Sometimes in life, we have to be completely broken before we can evolve. That is what happened to Elizabeth Gilbert a few years ago, and the reason she went on her now famous trip to ‘the three I’s’ – Italy, India and Indonesia. Anyone who had the misfortune of seeing the film without having read the book: forget the film and read the book. Seriously. I promise it’s worth it. Not only is it full of warm gentle wisdom that wraps its arms around you like a hug from your best friend, but it’s funny. Like, tears-rolling-down-your-cheeks funny.
I happened to read it at a time when my life mirrored the first part of the book, and I will forever be deeply grateful for the comfort I drew from it during that awful period. Once I had moved out and settled into my adorable apartment, one of the first things I did was write out all my favourite quotes onto a long piece of parchment (makes it even more wisdomy :)) and hang it on the wall where I would see it every day. These are the quotes that were on it.
“People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave. A soul mates purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life”
“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it”
“You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That’s the only thing you should be trying to control”
“We search for happiness everywhere, but we are like Tolstoy’s fabled beggar who spent his life sitting on a pot of gold, under him the whole time. Your treasure – your perfection – is within you already. But to claim it, you must leave the busy commotion of the mind and abandon the desires of the ego and enter into the silence of the heart”
“The Zen Buddhists believe […] that an oak tree is brought into creation by two forces at the same time. Obviously, there is the acorn from which it all begins, the seed which holds all the promise and potential, which grows into a tree. Everybody can see that. But only a few can recognize that there is another force operating here as well – the future tree itself, which wants so badly to exist that it pulls the acorn into being, drawing the seedling forth with longing out of the void, guiding the evolution from nothingness to maturity. In this respect, say the Zens, it is the oak tree that creates the very acorn from which it was born”
“We gallop through our lives like circus performers balancing on two speeding side-by-side horses – one foot is on the horse called “fate,” the other on the horse called “free will.” And the question you have to ask every day is – which horse is which? Which horse do I need to stop worrying about because it’s not under my control, and which do I need to steer with concentrated effort?”
“I’m here. I love you. I don’t care if you need to stay up crying all night long, I will stay with you. There’s nothing you can ever do to lose my love. I will protect you until you die, and after your death I will still protect you. I am stronger than Depression and I am braver than Loneliness and nothing will ever exhaust me”
“Instructions for freedom”:
1. Life’s metaphors are God’s instructions.
2. You have just climbed up and above the roof, there is nothing between you and the Infinite; now, let go.
3. The day is ending, it’s time for something that was beautiful to turn into something else that is beautiful. Now, let go.
4. Your wish for resolution was a prayer. You are being here is God’s response, let go and watch the stars came out, in the inside and in the outside.
5. With all your heart ask for Grace and let go.
6. With all your heart forgive him, forgive yourself and let him go.
7. Let your intention be freedom from useless suffering then, let go.
8. Watch the heat of day pass into the cold night, let go.
9. When the Karma of a relationship is done, only Love remains. It’s safe, let go.
10. When the past has past from you at last, let go.. then, climb down and begin the rest of your life with great joy.”