I became a huge fan of Elizabeth Gilbert last year after reading her novel The Signature of All Things and attending a talk at the New York Botanical Gardens, where she drew most of her archival research for the book. This woman is much more than a writer. She is a wise sage and a kindred spirit of our time. You can check out my full post on her talk right here, which includes nuggets like this...
“I don't like it when people say we have to be passionate. What if our passions change? Where does that leave us then, apart from feeling bad or guilty? What if, instead, we choose to be curious? What if, instead of quitting our job and moving across the world to follow our passion, we just turn our head one inch to the left and look at something more closely? What if that one thing leads us to the next thing and what if we choose to spend our time on this earth with an open heart, with a mind of a curious person? That is a good way to live one's life.”
In her podcast Magic Lessons, she chats with Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild. Cheryl offers her advice on what it means to be a creative person and a parent, in particular a mother. She went off to the woods for 3 straight weeks, without seeing her young children in order to finish Wild. Of course she had angst about leaving her kids for this length of time. But she did the work. And when she came back, get this: within 5 minutes her children acted as though she was never gone. I mean… if that doesn’t sum up being a mother I don’t know what does.
If any of you creatives out there are mothers, or think you may be one day, I highly recommend listening to this episode. Liz is child-free but offers her perspective on parenting and creativity as a daughter instead:
"The reason I am a creator is because my mother is a creator."
I stopped in my tracks when I heard this. It is both simple and profound and I think I need to tape this to my wall. It is a reminder to be exactly who I am, with my own interests and curiosities, and to carve out time that is solely for myself and for my creative work.
Because my kids will notice. They will see their mom making, writing, and taking time to create because it brings me joy, connectedness, and purpose. And one day, I hope to see my own children grow to be creators. People who are, to use Liz's words again, "choosing to spend their time on this earth with an open heart, with a mind of a curious person."
That is a very good way to live one's life, indeed.