Is anyone else a huge Elizabeth Gilbert fan?
I guess it was pure serendipity that I happened to chance upon her audiobook on youtube last year and after that the whole
amazement/fascination with her works/speeches/facebook community started. One of the recent videos I watched which I found to be a real gem was this one when she was invited to be the welcome note speaker at an Oprah event.
(Can't seem to embed the video properly into this post but I highly recommend watching it. :))
The entire speech is witty, confessional, endearing and starts off with a bang as she recalls an event she was invited to speak at previously on 'getting her life together'. Ironically though, in the lead up to that speech, she happened to miss her flight as she had spaced out lost in her own thoughts while at the gate (this, I must admit has not yet happened to me despite my many travel mishaps/misadventures haha!), had to rush to take another 'departing immediately' flight to LA while the event organizer drove from Santa Barbara at a mad pace to pick her up then back to Santa Barbara again for her to make it just about half an hour late for the event...and in the frantic whirl of it all, her notes for her speech went missing...as did her hairbrush...
;) It's true what Brene Brown says, that when it comes to vulnerability, it's the first thing we look for in others but the last thing we want other people to see in ourselves. But as we can see, when we allow that bit of human-ness and vulnerability to reveal itself ever so slightly, it makes the situation ripe for connection.
I love listening to strong, wise women like these share their stories. And as Liz Gilbert says, doesn't it seem like we're all sort of peering into each other's mazes once in awhile when we gain some elevation and perspective? It's comforting to know that we're all on this journey together.
Something that struck me the other day though, was this realization that I had when I was in my room. It was a subtle but clear realization that dawned upon me, and yet after it did, felt almost like it'd been there inside me the whole time. It was the fact that at this point in my life, I'm the happiest now that I've ever been. I suppose that there are so many of us who have yearnings for other ways of living. Not entirely happy with our job or our relationships or the way we spend our time... the list goes on. But at this point in time, I can't help but think, there really is nothing that I can complain about my life if I had to pick something to complain about with bone-aching/gut-wrenching intensity. I just can't. I won't. Because there is just so much more that is good in my life at the moment.
Sure, things seemed more sweetness and rainbows when I was younger and so filled to the brim with hope that I still yearn occasionally for such mindless exuberance. I remember how I used to look forward so much when I was younger. Always looking to the future, planning and preparing, thinking that things would get better after XYZ conditions were fulfilled. Sure, it gave me motivation to work hard (I still remember my mad motivated days when I would wake up at 7am on a Sunday morning to memorize Chinese phrases from my textbook because I was so bad at it but doggone it, I would score well for that test and get into some awesome university in the future! Yeah, I was that sort of annoying 10 year old) but I suppose right now, even though I do look forward quite a lot to the future, I'm also so much more mindful of the fact that life is in the journey. That working towards the future is something that is a part of the present and the present is where I need to be, where I'm happy to be right now. Sure, I can get this feeling of anxiety or restlessness whenever I feel that there is a place in my future that I would like to be at but I'm not there yet. Sometimes I don't know how I'll get there. It's a distance goal in mind but I have no clear path of getting there. Sometimes I know I will get there just that it will take more time, more effort, more patience. Something present in wanting amounts in most normal people. But what gives me such comfort, is the thought that it's really all about the journey. The act of reaching, of moving forward, is what counts. After all, even if we never get there, but if we look at ourselves and know that we did all we could to get towards where we wanted to go, isn't that in itself a laudable act?
Life has been all the more (dare I say) magical recently (after reading Liz Gilbert's Big Magic) after having been giving the nudge to follow my curiosities every day, wherever they may lead me. So much of life has always been about tangible achievements. Something that has been drilled into my head from a young age. (I'm pretty sure this is a common experience among my friends/generally anyone who has grown up in an Asian household) So much so that I think I've always been guilty of questioning every pursuit with the almost interrogative "is this worth it?"/"will I get something out of this?"/"does the outcome justify the means?" I'm pretty sure I have dropped some pursuits previously because I felt that there was no point in the outcome. Not economically viable. Not something that I could show to the world. Not something that was of any consequence to anyone. But now, just that shift from focusing on outcome to process has made all the difference. Does it matter if I'm not able to monetize a hobby at the end of the day? Or if a creative endeavor is not seen by a lot of people, maybe just one or two close friends? It matters because the process changes us. It matters if we allow ourselves to let it matter to us. And the results may not be clear and tangible, but if we grow as people and are that much happier being able to lead lives of creativity and of curiosity, isn't that pretty darn awesome?
Best quote for the year probably:
“Follow it...(curiosity). It might lead you to your passion or it might not. You might get nothing out of it at all except a beautiful, long life where all you did was follow your gorgeous curiosity. And that should be enough too.”
- Elizabeth Gilbert
THAT SHOULD BE ENOUGH.
It's funny right, how sometimes we are so eager for some guidance in our lives and we act like we've been waiting for that right moment to unleash ourselves from our own binds once we stumble across that piece of advice or wisdom that tells us go ahead. I guess sometimes we all need those permission slips. By people who have been there, done that, and tell us hey, you'll be alright; I did it, I'm fine, and so will you too.
So thank you, Liz Gilbert, for being a light post along this journey of mine, reminding me to enjoy the process, have fun with it, and to treasure and bring forth some Big Magic into our lives. :)