I was standing over the cutting board in my kitchen chopping red onion and jalepenos, lamenting about the lack of engagement with my creative process. Everything felt like inertia.
No desire to lace up my running shoes. No nudge to flip open the Macbook and write. No fire in my belly. Just "Civil Wars" playing on my phone and inflamed eyes from the veggies.
That's when a quick beep came and an instant message.
"You've got to check out this podcast. It's as if they made it for you. No, it's like you're the woman they're interviewing. Believe me, it's worth your time."
My friend was directing me to Elizabeth Gilbert's (noted author of "Eat Pray Love") new podcast, "Magic Lessons" about how to ignite your soul through the creative process.
In the first episode, she interviews a full-time stay at home mother out of Michigan who has 6 and 9-year old kiddos. A budding writer as a child, she goes on to become an English teacher and then a wife and mother and when the grind of staying at home gets to her, a lovely therapist encourages her to write a blog. Holy fuck...this is me.
Elizabeth Gilbert's job is to help her get to the heart of her creative process woes. It's no longer that she's struggling for time or sleep. It's not that she needs to take more writing workshops or that she doesn't have a supportive partner. Her procrastination resides in the fact that she's scared to collaborate with inspiration and to speak her truth in the world...and probably, more importantly, that she, very much like me, fears that investing time in her passion will in some tangible and indelible way take away something monumental from her children...in a nutshell, she lives with resounding guilt.
Elizabeth's answer is this....
Like no other calling on the face of the earth, mothers are the most critical members of society that need to be given permission to ignite their souls. They need to be told, in every way, that fueling their core, their being is the only way that they can be available for their families...because deprived of this...they will always resent their partners and children for fear that they've given up their soul to make them happy.
Holy shit. Bingo.
Her response is to give yourself a window of time to do everything else in your life a little worse...to dial back...to allow those who depend upon you to step up a bit....to create a space to write the book that the universe is begging for.
Because in the end, if you model martyrdom to your children, they will grow up to lose parts of their souls thinking that it's the "right thing to do." But if you model making or being creative, they will grow to find the parts of themselves in the world that are inventive, creative and curious. As mothers and primary educators of our little ones, it is a public service to model creativity and ignition of passion in the world.
Mind blown. Heart reeling.
Guilt, fear, procrastination, insecurity, perfectionism...all of it has served as a barrier. Now is the time to put those pieces of me on the back burner to allow the book deep inside to emerge. We'll all be better for it.