Elizabeth Gilbert: Make Room

Elizabeth Gilbert





Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, posted this brief essay on her Facebook page today. It is an excellent reminder that every individual is complex and multifaceted. Just as you would not like others to reduce the fullness of who you are to one or two characteristics, it is vital to honor others for the fullness of their humanity.







THOUGHT OF THE DAY: MAKE ROOM
by Elizabeth Gilbert

Good morning, dear ones.

I went to bed last night—after a long visit with extended family this week—pondering this thought: The happiest people I have ever met seem to be the ones who are capable of holding two (or more) completely contradictory ideas in their heads at the same time.

They are able to look at a loved one and see how he is both marvelous and impossible (neither one nor the other, but absolutely both).

They are able to see their neighbors and friends as both generous and selfish, in equal measure.

They are able to look at a difficult situation and see that it is both painful and transformative, both a disaster and a terrific chance for a breakthrough.

They are able to regard their own lives as both noble and ridiculous.

They are able to see the world as both astonishingly benevolent and incredibly unjust.

The happiest people I know do not cling to one side of any duality, or draw firm lines in the sand.

They don’t render hard decisions about anything or anyone, and then try to cram reality into the small, unrealistic boxes they have built for it.

They don’t invent storylines and then stick with that storyline, no matter what may shift or change.

The unhappy people, on the other hand, cannot seem to bend. While the happy ones are open to all sorts of messy contradictions and inconsistencies, the unhappy ones live in a grid of their own design—a black and white grid of insistent opinion that quickly becomes a prison.

The happiest people of all seem able to embody a notion my guru once said during a speech, when she’d been assaulted all day by increasingly anxious questions from seekers demanding all sorts of certainties: “People, let’s be honest with each other. We are all adults here. It’s time to face the truth: THERE ARE PARADOXES.”

If you cannot make space in your mind and heart for all the wild paradoxes that surround you, then you will probably have trouble finding happiness in this messy, gorgeous world.

I walked away from my family time this week with these words in my head, this reminder: MAKE ROOM. (And when in doubt, make EVEN MORE room.)

Peace out,
Liz






ABOUT PHIL BOLSTA

Phil is the author of Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World, a comprehensive guide to living a spiritual life. Who will benefit from reading it?

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SiSe_fullcover_final.inddPhil is also the author of Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything, a collection of 45 inspiring, life-changing stories from prominent people he interviewed, including Joan Borysenko, Deepak Chopra, geneticist Dr. Francis Collins, acclaimed sportswriter Frank Deford, Dr. Larry Dossey, Wayne Dyer, Dan Millman, Caroline Myss, Dr. Christiane Northrup, Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, Dr. Bernie Siegel, James Van Praagh, singer Billy Vera, Doreen Virtue, Neale Donald Walsch, and bassist Victor Wooten.

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Sixty Seconds was one of three finalists in the General Interest/How-To category at the 12th annual Visionary Awards presented by COVR (Coalition of Visionary Resources) in Denver on June 27, 2009.

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4 Responses to “Elizabeth Gilbert: Make Room”

  1. Judy Szamos Says:

    Awesome words, she has a way of expressing deep truths in a very human way. Thanks for the post, Phil.

    Happy Sunday,

    ~Judy

    HomeSmart Realty West http://www.JudySzamos.com Cell 760.815.0489 eFax 760.683.6666

    Sent from my iPad

  2. Phil Bolsta Says:

    My pleasure, Judy!

  3. Marguerite Clark Says:

    Hello,

    Thanks for your recent message. I must say that this person has not really had to endure hard times. It is easy to judge what and how people should and would react to certain situations. However, when people are faced with real life-threatening situations, war for example, there aren’t many choices – the main one is survival — it’s real easy to make an intentional choice when one is free and has the possibility to do so.

    By the way, the book she wrote was at best mediocre for those who have experienced the life of a real ‘foreigner’ – by choice or force.

    Best regards from a fellow Minnesotan living in Paris.

  4. Phil Bolsta Says:

    It’s true that in situations where survival hangs in the balance that the subtleties of life are casualties, Marguerite, but you could make the same argument about anyone’s guidelines for a healthy, happy life. I really like what Elizabeth has to say about such things. She has a great deal of wisdom and an eloquent way of expressing herself.

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