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Big Magic - the source of creativity

Updated: Sep 19, 2023

If you can accept that creativity doesn’t come from within you, but rather, it comes through you, then what I am about to say will land with the grace of a feather instead of a thud of a stone.

When I was a kid I wanted to paint and draw all the time, but seldom knew what to draw, so my portfolio featured a lot of portraits and still life. Though I had natural talent I also had imposter syndrome as I was always looking for inspiration.

The book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

As an adult that changed. I got in touch with my feelings, I started to express myself but it was still with the belief that it was coming from within me. Then a few years ago I read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and wow, that changed everything. If you haven’t read it, I urge you to. Though she writes from the angle of creativity for an author, it applies to all creativity. The idea is that humans are the conduit for the creativity of the universe, quite simple, but so powerful. Stay open, pay attention, then when you feel that spark you must honour it, because if you think you can just put it to one side and deal with it later, it will find another person to channel through. A prime example is the blog post which came to me whilst I was meditating - I still had another minute left, but I knew I had to pay attention and write, now! On reading this book, all my feelings of inadequacy dropped away - I wasn't an imposter, I was just closed to receiving the creative idea.

Woman connecting spiritually to the Universe
Photo by Fuu J on Unsplash

For me, my daily meditation, sitting before my altar is essential. In that space and time I relax and open up my mind and my heart. It isn’t with any sense of expectation - in fact, just seeing and experiencing the void is pure bliss for me - if, and it is an if - I experience creativity, then that is felt like winning the jackpot.

Once the creativity arrives, it's time to bring it to life. I try and record it in some way, either with a sketch, or paints - sometimes I write a description, as detailed as possible, even down to the feeling. I'll make a note of colours, shapes, movement - the lot. I do this, even if I know I don't have the time to physically create the piece, it's as if acknowledging it means I am confirming I will bring it into being.

Here I took a sharpie and a gridded notebook and quickly captured a vision I had during meditation followed by the final gouache painting.

Whenever I have a creative project looming, whether it is graphic design or illustration, my first action is to sit at my altar and meditate. I open my mind and relax, knowing that whatever is meant to be bestowed upon me will come when it is good and ready - I just need to make sure I am ready to receive it.

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