Elizabeth Gilbert is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Big Magic and Eat, Pray, Love, City of Girls and other awesome books. She’s also just a straight-up genuine, wise, deeply-feeling human with a lens on life that is incredibly kind and real. Since her last appearance on the podcast, Liz’s life has been turned upside-down and back again. She has navigated profound awakening, unbelievable love, loss, transition, reclamation and, along the way, continues the practice of finding her way back into the light. That’s a skillset and a lens we could all use right now. We explore all of this, in detail, in today’s deeply honest and powerful conversation. So excited to share this Best Of conversation.
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Website : https://www.elizabethgilbert.com/
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
My guest yesterday Elizabeth gilbert
the number one new york times. Bestselling, author of deep pray, love fig magic city girls and hold
your mother awesome bucks
She is also just a straight up cool
genuine wise, deeply feeling
the ones on life that is incredibly kind and real since her last appearance on the pie cast, listens, life
has gone and have a lot of different directions, and that has been turned upside down and back again. She's navigated, profound awakening, unbelief
but love lost, transition, reclamation
and along the way really continues. This practice of.
Hanging her way back into the light of reach,
imagining what this life is really all about,
and then permitting herself whole heartedly without judgment or expectation, a really concern about what other people think to stepping into the
that she wants to be in the world that is
skill set and the ones that we could all use right now we explore all of this in detail today is deeply honest and powerful. Cumbersome,
so excited to share this best of conversation with you, I'm jonathan field
and this is a good life project
how does a I even work where it is creativity come from.
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so the ten percent happier podcast has one guiding philosophy. Happiness is still that you can
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you're, not hang out in the studio, was
for irish or five years
right around when point the magic him out
and was interesting as reflecting, because
episode came out. Our audiences response was bonkers. Ah, the like this is amazing. Ok, yes,
less credible gonna big harden calcraft like awesome ideas, but there was something
going out really curious. So ahead of us,
Transcribed is a class. Yet I want to look at the words here as he was happening and there's something
jumped out at me that was so powerful, but it 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.
There's another one.
and I was like ok, so you literally laughed
rarely have once in a once a minute that seems like I'm losing my my pacing. If it's only going to get my game up, that's beautiful, it was amazing. I was like this. I it was so telling now I can't stop going to be like one of those indian laughing clubs or laughing area will start rolling and yet cause I was. I was really fascinated, so I wonder if that's portland, and then it got really curious. I'm like what
allow somebody to be so sort of just unapologetically light, and it's interesting also because in the intervening years between them,
and ass, we sit down the studio now. A lot has happened,
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. Taking terrier 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.
I feel otherwise what the laughter wouldn't have any any depth to it. Do you think we would just be a kind of a show he put on it, wouldn't be
the laughter of that we feel when we're in relief and as we take a break between protection,
this, which is worth life, is a lot of life, is just taking breaks between catastrophes and being like. Oh who cares? What's next? What's the next disaster up but yeah? I think that that's what came to mind yeah I mean I feel like there's
you need the contrast to know 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 don't,
as much as I do, but they don't laugh as much as I do either and I feel like it's not a good trade to create a kind of
Active numbness around you so that you don't have to experience pain, also means that you don't get to think that everything is hilarious.
rackets, laughs, yeah. We know you have to measure out like we're going to transcribe this one you had. It has to be at least at least I'm going to try to get it down to forty five minutes, the internal clock, but there's also something I dunno when you're really like
when you really allowing the world to have its way with you and to expand
of life to have its way with you. There are also something intrinsically funny about tragedy in
Disaster and been gallows, he, whereas 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. Can you can you believe this kind of laughter the than us
exists, and I remember friend of mine who is and who does a lot of work with dying people saying to me
can't laugh at death and dying get out of show business. You know this is. This is also part of
the the insanity of the mystery of of human life. It's it's weird, it's weird and it's funny. That is weird and funny I mean it goes. I mean you all a bachelor kelly, great comedy great right now, it's it's tragedy,
yeah, it's not bad at all and its lad if they brought a level of force like oh I'd like a monarchy
now I see it like you had an amplifier to that level are kind of like see like have. There is something there's another level of something I can respond to emotionally here, yeah. Maybe that could be it very well, and so was talking about the last four years and the last time you're hanging out, we enjoying great conversation book,
shortly after your world completely turned up to now the liner s suit. You came out of a long term. Relationship
went into russia with somebody with rare who you have known for a long time.
yeah, so my best friend in the world-
the women and re Elias and she
she and I had a seventeen year, long friendship that by the last five sixty years of its head,
becomes so important me. She had become the most important person in my life, which was complicated thing to know when you're married and it was
to make your lovely wonderful man who I loved, both rare had
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 in an emergency
The first phone call at any moment of celebration, the one who's in the one who I went you too for guidance council for comfort
who, when she would tell me, are you let me break it down for your gilbert. I would sit on
and listen and do what she said
I knew that she knew me that she had it right. She understood life in this in this very rich and surprise
way and that she would love me
even if I get it wrong, that sense of great sea
do that I had with railways this feeling that she never
to throw me away. You know end and she's gonna. Take me,
Exactly as I am, no judgments only love and we hope
his backs. We richest we were vital to each other
then, in two thousand sixteen she was diagnosed with terminal, pancreatic and liver cancer, and within a couple weeks of that diagnosis,
there was something about the jarring horror of that diagnosis. That made me
able to nuts two nuts
any more what I had been not seeing him for
yours, 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 an eye
I saw that the horror that that were created my life, if I were to not reveal that
you were to go, and I would had known that that I had been given this great great love, my life, in that I have let it go well out of propriety or
here or caution, whenever whatever would make you not speak the truth,
and so I just spoke the truth, and that moment and left.
Marriage and it was, it was fast and indecisive and pre drama.
we mean it was very obvious to everyone that this is what has happened now and then I spent the next eighteen months with her am and it will
we know as she said, I 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. Let's kick off
isn't that now
this interesting, so
you had known each other for so long, and there was this one cataclysmic catalytic moment
that kind of awakened you like. Oh, this is that there is actually does it.
To have you I, like you and your choice was: I need
there's something now because chinese and others in this moment
did you talk to her about why she
had never also come to that
and shared how she was feeling about you until the moment we both had such immaculate boundaries, largely because of previous suffering. There,
didn't want repeat now. I've surreal rare was gay and I was married
Like many lesbians, her age, she had a whole history of stories of being in love with married women
and were being
having the the bisexual woman shoes ultimately to go with the guy and make the safer
in life. So she had. She had some very heartbreaking stories about about that and she had. She was never going to do that again and I had heartbreaking stories about leaving marriage and fidelity was important to me and and loyalty, and so I was never going to do that. So the boundaries were airtight. You know, and so we just we just loved each other for years. That way, you know
until death in her, which has a way of allowing up paradigms,
payments made those boundaries just seem absolutely ridiculous, absolutely kills and all
inhumane and just wrong with this is what I can
say about the feeling I had about
what it would have turned to me to have let rail go without ever
expressing those feelings the only way everybody
scientists that my soul was appalled by that idea.
Soul would have been appalled by the idea and if you're walking around than appalled saw your
not well well in yourself and you're, not well in the world, and so I really do feel like it was
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'm in accordance
with this command, this divine command. But this is what now has to happen, and I m so I just did what I was told.
the great mother ship in the sky and them and and we got to be together and it was beautiful- did you expect to hear it back
she always laughed at telling that part of this way when she would tell that story about me. Coming turn thing and then lizzie g comes to means. Has.
Do you like me in that way? You know she's that he's not like a third greater. Do you 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 Google.
you're, like my sister, you, like my best friend yuck she didn't have experts sheet
He said that in that moment she felt that a cage door opened in her heart and a thousand doves flew out. It's just
and then the whole universe came in and every angel entered. It was such a thing
he asked for her and in such a son
the 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,
must 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 ass, because now there
This moment of just complete connection inhalation, but at the same time
it this under the contacts of while there is
terminal illness. You know that now
Sarah case, were endless together, no idea how long it s like no I'd but no idea what you're
through by committing sack. This is like,
we are not just saying yes to each other were saying yes to what life is is
to become which it can be really heart in a really short in that time
pretty cavalier about it. First to have the railways. Can
they are about it, because she's already died three times,
because she was an recovered heroin, attic, Adam and she's to be very cavalier about death before it got close enough that its terror, its inevitable terror, caught her.
but even with that diagnosis, she was she was she such a bad ass anyway, but she you
to say, like I died three times already, I 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 her hair.
And I love her honesty about this, and this has been part of what made her so radical. Was this ferocious kind of groundbreaking emotion,
want to that. She had, but she honestly said when I heard
six months to a year. I thought I thank god. I gotta go.
This has been so hard. Life is and she had a good life.
But she has had a hard life. Sheep eu she'd been through a lot, but she had cleaned up and she had a good life, but I think even a good life as a hard life, and I think that.
I was fascinated by that sense that she had of Al Qaeda.
We shall never have to worry about again. I never have to worry about whether
and 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 her have of a release of a sense of oh I get to 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 in what we went through the end dying is, is no joke.
Being 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 was she. She was scared and she was angry and she was.
it's broken and she was and she lashed out I mean she was. She went through everything that everybody who's on the verge of death goes through unless they are fully enlightened, being which you know. None of us
so am I as and I went through everything that a caregiver goes through
pain, exhaustion, heartbreak resentment, they knew,
there was nothing romantic about the the road that we walked, except for that we walked the entire thing together and- and while I mean while she is and say- ok, so yes, it's horrible, but yet thank god. Behind there there was a sense of release for her you've lived, a different life and and and you your job is to carry on.
yeah, it sounds like you're, not experience it. It's a very different thing for you. He he ha. I don't get to go, and I have to stay here in this volunteers. That is also,
merry go round and also a playground And- and also
foreign also horrible and.
I knew I I was told something
really beautiful by my friend, the novelist and patch it after ray a diet, but it was one of them
really most resonating things that anybody's told me where she said re belongs to the infinite now and some
you will too someday. We all will
You. Do want to belong to the eternal, the infinite you
literally the rest of eternity to be there and to into being
merging with whatever that is and to be with rain.
to be with all souls, but you just have this tiny little mysterious period of time to be in human form in life, so embraced that and take it 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 in a human form and make sure to re embrace that and rejoin the world that you belong to as as somebody who is living- and I thought that was so beautiful so kind- it also 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 for exceeding the second. The cosmic time caused me what I want to know if a link their new, it's an it's, it's it's instant that will all be there. You know I like to think that warming up at some soul conference and look back on what we did hear me. I wasn't
Ap weird? Hopefully that is really good there. That's what I say every rea would have come back if there wasn't a knock on the door handling na sa muzak said so yeah
I had to stay in. I have chosen to embrace that and to believe that
To put my life in a rail less 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. I mean how do you do you do that?
which I guess about answering the universal you as an individual like yeah resident. Is it it is illegal,
Intentional process for you, or is it just wake up every morning and sky, I'm going to figure it out? It's intentional. I mean I lived my whole life with a lot of intent and I think
a grieving rare has been in many ways the greatest create a challenge of my life. It's an act of creativity. To figure out, I mean hears, here's what they have given me in, like I always think of creativity is like working
what you ve been given and the most interesting possible way. So when I say they I mean whoever's governing this fucking.
Whenever it his ears. It has given me and like here we're gonna, give you
you who are always so wary and have places in your software that are so guarded and pain.
Always thought no one can reach we're. Gonna, give you the one per
who can reach it, who can sue you who can make for completely safe and absolutely scene, and now we're gonna take them
So that's 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 new and I had a long list of complaints to the universe about. I had a long list of other people who I would have been very happy to see die and those like you took that one you took that one she took
alternate one like I will treat 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 and no one ever has got. Never no one gets too to orchestrate
So 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
and and I like to live and to the most radical possible question. There was a life that I could only have with rare and that life is good,
And it's completely 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
and do the stuff that she would never be interested in doing be in relationships with people that I couldn't be in a relationship with if I was with her live in a way. That is
from the way she would have lifted. Just just say like what is the benefit,
we have been- and I say that word- is it like as a radical world. Where is the benefit and if I believe and 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- and
First things, I'm binding is stronger on account of
if I had a story that there was 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 now and say: okay now you find it now. You find it in you and
I feel as though I read it so much of rest
shall dna into mine did in my most challenging
I really do literally see
what rail would say or do what rail would do and that's the eternal rare that there is now part of me anne and makes me infinitely stronger than I ever was before.
The area to to rediscover that internally yeah is a big thing.
because you're certain extended it tells you that other.
we'll make coming out in your life people that you love differently, but just as deeply who
like fulfil certain yearnings our needs and you and entreat that seem or leave their own version of that says it
safety and whatever you needed to go to that place, and yet, if you can,
really generator internally, as well as her have that compliment yeah what you ve already created. You know
nerves. There's a sense of will ya
It would be hard lot to lose. This person, for whatever reason, is
Yet, at the same time, you will be different because the loss would be of what that person brought to you and that you felt you needed to survive. To do. Are you here to do rather than you having that from yourself and having that person?
complement it and you're losing the complementary part of it you're in there, but they're still the essence which comes from the inside out and that's beautifully put and and the only thing I would.
Question I set myself, but now, 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.
Finally, in the universe and letting
enter you in knowing getting to appoint of knowing that you always said you were never not save. You knew 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, I feel that the ultimate autonomy
You know 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. I think at self sufficiency is a dangerous thing
especially in this culture. That word can be dangerous because we have a very tragic and broken and dark
relations with that idea from
in his own from capitalism and
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 deeply lonely.
feeling, and so, when I am told by spiritual teachers, to find it with myself there's something in me. The bucks to take
No! No. I had to do that when I was for her that feel lonely and isolating I done with you and you do it, you do it. I want you to do it,
May I want somebody else to love me. I don't want to have to find a with myself, because that's what
been hardware to believe that self sufficiency means is alone and but ended because that's
he's done scarcely knew, and so, when my parents raise me to say
watch out. You have learned, had do everything yourself, no longer take care of you, that's because they saw the world is a place of it
injured scarcity, but
I am experiencing as I go deeper and deeper into this,
it's real world and finding that sense of safety is is a kind of autonomy that says you actually don't have to worry, because you'll always get what you need. You know so that, like the the self
since you that my parents, I was you'll, never get, which need and they'll never be enough of it, and no one will give it to you. You know the up
but if that is everything you need,
you put your hand out an apple will drop into a piece of fruit like everything you need,
is available. You and it's not about being alone, it's about being integrated into everything, sissy exact
instead of loneliness. It's not the self sufficient
of the lone wolf. You know it's. The subsidy
and see of a whiff of forest that is part of all of it and doesn't have to worry, doesn't have to order about its place, because its places is clear. It's just part of all this, and everything is therefore provided, and that to me feels like card that would be.
Dependence that would be real spiritual independence and then I could really really get down with loving people. I'm because, as my great
teacher byron. Katy says nobody is safe for me. If I
something from ava yeah less than two or more. I can just get it from me from the cosmos from her
soup, then no, 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 fill me soothe me. I mean it
I get some relation all but not dependent right
yeah and it's not just relation in the context of an individual, it's sort of like africa yeah. It's know.
maybe you can only be independent. If,
exactly this brings up something I'm holding lists his most recent book in front of me by then, because there's a passage mana. She had about my glasses and hair with me and emory. I wanted
You got some of this stuff in here, because it is an awesome back, but also the risks.
honey, I'm passages and thoughts they share in that answer, novel in Hell.
That just landed as okay, so who she talking
and this is just a really beautiful, expensive lesson in general. For everyone,
there's a I'm getting kind of start towards the back here, because it touches on what we're talking on right now and it references a character named frank and who is no longer with the people in the,
and your recalling or that the character may-
later. Your narrator, my avatar, is recalling to his his daughter, who,
he's trying to figure out what the nature of their relationship was many many decades later, and- and this is what you wrote, he was so peculiar and death to humane. So vivid, he came to me in dream.
And he came to me and smells and sounds and sensations of new york itself
came to me in the of a summer rain on hot macadam or in the sweet perfume of Wind-
times sugared nuts sold by street vendors.
Came to me in this. Our milky, odor manhattans, jingo treason, springtime bloom,
to me in writing, coup nesting pigeons and in the screaming of policing
and she was everywhere to be found across the city. At his absence wade, my heart with deep silence
It sounds like that's what you're describing yeah yeah. I was
I haven't. I was curious also about this character, cause it
after a lot of the characters in honolulu to you and people in your life than just talk to me more
yeah. I dont worry too much about the character. Is it such a boiler?
his em up. So much of what the novels about is about the mystery disperse enemy.
I found out till the answer. I think I'll leave that clerk industry so that the rears can figure it out find it. But this idea that there, the p
who were so vivid in life from main vivid in death, is something
and I only have learned since raised up and that the vividness shows up in the steady drumbeat of their presence and how everything reminds you of them, and there can be something very heartbreaking about that, because it's like you're just seeing the world through array of filter if you're me, but there's also this tremendous comfort,
and he knew and one of the things that used to make me weep and weep when I imagined a world without re, 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 big
full and she was so magnet.
Having didn't matter if, like obama,
and madonna were in the room like rhea, was still the biggest character in that room that had the biggest personality and and just radiated this kind of magnetism and charisma, and I just loved watching the world, engage with her
and you know when I knew that she was going to be gone. One of her
they cause me an enormous amount of suffering was. I will never be able to walk into a room with rare again, but what I ve learned is actually
and never again going to walk into a room without her because she's everything,
everything in my imagination, in my memory,
no she's always I used to have-
sometimes not be with her in the real world because of the realities of of
where our bodies are and what your job is.
What you're doing now I don't ever have to not be with her and because she still takes up all that space and and she's a weird way, accessible and available at all minutes of the day,
you were during this whole time outside your writer, said this book is out now. I know one of the things that you you share in the past.
is that you- or I guess both of you through aspired for her to be
with you as you wrote a book here,
yeah she had always wanted died at. This is one of the things they found out after after we confessed our love for each other's that she had said in your wench
to ever allow herself she would shut it down, but when she would ever allow herself to imagine what it would be like if we were romantic partners and she she said she
I imagine that it would be so beautiful romantic to live with, deliver
you always rating inasmuch ass. She knew the kind of state I get into an I'm writing a novel, and do you hear me get up at five o clock in the morning and make myself a cup of tea and going
That room and shut myself in there and
come out later, having created these world and sheep. She wanted to be near that
You never got that chance because well
was dying. He knew her dying was a full time, job fruit for both heard
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
new york city show girls in the nineteen forty suggest. What my mind was in my heart was now. I couldn't imagine caring about it and when I did have to
right. I was just riding down what was going on. You know what was going on as that. As I said, I got chronic
to make sure that I didn't lose any of it. Any of that,
once the horrible and the wonderful moments so sure she never got to live with me as a novelist. But when it came time for me to read the book, I went lived in the house that she had lived in and among her things and
wrote the book and in her office, and that was my way of being like ok, patriots. Do this now
that sounds like scenery actually with you as an artist
since you have to live with her yeah yeah, I did
also at my my attention, as she was dying with so much
on fostering her creativity than mine, because she was a
in the songwriter and am we you know I just paddle
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so, when you start to return to your own creative process was this: was this book and the book,
at a city of girls, was this book, something that was already in your mind and you had even potentially started before all of this road to unfold or was there something that happened later now? I
takes me years to create a novel, especially because I tended to write historical or period pieces that
require a lot of research, and this is this is a novel about new york city theater world in the nineteen forties and showgirls and playboys and playwrights and broadway and
and times square of that. That moment in history, which are always those like the most impossibly glow,
rest moment of new york sister, and I wanted to be in it, so I had spent almost four years prior to rear, getting sick, doing research for the book, and I was
The point was about start writing it when she got sick and then put it away and
truly thought. I may never write it.
I couldn't imagine caring about it. I couldn't a met who gives a shit whereas dying? Who cares about this book or anybody in it or any of the work I dunno like it just didn't 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 and told me that the very best thing that I could
did you for my own recovery and my own healing was to throw myself into
what 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 their bit, but that was all about life and sex.
and exuberance and and cutie and recklessness and wildness fun and champagne cocktails, and
show showbiz and that that would be what would make me ok and when,
it was the told me to do. That was absolutely correct. That made me be ok, did it creeping slowly or were you kind like fairly quickly?
in our own. I fancied, I also it was you. I should not like that it had a dead right. I know how to put this right here. I had already a hundred years extending the deadline because raise illness enough, and I had gotten the feeling for my publisher, the 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 opponent
Finally, you didn't write. What would I have done? I mean I'd I'd gone from being full time. Caregiver to this somebody who was crushed say not the worlds:
his patient. I mean all of that sort of huge newness of character.
Ass, asbury and and and independence of rhea awesome. The shoes-
okey ass patient. She just killed us three of us who are taking care of us and she murmured
ass. She was so hard to take care of
now there's nothing in another, just this
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 said is that your creative pursue
are 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 of hours a day where I would forget that rare had died only because I would forget that ran had lived, because I was so. I forget everything except what I was what I was focused on in these characters in this book, and that was just such a balm for my mind to get to be in that world. Instead of this one, there do
like you, would have written a different book. Had you written to you so sure I mean, I think I'll only books would have been very differently ever written when you re enact had taken because of what I am saying. How did it in fine said? 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
years earlier. Writing it. So 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
Emotional relationship in her life might have been very different. If I was
from within a marriage to a man, so I think I think the book as funnier weirdly
because it came out of that darkness and also more sexually radical and more socially radical.
Then there was real changes when, for the first three hundred
few pages, probably an end books for sunday pages. I was a mac.
need every like what are my feeling right now they haven't read another book like yourselves like how I feel
like I'm actually while I was really feel like I'm in the middle of a nineteen fifties, Billy wilder movie
great yeah. Thank you. That's exactly how I wanted you to feel totally succeeded. It was
it was fast, it was fun, it was
as it was irreverent on it was pushing the envelope of expectations yelling at every turn, but the other part of it
it was also snow. It seven nineteen forties. It's got that classical shirley
feel to anyone. But it was so at the moment at the same time of this moment of this moment, tell me more and in turn,
reflecting on maybe
in terms of the way the people were living, but in terms of a lot of the socialists,
is that our solely at the centre of public conversation
now, which were not then, but in the block. We're all spoken
you know I'm an exploration of like a woman's right. He you
sperience and revel in pleasure, he note
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 banished than men
right to keep their documents scheme on Iraq and now so that the issues that were were so speech. What telling
I don't know I'm right now in so many of the things that that I think people are,
dressing level. Now that haven't really didn't public dressed in a long time will you know it's vanegas? I started researching the book before the meeting. With
bigger and then that erupted, and it was really in full eruption. Last year, when I was writing- and I made me think- do I want
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 fourteen fifty and sixties characters have to be. They can't be
immature woke, you know, hey, I hate
historical novels where people are prematurely woke where, like the eighteenth century scullery maiden, the novel speaks about feminists powers? If she has a new master, some barnard
in the end I'm like. No, you can't. No, you can't have these ideas, yet you can be strong and tough and willful in a way that is appropriate and accurate to what would have been passed
both are illiterate scullery made in the eighteenth century, but you can't be talking like your memory was most and grabbed like you can't you know so:
so. I really wanted to make sure that these girls were they were. They were not in a weird way. They were not conscious
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
in 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 sexual and and and that's the reality of how a lot of girls have lived in the past and continue do now? So I I wanted to tell that story. Not about people being safe or politic
are on the right side of social debate, but about people being messy and and full of lying in lost and desire and agency and then having to
and see what happens when you act like that yeah. I guess that was
one of my question also about whether it would have been in a different book and getting a course who knows now. You know reflecting
both because it what's going on sir lucan popular culture, but all
because of what was awakened new one on a very personal level. The moment you heard raised
notice at the moment you got shared. Are you felt with each other? But I guess
to a certain extent, when you write something like this, you know I told you to reflect, who you're at any moment
What do 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'm trying to shoulder protect her hiding
In my memoirs I try to be very honest and open, but we don't. You know, I'm care.
I am aware, and am hyper self conscious and am choosing
well into trying to figure out how to choose present myself, whereas in a novel.
I'm every single one of these characters, and so it's basically, like my friend,
EL the my dna, my hair, all over that crime scene like ada, that you can see a lot about me in a book and so on
I hope I have heard. It said that every novel is a work of em, nonfiction and and every man
whereas it is a work of fish, it'd be funny sort of like go through and say: okay, so, like the friends who have none at different parts of your life like who? Do you see?
as as in what characters in what way, as a depending on when you've known her yeah categorize it that way they could go through specifically like yeah yeah, yeah, yeah she's, here, she's aunt, peg, yeah yeah. I've definitely been every person in that book.
so when you turn the said right. So this is
at an amazing thing, right:
you write the saying at the researching a four years before you take a break, your head, passing carrier and then
ray it's gone. This becomes your your bomb visiting where you dive in and its consumer, you and you get it just turn.
They created thing and absorb yourself in that right. Then you write a manuscript yeah. You got it
suffer the rider he handed in its accepted rights
you don't have to work on the setting when you wake up the next morning, yeah now what a? While you know that's 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 knew? Where are we today? But what do we got an m and I did some travelling with some friends I'm turning fifty this year and it was
for me this year to make sure that I spent time,
traveling journeys with every person who I love. I'm am so instead of having a big fiftieth birthday party, I went to mexico with my best friend.
My fourth grade you know, and then they went to hawaii with another friend I'm about to go to europe with another friend to just
so to share our time with people, as is obviously there's something about walking that close to death. To that makes you look around and be like who is precious to me, whose left
What can I do? What can I do unto them, and what can I do with them so that we don't wait till someone has the cancer diagnosis before we take that trip to mexico
can we just like when we just do it now, and so I think a lot of that was a lot of planning of that. A lot of kind of excitement around that and then a lot of just
navigating the landscape of grief and 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 loss that comes is you know 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 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
it 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 rock
The 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. Hushing grief
adam. And so I was really, I would say a lot of, but I've done over the last eighteen months as a practising nonviolent nonresistance, to grief that
Oh here, it is have like two seconds to hit the ground. It's coming
you know, and then just let it run through mica, whether like a weather front and
just let it do what it's gonna do to you for, as long as it is and then stand up off the floor and wash your face and go off lunch know be like I guess I survived that one k know what's next, that you can public and a lot of ways for
a long time sharing in a very transparent way,
just the last four years for you change,
The way that you approach or does it change where the line in the sand has another
public and private, or about when its public
how either completely ryan opening
you are now how much you feel like you need to keep?
your honor? I dont have a rule. I don't have any rules
eyes but say about that. But then the thinking in general, which is making it. So I don't have any rules about that, because how,
the world- and I got to know in advance what that boundaries are? What that
what that line in the sand. Is I like learning in public and growing in public, because
think that it's a service, because the people who are kind enough to learn in public in front of me have helped me enormously to change my life now and then the term
and time for how long is between. When I have a revelation or an epiphany, and I were
the share it can be anywhere from assuming
to a few days, but it's it's there in an end, if I dont sharing, it feels burdensome on me, I think,
in the same way that any talent that you have that you dont 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 meant to
the 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 yeah. I just
I dunno, and I I guess what has changed is that I care a lot less now once you've lost. Somebody said that who is important to you too?
degree the railways. To me, I kind of like I'm not afraid a meal for us,
the other. If I'm wrong turns out to be a big mistake, then ok, why,
if someone dying which to people disagree with me on guy wow, I'm going to you know 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 see what happens or don't
tells a fucking. It's not a big deal there. I use it said, nay
sit, that's a whole different context. Right, yes, I know, you know what the certain bar is changing, as was pulling our people now, the pact
So she started two years earlier than the passes. Video on first interview ever did for that one was
behavioral economists and do professor Dan ariely. Oh he's a he's such an incredibly I yeah and and and and probably even if you're familiar with his 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, some sort of sir.
iranian and exploded all over all over him, and he was in the burned word for two years now we you were talking about this are normally conversation is wondering which is it up, which is that I haven't visual,
physical sensory reminder? Every day of my life is like I'm good, but I have this reminder every day of my life, of as bad as it can get. You know, and- and it serves a certain constructive purpose- talk about one who laughed
by the way you talk about someone who has worked through tremendous darkness and has great late giddiness, and there I mean that's. My favorite thing about him is how joyful his
you know this is something that my friend rob bell rebel yeah, that he calls the light after the darkness after the light and the way
explains it is that there is a lightness that people have, that is about innocence and knifed, hay and locked up forty
music and let's go to the beach there 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 light,
but it looks like it, exhibits
in fine and good times, and then, after that, inevitably in people's lives. There comes the darkness and some people don't ever emerge out of that. You know they. They remain that you know their aesthetic adage that what doesn't
You makes you stronger, sometimes for some for times 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,
the lights 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't accuse that of being shallow laughter, giggling enjoyment. That is somebody who
as what literally walked through fire and end and because of that
there's a residence to the joy and it's the residents of such a miracle. It were still here now and in the way rub described. It is that here
saw archbishop to two and the dalai lama meet at a conference in their old friends, apparently and- and he said
with 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 it
there are 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 of up
frivolous or not understanding, haven suffering, but that they are the light on that. They are
I on the other side of the darkness, on the other side of the light,
and and boiling
something like that. You feel it. You feel a grace. You feel like you're there, yet.
depends on the day. You know I hesitate to say it because her I dont want to tempt fate
Wanna say I've been through my greatest darkness. Yet you know makers, darkness could start this afternoon. I I don't have it
slightest idea what they ve got in store for me. You knew, and I added a friend who is a. I wrote about food for g q years ago and he had had as a twenty year old he'd been hit by a bus,
Lost his leg and then he overcame it and he became a motivational speaker and a one legged athlete and he routinely won and beat people in triathlons and ironman who were able bodied and he just became this
five super, your this one legged superhero and he really felt like he was in the light on either side of the darkness, and he was that guy
and then he was an eye and a travel on and he got hit
again by another car and he became quadriplegic end and then he had to go through the wheel darkness. You know- and he said you be careful thinking that your card was over.
in her story, is ongoing and am, and he is what he came away,
and he was by the time. I met him very much delay on the outer darkness, and he said you know the day.
To do this to me twice to get my attention
get the lessons out of it. The first time that I knew too, I still was in my ego. I still thought I was champion guy and that it was all about achievement and success.
And only with the humility at the second accident, have I've been able to find grace
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to his and server perpetual question with me around this, do you
Think there's any way to get to that. Second light without having to go through the darkness, I hate the word cheat and hack, but
yeah I've tried them all. They can write them. Can you get yellow? Can you get to that place without being brought in and he's in a profound way? It was I'd, love to believe you can, but I haven't yet really seen these ample other well. That would presume that there is such a thing. Is it
in life that is never brought to it's knees and I've never had that. I've never experienced that lighter. Have you. I haven't witnessed that in anybody I mean I've. I've seen it, but I haven't seen somebody who has certainly back to the beginning:
anyone who is able to live in the same eyes. This that same,
Joy that same like state of blair here without having been to that point,
we have high like it. I also haven't seen anybody who hasn't experienced extra
mary, he suffering pain. You know appears to be the content,
I don't understand you know what I think are a good use of. It is transformative and let's use this to become better human beings that I think that's a really great way to see suffering and pain. You don't have to see it that way, but you'll still have in pain, and you know 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 an enlightenment.
spend it by wisdom, spend two by humility in compassion. Like you know, you
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 to to interact with suffering
and you will have it- I mean it's the first novel truth and
I think what you can do is instead of living in fear and hiding in your bedroom, from suffering an eu which
it will find you anyway. Suffering knows where you live,
it knows your home address and when it's your turn to suffer, it will come in.
what can you do and you'll be aware that it's your turn to suffer, because that will be happening as 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 unarmed,
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 practice in a ritual that will hold you safely through that, that's probably as close to a hack,
get that, but that means showing up for the workers of yourself. I celebrate:
I see so many people
spending so much of their energy trying to protect against their will.
eventuality that may cause pain or suffering rather than
investing that same energy or even a portion of it in building practices and skills that would allow them
find some level of increased economic when it doesn't. That arrive because, like you said it well, first novel truth: you know, and-
Yeah, I wonder what would happen if some of those practices were taught to a lot more people, children like just as a matter of highest level. I just sad about you- know
your time going as it is your time going in trying to remain safe in a world that has proven its off again and again to be unsafe or is an appears to be not just that it's unsafe.
You know, because we fuck up at peace, peace for natural law. That sunset, you know, there's that wonderful satirical headline in the onion his paper. This has its deathray holding steady at one,
two percent, if there's also just natural law, to go up against, if not that you be heard by your neighbour in some sums,
gotcha so so. Do you spend your life trying to be
from that. Or do you spend your life learning how to help yourself when you are in danger? You know I'm with with again practices that have been proven over millennia to be of great service to people when, when
in that state and I think that's the best readiness that you can have and also I can't write. I wish I could remember who it was, but I heard an interview once with the guy who studied resilience and in one of the things that he was fascinated with was: how is the two people can go through the exact same trauma, and then this person ends up okay, they have
with a limp but they're, ok, red, post, traumatic growth, yet every instrument and this person's not an m, and so,
you spend more time studying the resilient. I'm, 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 had all the same. Terrible things happen to them, but then some
I found the resilience to not bounced back but to stand up again and reclaim a kind of sacred way, themself and and their life, and to re embrace the world on the world's terms,
but he came up with an account, I'm so sorry. If you're listening to this, sir, I wish I could remember who you are, but that there are three things that you need in order.
he resilient and one is. You need to believe that life has meaning it. Life itself has meaning. The second is, you have to believe in your life has a particular meaning within that, and the third thing
he's community community. You need to feel that you belong somewhere, and
what he said is don't wait for the hurricane to go, knock on your neighbors door and ask for help build the hat before, like that's a 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 his belt and then you're? And then you know that oh, this is good
Hurt but I've got arms around me. I have and I've had spoken about this on social media. At times I've talked about like incredible friends that I've had, or are you
shared stories, amazing acts of friendship and and
it, interestingly, almost invariably in the comments somebody who is feeling very sorry for this helpful say and you're lucky? I don't have any 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 great
in your life then copy that somebody else that's how it works, and it's not about what you get it's about. What can you contribute to this
chip? Can you bring is an offering that's how community is built spilt on on the offerings of the generous and the loving? I love that.
talking about having people you recently shared. I guess a pretty cool full circle relationship moment and, to a certain extent, so one of rare others, friends,
Simon, if somebody who you shared not till I your publicly again, you weren't in relationship with how does that sound
How does it feel to you and has feel to you to share that and I'm curious, why sheriff.
Well, why share? It is an easy 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 right
and I was so much rather tell you who someone? Is there
have you gas, and also he just filling the media.
Tell you. We just make the introductions here and then we can all go back to our business. You knew
and I you you'll notice her or not noticed, depending on how the carefully looked that I haven't said
I think further about it since then, and and and so for me, it was a way to allow myself to walk freely through the world. With someone answer, would I
the the I don't wanna say, nosy questions are because I think they're, very natural questions that 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's how I chose to do it. You know I didn't have to
it was a decision. I may do. I say something about this
not say something about this. The other reason I wanted to say something about it is that any time I wrote about this not post, but any time
I can normalize your life,
by showing you my life, because my life tens,
not follow normal lines, so I knew
People carry an enormous amount of shame over some of the things that this, let's try with Simon. What brought up now have you lost your spouse 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 bore you with.
Somebody of one gender and then you can be with
even other gender and you're, wondering if that's ok,
here I am to let you know that that's yeah, whatever I can do to make you feel less broken,
and weird, I am more than happy to put my life out in public for that and
you. Are you falling in love and you feel like you're sixteen again, even though your fifty and because you'd herself,
Well, the insecurity and uncertainty and and excitement
here and now. I think you should know how to do this and you don't hello friend, it's
going to be okay, yeah falling in love at fifty feels exactly the same way as it did at sixteen. You know, navigating a new relationship is is always that you know I'm so that was my secondary reason. My first reason
Let me just clear this so that I can 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. You know I'm so, let's talk about it.
Couple years ago, mutual friend of our splendid doyle, dial up and down this was after her but came out, and I guess a lot of people may or may not know that very often
when about publishes its actually years after the story and told anything? I was glad I m
we're talking about relationships as you do,
and asked her. We start talking
the fact that she was in a relationship at that time
and she's. She was always very forward facing about everything and on the especially in the book, very detailed, very focusing but most intimate things, and she said I don't talk about it now,
yup, it didn't take long for us to realize you wasn't. I was abbe arise for marriage now, but
entered into a kind of sad that she's like for now for this window right. I just wanted to be mine, and I.
That may change in a big way in the knowledge. But right now I just need to own. This is just me and this one other person I and so with me yeah. You know beyond what I
told you here, which is exactly what I said and then instagram posed a couple months ago. I haven't said anything about it in tat plan to the effect that
and in many respects,
is better, but I also respected the people. Wonderin have questions,
the cycle now, and this is this is so fresh and let me let me find my way through this. So as we sit here today and in this container of the good life project, I asked you the same question four or five years ago,
I don't get asked again deserve. If I offer the phrase to live a good life. What comes up? Am I looking
remember what I said last emanate I'll ask you after, if you remember, I think it's too 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 worked out in a way that you want them to.
It's very nice to be small l loved if you can get it good work, if you can find it, but it's not as important to me is knowing that 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'm alive or dead, whether I'm
in pain or in joy, and I think if you've got that in your pocket, you can walk around knowing that, like capital K and hooked up with like knowing it,
I could really living in the knowledge and knowing that you are loved and that there is nothing that you could ever do to lose, that and hope it is sometimes. I think I have no value, I'm just loved
No, no, I I love to offer that people as an alternative to the american purpose, driven life. That says that you do.
I 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 you've changed the world with that purpose. All of that just makes the tendons in my next
now. It 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 or 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 the
through purpose and through what they contribute and 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 of you. You are part of all of this and couldn't 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 sponsored who helped make this possible. You can check them out in the links we have included in today, show notes and while you're at it, if you ve ever ask yourself what should I do with my life, we have created a really cool online assessment that will help you discover the source code for the work that you are here to do. You can find it add, spark a type dot com. That's s, p, r, K, e t, why p dot com or just click the link.
in the shadows and of course, if you haven't already done so be sure to click on the subscribe button. In your listening app, so you never miss an episode and then share share the love. If there's something that you've heard in this episode, that you would love to turn into a conversation, share it with people and have that conversation, because when ideas become conversations that lead to action, that's when real change takes hold, see you next time,
Transcript generated on 2023-06-22.