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.)
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?
Anyone who is on a spiritual path, or wants to start one
Anyone who loves life, or wants to learn how to
Anyone who is happy, or wants to be happier
Here is a two-minute video introduction to Through God’s Eyes.
• an overview of the book
• the complete table of contents
• the Foreword by Caroline Myss
• my Introduction
• chapter excerpts
• a sample end-of-chapter story
• endorsements from authors and thought leaders
Just click on the link below to download your free PDF sampler!
THROUGH GOD’S EYES PDF SAMPLER
Schedule a Mastery Mentoring phone session with Phil to learn how to apply principles of spiritual living more effortlessly and effectively. Priced affordably! Click here to e-mail Phil for details.
Phil 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.
Reading this book is like spending a few minutes face to face with each of the contributors and listening to their personal stories. Click here to read unsolicited testimonials from readers. Learn more by visiting the official Sixty Seconds website.
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.