges in her life, and the transformations that she shared as she journeyed, spoke deeply to me. I connected with Liz on her Facebook page and read her posts daily, drawing inspiration from her often humorous and always spot on observations of life.
In January of this year, as I was creating my vision board for 2015 with my mom and sister, I talked about Liz and the impact she has had on my life. I consider her my mentor, my teacher, even though she doesn’t know that. She is, nonetheless. A few minutes later, my mom found a photo of Liz in a magazine. What are the odds of that? Chatting about a woman I greatly appreciate, and there she is, moments later, smiling from a magazine page. I cut out that pic and added it to my board, creating the intention to hear Liz speak, in person, or meet her. How or when that happened was not up to me.
In September, Liz’s newest book, titled Big Magic-Creative Living Beyond Fear, released. I saw on her Facebook page that Liz was doing a book tour, across the US and in several countries. I checked her tour schedule, thinking she might be in Dallas or Kansas City. I knew if she was speaking within 300 miles of me, I’d do my best to be there. I was so excited to see Wichita, KS on the list. The time and place had been decided. I could accept the invitation or not, my choice. You know what I decided.
Tonight I joined 400 – 500 other people in a church auditorium in Wichita. As I waited for Liz to appear, I read the first two chapters in Big Magic. I am going to love this book. In her open and honest style, Liz invites the reader to move past the fears that keep creative living at bay. In the first section, called Courage, she asks this question: ” Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?” She goes on to say, “The hunt to uncover those jewels…that’s creative living. The courage to go on that hunt in the first place…that’s what separates a mundane existence from a more enchanted one. ” I was already captivated.
Liz arrived, amid cheers and applause, and for the next hour and a half, shared about courage, and overcoming fear (she presented a long list of fears and excuses that hinder us) and living the creative life. Her energy was amazing. I laughed. I nodded in agreement. I teared up. My heart expanded in my chest and my beliefs expanded as well. With her characteristic transparency, Liz spoke from her own experiences of dealing with crippling fear and feelings of inadequacy, about learning extreme self care and how she won the trust of her creativity, and how she said no to things that stole her time and instead engaged joyfully in creative pursuits. I have such a full and overflowing heart tonight, that I need to process it all for a time, and perhaps share insights and ahas later in future blog posts. I left the event encouraged and inspired, my own creative life calling sweetly to me.
I am eager to embrace that calling. And I am not immune to fear. As I pondered Liz’s powerful words, the movie Home, that I watched last night, rose in my mind. The Boov ran away from danger, and also from opportunity and life and growth. Oh, the hero of the story, learned to run toward danger. Doing as Liz encourages, and following my curiosity, I looked up the word danger to discover its origins. Danger originates from the Latin word dominus, which birthed such English words as domain and dominion. Its common meaning was “power of a lord” and was used to mean one was in someone’s power. It later included the meaning of someone’s power to hurt.
What if, in running from perceived “danger”, I am running from someone’s power and domain? What if that power and domain are my own? I am done with running away. Like Oh, like Liz, I am moving beyond fear, and running toward danger, running toward my own power, regardless of risks, running headlong into a creative life. This is Big Magic, indeed. Liz Gilbert, I am grateful.