Big Magic Law
Have you ever had an idea that buzzes around your head like a lazy mosquito on a sultry summer evening, dronning in and out of earshot, promising to land, but never quite making it?
Or an idea that you had in the back of your mind and then, out of the blue you discover that someone else has out taken it and created something amazingly wildly successful.
I get it. We’ve all been there, but what if the idea was never yours? What if
“...our planet is inhabited not only by animals and plants and bacteria and viruses, but also by ideas. Ideas are a disembodied, energetic life form. They are completely separate form from us, but capable of interacting with us - albeit strangely. Ideas have no material body, but they do have consciousness, and they most certainly have will. Ideas are driven by a single impulse to be made manifest. And the only way an idea can be made manifest in our world is through collaboration with a human partner. It is only through a human’s efforts that an idea can be escorted out of the ether and into the realm of the actual.
Therefore, ideas, spend eternity swirling around us, searching for available and willing human partners (I’m talking about all ideas here - artistic, scientific, industrial, commercial, ethical, religious, political). When an idea this it has found somebody - say, you - who might be able to bring it into the world, the idea will pay you a visit…” (Big magic p34-35)
Have you read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert?
Read it? Thought about it?
It’s completely true, ideas don’t belong to any one of us really, it is just an opportunity that is provided to us when inspiration pays us a visit, and if the time is right, it becomes an incredible relationship, like Eat, Pray, Love did for Liz Gilbert.
Have you had an experience like that? I know I have, many times but the most potent, and recent experience was, around mid 2013 when I was teaching law students at university about Legal Negotiations in business law. Mid lecture, during a question this idea paid me a visit. It wasn’t the most convenient of times because I was teaching these mostly young, and very enthusiastic advocates about the art of compassionate communication, and I had no time for anything else. But the idea get following stalking me and it drove me so insane, so I kind of listened.
The idea was simple enough - create a course for business owners on legal boundaries. Not controversial and it made complete sense that the idea visited me because I had been mediating in the court ordered mediation for debt disputes for quite a few years. Indeed, I had mediated more than 1500 disputes in that jurisdiction already, so I knew what I was talking about and I knew what went wrong.
One day, in a break, I sketched out the entire course, and then I left it in my notebook. I spoke to a colleague about it and she thought it was a great idea, and then, I left abandoned it.
In November 2014, the idea started to create more noise - questions like “when are we going to start”?, “what will I be called?”, “How can we deliver this?” started to swirl.
I dug out my old notebook and went over the plans. They were incredibly detailed:
Broken down into simple topics
Time for questions and answers
No legal advice, tonnes of legal information
Value, value, value (i had written all over the place) - here are some of the notes
How to end things gracefully
It was summer in Australia, and for the first time in a long time, we had decided to stay in the country for the school holidays while our friends travelled overseas to France and the United Kingdom. We house sat in their huge house in the bush.
We had the most glorious time, roaming through the wild wilderness, taking our dogs for long walks, swimming in the ocean, lazing around - 8 weeks of sticky heat, sun kissed bodies and connecting together as family.
When we arrived back to reality, there were a whole lot of changes, and, because I was so busy with my coaching practice, teaching, mentoring and writing, I don’t know, but the idea left me. In April 2015, I was preparing to leave for Costa Rica to working with a 1:1 client for a week, and I was contacted by a colleague who asked me if I would be interested in collaborating in a legal course for business owners. Now, I could have done two things - 1. Lost my shiz with “that’s my idea”
2. Thought hurrah, someone has finally put this idea into action.
I chose the second and agreed to participate in someone else’s manifestation of an idea that had obviously visited both of us.
No two people manifest an idea in the same way - “When the time is ripe for certain things, they appear at different places, in the manner of violets coming to light in early spring” (Liz Gilbert quoting Janos Bolyai in Big magic @ 62)
I know that to be true, not just from a philosophical perspective because, as a mediator I have seen many a dispute over an idea that has been stolen.
But yes, as a philosopher, because I undertook my doctoral thesis on this area of law, a work that spans 4 continents, requiring me to read some texts in French and Italian and was submitted as a completed work of a smidgen under 110,000 words just before my daughter turned 3 years old.
“Multiple discovery happens” (at 62)
When things don’t quite work out, I just move on. Reason, season, lifetime - this partnership experience was brief, but nothing ventured, nothing gained right? In February 2016, the idea paid me another visit. I wasn’t very polite, I will admit. I had been working with clients as a healer and a shaman, and I wasn’t planning on getting into anything legal education ever again. To be honest, I felt a little burned out, emotionally fragile, I mean most people don’t feel law the way I do, and I was not ready to take legal A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G to the people. I had even stopped mediating entirely. So I created all these excuses with the idea - “Look idea, thanks for visiting me” (by this time I had read Big Magic, so I was blatantly using Liz Gilbert’s voice in my head) “It’s not the right time”
“Seriously, we have had this discussion before”
But inspiration is a pesky creature and she just kept knocking on the door. 1am
There were no shortage of early morning visits. I talked to my coach about it - “Boundaries is such a needed course” she said confidently. But I wasn’t completely convinced, so I picked up Big Magic, and the well worn pages fell open “don’t fret about the irrationality and unpredictability of all this strangeness. Give in to it. Such is the bizarre, unearthly contract of creative living. There is no theft; there is no ownership; there is no tragedy; there is no problem. There is no time or space where inspiration forms from - and also no competition, no ego, no limitations. There is only the stubbornness of the idea itself; refusing to stop searching until it has found an equally stubborn collaborator. (Or multiple collaborators as the case may be… ...work with all your heart…” at 63 I leant back, and looked up to the sky - beyond our universe, and my guides spoke “You are the conduit for this idea, this inspiration, you hold your values, right now as you seek guidance, communication, community, co-creation, compassion, consciousness, connection, collaboration, celebration”, go forth
And within a fairy breath, Liz Gilbert spoke to me from the pages of her book “Ideas are driven by a single impulse: to be made manifest.”
And that, my friends is how Boundaries, Business, and Big Magic Law was born.