I bought Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book, Big Magic, for my birthday last month because #1 – it’s by Liz Gilbert, and #2 – the subtitle fascinated me: Creative Living Beyond Fear. Is the book just for creative types? Not necessarily. It’s about living creatively, and her ideas can be successfully applied anywhere, as I will show.
Our fear has a job to do – keep us alive – and our flight or flight response is hard-wired into us. But when we don’t have dinosaurs or Zombies chasing us, it’s not helpful to have adrenaline and stress-hormones coursing through our bodies.
These days fear is present in our lives in lots of other ways: career change, divorce, death, retirement, major illnesses, (our own, or that of a loved one) caring for aging parents, sometimes caring for our grown kids.
Most of what we fear never comes to pass, and we spent all of that time and mental-space afraid. Ms. Gilbert said in her book, “The less I fight my fear, the less it fights back. If I can relax, fear relaxes too.” I needed to keep this in mind.
I had another migraine at work last week. They’re tough when I’m working because during the electric-serpent-neon-light-show that accompanies mine, I can’t see well.
Well, to be honest, I can’t actually see at all. Being candid led to a great conversation with a client about migraines, why/when we get them, and the idea that they could be tied to having “one foot on the gas, and one foot on the brakes.”
She asked, “Did you read Liz Gilbert’s new book?” I told her I had, and enjoyed it very much. “Remember the part where she used the analogy of going on a road trip? The part about Fear can come along, and it can have a seat in the car, but it doesn’t have a vote, it can’t touch the radio, and is absolutely forbidden to drive!”
I’m so glad she reminded me, and I thought about that while I sat in a darkened room waiting for the light-show to subside, and my client relaxed with a cup of coffee and a new magazine. I realized that we all have things going on that scare us. We need to look at our fear, and see what it’s trying to tell us. We can thank it for doing it’s job a little too well. We can acknowledge it. But we can’t let it run the show.
When I went back to my client Deanna, she asked, “How’s that migraine?”
I smiled as I replied, “Snake ain’t driving!”
Then we finished up her sexy blonde hair and got her ready for her “next phase” college graduation and career change.