Dear Ones – A story: Years ago I was on the midtown cross-town bus in NYC, in…

Dear Ones – A story: Years ago I was on the midtown cross-town bus in NYC, in…

Dear Ones –

A story:

Years ago I was on the midtown cross-town bus in NYC, in evening rush hour, in January, in the sleeting wind and rain.

Yeah, it sucked.

The bus moved at a crawl, and everyone on it seemed depressed. It would've been far faster to walk across town, but the weather was too godawful to bear. Everyone was definitely hating their life that day.

When we reached 10th Ave, the bus driver made a surprising announcement.

He said, "Ladies and Gentleman, we are now nearing the Hudson River. I'm going to ask you to do me a favor. When you get off the bus, I'm going to hold out my hand. As you walk past me, I want you to drop your troubles into the palm of my hand. I'll take your troubles for you, and when I drive past the river, I'll throw them in. The reason I want to do this is because you all seem like you've had a bad day, and I don't want you taking all your worries and sorrows home to your friends and families now. Because they deserve better than that, don't they? So you just leave your troubles here with me to dispose of, and you all go have a wonderful night, OK?"

The whole bus — the whole grumpy lot of us — broke into laughter. (Some of us, myself included, might have even shed a tear or two.) And one by one, as we filed off the bus, we dropped our troubles into the palm of this good man's hand, and we stepped off the bus with smiles on our faces.

What that guy did? That's the best and most powerful example I've ever personally witnessed of TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ENERGY THAT YOU BRING INTO A SPACE.

The quote I've posted here today is from the great Dr. Jill Bolte-Taylor, a neurologist who had a stroke, and who wrote about it in her beautiful book MY STROKE OF INSIGHT. (If you aren't one of the 15 million people who already watched her incredible TED Talk, here it is:

When Jill had her stroke, she lost all function in the part of her brain that distinguishes "self" from "other". She lost the ability to tell where she began and the rest of the world ended. There were no boundaries, no borders. All she could see was pure molecular energy. While she was recovering in the hospital, doctors and nurses would walk in and out of her room all day, and the only thing she could distinguish about them was their energy — the anger, or grace, or kindness, or resentment that each person brought into her presence. Some of that energy was healing and helpful, obviously…some of it was decidedly not. When Jill recovered enough to do so, she asked for a sign to be written, to hang outside her room: TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ENERGY THAT YOU BRING INTO THIS SPACE.

Oprah told this story the other night at The Life You Want Tour, and I loved it.

You've heard me talk before about BRINGING THE LIGHT to any and every situation. That's what it's all about. This is the same deal. That's what the bus driver understood that day on 10th Ave — that the crosstown midtown bus was HIS SPACE, and that he needed to take responsibility for its energy. So he turned that energy around, and managed to transform people's gloom into pure grace.

Wherever you work, wherever you live, wherever you shop, exercise, study, travel — wherever you go — take note of the energy that you bring. Pause before you enter into any space (from the dentist's office, to your cousin's house, to a cathedral) and ask yourself what you're bringing in there.

Identify your energy, and take responsibility for it.

Whatever needs to be thrown in the river, by all means: toss it.

And if you have good examples of watching people BRING THE LIGHT, share them here!


via Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook Wall




Dear Ones —

I must confess that I don't really care all that much about originality. The older I get, the less I care about it. In fact, sometimes I get annoyed by people's efforts to be original, because it can feel forced and artificial.

What I love, though, is authenticity. Because it's RARE.

Let me give you an example:

Sometimes I'll be signing books after an event, and a woman will approach the table and say, "I'm afraid I don't have anything clever or original to say to you…and you've probably heard this a million times…but I just wanted to tell you that your book changed my life."

And it's true that I have heard those words before. Maybe even many times before. (I am very blessed, after all, that so many people care so deeply about EAT PRAY LOVE.) But there will just be something about THIS woman — something about the way she spoke those simple words, something about the purity of her intention— that will go right through me…and my heart will crack wide open, and my eyes will fill with tears.

She wasn't trying to impress me, she wasn't trying to be memorable…she just spoke from her heart, and thus she moved me.

(Meanwhile, at that very same event, somebody else might approach the signing table with the intention of being original and unique and clever, and there will be something about HER energy that just makes me want to hide under the table…for real!)

I often have this experience when I'm reading, too…that I am not necessarily swept away by a wildly original book with the cleverest language or the most innovative form. I often read inarguably brilliant books that don't reach into me at all — that never descend out of the cerebral realm and into the realm of the heart. Then I'll read something written by an alleged "non-writer", and I'll find myself bawling my eyes out because it touched me so deeply.

Sometimes a work will be both original and emotionally authentic, and that, of course, is the gold standard. But if I have to choose? Give me authenticity.

So whatever it is that you dream of doing (creating, traveling, loving, inventing, transforming) just do it. Don't worry if you're the 100th person to do it. Just do it, anyhow, and be sure that you bring the highest purity of intention to your pursuit. Act from a place of your deepest authenticity, and the rest of it will take care of itself…

And trust me, if you are authentic, you WILL be original.



via Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook Wall