Permission in Big Magic

bigmagic_bookA while back I had this vague idea that I should write a blog entry about permission and the need to grant space for oneself in order to engage in creative endeavors. Shortly after the idea came to me, I heard women in my groups referring to another therapist who spoke about permission in a slightly different way. When I hear people start to talk about the ideas I already have, it’s a sign of urgency for me to get moving. But life got in the way as it can sometimes, so I didn’t get to it. You can imagine then, my surprise this week when I picked up a copy of Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear and there on page 79 is an entire section devoted to Permission. My brief initial reaction was one of disappointment that I hadn’t acted on instinct sooner…until I went back to the beginning of the book and found myself reading about the very feeling I was experiencing. My disappointment quickly transformed into a bit of synchronicity as I got drawn into Gilbert’s theory that an idea is a living entity that actively seeks out the vessel – or person – that is most likely to manifest it into creation. The bad news is, if you don’t act on your idea it will move on and find someone else – the right person – to complete its mission. The good news is that there is never a shortage of ideas out there; often they ask to be created again and again in different voices. Gilbert goes on to explain how an idea can reach more than one person at a time, much like Carl Jung’s concept of zeitgeist, and she refers to the concept of “multiple discoveries” as widely accepted in the scientific community. I’m guessing that a lot of us believe in magic in some form or another – prayer, quantum physics, artists’ flow, to name a few. I’m also thinking about the magic that I’ve witnessed in groups. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat with someone who is too intimidated to draw but when I can finally convince them to engage in a scribble, the group is then blown away by the meaning that is attached to the scribble – not only for the person who created it but for the collective meaning that is felt by the group.  I think you can easily imagine how many great ideas are lost into the ether on a daily basis, simply because we don’t give ourselves permission to follow them through. I like to think about Shepard Fairy’s approach (the graffiti artist who created the iconic Obey Giant who incidentally almost threw it away):

Part of the reason I’ve been able to do the things that I’ve been able to do is because I tend to not think about how what I’m doing is supposed to be reflected upon, because that paralyzes me… To… not just approach it intuitively just shuts me down.”

If you haven’t read Big Magic yet, I highly recommend it. How often do you grant yourself permission to allow your ideas to flourish? Following the lead of Elizabeth Gilbert, allow me to give you a permission slip so you can start now. 

Copyright 2016 ©  Rachel Braun, All rights reserved.

Rachel Braun, ATR-BC  Art Therapist Philadelphia, PA

Specializing in art therapy groups for women who experience depression, anxiety and eating disorders.