Liz Gilbert had me at Eat, Pray, Love. With her globetrotting odyssey that turned us all into armchair epicures, spirit seekers, and romantics, Gilbert solidified herself in the hearts of many as a vision quest guru. When Big Magic published nine years later in 2015, I scooped up my hardcover and set to figuring out how to live a creative life beyond fear. It has become one of the books that changed my life, and as we wrap the year that has been 2020 and look forward, I think we could all use an infusion of inspired living.
It's important to note, that Gilbert isn't referring to creativity in the artsy sense, although it certainly evokes a more artful way of living. She notes, "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."
When I picked up this book, I was five years into a Fortune 500 career that my heart and head were telling me shouldn't live to see six. Gilbert's opening question, "Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?" nagged at me. I knew I was stuck, comfortable in a certain sense of standard of living, yet uncomfortable in nearly every other. I knew I wanted something bigger yet smaller than that life; something more freeing but that ensnared my soul more wholly. But, I was afraid. Of change. Of being broke. Of failing at something new. Everyone told me how lucky I was to have this job, salary, bonus and benefits package. I was pinned beneath the figurative boulder Gilbert describes. I wanted big magic; and the corporate communications department of a global financial services behemoth wasn't delivering. Maybe I wasn't looking hard enough. Maybe it never really suited me to begin with. There were so many reasons to just keep my head down and stay the course and toil on the ladder, waiting for the invitation to move from one rung to the next. And then I read the words, "You don't need anyone's permission to live a creative life."
This book planted the seeds in my garden that, combined with others, grew into the life I now live and love. Sectioned in chapters about Courage, Enchantment (I mean, hello...), Permission, Persistence, Trust, and Divinity, Big Magic delivers on the promise of its title. Bursting with nuggets of wisdom and inspiration - and permission, even, if we need that nudge - to live our most creative lives, filled with wonder and joy, Big Magic is a book that is as relevant now more than ever.
I'll discuss Big Magic in more detail and share key takeaways in my monthly Let's Get Lit! Book Club discussion episode of Sparked, on Monday, 28 December. I'm so excited to share the magic with you!
In the meantime, check out this Barnes & Noble book chat with Liz Gilbert from Big Magic's publication day: