I’m just now finishing Liz Gilbert’s Creativity Workshop, a bounty of a course offered on udemy. Once again she blows my mind. Her generous spirit, her gifted command of language that ignites and empowers, Gilbert continues to generate and share fresh approaches to nurturing and fiercely protecting the creative spirit. Unendingly warm and invitational, Gilbert offers uncomplicated strategies for watering and feeding the maker impulse at the ground level. Give up fetishist pursuits of passion, of changing the world with your work, Gilbert advises. “Get granular,” she says. “Start in your zip code.”
I especially appreciated Gilbert’s manifesto on what she calls “the end of martyrdom” which refers to the importance of swearing fidelity to health, optimism and forward movement in response to suffering and despair–your own or another’s:
I will love people freely and lightly and happily, or I will let them go.
I will allow people — especially other adults — to be responsible for their own lives. If other people are falling down hellholes, I will not tumble down those hellholes with them out of some mistaken sense of loyalty. (Compassion does not mean jumping into a pit of flame with anyone.) I will not stand in the fire anymore for anyone, or burn up my life for anyone, and mistakenly call that love.
I have a friend who said recently to me, “I liked you better when you were depressed. I was more comfortable with you then.”
My reply: “Well, I loved you then and I love you now. But I’m sorry — I won’t stay depressed just to keep you company, or make you feel better. I really do love you, but I don’t love you that much.” (Truth is, I don’t love ANYONE that much — because that ain’t love.)
I will not be loyal to suffering — neither yours or mine.
I will not be faithful to dysfunction — neither yours or mine.
I will not give you more than I (safely and sanely) have to give.
I will remember that we must take people as we find them, and that sometimes we must leave them there.
I will not stay in the darkness for ANYONE, and I won’t allow myself to be manipulated by anyone who feels they must drag me into their darkness for their own comfort…or that, if I refuse to stay in the darkness with them, I don’t love them.
My life is an upward search — moving stubbornly toward the light — and you can come along with me, or I’ll see you later.
I will always take care of myself — because I recognize that if I don’t take care of myself, then I can never offer my useful service or my authentic love to anybody.
I will always work to fill my soul with grace and enthusiasm. Whatever energy overflows from me, I will happily and generously share it. But I will only share the overflow, because the rest of it, I need. I will not drain my wellspring to the dregs for anyone ever again, and mistakenly call that love.
Start to finish, this course comprises a rich offering that includes many, many insights from fellow artists and innovators with the contagion and the roadmap for living the most creative life possible. A fertile sequel to Big Magic. Check it out.