Elizabeth Gilbert – On Creativity

Dr. Joel Ying, MD

Physician, Educator, Storyteller. He hosts this website for "Living the Present Moment" as a conscious journey of Body, Mind, Emotion & Spirit. Holistic and integrative, his practice includes Tai Chi and Yoga, Craniosacral Therapy, Healing From the Core, Meditation. Always exploring his edges, he shares them in the blog, newsletter, courses, and online study group.

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In a prior blog, I talked about flow states. One of the  states where we feel like we are “in the flow” is when creativity “flows through us.” In her TED talk below, Elizabeth Gilbert (author of the book Eat, Pray, Love) discusses the myths of creativity, and how changing our mindset can improve access to our creative flow. I love her story of the American poet Ruth Stone who would on occasion grab the thundering train of creativity by the tail!

Changing the Image of the Artist

Why do we have the image of the poor suffering artist? In Greek and Roman times, people believed that we have a genius that comes to us when we cultivate it and do the work. Today, we no longer “have” a genius, but we “are” the genius. This puts a lot of pressure on the creative genius. If you don’t create, then it is your fault.

However, if you “have” a genius that comes to visit you from time to time. Creativity comes and goes, you just have to create the right conditions. You can relax (a prerequisite for creative flow). When it comes, it wasn’t me … it was my genius. Or if nothing comes out of the pages that you have typed, then it’s not my fault … my genius decided not to show up today. Perhaps tomorrow.

Watch this fun, moving, and inspiration talk

Elizabeth Gilbert: Your Elusive Creative Genius

Read her 11 tips on thinking about Creativity.

“Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?”
—Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Big Magic describes her process to tackle the fear and vulnerability that we must face to be creative. We must take the fear with us, it is part of the creative process. But bring it along in the passenger seat, put duct tape over its mouth, and do not allow it to touch the steering wheel! It’s a fun read.

For more on vulnerability as the birthplace of creativity, check out Brene Brown.