I am sure I will have more to say over the coming weeks about what it's been like to be on Oprah's Life You Want Tour. But tonight, before I crash out, I just want to say this: I am being presented on this tour as some of teacher, but at every turn I find myself taking notes (emotionally, spiritually and literally) in the guise of a student.

When I am not speaking (which is the whole weekend, except for 45 minutes) I am sitting in the front row with my heart and mind wide open, and I am LEARNING…from Mark Nepo, from Rob Bell, from Iyanla Vanzant, from Deepak Chopra, from the brave audience members who rise to speak, from everyone who is there to share and to grow.

But mostly I am learning from Oprah Winfrey, who gives so much of herself to the world, from a place of such sincere grace and kindness and power. She is extraordinary. It is not new information for me to say this, and it should not be news for anybody to hear it, but I do need to say it: She is extraordinary. The more I see of her in public, and the more I see her in private, the more extraordinary she becomes in my eyes. You cannot say this about every hero you meet. (Trust me.) But you can say this about her.

I am growing, growing, growing because of these gatherings.

I was thinking today about something my friend Rayya Elias told me once, about when she was a junkie, and she kept thinking she had hit rock bottom….but there was always another rock bottom below that rock bottom, "always another trap door." There are times in our lives when we feel like this — when we feel like we just keep tumbling down through defeat after defeat after defeat…and there is no end to it. I have been there, too. (As Rob Bell said in his talk today, "The definition of despair is the belief that tomorrow is going to be exactly like today.")

But I realized today that it works in the other direction, too. There are just as many endless levels up as there are down. There are moments when we feel like we are pretty happy, that things are going well, that we are lucky and blessed, that we have learned our important life lessons, that we have settled into ourselves. But we aren't done yet. There is always a higher plane to which we can ascend. There is always another staircase going up. There is always more goodness to learn, more darkness to shed. More truth to realize. More room to grow. More wonder to be grateful for.

Today, I just feel like I climbed a rope ladder in my soul to an entirely new level.

Oprah did that.

I am grateful.

See you tomorrow, friends.


via Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook Wall