"God is creating the entire universe, fully and totally in the present now," said Meister Eckhart, a thirteenth-century mystic. The world is a work-in-process, and we are partners with God in its ongoing creation. In this sense, every human being is an artist, creating beauty out of the present moment.
Elizabeth Gilbert is a believer in this broad and spiritual approach to creativity. She is the author of the memoir Eat, Pray, Love which has sold 10 million copies and was made into a movie starring Julia Roberts. This new uplifting and inspirational self-help book advocates "living a life that is driven more strongly than by fear." Gilbert's wise counsel is delivered in chapters on Courage, Enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust and Divinity.
In the frontispiece quotation, the author writes:
"Q: What is creativity?
A: The relationship between a human being and the mysteries of inspiration."
Gilbert begins with a tribute to a poet and writing teacher, Frank Gilbert, who taught her that "We must risk delight. We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of the world." To be creative we must bravely square off with our fears. After years of always being frightened, Gilbert disarmed fear by realizing how boring it was -- that it lacked substance, depth, or texture. This volatile emotion has no place in creativity.
Gilbert notes that she has spent her entire life in devotion to creativity and she is astonished by the enchantment it engenders; it is a spur to personal growth:
"Do whatever brings you to life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart."
With great enthusiasm, she unfurls sage advice about curiosity (which she considers the predominant quality of creativity), persistence (sticking to what you are creating), enchantment (the magic of bringing something new into the world), and trust ("The work wants to be made, and it wants to be made through you.")