TLS #100: Elizabeth Gilbert on curiosity, epic self-compassion, & creativity (“Big Magic”)


Episode 100.

Elizabeth Gilbert.

And my 31st birthday.

These are three things that are all happening today on The Lively Show, and I’m pinching myself to make sure this isn’t just a dream….

…. A lovely dream that I cannot wait to share with you!

Today we’re talking with worldwide bestselling author, Elizabeth Gilbert – of Big Magic, and Eat Pray Love fame – about a wide range of topics including creativity, the fetishization of passion, the magic of curiosity, and the importance of epic doses of self-compassion.

This episode is perfect for anyone looking to have a more compassionate + creative life, career, and relationship with themselves. 








  • How Elizabeth’s childhood spent living on a farm contributed to her creativity.
  • Why Elizabeth doesn’t preach passion to others, and what she thinks is a better alternative to passion.
  • How she is repurposing and reclaiming the word “entitlement.”
  • Why Elizabeth believes people shouldn’t quit their day jobs in order to be creative.
  • Why she thinks service is not effective if you don’t love the work.
  • How Elizabeth is able to avoid martyrdom in her life and solve conflicts in a creative and playful way.
  • Why self compassion is essential for a joyful and beautiful life.
  • How Elizabeth distinguishes between the soul and the ego and how her soul has kept her going through rejection and scrutiny.
  • What she believes is the best way to help others.
  • How Elizabeth has come to understand and work with her psychological creative cycles.
  • What Elizabeth would tell someone just starting out on this journey.




Eat Pray Love

Big Magic

Magic Lessons Podcast

Get your free audio copy of Big Magic, or any other book you’d like at

Squarespace Mini Interview: Bryn Huntpalmer of The Birth Hour Podcast







Photo by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

This Post Has 61 Comments

  1. Akaleistar

    Happy Birthday! I love this week’s episode. Elizabeth Gilbert is so inspiring, and I love what she says about self-compassion.

  2. Lisa Sperling

    Happy birthday, Jess! What a treat it must have been to chat with Elizabeth Gilbert. I love her sense of humor, her wit, and genuine spirit. Such an inspiring person and such a great episode! Thanks for all the amazing work you do – may the new year bring you much happiness and joy!

    1. Jess Lively

      Thank you so much for the birthday wishes, Lisa! It was a real treat – you are right!!

  3. Pastaveia

    Happy Birthday Jess!! May your day be filled with loads of laughter, joy and love.
    Last weekend in San Francisco, I had the pleasure to see her live at the Emerging Women’s conference – she’s a phenomenal powerhouse and her talk with Brene Brown was exhilarating.
    This episode was such a joy to listen to and I really connected with her friend’s quote about “Desire is the design flaw.” It spoke wonders!
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Jess Lively

      Thank you so much for this sweet birthday message. It’s wonderful to hear you enjoyed the episode so much as well. : )

  4. noareth

    hi Jess, I want to say thank you for your work, I love your podcasts!
    I have problems for downloading the last podcasts 🙁 (message from Spain)
    un abrazo!

  5. Eric

    I dare say that this podcast with Liz Gilbert borderline changed my life. When she spoke about putting too much pressure on your creative gift to produce financial success that you end up stifling, and almost resenting, your gifting to the point of giving up on it – THAT WAS/IS ME. I truly believe God used you, Jess and Elizabeth, specifically through this podcast to reignite my heart and gain perspective on how to approach my business in a fresh way that honors the gift in me by not applying so much pressure to it. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU SO MUCH.

    PS – Welcome to 31! Mine was Sept 25 🙂

    – Eric Ivey,

    1. Elizabeth Tai

      I am definitely the same, Eric. I learned it the hard way and it wasn’t nice. Now I have a day job that leaves me free to come up with stories without the pressure of hustling for money. Very freeing!

  6. jo

    I have a problem with downloading the audio. I wanted to listen to it during my run, but when I try to download it the usual way- it won’t let me. I am so sorry to bother with this- but is there any chance you could help me? I can see another listener had this problem- Noareth

  7. Leah Lyman Waldron

    I’m having trouble too. The Smart Podcast Player is exhibiting the spinning wheel of death. 🙁 Using Chrome, also tried IE with no luck.

    1. Jess Lively

      Hi Leah, I’m sorry you were having problems, the podcast player should be back in working order. : )

      1. Leah Lyman Waldron

        Thanks! And Happy Birthday!!

  8. Jessica

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JESS!!! Such a FANTASTIC episode. How CRAZY is it that you got to speak with Liz Gilbert?!?! The energy you two share is infectious– two bad ass, spirit-filled boss babes. I love it! Thank you for your podcast. I can’t tell you how much you have helped me over the past year– and from reading your comments here, on IG, etc, I know I am not the only one. I just wanted to say thank you and keep up the amazing work. All your efforts are so greatly appreciated. Much love and light to you xoxox

  9. sjspin

    Hello Jess! Loved this episode and was looking forward a free book from, but the link in the show notes isn’t providing a free book. I tried putting ‘lively’ in as the promo code, but that doesn’t work either. Did the deal have an expiration date (I would listen to that part again, but the podcast has the spinning wheel again). Thanks!

    1. Jess Lively

      Thanks for your questions!! If you go over to and sign up for the first time (if you’re already an audible member, I don’t believe this applies) you should be able to then search for a free book and sign up for the trial and get that book. If you are having issues with that, I would suggest contacting audible directly to get their help in making sure you get your book. : )

      They gave me no indication that the deal would expire, so it should still be working.

      Also, thanks for the heads up on the Smart Podcast Player not working on desktop – it’s funny we had issues with it on mobile last week and now it’s working – but desktop has the same issues mobile did. We’ve contacted them and are waiting to hear back.


    2. Jess Lively

      Quick update: I think the podcast spinner can be fixed by refreshing your browser. : ) (command + shift + R)

  10. Could not love this utterly inspiring interview more. LOVE watching your business and brand grow Jess, it’s wonderful. Feel like I’ve been with you from the off on this journey and I’m loving being able to benefit from all of the wonderful interviews you’ve shared along the way. Love Annabel xx

    1. Jess Lively

      : ) Yay! It’s wonderful to hear you have enjoyed and gotten so much from the interviews and the work — and thank you so much for sticking with me on a somewhat wild ride through the years moving from this thing to that. : )


  11. Bethany Barkey

    <3 this is soooooo refreshing. I need to write student on my hand right now. So many tears right now, Thank you. And Happy Birthday, Congrats, and Cheers!!!

    1. Jess Lively

      Yay!! It’s wonderful to hear you enjoyed the episode and thank you for the bday wishes. : )

  12. Lisa Johnson

    Belated Happy Birthday and congratulations on episode 100! I’m behind in my listening, so I’m just getting ready to listen now. I’m sure it’s going to be great!

  13. Kristen Kravitz

    Great episode… I listened to this twice! I found your podcast through the Young House Love site too and I really love it. I’ve been catching up on back episodes almost daily when I go for walks in the middle of my work day. It’s been really resonating with me where I am in my life right now. Thank you so much for what you’re doing to bring the collective wisdom of all these people to all of us! And belated Happy Birthday!

    1. Jess Lively

      That is wonderful to hear, Kristen!! I hope you enjoy more archived episodes and the ones I’m working on for the next few months to come, too!

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