The worldwide bestselling author of Eat Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert, now has another instant #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestseller entitled BIG MAGIC: Creative Living Beyond Fear. On Saturday 19 May, she came to London to lead a BIG MAGIC workshop – and three of the Yogamatters team, including myself, had the privilege of attending the event.
There’s a lot of love out there for Elizabeth Gilbert. Readers have been receiving inspiration and empowerment from her books for years. Now she’s sharing her unique perspective about creativity and offering powerful insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. This isn’t just about releasing creativity but about living the whole of life to the full. It’s a guide to living our most creative lives.
There’s a strange mix in what Elizabeth Gilbert has to say. In many ways, she’s brimming with confidence and positivity. She’s a badass. She’s brutally honest, will tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear. But she’s also tender and raw and open about her own recent personal bereavement and the grief that she is working through day by day.
BIG MAGIC cracks open a world of wonder and joy to anyone who will do the work, allow their fears a voice, listen to their enchantment and find the courage to turn their dreams and yearnings into a reality.
And so, on the day of the Royal Wedding and the FA Cup Final, we head to Central London to do the work. I wonder if anyone expected such a huge space filled with so many people when they walked into The Light in the Friends’ House situated on Euston Road. I certainly did not.
The workshop is organised and hosted by Alternatives, who have been organising events in the UK, inspiring heart, mind and soul for over thirty years.
Alternatives is the UK’s longest running weekly mind body spirit events company and is internationally known as UK’s landmark speaking platform for spiritual teachers, alternative thinkers, conscious business leaders and visionary thought provokers for the past 30+ years. About Us – Alternatives
Ticket holders for this event have had a long wait. The event was scheduled to take place a year ago and had to be postponed because of Elizabeth Gilbert’s personal circumstances at the time. The wait is acknowledged and the patience shown is appreciated.
This is a workshop, there’s no ambiguity around that. In the email before the event, we are requested to bring a bottle of water, a notebook and pen. An actual notebook and pen. No electronic devices. This is old school. There’s something about actually writing with a pen in a notebook. No distractions. Just you and the page.
Elizabeth Gilbert doesn’t waste any time in dragging us out of our comfort zones. We’re up on our feet, searching out someone we have never met before to partner up with. It feels uncomfortable, but there’s a wisdom in it, that’s for sure. Throughout the day, we will be expected to read aloud intimate letters from one voice within us to another, and speaking our deep truths and fears to a stranger is far easier than sharing with a friend or sister, however close we may be.
If you were expecting nice and pretty, warm and fuzzy, then you’d come to the wrong place. Yes, this was life-affirming, but in Elizabeth Gilbert’s unique, raw, at times uncomfortable, but totally empowering way. Yogamatters Head of Buying Michelle Klein was excited to attend the event as it aligned with her personal self-development intentions for 2018.
I particularly loved the Enchantment theme. She is alive and well inside of me, and for this I am incredibly grateful. Michelle Klein
Michelle came away from the workshop feeling incredibly blessed for all she has in her life right now and her wonderful childhood with plenty of very happy memories.
In that room of a thousand individuals, we discovered that we are not so very different from one another. We all have a unique story, but when it comes to fears and joys and dreams and the voices that hold us back, we share so much in common. When one speaks their truth, it resonates with another.
And so here are the truths I took from the BIG MAGIC workshop. Maybe some of these will resonate with you today.
FEAR: I am afraid that I am not enough. I am afraid to accept myself as I am, because then, I might stop trying. I am afraid of failing the people I love.
ENCHANTMENT: I am sometimes embarrassed to express my joy. I have a wonderful capacity for wonder and playfulness and delight and yet I often feel the need to keep it hidden.
PERMISSION: I have permission to express myself however I want to, to rest when I want to, to love and connect with whoever I want to. I have permission to shine bright.
PERSISTENCE: Persistence has given me the strength to carry on even when I didn’t have any confidence that I could do this life. I have kept repeating ‘Love wins’, even when it looked like it couldn’t possibly be true.
TRUST: Can I trust myself with this precious life that I have been entrusted with? Can I be trusted to lead myself on the most interesting possible journey for me?
DIVINITY: Everything is going to be OK. I am loved, just as I am. I have nothing to prove to anyone. Love wins.
I love that Elizabeth Gilbert grew up on a Christmas tree farm.
I love that she promised to all of us present at that workshop that she was going to go and buy a new tent and sleeping bag in the colour of her choice to keep in her car for spontaneous camping trips with her dog Chunky.
I love that she’s willing to openly admit that her first ever published work, a short story collection called PILGRIMS, has only ever sold 6,000 copies to date.
And I love that she believes in each one of us far more than we can begin to believe in ourselves.
If you would like to find out more about Elizabeth Gilbert and BIG MAGIC, visit www.elizabethgilbert.com.
If you want more of Liz’s inspiration in bitesize chunks, then have a listen to her podcast Magic Lessons.
And if you’re disappointed to have missed Elizabeth Gilbert’s visit to London and are interested in hearing other inspirational speakers, such as Deepak Chopra and Marianne Williamson, then have a look at the Alternatives programme at www.alternatives.org.uk.
Read more: yogamatters.com