I recently read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. Gilbert is well known for novels such as Eat, Pray, Love. I found Big Magic extremely refreshing and as someone who is driven by passion, creativity and curiosity, I was struck by the way that she marries these concepts and found it not only motivating, but inspiring.
Gilbert reminds us that we are all creative beings. The way we look at creativity has changed over the last few decades. In the past when one mentioned creativity, we were looking for the pieces of music or artwork to appear. Creativity is now a part of our day to day living, and an essential for many individuals personally and professionally. Gilbert reminds us that although being creative may make us vulnerable and bring feelings of fear and uncertainty, that allowing ourselves to embrace our creativity is enriching and magical.
Gilbert’s has always been passionate about writing. In Big Magic she talks about this passion and how it has driven her for a lifetime. For her, writing was a passion that she learned to put very little demands on. Despite experiences that some may feel as failures, she did not abandon her writing, but saw it more so as an essential lifeline for herself. This idea of not putting demands on her passion was one that struck me and one that many of us may want to spend some time thinking about.
There is a constant dialogue in society about finding one’s passion and purpose. This dialogue often makes it seem as though following your passion to your purpose is a destination that is to be reached and once one reaches it, all else will be fine with the world. The reality is that living a life that centers around your passions and your God given purposes is just that…living a life. It is not a destination to be reached, it is an ongoing process and a way of living.
Living a life that is driven by your passions can seem overwhelming. Passion seeking can also be seen as intimidating! It’s not uncommon to like many things, but we often feel as though we have one true passion that needs to be pursued. This can be daunting and overwhelming and lead individuals to feel as though they are not managing to find their purpose in life. Instead of focusing on passion, why not focus on curiosity?
Curiosity is something that is a lot less daunting. It brings up very little fear, and in today’s information age, we have so many tools to help us find out more about our areas that interest or to connect us to others that can. In a recent Super Soul Session, Gilbert gave some very inspiring advice to those that may be having difficulty finding their passions.
Gilbert shares that there are two types of people in this world: jackhammers and hummingbirds. Jackhammers are extremely focused on their passion and they hammer away at it. Very little distractions get in their way and their motivation to pursue their passion keeps them fired up. Then she says, there are hummingbirds. Hummingbirds are quite different than jackhammers. If you were to think of a hummingbird in real life, they quietly move from tree to tree, flower to flower, cross pollinating with ease. She suggests that taking a hummingbird approach to seeking your passion allows curiosity to drive you. It allows you to build a rich life in which you learn from different places, follow what interests you, and take from different areas to build your ideas and perspectives.
We have moved beyond the age of education being only in a classroom. Each and every one of us has many teachers around us. Whether they be teachers from the books we read, the videos we watch, or the individuals around us, our lives are filled with teachers. In addition to being a hummingbird and allowing your learning to be self directed by your curiosity, don’t forget that your word is filled with teachers to help you develop your areas of passion.
So, if you are a passion seeker and unsure where to go, spend some time being a hummingbird. Follow your curiosity. Allow your curiosity to lead you to your passions and to help you develop your creative self. In the words of Gilbert, “And if greatness should ever accidentally stumble upon you, let it catch you hard at work.”