Over the last three to four years, I have found myself continuously pulled towards books of spiritual nature. I mean, the definition itself is so murky, some call it self help, some call it spiritual, some call it lame. The pursuit of self-discovery has many different labels and stigma attached to it, I have found. It takes some amount of courage to even admit that you are on that path because that instantly makes you look weak or soft, or whatever it is that makes you vulnerable in a world where you are constantly asked to put up a strong face.
I have read a few books of this genre along the way, and some of them have made me pause, think and reflect. Take Gretchen Rubin’s “Happiness Project” for example, or all of Brene Brown’s books, especially her writings on vulnerability. Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” also added many revelations to my life.
I turned to one of these books again this week, as I always do in times of anxiety and despair, and when nothing feels safe enough for my soul. I started with Liz Gilbert’s “Big Magic”, and I am hooked. I have not even finished the book, I am only halfway through, but I am amazed at the parallels I have found in all of these different books that have made their way to me.
The idea is to simplify. And God knows I have been going through the opposite of anything simple these last few days.
So Simplify. Simplify your life. Simplify your thoughts. Simplify your actions. Simplify your relationships. Simplify your creative process.
Now I know just as well as the next person that if you are dealing with something tough like anxiety, and someone loosely throws the word “simplify” at you, chances are that you will either throw a chair at that person or burst into tears or walk away with a smile. I have done all those three things.
I mention all this because, sometimes when the world does not get you, a book does. Even when it is about something else entirely, words have a powerful way of reaching out to you and comforting you in an ever so reassuring way.
After all, words stay forever. But people, they leave.
So Big Magic is like having Liz in the room with me, telling me all of these amazing magical things that I have always known forever, but somehow chosen to forget only to get caught up in worldly nonsense.
The biggest parallel I have drawn so far and what made me sit up and shiver for a second is the concept of Genius. How most of these books look at genius and some times creativity as a concept.
The idea is that you/your body/your life is a mere conduit for creativity to pass through. In the sense, that you are not a genius. You have a genius.
If you want to pursue anything creative or otherwise in life, you have got to be pure in your intentions. By that, I mean- To be authentic and show up. Day after day after day. I cannot stress enough on the showing up part. And show up wholeheartedly for the joy of it, not for a big climax, or a Nobel prize or for money. Show up for it brings you joy. Show up and be open to receiving your own genius, and let it come alive.
The moment you accept you are not the genius, and it is something that you work with, it keeps your ego in check and takes all that pressure off you to create perfect things. You are no longer a tormented artist that needs to be drunk or throw tantrums. You are just you trying to be humble and show up to do what you really like doing. Even it makes absolutely no sense to anyone else around you. Pursue it because you love it. Pursue it to show the universe you are fully committed to it.
It all goes back to simplifying your life in the smallest of ways. Creative living is not about writing a book, or winning some accolade or living in the Himalayas, entirely giving up on your current life, and society. In fact, it is the complete opposite, it is to be brave and do things simply because they bring you joy.
In a world constantly seeking a return on investments, pursuing your true sense of self without expectations is the biggest act of rebellion you can bring forth!
Would you agree?