Good morning, dear ones.

I went to bed last night — after a long visit with extended family this week — pondering this thought: The happiest people I have ever met seem to be the ones who are capable of holding two (or more) completely contradictory ideas in their heads at the same time.

They are able to look at a loved one and see how he is both marvelous and impossible (neither one nor the other, but absolutely both).

They are able to see their neighbors and friends as both generous and selfish, in equal measure.

They are able to look at a difficult situation and see that it is both painful and transformative, both a disaster and a terrific chance for a breakthrough.

They are able to regard their own lives as both noble and ridiculous.

They are able to see the world as both astonishingly benevolent and incredibly unjust.

The happiest people I know do not cling to one side of any duality, or draw firm lines in the sand.

They don't render hard decisions about anything or anyone, and then try to cram reality into the small, unrealistic boxes they have built for it.

They don't invent storylines and then stick with that storyline, no matter what may shift or change.

The unhappy people, on the other hand, cannot seem to bend. While the happy ones are open to all sorts of messy contradictions and inconsistencies, the unhappy ones live in a grid of their own design — a black and white grid of insistent opinion that quickly becomes a prison.

The happiest people of all seem able to embody a notion my guru once said during a speech, when she'd been assaulted all day by increasingly anxious questions from seekers demanding all sorts of certainties: "People, let's be honest with each other. We are all adults here. It's time to face the truth: THERE ARE PARADOXES."

If you cannot make space in your mind and heart for all the wild paradoxes that surround you, then you will probably have trouble finding happiness in this messy, gorgeous world.

I walked away from my family time this week with these words in my head, this reminder: MAKE ROOM. (And when in doubt, make EVEN MORE room.)

How do we do it?

How do you make space for the paradoxes?

Curious to hear your thoughts…

Peace out,

via Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook Wall