A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of hearing Liz Gilbert speak at the Nourse Theater in San Francisco. It was a conversation guided by Lisa Congdon, a fine print and graphic artist. As I post more quotes and selections from her talk, I'll be tagging them all under Elizabeth Gilbert for easy finding
When I think of creative entitlement, I think of the poet David Whyte. He says that one of the qualities that you have to cultivate to have a spiritual and creative life is what he calls the "arrogance of belonging."
I love the re-appropriation of the word arrogance. And what the arrogance of belonging is, it's not pumping your first in the air and saying "I am the best." It's putting your hand on heart and saying, 'I Am.'
That's it. I am recognizing that I'm here. And I'm part of this story. I'm part of the human family. I'm part of what we're all creating here.
I'm not going to pretend that I'm not here.
There's a great Leonard Cohen poem in his recent book where he says something like, 'If there were no other artists in the world, my art would be very important. But there are are, and they're really good, so I'm willing to take my place at the end of the line, and to keep making art.'
Now that's the arrogance of belonging, which is saying, "I belong in the line." I'm not sure if I belong at the front of the line, or the back of the line, but I'm going to put myself in line along with all of this. The humility that is intrinsic in that is not the false humility of self-deprecation, which is not humility, but a kind of a sin.
Self-deprecation is a sort of violation of the remarklebeness of you.
The exceptionalness of you. The extraordinary miracle of the human life. It's a sort of a sin to pretend that you're not a big deal. You exist, and you have consciousness, and you have dreams, and you're here. It's extraordinary.