Elizabeth Gilbert in Vancouver: Takeaways
Last Friday, I had the opportunity to attend a talk event with the renowned writer Elizabeth Gilbert. Liz is the author of several bestselling books, including "Eat Pray Love" and "Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear." During the event, she shared some inspiring stories to help us live more fulfilling lives.
Historically, as women, we tend to care too much about everything and everyone at all times. Liz shares how we actually should let go of this ideal of being strong/ badass/ fearless all the times - to actually just be more relaxed and focus in what we actually care about. And to do that, we must know how to prioritize, to set boundaries, and to trust the Universe. Below, I share a bit more about each of these lessons.
Once upon a time, before she became a renowned writer, Liz got asked by her mentor: “What are you willing to give up to have the life you keep pretending you want? Your time is going into everything but your writing.” At first Liz resented the insinuation. Then she realized it was true.
How are you spending your free time? Are you truly making your calling a priority?
It is important to prioritize our passion, on what it is we really want to manifest in our life. That means making conscious choices around our time, our attention, and the people in our lives. We must focus on what matters and stop worrying about what others think. This is essential to our health, happiness and success.
Then, we need to place clear boundaries around these priorities.
Liz heard from an interview with Joseph Campbell where he got asked: “How do you make something sacred?". "You draw a circle around it” - he answered. "Who gets to decide what is sacred?" - "You do".
That circle is a boundary, and is up to you to declare that everything within the circle is sacred. People, thoughts, ideas, invitations can come into this golden circle only if they can respect what is sacred. And put yourself in the middle, as you are the most sacred thing in your life.
What about everything that doesn’t belong in the circle? She asks us to declare: “I don’t care.”
Liz also shared another interview in which someone got asked how they dealt with toxic people in their life. The answer was surprising to her: "I don’t have toxic people in my life". But then she understood - we can make our own choices and choose who gets to play inside our boundary circle. It comes down to the boundaries we set. We are all adults and we have the agency to change. Children may be trapped, but not adults. We are the ones trapping ourselves.
There is a uniting thing of mysticism that every mystic, every person, who has ever had a transcendent experience comes back with the same message to report, which is it’s all going to be all right. Whatever happens, it’s fine. We got you.
Making yourself the primary actor in the universe and relaxing into some sense that there are forces, scientific, religious, whatever you want to call them that are happening all around you that are bigger than you. That are deeper than you, that are more mysterious than you, and that are holding this whole thing together in a way that you can never understand. The only thing you need to know is that it’s all going to be all right.
My favorite question during Q&A was around how to know what to prioritize when life may pull us in different directions. Liz shared that she practices a technique called Two Way Prayer.
Two-way prayer is a form of prayer that involves a dialogue between an individual and their higher power, or God. It is a practice commonly used by anyone seeking a deeper connection with their spirituality.
To practice two-way prayer, begin by finding a quiet and peaceful place where you can be alone with your thoughts. Start by expressing your thoughts and feelings to your higher power, whether it be through spoken words or written down in a journal. Then, take a moment to pause and listen for any guidance or answers that may come to you. This can be in the form of thoughts, feelings, or even a sense of peace or clarity.
The key to two-way prayer is to remain open and receptive to whatever messages may come your way. It may take some practice to become comfortable with the process, but over time, you may find that it helps you develop a deeper connection with your spirituality and a greater sense of peace and clarity in your life. It can also be helpful to seek guidance and support from a spiritual mentor or community to assist you in your practice.
Ultimately, it's about taking ownership of our lives and making the choices that align with our values and goals. We get to choose what's important to us, we get to set the boundaries, and we get to trust and surrender, knowing that ultimately things will turn out well.