TRUST IN WHAT CAN BE TRUSTED
This month, we are creating a life of magica - Big Magic -- using the brilliance in Elizabeth Gilbert's book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. This month we are exploring:
* the attitudes,
* the approaches and
* the habits . . .
. . . needed:
* to uncover our hidden treasurers,
* to face our fears, and
* to trust the Universe . . .
. . . all of which lead us to our most creative, magical lives -- the lives God intended to live as us!
To illustrate, consider this book a book of your life [Coloring book: Book of Life].
* When we are living in fear rather than curiosity and when are afraid to uncover our hidden treasures, our lives might feel like this (show all pages blank in Magic Coloring book); but
* When we move out of fear and start to uncover who we really are and what it is that brings us joy and fulfillment which in turn blesses the world, when we start to be enchanted by our own inspiration and move forward with persistence and determination, knowing we don't need permission to do that, our lives begin to look like this (show all pages with outline pictures); and then,
* When we truly trust that which can be trusted . . . our theme for today . . . our lives display magic in big ways (show all pages that are now colored pages)!
So, what is it that can be trusted? To answer that, it's story time. In fact, today there will be four stories. The first, I want to read directly from a few pages in Big Magic: "My friend Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer is a botanist and an author who teaches environmental biology at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry to Syracuse, New York. Her students are all fervent young environmentalists, earnest as can be, desperate to save the world.
"Before they can get down to the business of world-saving, though, Robin often asks her students these two questions.
"The first question is: 'Do you love nature?' "Every hand in the room goes up.
"The second question is: 'Do you believe that nature loves you in return?' "Every hand in the room goes down.
"At which point Robin says, 'Then we have a problem already.' "Without a sense of relationship, Robin warns her students, they are missing out on something incredibly important: They are missing out on their potential to become co-creators of life. As Robin puts it, 'The Exchange of love between earth and people calls forth the creative gifts of both. The earth is not indifferent to us, but rather calling for our gifts in return for hers - the reciprocal nature of life and creativity.'
"Inspired by this notion, I now often ask aspiring young writers the same line of questions.
"'Do you love writing?' I ask. "Of course they do. Duh.
"Then I ask: 'Do you believe that writing loves you in return?' "They look at me like I should be institutionalized.
"'Of course not,' they say. Most of them report that writing is totally indifferent to them. And if they do happen to feel a reciprocal relationship with their creativity, it is usually a deeply sick relationship. In many cases, these young writers claim that writing flat-out hates them. Writing messes with their heads. Writing torments them and hides from them. Writing punishes them. Writing destroys them. Writing kicks their -----, ten ways to Sunday.
"As one young writer I know put it, 'For me, writing is like that bitchy, beautiful girl in high school who you always worshipped, but who only toyed with you for her own purposes. You know in your heart that she's bad news, and you should probably just walk away from her forever, but she always lures you back in. Just when you think she's finally going to be your girlfriend, she shows up at school holding hands with the captain of the football team, pretending she's never met you. All you can do is weep in a locked bathroom stall. Writing is evil.'
"'That being the case,' I asked him, 'what do you want to do with your life?'
"l want to be a writer,' he said.
"Are you beginning to see how screwed up this is?"b
So, to get back to this morning's question -- what is it that can be trusted? We can trust that we are so loved by the Universe and by the ideas that have landed on us that we will be supported in every way, shape and form to bring those ideas out into the world. Let me say that again.
We can trust that we are so loved by the Universe and by the ideas that have landed on us that we will be supported in every way, shape and form to bring those ideas out into the world.
Unlike those writing students described in that story, we don't have to struggle, fight, bleed, scratch, claw, suffer, or have painful experiences. We can trust that what we are seeking is seeking us! We can trust that what we are seeking is seeking us!
From Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert writes: "This is my question, and I think it's a fair one. Why would your creativity not love you? It came to you didn't it? It drew itself near. It worked itself into you, asking for your attention and your devotion. It filled you with the desire to make and do interesting things. Creativity wanted a relationship with you. That must be for a reason, right? Do you honestly believe that creativity went through all the trouble of breaking into your consciousness only because it wanted to harm you? . . . Because think about it: If the only thing an idea wants is to be made manifest, then why would that idea deliberately harm you when you are the one who might be able to bring it forth? . . . All I can tell you for certain is that my entire life has been shaped by an early decision . . . to place my trust in the crazy notion that my work loves me as much as I love it - that it wants to play with me as much as I want to play with it - and that this source of love and play is boundless."c
I absolutely love that last line: ". . . this source of love and play is boundless!"
Listen to this wisdom from Holmes in Creative Mind and Success: "Always combine faith in the Higher Power with all that you do; feel that you are being especially looked after. This is true. When a soul turns to the Universe of unmanifest life, at the same time, It turns toward him. Jesus told this in the story of the Prodigal Son; the Father saw him afar off. Always there is that inward turning to us of the Parent Mind when we turn to It and place ourselves in closer contact with Life. Have no idea of limitation; speak forth into Mind with perfect trust."d
The story of the Prodigal Son. What a powerful analogy for the Love of the Divine, and in our specific conversation today, the Love of Divine Ideas that land on us. For those not familiar with this amazing and rich parable Jesus told, here it is as our SECOND story of the day, and for today think of the inspiration and Divine Ideas that land on us as the Father in this parable.
There was a man who had two sons. The youngest son asked for his share of the property that he would inherit. He then gathered all he had and left to see the world. He immediately squandered everything in decadent living.
When he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that country, and he was deep in need. So he hired himself out to a farmer who had him feed the pigs. No one gave him anything and he would have gladly eaten the pig food.
But then he thought, 'I am dying of hunger, but my father's hired hands have plenty to eat.' So he started for home with the intention of telling his father how badly he messed up and to ask that his father treat him as one of his hired hands.
When his father saw him coming home, he rushed out, put his arms around him and kissed him. The son tried to tell his father that he was no longer worthy of being his son - but before he could finish, his father had the slaves clothe him in the finest, put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. They then threw a huge party to welcome him home.e
But, we don't always trust that our Inspiration and Divine Ideas Love us so much that they only what to lavish us with the best of everything, do we?
And we perhaps have never even thought to trust that our inspiration loves us so much, that it's so excited to have found a human vehicle to bring it into form that it is doing everything on the invisible side of life to bring it about!
It says in Big Magic: "Is it delusional of me to place infinite trust in a force that I cannot see, touch or prove - a force that might not even actually exist? Okay, for the sake of argument, let's call it totally delusional. But is it any more delusional than believing that only your suffering and your pain are authentic? Or that you are alone - that you have no relationship whatsoever with the universe that created you? Or that you have been singled out by destiny as specifically cursed? Or that your talents were given to you for the mere purpose of destroying you? What I'm saying is this: If you're going to live your life based on delusions (and you are, because we all do) then why not at least select a delusion that is helpful? Allow me to suggest this one: The work wants to be made and it wants to be made through you."f
And I believe we can replace the word "work" for "dreams," "aspirations," "that which brings you joy and fulfillment" and we could expand the thought and turn it into a mantra that goes something like this . . . "I trust that my dream wants to be made manifest and it wants to be made manifest through me, and I take the steps necessary to bring it into form."
And here's our THIRD story of an example of how this all works! This is from a metaphysician in Phoenix, AZ. named Roger
My 19-year-old daughter recently finished her first semester with "Up with People" in Rome. This tour brought HUGE change in her life. When she first left, I had thought of going to Rome to see her finish. A few months later, I made the financial decision to not go to Rome. I was pretty bummed, but it made sense.
Two weeks before her final concert, I was driving and listening to her CD. Tears started falling, and I heard a voice tell me, "GO TO ROME! You HAVE to be there to SEE her final performance!" I said, "You're crazy!" But the voice wouldn't stop, and by the time I got home, I had made the decision to go to Rome in less than 2 weeks to see my baby girl shine!
There was one problem… .I had just paid ALL my bills, and I had NO money for a trip like this. When I say none, I mean NONE! I was thinking about it, and decided that I have been studying these principles for years, but I had never really put them to the test. It was now time for me to take EVERYTHING I KNEW, and apply it here! I came home and told my partner that we were leaving for Rome in 2 weeks! I think he thought I was crazy, and didn't initially put any thought into it.
So, I started using every tool I have. I did a ton of subconscious work, visioning, brainstorming, and prayer. Solutions started to come. Over the first 3 days, I added 3 new programs to my on line business, and money started coming in.
My partner had a slight dilemma too. He was booked up with clients on the dates that we were to be gone. When I saw I wasn't crazy and was serious about the trip, he reluctantly asked if he should reschedule them. He was nervous. That's a risk. He trusted -- the Universe and me -- and rescheduled his clients. This was a HUGE step for him! He's very new to this spiritual work, and he trusted, and he rescheduled his clients and blocked his schedule!
Mid week, we decided to select where we would be staying in Rome. We found the place we wanted, and I just so happened to have made almost the exact amount needed for the reservation, that was non-refundable. I said we needed to book it. My partner was nervous. I said - WE ARE GOING! We need to trust that everything else would come. We still didn't have plane tickets, and if we spent the money I had raised on our room reservation, we'd have NOTHING left. I made the reservation anyway.
That night, I didn't sleep. My mind was racing to 100 different solutions. I did an Affirmative Prayer before going to bed. I put my subconscious assistants to work, and I woke up with 3 more new program ideas I could offer to my clients to continue to raise money. First thing in the morning, I put it all in action. And I continued to trust, and make plans to go to Rome! I asked several friends to visualize and pray for me, and I knew an answer would come!
We had buddy passes to fly to New York, and were planning to book our flight from there to Rome. All I needed was $3000, and I knew it would come in time to book our flight. Around 5:30 pm, I received a text from someone who wanted to pre-pay for a seminar that I announced that morning, and I asked her to help market the new programs for me, telling her about my plan to go to Rome.
She not only said yes to helping market my programs, but a few hours later, she called and said she wanted to advance me all I needed for our airfare to Rome. She's a mom, and she understood the importance of seeing my daughter's final performance.
This was a manifestation of everything I had been looking for, and an hour later, I booked our tickets… not from New York, but from Phoenix! So we didn't have to stress about flying standby! I wasn't only given what I needed, I was given SO MUCH MORE!
The "angel" that helped make this possible, told me that she woke up that morning and prayed that someone who needed her help would show up in her life that day.
In addition to seeing my daughter's final performance on the steps of the Vatican, we visited where my partner's dad was born, and we lived the manifestation of everything I set out to create two weeks before. I never doubted. I trusted this would happen! Life is amazing, and all of this is "Oh, so usual!"
Isn't that a gorgeous story!?
And when it appears like that might not be the case, when you feel discouraged or disheartened or it seems like things just aren't going your way (because that too can happen!), you can still trust and do what is put in front of you to do. To help you with that, here's our final story from Big Magic. It's called Paint Your Bicycle, and is about Australian writer, poet, and critic Clive James:
After an enormous failure (a play that he wrote for the London stage, which not only bombed critically, but also ruined his family financially and cost him several dear friends), James fell into a dark morass of depression and shame. After the play closed, he did nothing but sit on the couch and stare at the wall, mortified and humiliated, while his wife somehow held the family together. He couldn't imagine how he would get up the courage to write anything else ever again.
After a long spell of this funk, however, James' young daughters finally interrupted his grieving process with a mundane favor. They asked him if he would please do something to make their shabby old secondhand bicycles look a bit nicer. Dutifully (but not joyfully), James obeyed. He hauled himself up off the couch and took on the project.
First, he carefully painted the girls' bikes in vivid shades of red. Then he frosted the wheel spokes with silver and striped the seat posts to look like barber's poles. But he didn't stop there. When the paint dried, he began to add hundreds of tiny silver and gold stars - a field of exquisitely detailed constellations - all over the bicycles.
The girls grew impatient for him to finish, but James found that he simply could not stop painting stars. It was incredibly satisfying work. When at last he was done, his daughters pedaled off on their magical new bikes, thrilled with the effect, while the great man sat there, wondering what on earth he was going to do with himself next.
The next day, his daughters brought home a little girl from the neighborhood who asked if Mr. James might please paint stars on her bicycle, too. He did it.
He trusted in the request. He followed the clue. When he was done, another child showed up, and another, and another. Soon there was a line of children, all waiting for their humble bicycles to be transformed into stellar objects d'art.
And so it came to pass that one of the most important writers of his generation spent several weeks sitting in his driveway, painting thousands and thousands of tiny stars on the bicycles of every child in the area.
As he did so, he came to a slow discovery. He realized that "failure has a function. It asks you whether you really want to go on making things [living your dream]." To his surprise, James realized that the answer was yes. He really did want to go on making things. For the moment, all he wanted to make were beautiful stars on children's bicycles.
But as he did so, something was healing within him. Something was coming back to life.
Because when the last bike had been decorated, and every star in his personal cosmos had been diligently painted back into place, Clive James at last had this thought: I will write about this one day. And in that moment, he was free. The failure had departed; the creator had returned. By doing what was in front of him with all his heart - he got . . . straight back into the Big Magic.g
And so can we -- when we trust in what can be trusted.
aElizabeth Gilbert Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
bElizabeth Gilbert Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear pp. 201 - 205
cElizabeth Gilbert Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear p. 216, 217, 218
dErnest Holmes Creative Mind and Success p. 82
fElizabeth Gilbert Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear p. 220
gElizabeth Gilbert Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear p. 255