Book Review: Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert
Each morning while staying in the Pyrenees, I would wake ahead of the family and hike up the ridge crest trail near our holiday home. There, I would find a sitting spot and, along with nature awakening around me, welcome the day ahead. I would breath in the cool, fresh mountain air scented with dewy grasses and wildflowers, experiencing with a sense of awe the expansiveness of possible opportunities and adventures each day offered. And there, with the a 360 degree view of endless mountains, I would ask myself,
“How might I live my life in such a way to remain this open each and every day?
In doing so, how might I push myself to the edge of my discomfort and live even more courageously than I ever have before?”
Knowing my mountain top experience would be short lived as our days in the Pyrenees came to a close, I went in search of some tangible guidance for my quest. Books and real live mentors have been generous to me in this lifetime so I did a little searching. It wasn’t long before I came across Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, the famed author of Eat, Pray, Love. It wasn’t her subsequent books that convinced me as I had failed to gain any connection with her more recent works. Rather, what hooked me on Big Magic was that within the sample chapter I downloaded, Gilbert put forth a similar question to mine, but worded in a much more direct fashion:
“Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures hidden within you?”
That answer, my friends, was exactly what I wanted to know for myself. The courage I sought and that we all are called to seek is what it takes to live out the lives we were born to live. Gilbert echoes my spiritual belief that this question must be posed to all of humanity, not just the “gifted” for we all are gifted. Each and every soul is created with a unique treasure that can only be brought forth with courage and a few other attributes to support it is safely delivered. Just imagine all of the suffering that could be resolved if even half of us believed this to be true and acted upon it.
Gilbert cleverly organizes the book around precisely the tools needed to live in such a way and, beyond courage, those include:
With each chapter she offers up real life examples and includes personal struggles of her own as well. No doubt a deep topic, Gilbert is able to remain both light and focused in her approach. The map she creates is so clear and profoundly in alignment with my personal experience that I am drawn to use it as a guide for a future blog series on Creative Living.
While Big Magic can easily be a weekend read, I found myself slowing down and savoring each chapter, in no hurry to let go of the imagery and awareness it created. Groundbreaking not because she reveals shocking truths, but for just the opposite reason. The words of Big Magic absolutely affirm the knowing-ness and truths we all have hidden within ourselves that must be summoned with courage and more to release.