I'm having a blast this Spring leading book study/writing circles based on the book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, by Elizabeth Gilbert.
This book is a primer for anyone who wants to awaken their creativity.
Our theme this week was COURAGE. We talked about how to recognize the voice of our fear, and see it as a separate voice from our own. We also talked about the importance of listening to our fear - giving it a fair hearing - then telling it to take a back seat while we take the driver's seat our life.
To anchor this idea, we began by listing things our fear says to us when we're about to take a risk. (Mine always hits me with "you're getting too big for your britches," and "people will hate you, and you'll be all alone,").
Then we listed adjectives to describe our fear's personality. There were some surprises here. Several women in the group shared my realization that our fear isn't just MEAN, it wants to PROTECT us.
Then, we wrote letters to our fear. Some chose to try a twist and write a letter from their fear. Either way, the key here is to separate ourselves from our fear. To give you an example of the power of this exercise, here's mine, in its raw and unpolished form:
A letter to my fear
Hey fear, I see you. I feel like we’ve been hanging out lately. I know we always hang out. But I’m sensing us walking alongside each other a little more. And I sense that I’m taking the lead a little more.
I feel like when I give you a chance to have your say, you calm down a little. That’s all we really want, right? To have our say? To be heard? When our voice is suppressed is when trouble happens.
I’ve been learning how to bring both of our voices to the table. I mean, I really want to live a soul stirring life. I’ve been taking risks out the wazoo, not having a traditional J-O-B while also juggling adult financial responsibilities. DANG.
But I’m doing this because I have a calling. Sometimes I wonder if my helping other women express their stories and voices and creativity is a curtain I stand behind as a way to avoid my own creativity. But that also may be you talking.
So back to soul stirring. Yes, I want that. I want grand adventure. I want travel. I want variety. I want peace and beauty. I want to make a difference. I want to express who I am.
And you. You are ever so practical. You want me to be safe .You want me to be secure. You are here to preserve my life at all costs. You remind me of the shadowy hand waving over the tadpole tank*. All the time.
And I know I can’t just ignore your concerns. And I don’t want you to ignore mine either. So that’s why we need to work together, you and me. I’ll aim for soul stirring and you aim for supportive practicilaity.
That way when I am faced with a decision to take a creative risk, I get to ask myself “what would feel soul stirring AND supportively practical?
You are the safety net into which I can fall. But I’m not going to lay down in your net. I’m going to bounce up and out, knowing I can return to you, thankful for how you anchor me.
*this is a reference from Chapter 1 in Big Magic.
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Because I can't get enough of these transformative lessons, I'm starting a Big Magic Journeyers study group. Membership in this private Facebook group includes printable worksheets with writing prompts you can do in 5 minutes per week. Members also receive a private creative coaching session with me, which can be used to clarify your marketing message, dive into your brand story, or work through a creative challenge that is brought to your awareness through your study of the book.
Interested in joining my tribe of soulful creative women to experience a creative breakthrough? Contact me here to learn more and sign up.
Don't delay! The journey begins Monday, April 2.
Author and Branding Consultant
I am passionate about helping mission-centered business owners share their message through compelling written and visual content.
My memoir, What I Gave to the Fire, is available in both print and Kindle formats on Amazon.com.