“Big Magic” and Aikido

While the newest book from the author of “Eat Pray Love” is about creativity—recognizing it, welcoming it, and then buckling down to do the work necessary to bring it into a tangible form—I believe much of the book’s explorations relate directly to the practice of Aikido.

Really.

Here’s just one passage to consider, which in my mind resonates in the same space as the secret technique of learning Aikido that Andrew Sensei shares with every student: Get through the dojo door and bow in to practice, day after day. Because with the simple act of practice and consistency, big changes can take place (which are not magic, but can be magical). Without the simple act, very little can.

What do you think?

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— From “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear,” Elizabeth Gilbert, (c) 2015

…Sometimes I think that the difference between a tormented creative life and a tranquil creative life is nothing more than the difference between the word “awful” and the word “interesting.”

Interesting outcomes, after all, are just awful outcomes with the volume of drama turned way down.

I think a lot of people quit pursuing creative lives because they’re scared of the word “interesting.” My favorite meditation teacher, Pema Chodron, once said that the biggest problem she sees with people’s meditation practice is that they quit just when things are starting to get interesting. Which is to say, they quit as soon as things aren’t easy anymore, as soon as it gets painful, or boring, or agitating. They quit as soon as they see something in their minds that scares them or hurts them. So they miss the good part, the wild part, the transformative part—the part when you push past the difficulty and enter into some raw new unexplored universe within yourself.

And maybe it’s like that with every important aspect of your life. Whatever it is you are pursuing, whatever it is you are seeking, whatever it is you are creating, be careful not to quit too soon. As my friend Pastor Rob Bell warns: “Don’t rush through the experiences and circumstances that have the most capacity to transform you.”

Don’t let go of your courage the moment things stop being easy or rewarding.

Because that moment?

That’s the moment when “interesting” begins.

 

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