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Recommended by Sue Vaughan

Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love) has written a book called Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.

She's also done a series of recordings/interviews called her Magic Lesson podcasts. #12 in the series is with Brene Brown.

Click here to listen to it 

The series can also be downloaded here for free on iTunes. 


Sue has also kindly shared her notes from listening to the podcast, below!


Sue Vaughan:

As I listened to this podcast, I quickly came to the understanding that creativity is the name for giving birth to the gifts and talents that we were born with. And that our gifts and talents are born in us to be born from us.  


Brene Brown:

“[Creativity] is the way I share my soul with the world and without it I’m not okay. And not having access to everyone else’s we are not okay. ”

“I have come to the conclusion that the only unique contribution we will make in this world will be born of creativity.”

“I used to believe that there were creative people and there were non-creative people. And now I absolutely understand, personally and professionally from the data, that there is no such thing as non-creative people, there are just people who use their creativity and people who don’t”

“Unused creativity is NOT benign...what I really me is it metastasizes into resentment, grief, heartbreak. People sit on that creativity or they deny it and it festers.”

Liz Gilbert’s response

“[Unused creativity] will make you sick if you don’t bring forth what is within you.”


Creativity and Fear of Judgement

Brene Brown:

“When you’re taking on creativity, you’re taking on soul work. This is not about what we do, this is about who we are. And the wounds around it are just breathtaking.”

“Judgements stem from not enough.” Meaning, if I was really comfortable with your creativity* and my lack of creativity I wouldn’t respond critically.

(*Sue’s note: creativity can be substituted with any judgement. Judgements are about our own painful thinking that we don’t measure up in some way.) 


Liz Gilbert’s therapist:

“The thing that you are most afraid of has already happened...So much of the reason people don’t put their art forward into the world and don’t take the risk is because they’re terrified it’s going to be mocked, that it’s going to be rejected, that they’ll be ignored, that they will be diminished. And it’s very likely that that thing already occurred in the very worst way that it ever will.”

Brene’s response:

“That thing that already happened, a lot of times it’s our own voice.”



Speaking Up and Being Criticised For It  


“Nobody Loves it. It doesn’t feel good. It hurts. But when I compare that with the hurt of what it would feel like to be whispering in a corner, it’s not even on the same see-saw...I’ll take it.”



“...Criticism is a really small price to pay for doing what I Love and for being whole.”


Taking a Creative Leap of Faith and Failing


“I don’t leap or jump for the landing. I leap for the experience through the air because you cannot predict the landing. 

...When you get to the place of standing on the edge is more painful than risking a failure I think you owe it to yourself and the world to leap.”



What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? When Brene followed through on her answer to this question and failed miserably, her response was:

“Screw this! But now the question becomes for me: What’s worth doing even if I fail?


“What do you Love doing so much that the word “failure” doesn’t even have any meaning. What would you do even if it was a total failure? What do you want to do because you don’t have a choice? Let go of this whole idea of it worked it didn’t work—it was a success, it wasn’t a success.”


Clive James (Australian Critic):

“Failure has a function. It asks you if you really want to go on making things.”




As far as I understand inspiration, it owes you nothing except the transcendence of the experience of working with it at all. That’s the only contract that we have with inspiration. It wants to dance with you and we want to dance with it. And the result, that’s all human ego question. Inspiration doesn’t look at you and go, “Well that didn’t work.” Inspiration looks at you and said, “That was fun. Look at what we did!” And you’re in like a heap at the bottom of the cliff [as a result of being inspired] with a hundred broken bones, and like, what happened to my house? And inspiration’s like, “That was so much fun. Do you want to do it again? Do you want to do it again?”


Self-Forgiveness vs. Discipline


“The only thing that’s going to get you back to work on day 2 is if you forgive yourself for how bad your work was on day 1. And that’s not discipline, that’s just Love.”



 “Day 2 doesn’t stop because of willpower or discipline, it’s stops because of shame. And the antidote to shame is no discipline. The actual antidote for shame is empathy.  ...It’s kindness. It’s talk to yourself like you talk to someone you Love.”


Liz’s breakthrough regarding deserving and worthiness

A compassionate, Loving friend asked Liz, “‘What makes you think you’re so special? What makes you think you’re so special that you’re the only human being whose not deserving of compassion? You think you’re better than everyone else?’ ... It’s the first time I understood the narcissism of depression—that you put yourself in a special category where you alone are not deserving and you alone are not worthy. And therefore, you’re special. And in a weird way, better than everyone else.”


Martyrdom vs. tricksterdom


“As long as we stay locked in this idea that creativity can only be born through suffering, sacrifice, pain, and torment, it will always be born through suffering, sacrifice, pain, and torment. But when we open ourselves up to the idea that it can be done joyfully, collectively, Lovingly, forgivingly, then that’s the work you make.”

I so related to Brene’s experience and, as such, I declare that I want to create collaboratively with others, leaving a “trail of tacos and laughter and community and joy.” I want my work to be created “joyfully, collectively, Lovingly, and forgivingly” infusing our creations with that energy, thus gifting consumers of our art with that energy.


Brene learned from her collaborative experience:

“My creativity requires midwifery. I need a midwife. I need to be able to talk and tell stories and get feedback.”

Brene posted in her office:

“Creativity: we don’t have to do it alone. We were never meant to.”

Brene’s benediction:

“You are a born maker. And we need what you can bring to us because you’re the only one who can bring it.”


Owning your story: there’s a lot of really good stuff in this conversation that I want to revisit, but was not inspired to transcribe at this time. 

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