Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Eat, Pray, Love was gifted to me by a friend in Montreal when we were in the process of moving to Rhode Island. It was a time of huge transition for me and I devoured the book, for the first time really understanding that one could seek out their own path to happiness.
I was still in the mindset that my happiness would come from the outside, the concept that it was an inside job was one that would take me years to fully grasp. I mean, honestly, even now I sometimes wish for a magic pill that would instantly make me happy, thin, and rich. I had two small children at the time and I was so insanely jealous of this woman who could quit her life and travel the world to find her happiness. I mean, I loved the book, I learned a lot from it, but I wanted her happiness journey, and I knew there was no way that was possible for me in that moment and time.
I’ve pulled the book out a few times over the years and reread it. It’s still one of my favourite books, and I love reading about how she made her life a happier one. My understanding of my own path to happiness has changed as I’ve grown and I get now that no matter what, my happiness journey would be different than hers because I’m my own unique individual (as is she). But, the very idea that we can take a time out and find ourselves has stayed with me as time has passed.
On this amazing path that I am on now I am so blessed because things continue to come to me at the exact time that I need them. Like magic or something. I understand how I’m attracting better and better things into my life, but I’m also learning to have faith that even when I can’t see those things that they are there for me. Faith in that which I can see is easy, faith in the invisible has been much more of a learning process.
I wrote yesterday about feeling like I’m on the edge of this cliff ready to jump off into a new spiritual quest. Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book Big Magic reached the edge of my consciousness yesterday (and then into my Kindle), and is answering questions about issues that I’ve been using as excuses to take the leap. It’s like she knew what I’ve been sitting here fretting about and wrote a book just for me.
Fear has often been a key decision maker in my life. I have either done or not done countless things because I’ve been driven by fear. In the time that I’ve dedicated my life understanding my anxiety and letting go of those panic feelings, I’ve still struggled about what to do about my deepest darkest fears. I want to stand on this cliff, drop all my fears and leap fearless into the exciting, unknown, future. But… the fear… it holds me back…
She offered a completely new perspective on how to handle this fear. In fact she says: Creativity is a path for the brave, yes, but it is not a path for the fearless, and it’s important to recognize the distinction. Bravery means doing something scary. Fearlessness means not even understanding what the word scary means.
I hadn’t thought about the difference between being brave and being fearless. I have discovered in the past couple of years that I am, in fact, quite brave…. and also that I am not fearless. So… hmmm… maybe that’s a good thing?
She goes on to talk about how when she begins a new creative endeavour, she takes fear along for the ride; accepting that it is part and parcel of a new beginning:
So, I don’t try to kill off my fear. I don’t go to war against it. Instead I make all that space for it. Heaps of space. Every single day. …. It seems to me that the less I fight my fear, the less it fights back. If I can relax, fear relaxes too. In fact, I cordially invite fear to come along with me everywhere I go.
I was reading my book feeling completely dumbstruck. So…. I could technically take this leap of faith while taking fear along with me then? It isn’t a personal failure that I’m still scared of stuff (failing being one of them)? I just have to make room for my fear, but not let it be in the driver’s seat making life decisions for me?
I decided a while ago that I was done making fear based decisions. But then it was almost like I was too afraid to make a decision just in case I was making one out of fear… (vicious cycle – I over think things too much). I think maybe I could convince fear to just sit in the back seat and come along for the ride, but maybe he could be a bit quieter? And he absolutely needs to let me be in charge of the map.
My happiness moment today was having the time to sit and read some of this book. To absorb in what she was saying that was speaking to exactly where I am in life. I am *so* close to leaping off. In fact I think I may have already let go with one foot and the other one is just about to fly…