Friday, October 16, 2015

It's Probably Time for You to Start Having an Affair

I feel that I should begin this post by saying: I would never cheat on my husband. And that's not what I'm suggesting you do, either.

But I am going to encourage you to start a torrid love affair.

See, I recently listened to all of Elizabeth Gilbert's "Magic Lessons" podcasts, which coincide with the release of her new book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. In one of the episodes, she coaches a creatively stymied artist around the idea of rekindling her painting passion by starting an affair with the process. She tells the woman to give herself permission to be naughty and sexy and a little wicked.

Sounds fun, right?

Though Liz's podcast and advice are focused on sparking creativity, this notion of having an affair with something you love, once loved, or are just curious about is really exciting. It turns whatever it is that you want to pursue—but are maybe afraid of starting—into a secret act of pleasure that's just for you. No one even has to know you're doing it. And (hopefully!) it won't do any damage to your real-life relationships.

If you were going to let yourself start sneaking away to meet your new "lover," who would that lover be? 

Your favorite books? Your journal? The beach? A run in the woods? Home decor magazines? Watercolors or sculpture or collages? A museum? A movie theater? Peace, quiet, and solitude?

And what would you do to get ready for your secret meetings? Get dolled up? Be more diligent about your own self care? Allow yourself to put away the anxiety or the guilt for awhile? Remind yourself of someone who you used to be? Give yourself permission to be nasty, sexy, adventurous, and wicked?

I'll stop bombarding you with questions now. Surely your mind can fill in its own blanks.

But knowing how often we put the mundane ahead of what ignites us, allowing ourselves to feel passion like this—to escape for 30 minutes or a whole day of satisfaction and joy—seems essential to our sanity and sense of well being.

The laundry can wait. A microwave dinner won't kill anyone.

So go start your affair. And let yourself remember what it feels like to be alive. 

If you're a fan of Elizabeth Gilbert, I highly recommend that you download this podcast series. The episodes are short and a complete delight to listen to. This post is based on episode 7. 

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