Dear Ones —

Yesterday at the TED conference I got to hear the great Sir Ken Robinson speak. Sir Ken holds the honor of having given the most widely viewed TED talk in history — an amazing speech about how schools kill creativity — with something like 25 million people having seen it so far. (And if you haven't seen it, you can watch it here: https://bit.ly/1oEWGFO)

He is incredibly smart and fantastically entertaining, our dear Sir Ken. A dry British wit, with a sharp global mind.

He went on a little tangent yesterday about a visit he once took to a slaughterhouse ("I was probably taking a girl on a date") during which he noticed an office door with a sign that read "Veterinarian." He wondered what purpose a veterinarian could possibly serve in slaughterhouse, and thought to himself, "That guy must be really depressed."

But when he asked one of the slaughterhouse managers what the veterinarian was for, he was told, "Every few weeks, we have the vet perform autopsies on the animals."

To which Sir Ken replied, "But surely you've noticed a pattern by now…?"

Yes, what could possibly be causing all these cows in this slaughterhouse to die…?

Sir Ken told this story in the context of the need for educational reform (haven't we noticed by now that so many kids are failing?) but I think the metaphor works across the board, for so many aspects of our lives. Emotionally, it sure does.

Because surely you've noticed a pattern by now? What's causing your soul to die, and not to live?

What's working for you, and what's not working for you?

What makes you miserable and what elevates you?

Who holds you down, and who brings you light?

What makes you healthy, and what makes you sick?

How you get in your own way, and how you get out of it?

Or are we all still performing superfluous autopsies on ourselves, wondering anew what's gone wrong, puzzling over perfectly obvious cases of repeating mortification? (I know I still do it sometimes: looking at a smoking bullet hole in my life and wondering, "Hmmmm…Drowning? Trip and fall?")

But by this time, you know what it is, though, right? The thing that needs to end? The thing that you need to stop doing? The thing that's actually killing you, day after day?

Stop doing that thing.



via Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook Wall