I went to an amazing talk given by Elizabeth Gilbert last night.
You all may know her from the book, Eat Pray Love (or the MOVIE with Julia Roberts by the same name—where she leaves her life to find herself in Rome, Bali and India [I think those are the countries]). She sold 10 million copies of that book, by the way.
Anyway, I enjoy Elizabeth Gilbert’s work and I was certainly going to attend this event when it was literally 10 minutes from my house.
Her recent book, Big Magic, is about “creative living beyond fear”–which really means a ton of different things (depending on who you are), but essentially–that in order to get to the heart of our creativity, we must listen to the pressing, universal voices about creativity, take action, and plow forward despite the fear and the voices screaming “nooooooooooo, danger!”
To proceed, she says that we must choose the path of curiosity over the path of fear.
I do this really well, by the way. I fear, yes. Lots. But I go forward anyway—it’s a blessing and a curse. I will give myself credit for that. I am not afraid to participate in life, to be “too much,” and to do “too much.” Not my problem, at all.
I do have other problems, however.
The thing that moved me the most was not from Ms. Gilbert’s actual talk, but her response during the Q&A session.
Someone asked the question about: “What about the Fear of Success?”
Ms. Gilbert answered, and rather than regurgitate it… she talks about her response in her Ted Talk: here.
It’s 7 minutes, and totally worth taking 7 minutes out of your day.
She talks about how we must find our home.
The place we love more than ourselves. That place being not a physical place, but more about the essence of who we are.
From the Ted talk:
“I considered ‘quitting the game’ [of writing] – so I knew that I had to find some way to gin up the inspiration to write the next book… I had to make sure my creativity survived. For 6 years, I had a rejection letter.
But I learned how to return home by continuing to write.
- I loved writing more than I hated failing at writing.
- I loved writing more than I loved my own ego.
- Which is to say that I loved writing more than I loved myself.
You have to find your way home…
Your home is whatever in this world you love more than yourself.”
This was a lightbulb moment for me in so many ways.
Without the obvious obnoxious doting love for my kids and family–I will say that what I love more than myself is writing.
I love writing because there was nothing, and then there was something. And even when it sucks and is painful and full of mispellings, it’s easy to show up when SOMEONE says, “ME TOO.”
And that’s “life meeting life,” as Ms. Gilbert says.
And when life meets life, it’s beyond some fake facade or expertise. It’s life. It’s showing up when it matters. It says, “I am here, and I understand YOU.”
It’s hard when no one shows up. But I still write anyway. That’s just another type of life meeting life.
It’s taken me a while to figure this out.
But, yes. I love writing more than myself. It’s the only time when I do something, anything, where I can look up – and 3 hours is gone and I am sweating and I don’t know what happened. A close second is a bike ride.
But in writing and communication via podcast or media, in sharing my pain, success and stories, I can breathe—because that is home for me. When I don’t write and share, I wither. When I don’t write, I feel like I will explode. When I don’t write or engage because of fear of the lies that someone else will continue to perpetuate… then I am not anywhere close to home. I’m on another planet.
And like nobody messes with my kids… nobody takes me away from my home.
I have a home, right where you are reading. I don’t have to scramble sticks and blocks together to BUILD a home. I don’t have to create some faux brand that I consult with someone about: Um yes, how do I build my brand… I mean, “was [Tim Ferriss] ordained by some “expert maker”? Did he pay someone huge amounts of money to deem him the king? Nope. Tim simply created a blog… and started creating…” (Source)
I write. And I over-post pictures of stupid shit that is probably not helping this so-called “brand.” That’s because I’m not brand building. I am just living my life, as I know how to do, in my HOUSE.
The prior kid blog and this blog was NEVER about an effing BRAND. My home was never about being taken seriously as some expert in the field of “I can Google that too.” Maybe my writing isn’t thought-worthy 1000% of the time. But it was thought-worthy for me. I thought about it, and I shared it. Here. In my damn home, where I live.
“I will always be safe from the random hurricanes of outcome, as long as I never forget where I rightfully live.” Elizabeth Gilbert
I am safe from the hurricanes of outcome, because I am home.
I live right where I have been since 2010 when I started writing about triathlon.
I live here, a branch from I started writing in the blog forum in 2007.
Even further, remember MySpace? And AOL pages? Yeah, I wrote about my life. (And posted pictures of Gavin Rossdale and how I was going to marry him. But nevertheless, I wrote.)
For over seventeen years, I have had an online writing house.
Before that? Paper houses. We won’t count law school, because that wasn’t in-house writing. But paper after English paper in college, I thrived on finding similarities between Holly Golightly and whoever, created sexuality out of things where there probably wasn’t. Too bad the eggplant emojis were not options back then.
Writing and writing. Back to 1993, submitting bad poetry to journals and getting said bad poetry published. Volume after volume of writings. Editor of the yearbook. The standard job of a teenager just trying to make her home.
Rewind all the way to 1983 when I was first published as a four-year old—a drawing of two dolphins in the kids’ magazine called turtle something. A drawing, because I didn’t know quite how to do prose.
I don’t know how I didn’t realize it until now. I guess I never thought of it as home. Home is something that should always be known, and I think until now, I wasn’t sure where home was.
I am home. This is my home. I live here.
And most of all, gratitude.
Thank you for visiting my home, and for continuing to come back to visit.
Question for you: Where is YOUR home? And if you don’t know… think about it. It might very well be life-changing.
And thank you, Elizabeth Gilbert for sharing YOUR home… in order to help light the path to mine.