Elizabeth Gilbert (https://www.elizabethgilbert.com/) is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Big Magic and Eat, Pray, Love, as well as several other internationally bestselling books. Her new novel City of Girls (https://amzn.to/2QgYIAC) is a fast-paced, pleasure-drenched tale of the New York City theater world during the 1940s. Since her last appearance on the podcast some four years ago, Gilbert's life has been turned upside-down and back again. She has navigated profound awakening, love, loss, transition, reclamation and, along the way, continues the practice of finding her way back into the light. We explore all of this, in detail, in today's deeply honest and powerful conversation.
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
So my guest today Elizabeth gilbert has been on the show in the past about for four and a half years ago, actually she's an author
doesn't six came out with eat, pray, love, a series of novels and memoirs and other books. Since then, tremendous was tremendous inside she hasn't a new out now called city of girls, which is a fun engaging play for novel about,
life and about a group of characters in the ninety forties in new york city. It's also touch
want some really powerful relevant issues of the day, and we talk about that a bed, but in the time since this has been the studio with me, her life has also done through its own incredibly powerful narrative, our her own journey leaving
Relationship falling in love with
but he knew that,
but he knew knowing that she only had a certain amount of time left on the planet as she was living with cancer and lisbon.
time with her and then had to figure out. How do I move forward? How do I wake up each day,
and reclaim and redefine and set the new parameters of my life, many of and we
floor, a lot of that, in today's conversation its wide ranging it is emotional, its powerful
always with lies. There are so many things that she thinks
and says and shares that are healing and
coming and inclusive.
Damn you may one lesson a few times and potentially even with the pad and pencil to take some nuts
excited to share this conversation with you. I'm jonathan field, and this is good life project.
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Last time. You know, hung out in the studio, was
the four ish four or five years ago. It was right around when the magic him out yep and was interesting, because I was reflecting because when that episode came
at our audiences response was bonkers. Ah, it was like this is amazing. Okay, yes, lately atlas is incredible. She got a big heart incredible craft like awesome ideas, but there was something
else, going really curious. So I had
Others are transcribed,
a clash here. I want to look at the words here, as he was happening and their summit
jumped out of me that was so powerful, but it
was nothing that you said, but it was the transcribers note. So in brackets.
At a minimum. Once a minute, there were little square brackets with the word,
I know there's another one.
And I was like a case- you literally laughed
every once in a minute that seems like I'm losing my my pacing. If it's only going to get my game up and oh that's beautiful, it was amazing. I was like this- I it was so telling now I can't stop. It can be like one of those indian laughing clubs are laughing, Jojo started, rolling and yeah cause. I was, I was really fascinating. I was like, I wonder if that's portland's about and then I got really curious, I'm like what
allow somebody to be so sort of just unapologetically light
it's interesting? Also because in the intervening years between then and
we sit down this year now. A lot has happened
Your light he had a lot of dark staff has happened. I think it's weird. My first reflex too that answer that question was you
I also have to allow yourself to be unapologetically dark and taken to me more like you have to be fully present for all of it. I don't think you can just take one. I think you have to be willing to.
Feel otherwise what would the laughter wouldn't heavy any depth to anything? We will just be
with his put on it, wouldn't be the laughter of
that we feel when we're in relief and as we take a break between cattle.
The fees which is what life is? A lot of life is just taking breaks between catastrophes and being like who suffer care? What's next? What's the next disaster up, but that's that's. What came to mind
yeah, I may I feel it there's them. You need the contrast
no when you're in one place or the other,
and you need to know
I know and love some people who have trouble feeling and they do
cry as much as I do, but they don't laugh as much as I do either and I feel it it's not a good trade to create a kind of pretty
no numbness around you, so that you don't have to experience pain, also means that you don't get to think that ever
as various rackets laughs
You know you have to measure only we're gonna transcribed this one, but you had it has to be. At least I leave it to try to get it out of forty five forty internal leclere, but there is also something I don't know when you really like
When you really allowing the world to have its way with you and
periods of life to have its way with. You are also something intrinsically funny about tragedy.
Disaster, I mean a gallows humour as a real thing in, and I've experienced it at the bedside of the dying of the love, my life
have experiences at funerals. I mean there's a there's, a kind of rueful sort of
I share it. Can you can you believe this kind of laughter the that that also
system- and I remember friend, of mine who is and who does a lot of work with dying people saying to me if you can't,
for death and dying, get out a sharp his niece. You know this is this is also part of this.
the insanity and the mystery of of human life. It's weird it's weird, and it's funny
we're not funny. I mean it goes. I mean you all, the bachelor, nearly great comedy great track. You know it's, it's tragedy, yeah, but it's all yeah! It's a lie.
it's late, brought at a level of farce like out like a monarchy,
and now I see it, it's like you had the amplifier to that level or can only see like. Oh, there is something there's another level of something I can respond to emotionally here, yeah. Maybe that could be it I'm very well and are so. Let's talk about the last
years through last time, you hang out, we drank reputation in a book out
Really after your world completely turned upside down. I will suit you came out of.
long term relationship and went in
in a with somebody with rare who you had known for a long time,
so my best friend,
the world was a woman named rare Elias and she,
she and I had a seventeen year- long friendship that by the last five sixty years of it,
becomes so important to me. She had become the most important person in my life, which was complicated thing to know,
when you're married and I was married to nato.
I wonderful man who I loved, build rare
become the only word I could ever used to describe her with my person. She is my person, she was the person I needed.
In the first phone call it an emergency, the first one
how, at any moment of celebration, the one who's,
in the one who I went you to for guidance for council for comfort, the one who,
When she would tell me, are you let me break it down for your gilbert. I would
sit up and listen and do it. She said because
new that she knew me that she had it right that she understood life in this in this very rich and surprise,
way and that she would love me
even if I did it wrong that sense of great safety there.
with railways this feeling that she now
throw me away, you know, and and she's gonna be-
me exactly as I am? No judgments only love and we have each other
backs. We richest. We were vital to each other and then in into
at sixteen she was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic, liver cancer and within a couple weeks that diagnosis,
There is something that the jarring horror of that diagnosis that me
We are unable to not to nuts
any more. What I had been nazi
irs, which was like. Oh I'm, in love with her. That's what I mean by my person.
That's what I mean by the most important person in my life. That's what these feelings are. This is this is love And- and I couldn t bear to let her go to her grave, not knowing that- and I I saw that the horror that that would create a my life. If I were to not reveal that and she were to go- and I would known that that I had been given this great great love of my life and that I had left It-
go well out of propriety or fear or caution, or whatever would make you not speak the truth and that moment
and so I just spoke the truth and that moment and left-
the marriage and it was. It was fast and indecisive and pretty drama free. I mean it was very obvious to everyone that this is what had to happen now and then I spent the next eighteen months with her and
it will we know it as she said, I want you to walk me all the way to the edge of the river and that's what we did. I walked right to the edge of the river there
can't go further than that now is injured.
you had known each other for so long, and there was this one category
make a catalytic momentum that kind of awakened eagerly. Oh the
There is actually this actual heavier and like yeah, and your choice was I need.
Say something now because she and to this yet in this moment
Did you talk to her about
why she had never. Also-
that place and shared how she was feeling about you. Until that moment, we both had such immaculate boundaries, largely because of previous suffering that we did.
I repeat, no I've survey, it re was gay and I was met.
Unlike many lesbians, her age, she had a whole history of story
of being in love with married women, and
having the bisexual woman choose ultimately to go with the guy and make the same
choice in life. So she had. She had some very heartbreaking stories about about that, and she had
She was never going do that again, and I had heartbreaking stories about
leaving, marriage and fidelity was important to me in and loyalty, and so I was never to do that. So the boundaries were airtight
anyone, so we just we just loved each other for years. That way, her until death
in her, which has a way of blowing up paradigms came in may
Those boundaries should seem absolutely ridiculous, absolutely kills and also inhumane and just wrong wishes. It was I do what I can
say about the feeling I had about what
would have done to me to have let rare go without ever expressing those feelings. The only way
ever been able to say is that my soul was appalled by that idea
soul would have been appalled by the idea and if you're walking
I would been. Appalled saw you're not well.
Well in yourself and you're, not well in the world, and so I really do
like it wasn't even a decision. It was just me agreeing with something that was very obvious and had to happen amazed, allowing it saying: ok, that's I I'm in accordance with this command, this divine command that this is what now asked to happen, and I m so I just did what I was told by the great mothers
the sky and and- and we got to be together knows beautiful. Did you expect to hear it back
She always laughed at telling that part of the story when she would tell that story about me coming hearn thing and then lose
She comes to means. Has
you like me in that way. You know she that you sound like a third greater d like yes, no do you like me in that way, and am I
didn't know. I knew she had great love for me, but I have expected it to be like ooh, you're,
you're, like my sister, you, like my best friend yuck, she didn't have a response. She,
she said that in that moment she felt that a cage door opened in her heart and a thousand doves flew out,
is just and then the whole universe came in and every angel entered it was such a big. Yes for her an end such her
such a shock such a disruptive thing, you know at the moment that you ve been given a death sentence to also be given love. She said: how can I be so happy at this moment? This is
How can this be the greatest moment of my life, but it is true, it was it was. It was definitely returned,
yeah. I mean it's interesting articles.
There's this moment of just complete connection inhalation, but at the same time
under this, under the context of while there is,
Terminal illness, you know that now you both said okay, so we're in this together. No idea how long it is he like no eye but no idea.
What you're gonna go through by committing sack. This is illegal,
We are not just saying yes to each other were saying yes to what life is is
to become which it can be really hard.
In a really short amount of time. We report
have earlier about it at first to have thy railways.
they are about it because she had already died three times because she was a recovered heroin at it.
and, and she used to be very cavalier about death before it got close enough that it's terror, it's inevitable terror caught her
But even with that diagnosis, she was she was she such a bad ass anyway, but she
I used to say like I died three times already. I know I know it's not so bad and she headline in one of her songs. My faith to keep me warm died more times than I was born in one. That's really that's truly who she was and- and I think honestly I have to be very candid. There was a part of rhea.
and I love her honesty about this in the suspended part of what made her so radical. Was this ferocious kind of groundbreaking and most
I want to say that she had but she's honestly said when I heard you know six months to a year. I thought oh, thank god. I
go. You know this has been so hard. Life is and she had a good life, but she has had a hard life should be no she'd been through a lot, but she had cleaned up and she had a good life. But I think even a good life is a hard life, and I think that
I was fascinated by that sense that she had of
gather so much. I'm never gonna have to worry about again. I never have
worry about whether happened have money. My retirement account I dont have to those people.
I have to see again there's like hard situations I never have to be in again. I don't have to worry about climate change anymore. I'm not going to be here like there was truly some sense of,
heard of a release of a sense of I get too. I get to go and I get to go in my own terms with my own honor, with my my lover by my side: that's how it began
but by the end and and what we went through the end dying is, is no joke and-
with somebody. Who's dying is no joke and dying of terminal. Cancer is not the same as overdosing as a junkie in your twenties. You know: there's there
she. She was scared and she was angry and she was heart broken and she was
she lashed out, I mean she was. She went through everything that everybody who is on the verge of death goes through unless there are fully enlightened, lightened being which none of us are.
I m a soon and I went through everything that a caregiver goes through
pain, exhaustion, heartbreak resentment. They knew there was nothing romantic about, though the road that we walked, except for that we walked the entire thing together
and while I made while she is, is say: okay, so yes is horrible, but yell and thank god,
I didn't. There was a sense released for her. You ve lived a different life and any you're your job is to carry on.
did. I say: you're not experience. If it's a very different thing.
He- how I dont get to go. I have to stay here in this well tears. That is also a merry go round and also
a playground and, and also beautiful and also horrible and.
I knew I I was told something really be
by my friend, the novelist and patchett after after re died. But it was it's one of
Really must resonating things that anybody who told me where she said re belongs to the infinite now and some
You will too someday. We all will
once you do want to belong to the eternal to the infinite you
literally the rest of eternity to be there and to be
merging, with whatever that is and to be with rain.
To be with our souls, but you just have this tiny little mysterious period of time to be in human form in life, so embraced that and
Don't be in such a hurry to merge with the input that you don't do this, that you don't do this messy strange, complex life,
He would form and make sure to reimburse case that a rejoin the world that you belong to as as somebody who is living- and, I suppose so beautiful so kind at all,
kind of reassured me when she said don't worry you'll be you'll be dead soon to as like.
good, then I'll get to hang out with her hair and we'll get too soon enough exceeded the second, the cosmic tying it will link there. You know it's an it's. It's it's instant! That will all be there
like to think that will meet up at some soul conference and look back on what we did hear me. I wasn't that weird,
hopefully this is really good at every area would have come back if there wasn't knock on the door handling now or muse. Acts are still here.
I had to stay in. I have chosen to embrace and to believe that,
my life in a rail world will find it's way to be as beautiful as my life in a rare filled, world was, and that's my creative challenge now is to kind of
figure out how to have that. Be there. I mean how do you do you do that
which I guess about answering the universal you as an individually is it is it is it
an intentional process for you or is it just wake up every morning, as kind of I'm going to figure it out? It's intentional. I mean I've lived my whole life with a lot of intent and I think
A grieving rare has been in many ways, the greatest
creative challenge of my life. It's an active creativity. To figure out, I mean hears, here's what they have given me. You know like I always think of creativity is like working with what you ve been given.
in the most interesting possible way. So when I say they I mean whoever's governing this fact
whenever it his ears that they have given me they're like here? We're gonna, give you.
you who are always so wary and have places in yourself that that are so guarded and pain that you ve always felt. No one can
each we're gonna, give you the one person who can reach it, who can suit you who can make you feel completely safe and absolutely scene
and now we're gonna take that way. So bad.
an interesting creative challenge
How do I now figure out how to be safe, seen, loved and joyful when the person who provided that's gone and instead of me doing the? How dare you take-
Her from me, which I did do I mean that's part of grieving. You know, and I had a long list of complaints to the universe, about that. I had a long list of other people who I would have been very happy to see die, and that was like. You took that one. You took that one
alternate that one like I will trade you
literally all of them. For that one, you know about that
how it works. We don't get that vote. We don't get that boat
no one ever has gotten. No one gets to orchestrate tat
there's a surrender in that. But as far as you know, the aftermath goes, this, I think, is the most
radical possible question that I could live in two and and I like to live and to the most radical possible question. There was a light,
that I could only have with rare and that life is gone and its outcome
denied me, and I cannot have it and that life was amazing, and now there is a life that I can only have without her. Then I never could have done had she lived and what is that life and do I have the courage to find that one this and do the stuff that she would never be interest in doing being
wait and ships with people, but I couldn't be relationship with if I was with her live in a way that is different from the way she would have lived
just say like well. What is the benefit,
it had been, and I say that word is it like as a radical world? What is the benefit and
I believe in a benevolent universe, and I do then what am I being offered here. What can I be that I couldn't have been with her and in one of those things I'm binding is stronger
count of. If I had a story that there is only one person in the world who I could be with and be safe in the world, then what did that make me and you take that person away,
and I have to find a way to internalize and become that.
in my own way. If the universe loves me and wants me to grow, then of course they're going to take that person away from me. You know and say: okay now you find it now. You find it in you and
I feel as though I read it so much of rare
dna into mine that, in my most challenging
and I really do literally see
what ray, I would say,
do what rail would do and that's the eternal rare that that is now part of me and and makes me infinitely stronger than I ever was before
The area into to rediscover that internally yeah is a big thing
because your settings added it tells you that other
It will make coming out in your life people that you love differently by justice, deeply, who,
like fulfil certain yearnings our needs, and you and entry
that seem or there
Version of that says it of safety,
and whatever you needed together that place,
and yet, if you can surely
internally as well as have that compliment yeah what you ve already created
I wonder if there's a sense of well yes,
be harleigh to lose this person, for whatever reason it is and yet others
in time. You would be different because the loss would be of what that person brought to you
That you felt you need it,
to survive? To do it you here to do right,
then you having that from yourself and having that person complex,
you're losing the complementary part of it you're in there, but there still the essence, which comes from the inside out. That's beautifully point
and and the only thing I would question
said it myself, but net. When you said, I heard it differently when you said you know to find it within yourself. It's it. It's also finding it.
finding it in a universe and lighting
enter you in knowing getting to appoint of knowing that you always that you were never not safe. You know that you always have everything you need it that that never once have you not had exactly what you need it and that to me it feels like the ultimate, not honnami
No, not a sense of independence of like the in the yankee way. The way I was raised, which was.
you're on your own daughter lives, and I think that self sufficiency is dangerous.
especially in this culture. That word can be dangerous, because we have a very tragic and broken in dark relationship
that idea from calvinism from capitalism, and
and some of us, like me, were raised in families where we were always told you're on your own? No one's ever going to take care of you, which is a deeply lonely
and so, when I am told by spiritual teachers to find it with myself, there's something in me. The bucks that take
No, no, I had to do that when I was for her. I feel lonely and isolating I'm done with you invited feels you'll do it. I want you to do it for me. I want somebody else to love me. I don't want to have to find it was made of, because that's what
have been hardware to believe that self sufficiency means is alone and but end, because that's
based on scarcely knew, and so, when my parents raise me to say
watch out. You had to learn how to do everything yourself. No one will ever take care of you. That's because they saw the world as a place of danger and scarcity, but what I am experiencing as I go deeper
deeper into this post re a world and finding that sense of safety is is a kind of autonomy that says he actually don't have to worry, because you'll always get what you need. You know so that, like the the self sufficient
my parents, how is you'll, never get which need and they'll never be enough of it, and no one will give it to you in the office.
That is everything
It is already put your hand out an apple will drop into a piece of fruit like
the thing you need is available you and it's not about being alone, it's about being integrated into everything. So it's the exact opposite of loneliness. It's not the self sufficiency of the lone wolf. You know it's the self sufficiency of a leaf in a forest that is part of all of it and doesn't have to worry, doesn't have to worry about it's place because it's places is clear. It's just part of all of this, and everything is therefore provided.
And that to me feels like car. That would be independence. That would be real spiritual independence and then
could really really get down with loving people, because, as my great teacher, byron katy says, noble
it's safe for me. If I need something from ava yeah, so true, so the less than two or more, I can just get it from me from the
as most from soup than though, when I'm with you you're safe for me, because I'm not needing you to give me take care of me. Save me filmy soothe me here:
it's like some relation all but not dependent right, yeah
and it's not just relation in the context of an individual. It totally everything here. It's like near its words
Maybe you can only be independent if,
you are a relation of
Secondly, you said the springs up: sonny, I'm holding listen most recent book for me why they cause there's a passage,
and I said about my glasses- it here with me
and am I get a lot of talking about some of the stuff in here, because its anathema, but also there were so many on passages and
say it ended in a novel here now-
just landed as okay, so who
talking about- and this is just a really beautiful, expensive lesson
general for everyone. There dick
and the start towards the back here, because it touches on what we're talking on right now and then it references.
turning frank who is no longer with the people in the book
and your recalling or that the character my narrator yeah you're narrator. My avatar is recalling to his his daughter, who was trying to
Not with the nature of their relationship was many many decades later, and
is what you wrote. He was so peculiar in death to hear
and so vivid, he came to me in dreams
came to me and smells and sounds and sensations of new york itself?
came to me in the centre of a summer rain on hot macadam.
The sweet perfume of winter time, sugared nuts sold by street lenders
He came to me in this our milky, odour of manhattans genco trees and springtime blue. He came to me in the budding coup of nesting pigeons
and in the screaming of police errand, he was everywhere to be found across the city at his absence wade, my heart, with deep silence at how life that's what you're describing near at hand,
was evident, and I was curious also about this character. Kisses
amateurs and a lot of the characters in honolulu to you and people in your life than just talk to me more
that yeah, I dont worry too much about the character. Is it such a boy
alright cause of so much of what the novel is about is about the mystery
this person we don't, I find out till the end, so I think I will leave that clerk and mystery so that the rears can figure it out and find it. But this idea that there, the
but who are so vivid in life remain vivid in death. Is some
that I only have learned since raised up and that the vivid ness shows up in the steady drumbeat of their presence and how everything remind you of them, and there can be something very heartbreaking about tat cause. It's like you just seeing the world through a ray of filter for me, but there is also this tremendous comfort.
and you know, and one of the things that used to make me weep and weep when I imagined a world without real one of my favorite things in the world to do was to walk into a room with rare Elias on my arm. She was just so she said she was so fucking coal and she was so
beautiful and she was so mad.
turning didn't matter, if, like obama,
and Madonna were in the room like rio was still the biggest character in that room that had the biggest personality in and just radiated this kind of magnetism and charisma- and I just
loved watching the world engage with her, and you know when I
that she was going to be gone. One of her,
They caused me an enormous amount of suffering was. I will never be able to walk into a room with rare again,
what I've learned is actually I'm never
am going to walk into a room without her because she
everything you know, she's everything in my imagination in my memory
she's always I used to have two sometimes not be with her in the real world because of the realities of
it's where our bodies are and what your job is and what you're doing, and now I don't ever have to not be with her, because she still takes up all that space and she's a weird way accessible and available at all minutes of the day.
you were doing this whole time also need your writer.
This book is out now and are one of the things that you you ve shared in the past is that
you or I guess both of you, sir aspired for
her to be there with you, as you wrote a book here,
ass. She had always wanted to do. This is one of the things I found out after after we confessed our love for each other's that she had said in your wings.
Would ever allow herself she would shut it down, but when she would ever allow yourself to imagine what it would be like if we were romantic partners and she she said she always
Imagine that it would be so beautiful unromantic to live with to live.
Meanwhile, I was writing a novel because she knew the kind of state I get into when I'm writing a novel and, to you know, hear me get up at five o'clock in the morning and make myself a cup of tea and go into that
when shut myself in there and.
Come out later, having created these world and she she wanted to be near that and Gina.
At that chance, because
he was dying. He knew her dying was a full time job for, for both her
for me and not just her suffering, but also all the things that she wanted to do before she died, and it just wasn't a time for me to be writing a novel about near
They show girls in the nineteen. Forty suggest what my mind was an edit. My heart was now. I couldn't imagine caring about it and when I did,
time to write? I was just riding down what was going on.
you know what was going on as it as I say. I got chronicle to make sure that I didn't lose any of it.
Any of that the moments the horrible on the wonderful moments. So so she never got to live with me as a novelist. But when it came home from you to read the book, I went and lived in the house that she had lived in and among her things and an eye
the balkan in her office, and that was my way of being like ok, patriots. Do this now
so sounds she never actually with you as an artist
since you got to live with her yeah. As you wrote yeah I did
also, my my attention?
was dying with so much more on fostering her creativity than mine, because she was a musician,
the songwriter, and we in our. I just had to make sure that
I got her in the studio to get those songs done and to help her in that regard and make sure that she had put those put those songs into the ether before she left and, and that just seemed way more important to me than making sure that
writing down there met. Yet
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return to your own creative process was this. Was this book
and the book which I met. A city of girls was this book, something that was already in your mind,
I even potentially started before all of this started to unfold, or was this something that happened later now? I it takes me years to create a novel, especially because I tended to write historical or or period pieces that
require a lot of research, and this is this- is a novel about near city, theatre, world, in the nineteen forties and showgirls, and play boys and playwrights in broadway and and times square of that. That moment in history, which are always thought, was like
the most impossibly glamorous moment of new york sister. No, I wanted to be in it, so I had spent almost for you
whose prior to rear getting sick, doing research for the book- and I was almost to the point- was about
in writing it when she got sick and then put it away and
truly thought I may never write it.
Can you imagine caring about it? I couldn't met, who gives a shit whereas dying? Who cares about this book or anybody in it or any of the work? I don t like it just in care and then very shortly after she died
again, you know I spend a lot of my life. Just following commands from the mother. Ship is the best way. I can explain it the great magnet in the sky whatever it is that that tells me what to do told me to do. This then told me that the very best thing that I could
They do for my own recovery and my own healing was to throw me
into a really big, ambitious, creative project that had nothing to do with death and dying, except for the passage that you just read, which god did did manage to slip in there, but but that was all about life.
and saxon exuberance and promiscuity and recklessness and wildness fun and champagne cocktails and
and showbiz, and that that would be what would make me ok and whatever,
was that told me to do. That was absolutely correct. That made me be ok, did it creeping slowly or were you kind of a fairly quickly,
like you know, I'm sorry. I know it was you. I should not like that it had a dead ray. I know how to put this right here. I had already behind a year's extending the deadline because raise illness and them, and I had gotten the feeling from my publisher that that was not going to be very welcome if I come back, but there is also part of me that didn't wanna
I didn't want to put it off for another year. I didn't want. What would I have done? I mean I'd I'd gone from being full time caregiver to this somebody who was rushed say,
the world's easiest patient, I mean all of that sort of huge nests of character.
Ass hurry and and and independence of rio summit the shoes
ok, ass, patient, she just killed. Us is three of us who are taking care of us and she is more
ass. She was so hard to take care of them,
now there's nothing in another. Should this be
they can see. What do I do, and I was so
I wrote it fast and hard because I was so grateful to have something to occupy my time and the wonderful thing about creativity. I've always side is that your creative pursuit,
for such a vacation from your regular mind and your regular thoughts and if you're lucky enough to find something that you can fall into. I could have a couple hours a day where I would forget that rea had died only because I would forget that rare had lived, because I was so forget everything except what I was what I was focused on in these characters in this book, and that was just such a bomb.
mind to get to be in that world instead of this one there do, you feel like you, would have written a different book. Had you written two years earlier sure I mean
I think I would all my books would have been very different era, written one you're not going to take color because of what I think. How did it influence it? I think
I wanted it to be lighter and more joyful because of course tat, because I felt that I needed pleasure and I wanted to write about pleasure because I've been so much pain, I think,
I would have been married two years earlier, writing it. So I think my views on marriage would have been different than they turned out to be for the character and the book. I think that the relationship that fund
national relationship in her life might have been very different. If I was
it from within a marriage to a man. So I think I think in the book is funny here we are.
because it came out of that darkness and also
sexually radical and more socially radical, it would have been.
I was thinking, has when I for the first three hundred fifty pages, probably an and books like foreign someday, something pages,
I'm having data really. What am I feel you right now that are another vote later sounds like all. I feel like
actually, while I was reading, feel like I'm in the middle of the nineteen fifty billion, while they're moving out
great yeah. Thank you exactly how I want you to feel totally succeeded.
It was it was. I was fast, it was fun, it was
Joy, ass, it was irreverent on it was pushing the envelope of expectations,
at every turn, but the other part of it is
it was also snow. It suddenly, nineteen forties, it's got that classic
or like round feel to end, but it was so at the moment at the same time, of this moment of this moment
tell me more in terms of reflecting on maybe
in terms of the way the people were living, but in terms of a lot of
social issues that are solely at the centre of public converse,
right now, which were not then, but in the block were all spoken,
you know, an exploration of a woman's right to exist.
regions and revel in pleasure.
No to be in power and control and in business, and yet, at the same time, how, when quote indiscretions happen
men and women were treated profoundly differently right by the women were banned
and the men were right to keep their statements just on rockin and now so that the issues that were killed or so speech,
going on in the world right now, and so many of the things that that I think people are
dressing on a level now that has really been properly addressed in a long time. Will you know it's vanegas, a sturdy researching the book before the meeting.
bigger and then that erupted, and it was really in full eruption last year, when I was writing and it made me think, do I want to alter anything about this story in light of that, and the answer was nope
because these girls and women in order to be viable
believable nineteen forties fifties and Sixtys characters have to be. They can't be prematurely woke. You know, I hate, I hate historical,
mills where people are prematurely woke where, like the eighteenth century scullery maiden, the novel speaks about feminist powers. If she has a masters from barnard
and, unlike no you can't know, you can't have these ideas. Yet you can be strong and tough and wilful
in a way that is appropriate and accurate to what would have been possible for
Literate scullery made me eighteenth century, but you can't be talking like your mary was walls and craft like you can't eat, or so
so I really wanted to make sure that these girls were they were. They were not in a weird where they were not covered
sleep choosing their behaviour. They were just being themselves and themselves happened to be
very wild, very loose and very reckless, often without always without considering the consequences.
advance, and so I just had to. Let them continue to be that, and I had to let the men behave as men would have, which meant that these girls were often in danger, but they were the definition of a risky girl. Is that she's willing to put herself in danger in order to be safe?
and and that's the reality of how a lot of girls have lived in the past and continue do now. So I wanted to tell that story, not about people being safe or politic or on the right side of social debate, but about me,
well being messy and and full of lying and lost and desire and agency. And then
to see what
that's when you act like that yeah
I guess that was part of my question also about whether
would have been in a different back and get a course and who now rightly
reflecting on both because it
going on early in popular culture, but also because
of what was awakened new and on a very personal level, the moment
her dress, diagnosis and the moment you both shared how you felt with each other, but I guess
to a certain extent when you write something like this. You know it always reflect who you're at any moment
I hope you will. You want to write a memoir right enough. You know because that's where its can it that's where I always say
You'll learn so much more about me by reading my novels, then you will, by reading my memoirs, because I've written both and it's not that I am
trying to shield or protector?
anything in my memoirs I try to be very honest and open, but we don't you know,
careful and am aware, and I'm hyper self conscious and I'm choosing
in. You know, trying to figure out. She had a present myself where
in a novel. I am every single one of these character.
no, I'm and so its base,
They like my finger nails and my dna, my hair all over that crime seem like a you know that you can see a lot about me in that book and so
I hope I have heard. It said that that every novel is a work of em, nonfiction
and every member
It is a work of fish, but yeah it'd be funny sort of like go through and say: okay, so, like the friends who've known yet different parts of your life like who? Do you see
was as in what characters in what way is, depending on when you ve known, as they had a derisory that they could go through other. There is the idea that you know you're right, I'm here, she's aunt peg.
Yeah I've definitely been every person in that book right so
we turned this in right, so this
an amazing thing right
right, the saying at the researching a four years before you who take a break. It had paused in korea and then what
when ray has gone, this becomes your your bomb. This is a thing where you dive in and is consuming you and you get to just turn the
the creative thing and absorb yourself in that right. Then you write a manuscript here. You go through the suffer the rider he handed in its accepted right, so you don't
the work on this ending you wake up the next morning. Now what yeah? You know that
kind of day one in a way. You know I've had this cushion where I got to take a reprieve
I mean, I guess you wake up and you just see what sort of world do you live in now you know, and where are we today? What what do we got an m and I did some traveling with some friends. I am turning fifty this year and it was really important to me this year to make sure that I spent time on travelling journeys with every person who I love and so instead of having like a big
fiftieth birthday party. I went to mexico with my best friend from NY from fourth grader, you know, and then they went to hawaii with another friend and I'm about to go to europe with another friend and to just so to share time with people. I assist obviously there's something about walking that close to death to that makes you look around and
like who is precious to me, whose left? What can I do? What can I do?
to them, and what can I do with them so that we don't wait till someone has the cancer diagnosis before we take that tripped him?
mexico and we just let my we just do now. So I think it
and one that was a lot of planning of that alive. Can excitement around that and then a lot of,
It's navigating the landscape of grief, mean grief is a is an energy field that I've said has a great deal in common with love in one way. It's because, as the adage goes grief, is that the cost, the price that you pay for love and the last that comes is the pain is because you loved it's kind of a badge of honor,
I love to be able to grieve, but also has something to with love in that. I have no control over it and I have no power over it. When it comes, it hits and it hits hard and- and it will make you buckle to your knees and that's what my friend and rares ex wife gigi, and I call a carve out moment just to carve out you just stand there and you get carved out by it and you just you just let the
you just let it carve you out, because its bigger than you and stronger than you and resistance is how you actually get hurt,
So you just stand there like like a rocket,
seashore and you just get pounded by that wave and let it shape you into words- can shape you into cause. That's the nature of the g hush of grief,
adam? And so I was really. I would say a lot of what I ve done over the last eighteen months is kind of practicing nonviolent nonresistance to grief that
oh here it is I'd like two seconds to hit the ground. It's coming, you know and then just let it role through you like her, whether like a weather, front and
just let it do it is going to do for as long as it is and then stand up off the floor and wash your face and lunch
be like cause. I survived that one k now what's next, that you can public and a lot of ways for a fairly long time. You know sharing in a very transfer
Why does the last four years for you choose
the way that you approach or does it change, where the line in the sand is about what's public and private or about when its public,
how either completely raw and open and honest you are now how much you feel like you need to keep
your honor, I dont have a little.
Any rules eyes but say about it:
but then the thinking in general, which is making it so now. I don't have any rules about that because,
the world, and I got to know in advance what that boundary is or what that
but that line in the sand is. Am I like learning in public and growing in public
because I think that its service, because the people who are kind enough to learn and public in front of me, have helped me enormously to change my life now and then the turnaround time for
how long is between when I have a revelation or an epiphany, and I were
the share it can be anywhere from a few minutes to a few days, but it's it's there in an end. If I dont sharing it feels burdensome
I think in the same way that any talent that you have that you don't use becomes a burden any
any information that you have about how to survive this journey.
on earth that you don't share as a burden is a burden on you, because it's meant to be out there
so I just follow my instincts on it and I couldn't even possibly tell you what that is its intuitive and ah
I just I seem I dunno and I I guess what has changed is that I care a lot less. You know once you've lost somebody said the who, important to you to the degree that railways to me, I kind of like I'm not afraid,
need a meal for us in the other. If I'm wrong, if it turns out to be, had been a mistake, then ok, why
someone dying right click. So people disagree with me on a guy. While we are in a like it's just not it's not a human life, it's not a human death. It doesn't have that much weight. Therefore, you know share it, throw it out there and and and see what happens or don't tells a fine. It's not a big deal
I guess it's that night. It's it's a whole different context. Right! Yes, I know, you know what the certain bar is.
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It's interesting was at putting our people now that pod
as she started two years earlier than the passes, video on first
do you ever did for that one was the behavioral economists and do
faster generally now his name such an incredibly, I hear and and and and probably even if you familiar with this work, a lot of people, don't know that
dan is actually very badly burned on suddenly seventy percent of his body when it was eighteen or something like that israel so
sort of ceremony and oil. Explain it all over him, and he was in the burn word for two years now spoke and we're talking about this.
but the conversation, swine brain,
which is that I haven't visual
physical sensory reminder. Everyday life is like I'm good, but I have this remit
every day of my life, of as bad as it can get. You know, and it serves a certain constructive purpose tuck, thus one who laughs lab
well yeah. I talk about someone who has walked through tremendous darkness and has great light. Giddiness and yeah I mean that's. My favorite thing about him is how joyful he is
You know that this is something that my friend rod bell rabble here, that he calls the light after the darkness after the light and the
he explains it is that there is a lightness that people have, that is about innocence and knifed. Hey end, like top forty pop
it must go to the beach and and there's that kind of you when you're around people who are light in that way. It's almost like l, I t e like
but it looks like it, exuberance, environment,
I was in new and then after that, inevitably in people's lives, there comes the darkness and some people don't ever
out of that they they remain that in other. That adage that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, sometimes for some for sale,
it's, what doesn't kill you just fuck you up and leaves you just erect and end some people can't get through that for whatever reason or haven't yet
a man there in that darkness. And then there are the people who have passed through that too, but light that, on the other side of that darkness and those people radiant with something that is what what it's like to be run down.
where you can accuse them of being shallow laughter, giggling enjoyment that as somebody who,
is what literally walked through fire. You know, and and and and at because of-
there's a residence to the joy and it's the residents of such a miracle. It we're still here now and in the way rob described it is that here
and saw archbishop to two and the dalai lama meet at a conference in their old friends, apparently and and his
you wanna know what those two guys do when they meet and they run into each other.
watch the moment that they run into each other. They bump bellies up against each other
four times and then they just start giggling, and he said these are to have the most like, and these are not to people that you could accuse up
frivolous or not understanding human suffering, but they they are the light on that they are
light on the other side of the darkness, on the other side of the light
And, and, and and and boy when you're around somebody like that, do you feel it? You feel the grace. Do you feel like you're there? Yet,
depends on the day. You know I hesitate to say it, because I don't want to tempt fate
I don't wanna, say I've been through my greatest darkness, yet you know migrants, darkness could start this afternoon. I I don't have the slightest idea what they ve cut in store for me, you know, and I added a friend who is a. I wrote about food for g q years ago and he had had a twenty year old he'd been hit by a bus and lost his leg,
and then he overcame it and he became a motivational speaker and one legged awfully and he routinely one in a beat people. Entrap wants an irishman who were able bodied and aged became this
Five super euro, this one legged superhero and he really felt like he was in the light on the other side of the darkness, and he was back I and then he was in a and a travel on, and he
it again by another car and he became a quadriplegic end, and then he had to go through the real darkness. You know- and he said you be careful of thinking, that your com is over
in her story is ongoing and am, and he is what he
well away with it? He was by the time. I met him very much. The lay on the other side of the darkness, and he said you know the.
Had to do this to me twice to get my attention you know,
get the lessons out of it. The first time that I needed to I still was in my ego. I still thought I was cambrian guy and and that it was all about achievement and success
and it's only with the humility at the second accident, have I've been able to find grace.
So his answer perpetual question with me around this: do you
think there is any way to get to that second light without having to go through the darkness? I hate word cheat and hack, but
I've tried them all like you. I can't write them. Can you get me? I can you get to that place without being brought in and he's in a profound way? It was
I have to believe he can, but I haven't yet really seen these ample other well. That would presume that there is such a thing as a human life.
That's, never brought to its knees and I've never had the I've, never experience that might have you I haven't witnessed in anybody. I may have I've seen it, but
haven't seen. Somebody has certainly back to the beginning of a conversation.
who is able to live in the same eyes there,
that same joy that same like state of blair here without having been to that place me like. I also haven't seen anybody who hasn't experience. Extraordinaire
weight, loss, suffering pain in appears to be the content
I don't understand, you know what I think are a good use of. It is transfer. Have, let's use this to become better human beings that I think that's a really great way to see suffering pain? You dont have to see it that way, but you're still have suffered in pain and you knew without catharsis, without catharsis
transformation. All of your pain is just wasted suffering that you just got for no reason, so you might well use it, spend it spend it to buy in enlightenment,
spend it by wisdom, spend two by humility in compassion. Like you know,
is it that they gave it to you. I don't know if that's the the the master plan of the universe, but I think it's a very graceful way to two to interact
and you will have it- I mean it's the first noble truth and
I think what you can do is, instead of living in fear and hiding in your bedroom from suffering, and
which it will find you anyway, suffering knows where you live. It knows,
home address and when it's your turn to suffer, it will come,
knock on your door and you'll. Be aware that it's your turn to suffer, because that will be happening, and it knows your real Emily. That knows where you live. So, given that that is the case, then I do think that a very productive and,
To yourself, generous use of your time would be to start to embody practices that have been proven to help mitigate suffering so that when it comes you're not on
and you know now that doesn't mean you still won't- have to be in pain, but it might mean that you'll have a perspective and a and a practice in a ritual that will hold you safely through that, that's probably as close to a hack as you can get, but that means showing up
for work of of yourself. I saw agree with that, but I see so many people
spending. So much of their energy trying to protect against,
every eventuality that may cause pain or suffering rather than investing that same energy or even a portion of it in bill,
practices and skills that
would allow them to find
some level of increased economic when it doesn't that derive because, like you said it well, first noble truth: you know and
Yeah, I wonder what would happen if some of those practices were taught to a lot more people shorter life, just as a matter of highest level? Lovely just sad about you know where
your time going as it is your time going in trying to remain safe in a world that has proven its itself again and again, to be unsafe or is an appears to be not just that it's unsafe.
We know because we fuck up. It appears to be sort of natural law. That sunset, you know, there's that wonderful satirical headline in the onion newspaper that says earth's death rate holding
at one hundred per cent say: there's also just natural law to go up against, if not, that you'd be harbored by your neighbor and some something's gone
gotcha. So so do you spend your life trying to be safe from there
Do you spend your life learning how to help yourself when you are in danger, you know with with again practices that have been proven over millennia to be of great service to people when, when there in that state,
I think that's the best readiness that you can have an, I also a camera. I wish it remember who it was, but I heard univee went to the guy who studied resilience and in.
the things that he was fastened with was, how is the two people can go through? The exact same trauma
and then this person ends up. Ok
were they walk with a limp but they're, okay, red post, traumatic growth?
everyone is trauma, and this person's not adam, and so here
and a lot time studying the resilient am who are the people in this community who also lost everything who also went through
the genocide, who also went through the abuse, who also went through the the addiction. You know what we had all the same. Terrible things happen to them, but then somehow
EL the resilience to not bounce back but to stand up again and reclaim a kind of sacred way: themself, Anne and their life and,
Two we embrace the world on the world's terms and what he came up with and again am so sorry, if you,
into the this sir. I wish I could remember who you are, but that there are three things that you need in order
Be resilient and one is you need to believe that life has meaning that life itself has meaning the second, as you have to believe that your life has a particular meaning within that, and the third thing you need
community community. You need to feel that you belong somewhere and in what he said is don't wait for the hurricane to go, knock on your neighbors door and ask for help build that before, like that so
wonderful way to also be safe when the wave comes is to know that you have people and that you ve cultivated people who will take care of you? How do you do that by becoming someone who takes care of people and that's how you got to make community by by giving
by giving until trust is built and and then you're, and then you know that oh, this is gonna hurt, but I've got arms around me. I have and I've I've spoken about this on social media. At times I've talked about like incredible.
And said I've had or enough shared stories of amazing acts of friendship and and
Interestingly, almost invariably in the comments somebody who is feeling very sorry for them is helpful, say you're lucky I have friends like that:
and I always want to say so, be a friend like that. You know be a friend like that to someone, if you don't have anybody, who's, generous and loving and and full of grace in your life, then colby that in somebody else's life, that's how it works, and it's not about what you get it's about. What can you contribute to this relationship? What can you bring as an offering that's how community is built? It's built on on the offerings of the generous and loving.
I love that I'm talking about having people and knew recently shared, and I guess a pretty cool full circle relationship moment and, to a certain extent, do so one of rares of his friends,
Simon, as somebody who you shared,
not till I get publicly again you weren't relationship with how does that serve
How does it feel to you and has failed to you to share that and I'm curious? Why shared why
sure it is an easier question to answer its. It makes my life easier to a certain extent, because I do live in the public eye and he was going to be with me a lot
and I would so much rather tell you who someone
As than have you gas and also it just filling. Let me
Tell you, we just make the introductions here and then we can all go back to our business
and a you you'll notice, her or not notice, depending on how carefully looked that, I haven't said anything further about it since then
and so for me it was a way to allow myself to work freely through the world. With someone answer, whatever the
the same nosey questions are because I think the very natural questions that people would have and then
say: okay, and now I'm going to go. Have this very private story with somebody, and that is that how I chose
Do it you know I didn't have to. It was a decision I made. Do I say something about this: do I not say something about this? The other reason I wanted to say something about it. Is that any time I wrote about this in that post for any time that
I can normalize your life
by, showing you my life, because my life, ten,
and not follow normal lines. So I know that
people carry an enormous amount of shame over some of the things that this love story with Simon would have brought up. You now have you lost your
or your partner or your lover and now time has passed, and you find yourself attracted to somebody else. Is that ok, let me be the one to say. Yes, if you're worried that that's not ok,
Look at me here. Let me show you how I'm doing this work
They have one gender and then you can it be with us
another gender and you're wondering if that's ok here, I am
but you know that that's whatever I can do to make you feel less broken
wrong and weird
I am more than happy to put my life out in public. For that and
you know, are you falling in love and you feel like you're sixteen again, even though you're fifty and because you are so
well, insecurity and uncertainty in and excitement in fear and new. Think you should
how to do this and you don't hello friend, it's
gonna be ok formula with fifty fills exactly the same way as it did at sixteen. You know navigating a new relation
this is always tat. You know I'm so that was my secondary
isn't. My first reason was: let me just clear this sudden ike,
you just move about the world freely, but that also, I know that my the other people's lives have these elements in them as well. So let's talk about it.
Couple years ago, mutual friend of our splendid dial as air, and am this was after her but came out, and I guess a lot of you
may or may not know that very often, when about publishes essentially years after the story and told
and was hanging out with light at the end,
about relationships, as you do
after we started talking about
ass. She was in a relationship at that time.
and she's. She was always very forward facing about everything that went on the, especially in the book, very detailed, very focusing but most intimate things, and she said I don't wanna talk about it now
yup it didn't take long for us to realize who it wasn't? That was Abby and a painful marriage now and but it was
think. It's kinda sad that she's like for now for this window right I just
I wanted to be mine, yeah and I'll, although that may change in a big way and they're not huge, but right now I just need to own. This is just me and this one other person I and so with me, and you know beyond what I've told you here, which is exactly the
Suddenly instagram post couple months ago, habits hadn't, everything about it and don't plan to
and in that respect-
was by other, but I also respected the people, wonder and have questions
it's like. I know this is this is so fresh and let me let me find my way through this, so as we sit here today,
in this context, the good life product
asked the same question for five years ago, but don't ask it again. If I offer
the phrase to live a good life. What comes up- and I love that I can't remember what I said last time and I'll ask you after if you remember, I think it's to know that you are loved.
and in my mind when I said that it's a capital, l meaning by the divine by what created you
and not a small l that is dependent upon other people or other things working out in a way that you want them to
it's very nice to be smaller loved. If you can get it good work, if you can find it, but it's not as important to me as knowing that I am capital. I loved that whatever made me wanted me, you wanted me and wanted me to be here and will always take care of me whether I am alive or dead, whether I'm
in painter enjoy, and I think if you ve got that in your pocket, we can walk around knowing that, like capital K and hooked up, no knowing it
really living in the knowledge and knowing that you are loved and that there is nothing
but you could ever do to lose that and hope. It is sometimes I think,
I have no value, I'm just loved known, and I I love to offer that people as an alternative to the american purpose driven
if that says that you don't have any value unless you're serving a purpose and what is your purpose and all of us are born with a purpose, and you have to find your purpose. Then, if you change the world with that purpose, all of that just makes the tendons in my neck stand out and gives me hives of anxiety that I'm doing it wrong or that I might never get there or that I had a purpose, but I failed and should have been this one. A all of that is just so tremendously anxiety, producing so so inhumane to teach people that that is what the point of their life is is to earn
Somehow their presence on this earth through purpose and through what they contribute and it better be good at just so mean the reality is that you are not required to have
purpose at all. That's what it means to be loved. You are not required. Nothing is required of you. Nothing is required if you are part of all of this and could not be if you tried and that I think is real peace. Thank you.
Thank you so much for listening and thanks also to our fantastic sponsors who helped make this shell possible. You can check them out in the links we have included, intraday show notes and, of course, if you haven't already done so be sure to click on the such bad button in your listening opposite you never mission of the soul and then share share the love. If there's something that you heard in this at the so that you would love to turn into a conversation share with people and have that
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Transcript generated on 2023-06-26.