Wednesday, January 28, 2015

#27 - Elizabeth Gilbert

Another TED talk!  A friend shared this with me a few years ago.  Elizabeth Gilbert wrote the memior Eat, Pray, Love.  The whole thing is awesome, but the part that has really stuck with me over the last couple of years is around 15 minutes where she tells the empty room that if this next book sucks it's not entirely her fault; furthermore  "Let the record reflect that I showed up for my part of the job."  She also talks about the "Divine Cockeyed Genius Assigned to Your Case"--a phrase for God I am borrowing.

After I heard this I changed the way I talk to God.  I sound more like the king's messenger reading a proclamation than a worshiper:
"Dear God, I am down here suffering (the most common verb I use, but interchangeable with hurting, depressed, confused, feeling disconnected etc.).  Let the record show that I am asking you for help.  You promise to help us when we ask, and I am asking.  You promise to never leave me, and I'm calling you out on that one.  I'm going into the world now but make note that I am here and asking for guidance!"

 I know theologically that God doesn't change, but it sure does seem like He kicked into action when started this.  I felt different.  Better different.  I noticed God around me more.  I felt better.  Whatever pain I was in seemed to be lifted.  At least a little sooner than before.

The other thing I love about this talk is that it gave me permission to let go of the entire responsibility for my own success.  I'm not saying I don't have to work hard.  I'm saying it gave me permission to accept that I can only do what I can do.  I can only cram so much into each day.  My kidneys are strained with all the stress I've had lately about work, and hearing this talk again reminds me that if I am absolutely showing up and doing my part, the inspiration and outcome must be up to God.


  1. Thank you for such a wonderful post and video. I have a few thoughts:

    1) Our culture defines creative success by how much recognition and acceptance it gets by others. We can achieve our greatest work and nobody will notice it. We show up for our part. The Universe will show up for its part. Accolades are optional and irrelevant to the quality of the work.

    2) I read her next book and I disliked it with the same intensity that I loved Eat Pray Love. But what does it matter? She is doing the work she loves. THAT is what is important. She is a success regardless of the amount of public acceptance/recognition.

    3) I know of that Divine Energy of which she speaks. It's true. Others not believing in this energy does NOT make it a myth, it just keeps them in the dark world where everything depends on them. No wonder they go insane.

    Keep up the good work, Joy. Your name says it all!

  2. Thank you, Diana. I forget that what is important IS that we do the work we love. I tend to get caught up in comparing myself to others' "success" or looking at the things I don't have rather than diving into the things I love. Thank you for the reminder.