The gift of Passion Days


Dear Artist,

“If you’re alive, you’re a creative person,” writes Elizabeth Gilbert in her 2015 manual on creativity and fear, Big Magic. “Fear is always triggered by creativity, because creativity asks you to enter into realms of uncertain outcome.” She says it’s nothing to be ashamed of — creative living is always possible — we need only embrace the magic that often comes after diving into the unknown. Also, we must practice.


“Global Summer No. 13”
2005 photograph taken by Yiorgos Kordakis using discontinued Polaroid film

There once was a director of a small, high-risk enterprise — a start-up dependent on the quality of its team — who one day telephoned each of his employees and invited them to choose a passion. He called the idea “Passion Days” and explained they’d be given paid days to pursue something outside their job description. The only rule was that they couldn’t change the passion for 12 months.

A week passed, and most were ready. “I’d like to learn to design code at the General Assembly,” said one of the creatives. “Tango,” said the bookkeeper. A guy responsible for data analytics said, “I love film. If you need me, I’ll be at the movies.” Just a few stragglers remained. “I can’t think of anything,” said a junior manager in client services. “No one’s asked me anything like this before.” “Don’t worry,” replied his boss. “I’ll help you.”

“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them,” writes Gilbert. To her, creativity is everyone’s birthright, and its expression is part of becoming a fully formed human. “A creative life is an amplified life. It’s a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life.”


“Global Summer No. 4”
2006 photograph taken by Yiorgos Kordakis using discontinued Polaroid film

A year later, the start-up had gelled into something agile and imaginative — open, flexible, growing — and a fun place to work. Business was booming, the team sparked with inventiveness and big ideas. “I’m driving to lunch but can’t wait to get back to work,” called the account manager. “I’m excited and invested in our projects.” “Wonderful,” answered her CEO. He was filling a shopping basket at the local art supply.



PS: “Do whatever brings you to life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.” (Elizabeth Gilbert)


“Global Summer No. 51”
2012 photograph by Yiorgos Kordakis using discontinued Polaroid film

Esoterica: In Big Magic, creativity is broken into six parts: Courage, Enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust and Divinity. Little mention is made of asking your passion to make money for you, nor are you required to “save the world with your creativity.” Instead, Gilbert beckons, “Be the weirdo who dares to enjoy.” “Living in this manner — continually and stubbornly bringing forth the jewels that are hidden within you — is a fine art, in and of itself.”



    • This is fabulous! Thank you! I’m going to order Gilbert’s book … And by the way, thank you for your articles. They are chock-a-block full of nourishing tidbits, leading me down new paths, and so well written!
      Gabriele Glang

    • i recommend the audio version which is read by Elizabeth Gilbert. She does it charmingly n probably better than anyone else might. I’m listening for the third time! this from someone who generally can’t get thru a self help book. but this one is delicious entertaining joyous n leaves me with gratitude for Ms Gilbert’s having written Big Magic perfectly for me. LOL LOL

  1. Thank you for this gem of a gift that I have read this Christmas morning. Such inspiration is just what I needed to see value in what I am trying to create, even when others do not.

  2. Nice newsletter for Christmas Day! Thank you!
    I would add: WHY NOT INCLUDE FINANCIAL PROSPERITY in the creativity keys?
    Isn’t it time that we creatives went past the financial limitations of the matrix? Isn’t it time that creative approaches and solutions “trumped” the matrix grid?

    I’m an artist and gallery owner in Santa Fe; this year, I launched a new spiritual position. Abundance and prosperity comes from our Higher Powers (which we may call God, or not) ; it does NOT come from the systems, even though the museums, juries, art stars and collectors look like they control our successes. It’s time that artists worldwide embrace a new paradigm spiritually…..and follow the changes that are coming in the world. We don’t have to live in recessions, depressions and oppressions.

    • Unfortunately, the notion of financial prosperity diverts us down a different path, following a different god. If we are in the flow, if we can remain in the flow, all our needs are met. Our focus must remain on the creative and the connection that makes it possible.

    • Its all about a sense of prosperity from within i think…having no doubt about the value of art and from there springs a deep knowing which i struggle with personally and imagine a lot of others do too…hope to visit your fair city someday soon and wish you much success in cultivating a prosperous state within the matrix.

    • OMG Don’t you hate when that happens?
      But the good things that you wrote, and we didn’t get to share…still did good things for you as you wrote them. ♡

  3. Adel Sainsbury on

    Thanks needed that going to clean studio today and then onto and into the unknown
    Thanks that was just the right words at the right time day and hour

  4. Read the book. It made me excited to read that somebody put into words what I know to my core. And now you, Sara, another validation. Thanks Honey! I avidly read your father and you which always enlightens.

  5. Hello Sara:
    It was truly a day of reflection on Dec 25 and it brought back the day at Lake O’hara when I met you and your dad,and gay and Liz. Beautiful people in a beautiful place. Need more times like those.
    Had a chance to talk to my daughter Shanna Albert who I think you know. Thanks for the memories.
    Happy and healthy new yyear.

  6. Yes I heard Elizabeth Gilbert interviewed on CBC just a couple of days ago, and her observations were compelling, one doesn’t even need to read her book, though I may in order to heed her words. Very insightful..
    Happy New Year to all aspiring and creative people.

  7. Thank You Sara for this beautiful quotes; I feel energized by them. Also love the polaroid images… and of course, this newsletter. Blessings to you. :-)

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