Over the last four weeks, we've talked about how to overcome a creative block. Whether it's discovering your true passion, triumphing over criticism, or establishing a routine that makes you productive, I hope I've helped you to move past this challenge in some way. But in the last installment of this series, I'm going to talk about why this is so important.
If you're like me, part of you is content to simply consume: it's safer, it's easier, and it's a perfectly conventional way for you to live your life. It may even be what is expected of you. What reason do you have to fight against internal inertia? Why is it so important for you to live a creative life, especially when it means you have to sacrifice so much, to work so hard?
There is one simple reason. It's one that you and I and everyone else who has ever looked for more out of life than the American Dream has to offer knows, even if we don't always like to admit it to ourselves. The reason is that you know the magic is out there.
The big magic, the kind of magic that has lived on for centuries, through war and love and regret and grief and loneliness and fear and loss - it's out there. You've felt it. Everyone has, even if you weren't looking closely enough to recognize what it was.
Maybe you found it alone at the top of a mountain, or in the arms of an old friend. Perhaps you noticed it while you were taking a long drive with your family, or when you were up late, half-drunk with bourbon and the first flush of romance. It might have been sitting next to you in the back row of a church on Sunday morning. Wherever it was, you saw it, you felt it, and in that moment, you knew that it was real.
The magic is what keeps us together as humans. It's what holds us to each other, even when our fiercest instinct is to run as far away as we can. The magic is bigger and more powerful than hate, greed, and rage. It is what saves us from ourselves when we need it most, and it heals us even in the face of unbearable pain.
The problem with the big magic is that it is so wonderful, so big and so heartbreaking and so full of meaning that we are afraid to look it in its face. When we witness it, we are overcome with joy and understanding, with compassion and peace. These things don't often fit in with the lives that we've built for ourselves, in a society that values money and power over equality and love.
And so instead of sharing it with the people we love, we turn away from it. We tell ourselves that we'll save the magic for ourselves, that it's something private and special just for us. But then it's out of sight, out of mind, and soon we forget what it looks like. When we finally find the time in our busy days, weeks, months, and years to go looking for it again, it's difficult for us to figure out where it's hiding.
The truth is, the magic is all around us. It's out there, waiting for us to come and find it, but the search isn't always easy. You have to chase it if you want to grab hold of it and make it a part of your life. Those of us that do it every day - the artists, the dreamers, the sensitive-types - we see it all the time, but it changes us in indefinable ways that set us apart from the crowd. If you seek it on a regular basis, you'll start to feel different - and you will be different. You will belong to a fellowship of fearless adventurers who are willing to go the distance for the chance to witness that magic again.
This is what it means to live a creative life. When you take on this challenge, you will find a better way of living, a deeper understanding of life, and a wider view of the world. You will thirst to know more, to see more, to experience more. When you are ready, you will harness this power to create something of value and meaning. We have all heard the call, and every day you must choose to answer it again.
Chase the magic. I promise you'll find it again. And when you do, it will change your life.