This is my bedside table – it is always full of books, the next read I hope to get to, the ones I am putting off getting to, the ones I loved and need to keep close a little bit longer. I love books – the real deal books with paper and words and beautiful covers. I don’t get to read enough, it’s hard to make the time with so many other things vying for my attention.
My daughter (she loves books too) gave me a book awhile back that I hadn’t made the time for but recently picked it up and it was right on time. I love that about books. Books all are about timing for me, the perfect message in the perfect moment (another sweet little way that God shows me love and that He is interested with the details in my life.) Anyway, this beautiful book has been sitting by my bed for quite some time and in my recent funk I decided to pick it up. It’s called Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. It’s not for the faint at heart – she can be pretty rough and bold with her words sometimes, so I am definitely not recommending, I am just sharing about my experience with it.
It’s a book about creativity. It’s a light read and it’s perfect for today. I have been frustrated and disappointed with creativity, asking a myriad of questions about what’s it all for?! Big Magic has made me look at it a little different, it has helped me to lighten the load and dance with the idea of creativity again. She has put words to some of my feelings in this season and for that I am grateful because I don’t always have the words and they get stuck inside of me and I get backed up in all of it.
Words are good – they free, expose, bring clarity, and empty me out for better things to replace.
I am a big fan of words!!
Anyway, back to my experience –
Reading this morning I came across this chapter toward the end of the book, she writes, “It makes me sad when I fail. It disappoints me. Disappointment can make me feel disgusted with myself, or surly towards others.” – yes yes yes!!!
She goes on to write – “…I have come to understand what part of me is suffering when I fail: It’s just my ego.”
It’s just my ego! – that stinky little booger!
Mirriam-Webster’s defines ego as the opinion that you have about yourself. An online source interprets ego as a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance. Vocabulary.com explains it as an inflated feeling of pride in your superiority to others.
Ego – we all have one, we all need it. It helps you to “proclaim your individuality, define your desires, understand your preferences and defend your borders,”
but we definitely shouldn’t take it so seriously!
“Your ego is a wonderful servant it’s but a terrible master – because the only thing your ego ever wants is reward, reward and more reward. And since there’s never enough reward to satisfy, your ego will always be disappointed. Left unmanaged your ego will rot you from the inside out. An unchecked ego is what the Buddhist call ‘a hungry ghost’ – forever famished eternally growling with need and greed. Some version of that hunger dwells within all of us. We all have that lunatic presence, living deep within our guts, that refuses to ever be satisfied with anything. I have it, you have it, we all have it. My saving grace is this, though: I know that I am not only an ego; I am also a soul. And I know that my soul doesn’t care a whit about reward or failure. My soul is not guided by dreams of praise or fears of criticism. My soul doesn’t even have language for such notions. My soul, when I tend to it, is a far more expansive and fascinating source of guidance than my ego will ever be, because my soul desires only one thing: wonder.” Elizabeth goes on to write, “So whenever that brittle voice of dissatisfaction emerges within me, I can say, ‘Ah, my ego! There you are, old friend! It’s the same thing when I’m being criticized and I notice myself reacting with outrage, heartache or defensiveness. It’s just my ego, flaring up and testing its power…At such times, I can always steady my life once more by returning to my soul. I ask it, ‘And what is it that you want, dear one?'”
Balance between flesh and spirit and honoring both is a necessary and messy process oftentimes. The Ego wages war with the world trying to make her way and make a difference while the Soul serves to settle and ground in the wonder of it all. Life is beautifully messy! (big sigh)
I prefer living in the wonder of the soul- she’s much more peaceful and pleasant.
Childlike wonder without hesitation, inhibition, and self-absorption.
Approaching life with a curious curiosity.
All has something to teach us –
each person, each situation, each lesson, each trial, each disappointment, each moment.
Yes, I prefer living from the soul – it’s a more peaceful place – less striving, more rest.
So I turn in…
Turning into wonder, eyes wide open – what do you want to speak to my soul today?