Well hi there.

Fiji Sunset with Venus UGWA2020 by Bonnie Gillespie

I’m back from Fiji. 10 glorious days offline. No TV. No social media. Nothing more than the sound of laughter and acoustic music and nature on an island in the South Pacific.

Gorgeous Night in Malolo Fiji by Bonnie Gillespie UGWA2020

And writing. Lots and lots of writing.

UGWA2020 Bonnie Gillespie’s Paper Doll of Intentions

See, in addition to this being a really cool getaway with a few dozen other spectacular women, it was also a creativity workshop conducted by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of such books as Eat Pray Love and Big Magic.

Fiji Airways Business Class A350 Nadi to LAX by Bonnie Gillespie Bonnie Gillespie's Boarding Pass for the Malolo Cat in Fiji for UGWA2020 Malolo Cat Arrival in Fiji UGWA2020 by Bonnie Gillespie Bonnie Gillespie's Bure 306 in Fiji UGWA2020 Malolo Plantation Island Fiji Kava Ceremony Arrival of the Water UGWA2020 by Bonnie Gillespie Fiji Kava Ceremony Clapping UGWA2020 by Bonnie Gillespie Fiji Life by Bonnie Gillespie Golf Cart Parking Only UGWA2020

I made friends. I engaged in epic levels of self-care. I very definitely did not suffer FOMO while others were having experiences different from mine because I’ve finally learned that if I push myself to do all the things — when that would’ve been rough even for a woman in her 20s, much less one knockin’ on 50 — the joy of the things I *do* get to experience is diminished by all that effort.

Kimberley Dashiell Danza and Bonnie Gillespie UGWA2020 Fiji Lisa Entwisle Jenn Rowan Slavica Kojadinovic UGWA2020 Caroline Gasc with a Big Drink UGWA2020 by Bonnie Gillespie Fiji Friends Peg Macinick Bonnie Gillespie Diane Divone UGWA2020 Bonnie Gillespie with Liz Gilbert in Fiji UGWA2020

I was fully present. I experienced the legendary Einstein Time Gay Hendricks talks about. I re-read Steven Pressfield’s Nobody Wants to Read Your Shit between sessions with Liz Gilbert and dips in the ocean.

Bonnie Gillespie's Fiji Nightswimming Spot UGWA2020 Fiji Coconut Crab by Peg Macinick UGWA2020 Fiji Dolphins by Sharon Westin-Shaw UGWA2020 Liz Gilbert's Creativity Workshop Day 2 UGWA2020 Malolo Fiji by Bonnie Gillespie Bonnie Gillespie on Malolo in Fiji at Sunset Last Night of UGWA2020

I went nightswimming (when the coconut crabs weren’t falling asleep and dropping into the pool from the trees high above). I sang karaoke. With Liz Gilbert. I danced a Bollywood number. I learned Qoya. I drank kava. I discussed leadership and neurobiology and feminism and menopause and sobriety and being in love with your business partner and fear and love and boundaries and the cure to that ever-present anxiety creatives have.

Fiji Sunset Facilitators by Jan McGiffen UGWA2020 UGWA2020 Is Over Farewell from Facilitators by Bonnie Gillespie Departing Malolo Plantation Island Old Pier UGWA by Bonnie Gillespie Fiji Bonnie Gillespie Crossed the International Date Line 5 Times in 1 Flight Flying Home to Los Angeles by Bonnie Gillespie

I have too much to share for one post, that’s for sure. But I am forever changed by this experience I’ve just had.

The big takeaway I want to share (for now; believe me, my writing will continue to reflect this work I’ve immersed myself in) is the big question Liz asked — it’s a question that was asked of her long before she was a successful writer. A *real* writer was amused by Liz’s complaints about not having enough time to write, not feeling confident enough about her writing, not having the breakthroughs she knew were aching to come out of her… yet Liz had a favorite TV show, a favorite brunch spot, a favorite new novel to read.

The question: “What are you willing to give up to have the life you keep pretending you want?”

It hit Liz with a blow to the gut like none other and it turned her into a writer that day. She said she had to learn how to let go of not just things she didn’t love, but things she actually DID love (like watching Seinfeld in the ’90s and then complaining about life in Manhattan over brunch with her friends) to make room for the work of living her dreams.

After 10 days offline, I can safely say I have no problem disconnecting with the world while I write my next book. The only way I get to serve the world with my work is by sometimes being away from that world while I go deep into the Creative Cave.

What is your work? Is it shooting that scene that teaches buyers what your current reel falls short of doing? Is it writing your screenplay and entering it into contests? Is it overhauling your marketing materials so you’re ready for rep meeting season coming up here soon? Is it painting a masterpiece? Composing a song? Writing another book along with me?

What are you willing to give up to have the life you keep pretending you want?

It’s that “pretending” thing that’s the real gut-punch, isn’t it?

Because if we really WANT the life of our dreams, there’s more we could be doing when we find ourselves scrolling for hours through Instagram, watching every episode of yet another Netflix show, or complaining to anyone who’ll listen about how damn hard it is to be seen.

What’s your next move?

Comments are open just below. Get super specific (this is something else Liz taught me: The more specific we are when we share our plans, goals, and dreams with others, the more effectively we ALL can energize that vision into reality). Let’s make it happen.

More next week. For now, I’ve gotta get back to the Creative Cave.

Love ya!

Bonnie Gillespie autographed the internet

Enoughness is an inside job… and sometimes you need a guide to find your way there. Let Bonnie Gillespie get you started.

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  1. Laura Dowling Shea February 25, 2020 at 4:58 am

    Wow! Gorgeous. Every word and picture. Even the crabs! Yes, that question is a doozy and clarifying. Can’t wait to hear more. I am inspired to take some time in the creative cave soon and regularly.

    1. Bonnie Gillespie February 25, 2020 at 2:10 pm

      So, Laura, I’ll ask you: WHEN will you go into the Creative Cave? Schedule it. Is it going to happen in March? And is it a whole day? A few hours per week? Let’s get specific! (That’s something Liz taught me as well; the more specific, the more likely it’ll happen.)

      And OMG those coconut crabs were everything!! SO FUNNY!

  2. April Sugarman February 25, 2020 at 5:53 am

    Still thinking about that comment: what are you willing to give up to have the life you keep pretending to want? I think I need to meditate on that and put that on a post-it or as a screensaver on my laptop or home screen on my phone. Glad you had such an amazing time! Love Fiji!

  3. Lynda Kluck February 25, 2020 at 6:32 am

    What an amazing, transformative experience! That’s an important question and one that I struggle with personally. Even at 50, I am challenged to define what it is that I truly want vs. what (I think) others/society expect of me. It’s a paradigm that can be very self-defeating. Your pictures are incredibly beautiful and I look forward to hearing more. I will be pondering this question.

    1. Bonnie Gillespie February 25, 2020 at 2:12 pm

      So, Lynda, we did a whole month of exploration in the Expansive Capacity mastermind on Your Relationship with Expectations. Because it’s a doozy if you’re letting those things — especially others’ expectations — dictate your path to joy. Can you start by separating your expectations from others’ expectations?

  4. Judy Kerr February 25, 2020 at 6:50 am

    Beautiful! So happy you take this creative time away and bring back the deliciousness for us your followers. I had a deep rebuild on my left foot four weeks ago and GIG and your other writings are seeing me through I have at least two more weeks in walking cast there are five incisions. I have this time to dream, plan, and be inspired. I’m on sort of a reflective time out and you and your teachings are giving me the best days possible to get through this. Thank you!!! 😁🤸‍♂️🤸‍♂️🤸‍♂️

    1. Bonnie Gillespie February 25, 2020 at 2:14 pm

      Judy there were so many women on this retreat who reminded me of YOU. And of our relationship! Vital, energetic, active, sexy women over 70… just absolutely pace cars and role models. And I talked about you a few times when ladies wanted my advice on publishing their first book. I told them everything you told me and they all commented on how special it is that you and I have had this friendship for 20+ years!

      Wishing you speedy healing and more inspiration coming!

  5. Amelia Rico February 25, 2020 at 6:53 am

    You always have the perfect thing to say at the perfect time. Yesterday I made the decision to buckle down and start writing the first of many feature scripts my husband and I have been mulling over. I have the Producer of Rich Kids (now available on Netflix) interested and I could have a shot in having the Director herself, all that’s holding me back is not having a script, which I’ve had plenty of time to write seeing as I’ve just completed 3 seasons and a movie about Veronica Mars a decade too late! Anyway, looks like the new season 4 will have to wait because I have some scripts to write. Love you Bon, so happy you had a wonderful and enlightening time and also glad to have you back! <3

    1. Bonnie Gillespie February 25, 2020 at 2:14 pm

      Yay! Check in with me on how the writing is going, okay? You’ve got this!

  6. Chloe Russell February 25, 2020 at 6:57 am

    Welcome back! I’m sure it will take a minute or a month to settle back into it.
    If we’re talking pretend, let’s do it.
    Let’s pretend we have everything we need.

  7. Jessica Danov February 25, 2020 at 7:03 am

    I started thinking about things I need to give up or indulge in less (ahem, re-watching old sitcom favs) for a week or so now and have limited my tv watching to 2-3 days a week and limit the time on those days, which has made a BIG difference in productivity. The one thing I haven’t done? Get super specific about what I want. When I talk with a friend of mine about where I’m going to move for my Acting because I’m no longer feeling aligned with where I am, I often flip flop back and forth between three places and leave it up to the universe I guess, but the truth is it is my choice to make and up to me to make the most of whatever decision I make. Thank you, Bon. Such a seemingly simple shift which I know will have a major impact. I’m going to give this more thought this week!

    1. Bonnie Gillespie February 25, 2020 at 2:15 pm

      Good! Looking forward to the clarity getting even more specific will give you!

  8. Deb Unger February 25, 2020 at 8:13 am

    Well. I don’t think I have ever had a clearer reason to deal with my body issues. When I think of the career I am building, and I see my body health (which I am working on, medically speaking), it DOES become clear: screw all my “issues” and reasons and sad stories for carrying too much weight I want the career I want and if that means now working as hard at planning meals and putting in workouts and being a beast about it, then that’s what I do to fulfill my dreams. No questions. Same goes for writing. I can’t present all the ideas I have flying around in my head to a producer. It HAS TO BE ON PAPER. Which means spend the time writing. What else matters, really? Why delay the joy, the gratification of actually going full tilt for what I want?

    It sounds a little crazy to be saying this. It’s not new news. But when put into one clear, short and concise question, there is no other answer. I’m in.

  9. Laura Daniel February 25, 2020 at 1:14 pm

    Bon this is all so freakin AWESOME! I am overjoyed for you and this gorgeous experience you had. Thank you for sharing it with us. And OMG ooof! indeed!

    What are you willing to give up to have the life you keep pretending you want?

    I immediately thought of giving up Schitts Creek, making TIME to do my own writing and showrunner-ing, building time to work on my craft every day. Just an hour. I can spare that. Some people can’t because of other obligations. But I CAN. I’ve got lots to do, and this was just the kick I needed.

    Thank you, Bon!

    1. Bonnie Gillespie February 25, 2020 at 2:17 pm

      Yay! I look forward to hearing how things start shaping up with just that one hour a day! 🙂 Love you!

  10. JACKIE February 25, 2020 at 10:20 pm

    This encourages (forces) me to stop “loaning” myself out to others and to concentrate on the acting success of my son and myself. I have spent too much time assisting with others success at the expence of my own. I’m giving it up. Thanks, Bon!

    1. Bonnie Gillespie February 25, 2020 at 10:29 pm

      Jackie this is so awesome! I want you to come back here in a month and tell me how you’ve put this priority in motion. I’m cheering you on!!

  11. Kellye Rowland February 26, 2020 at 10:40 am

    I see these pictures and I read your words and it makes my heart just about burst to know that you got to experience this. It makes me truly happy for you, because you have made so much of my life in the past 50+ days or so absolutely transformative to me. I am in awe of what you give. It is so valuable to me. Bon, I am overjoyed for you. Truly. <3

    1. Bonnie Gillespie February 26, 2020 at 11:16 am

      Aw, thanks, hon. It is my absolute joy and pleasure to get to be a part of your growth this year (and beyond). Thank you for loving the journey!

  12. Adriana Leonard February 26, 2020 at 11:58 am

    This hit me so hard. It’s such a deep truth that we often forget…because it can be so lonely and so alienating. Thank you for the reminder today. So glad to see you had such an incredible opportunity to “go into the cave” 🙂 …I know those are powerful, necessary moments for our souls as artist and creatives. <3

    1. Bonnie Gillespie February 28, 2020 at 9:22 am

      So necessary! I’m excited to keep sharing with you. 🙂 Glad this read landed right on time for you, Adriana. XO

  13. NaLonni Madden March 1, 2020 at 4:16 pm

    Well shit Bon. I sit here with a half smile reading this post…“What are you willing to give up to have the life you keep pretending you want?”

    That’s a tough question that I know the answer to. Because it scares me. Because I have a con for every reason to pro. I started my writers group (after Keith’s awesome advice), I did something different in the entertainment industry, working as a PA last weekend. It was massively enlightening. I feel like I’m battling with n every front right now: my health, my marriage, my career, education, finances….so yeah. It’s a difficult question to answer right now.

    1. Bonnie Gillespie March 2, 2020 at 1:07 am

      So, Nay, you *know* I will call you out on your bullshit, right? You KNOW that about me.

      I’m gonna tell you that maybe what you need to do right now is NOT work on fixing anything else for a while. You’ve got a lot going on and if so much of it is feeling like a battle, the best next move is a bit of surrender.

      Something else Liz taught me is that the hardest thing for a woman to do is to sit by and do nothing when someone else needs help. But that is surrender. Can you try that for a while? Just BE?

      I love you.

  14. Kathleen Parker August 24, 2020 at 12:22 pm

    WOW! Mind is BLOWN. I had to go see Liz Gilbert at UCLA a couple years ago, along with Cheryl Strayed. MY HEARTS!

    I needed to read this today, I needed to be reminded that my dream is more that all this shit. Also to find space and work where I need to work to get life paid for so I can write. I remember that about Liz…how she worked many jobs…

    So amazing you had this experience. Thank you for sharing it.

    1. TBG_Erin August 24, 2020 at 12:35 pm

      So glad this resonated with you today, Kathleen! 💕


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