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Cheryl Strayed: Brave Enough

2017-12-04 | 🔗

The New York Times best-selling author Cheryl Strayed talks to Oprah about her book "Brave Enough," a collection of her own quotes, which Cheryl describes as a "mini instruction manual for the soul." Cheryl also says the book urges readers toward their own "incredible capacity for love, compassion and forgiveness." Cheryl's best-selling memoir, "Wild," which recounted her spiritual journey hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, was an Oprah's Book Club selection and was adapted into the critically acclaimed film starring Reese Witherspoon.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
I'm over Winfrey welcome to supersede conversations the podcast. I believe that one of the most valuable gives you can give yourself is time taking time to be more fully present. Your journey to become more inspired and connected to the deeper world around us starts right now straight best selling book wild captivated. millions of readers and inspire. an Oscar nominated film shows memoir details. Her harrowing eleven hundred mile track on the Pacific Crest trail. Her question you claim her shattered life after her mother his death resonated D, play with weeders for money. after wild was published, Shirl released another best seller called tiny, beautiful things. It's compilation of the popular online advice columns, she wrote under the pending name. Sugar show
willingness to reveal her own struggles in order to help her readers won her, passionate and devoted following Charles powerful deeply personal quotes are so But the most shared, tweeted and means unsocial, media Shirl cause many instruction manual for the sole they are the out of her latest best seller brave enough. So was for four years ago. We were right here, and I remember saying to you you're gonna have enough money to not accuse you like, You want to have my office
have or I was when I sat with you. I was in huge credit card debt had student loans, my student loans, that I was pain. I did not have an office. I had gone shop in the day before it goes. I didn't have anything to wear for the show and I didn't have money. So I went to the good. Well, that's by: U S seat and I bought a shirt for five dollars, which I still have and I work our first superimposing today. You have ok, so I didn't know that that was the state that you did. That's funny. I couldn't talk about it, then, because I was still in yeah but my book. Yes, what my book was on the near Testa sellers? Yes, and that month our rent check bounced and my husband, Texan man, said: why did I rent checkpoints? And I said because we have any money- and you said nobody would believe this. Nobody would have, because our because you don't get paid as a writer until
a year later yup? But this is what so interesting. I think we were walking right through the drowsy here there and you were saying: oh I just want to be able to. I just want but I have my own office and I said you, I'm worn off. You did say that I remember that, yes, and four years later, I have not a girl, like me, have more than an hour. So can I just talk about this for a moment? Ok, everybody I was when I get excited about a book I I cannot keep it to myself. I just now, but I cannot and sold, and I read this book and I am ready in lake in our right and initiating ass free yeah, really like an hour I thought? Okay, let's see if we can get shoralan on Super soul Sunday to talk about it and I thought okay, but right now, what can I do? What can I do and then I realized
I got to get to it about agreed that went round the good tweet about it, because I wanted everybody to get this little book. You can open any page and find something that your heart and, interestingly enough, the world has become. You know this place of quotes, particularly internet. I mean it's a most popular thing, people sharing quotes- and this is a series of quote about being brave enough in wild. So what do you think it is with quotes and why people were so drawn to them, as you know, were, were hungry for consolation, we're hungry for inspiration and yet Ruth and of what a quote does is it delivers a very concise, powerful form that little jolt of that thing you needed to hear I think you forgot the thing you that's the thing. You knew the thing you didn't quite understand that no manner articulated and I think obviously the internet is such a great forum. For that kind of thing,
when you and I are before the internet were when we work is reading books. We, Do that thing right now, I'm across said yes- and you say well that that I need remember that, and you underline it or you write it down in your note book and I think what's happening now is people are just grab in that and putting it right on the internet, there tweeting at their putting it on Instagram, making these means and they have spread like wildfire. Well, you say that you know this soon the introduction that I believe in the power words to help us reset our intentions. Yes, my favorite work intention clarify our thoughts and create a counter narrative the voice of doubt many of us have been have murmuring in our heads, the one that says you can't you won't. You shouldn't have quotes at their core almost
always shout they do yes, even if it's even if it's a hard quote, even if it's saying this a truth, that's sad it. Even if it's saying something like there is suffering in the world, yet it shows yet if it implies that we can do this. So this book came about why you're that's a book that the people made. It's a really strange thing. That's here, I've put out this book of quotes, all written by me, but those quotes came into the world really because other people were floating other people and spreading morality and exactly, and I started to notice this on twitter and yet is arrogant all the places you see these these quotes. People were giving me my words back to me. People were sending me. Photographs of tattoo my lines tattooed on their armour. What not, in other words that lie as it may seem,
really and honour it is an end, it makes me feel I understand where they're coming from, because, of course, I've felt that same way, are the writers sentences, and you know what people take a quote on like that they're making it their own. You know I wrote it, but it belongs to that. Didn't that kind of happened with, while that, obviously you wrote it and then it's sort of became. I mean I don't know what the stats are on. The number of people who are now trying to hike, a lot of people are hiking it in those who aren't just felt like you were writing that book for them, yes, yeah I've been that's. What literature is about, literature is is about speaking the deepest truths about who we are ass humans and when readers recognise themselves in a writers work. You ve built this unbreakable bridge
between is a spiritual could at its spiritual connection, and so it you know. I always think you know it was it's never up to any writer to say what impact their work has in the world, and I love that I'll all those books. It came from such a deep place in me, the minute it ll my thanks here. It belonged to the reader arrears and they and they get to say, make of it. What they well and what so many people made of wild is. It became their personal story. I mean not only people who decided to go hiking because of wild, but- I would say even more deeply people who said I know I have been broken, I've been lost, I've been grieving. and I know what you're writing- I know what you're speaking up, because I believe that truth too, and if you know the hikers, then you know, maybe They gonna healing. Turning in its a hike, maybe they do something else. Maybe
healing journey was that they read the book and felt that connection yeah during this whole process of writing. Did you change the way you were able to express suffering, because I had read that at one point that you thought that that was like tell that, to our tell that story, yes, I don't let anybody know yeah. Now you feel completely different. in the sharing of the story yeah. Well, I would say that that's the less than you know, one of the most important lessons I learned through the successive while is that it was such an affirmation that, if you take that risk, if you take that chance, if you tell that the truest hardest deep story you have within you you're not going to step into the light and find that you there alone that you're gonna be surrounded by people who are they with you and say men to save me to meet him and when you take that, as I see a risk, invulnerability your again showing your true as nature. Yes, and even here
was writing about the death of my mother. You know, as you know, my mom died of cancer when she was forty five, it was greatest loss of my life, and it was that story that I had to tell over Never again, I've told it and all of my books- and there was a point where I felt like occasional. You need to shut up about this. This is seen as a lot of people die of cancer with quick, complaining about acquit moaning about, but I had something really true to tell about that law. and also what came after that lost that me finding my way back to life through remembering the love that my mother gave me and- and I ended up when I did take that chance of telling that very specific story. Speaking with the universal voice. That's what I found, because I wasn't just talking about my
I was talking about all of you and people around the world, not just here in the. U S, that's been astounding to me. I went to India and I was giving this does reading in this pact. Roman Jai, poor India, this this tense I pour literary festival, herds and agree that, oh yes, I saw picture of hundreds of people and I looked out and I thought I was terrified and I just that I'm gonna do what I do and I finished my talk and I went and sat at my little table where I was to do my book signing and those hundreds of people are all lined up and ah said to me all the same things that people say to me in Ohio and ended Lausanne where's your all out, exactly the same things and again in a
are that we are more the same. Then we are different. Do you think that every person has that truth within them to speak, whether they can write it or not? I do I do I mean obviously you know that the work I do as a writer but the life I have is as a human. I think that every time you take that that you find that strength to show your true itself in a risk showing that self that makes you feel a little uncomfortable, a little like you might be found out to be the weird one. After all that almost always one.
take that chance, whether it be in small talk or in a book. Well, that's just risk be brave enough to greet your raven. That's right did migrating to break your own heart, which is your quote. That's my call on framework. That's about is being brave enough to risk intimacy, to risk rejection, to risk failure and all of the best things come when you do that, because about really when you risk all of those things, you are really daring to be more human. You are, you are, and I think that Let sometimes you learn things the hard way, and you never forget it. Then you never ever ever forget so being brave enough to break your own heart is, is about being brave enough to make the decisions that end up being really right for you and also brave enough to sometimes make a decision that wasn't the best in the end, but you learn from it and where there are no decision that you can't learn from that's right, yeah, that's right! What are my favorite quota year and I've passed it on I've sent is to people. This quote
friend of mine who is going to really horrid divorce says it taken to take a long time together. People who have suffered Any kind of lost this is my favorite one page. Fifty eight you let time pass, that's the cure. You survive the days you float like a rabbit ghost through the wood You cry and wallow and lament and scratch your way back up through the months, and then one day you find self. Alone on a bench in the sun, close your eyes and lean your head back. And you realize you're. Ok, thank you. Ah tat is that has really, I know, been like a bomb for so many people so comforting. Thank you. Yes,
That's it! Thank you. Are you going through when that when you wrote this? Oh you know I've been I've been in that moment of my life, so many different times. You know. I think that, partly to me that quotas about is about how part of life is suffering and that so many of us, I think it's really interesting, that you sent that quote two friends year in need because I think when we see our friend suffering, we don't know what to say. I don't know what to say he was in an honest and awaited. I you know it's great about this. What we were, but this will to quote no matter what somebody's go. There's a quoted here for without it, and this is, you know why I actually cried when I first read it because a friend the mind really been going through a lot, and I thought. this is what I've been trying to say, that you're not saying your pain, isn't real yeah, you're saying you know. Why did try yours whale yeah? You know you lead time pass in. You cry, go through the hardship and then you're going to come out the other side and the sun will be shining on your face and you'll be city
we're on our edge it language is connected to that is connected to the vote in the book. That actually is by my mother, put yourself in the way of beauty that you just hold on through the hard times, and now that some day you will be sitting on the bench and you leave your head back. Is that their favour? When put yourself in the way, you yourself and it might be my favorite one simply because it comes from my mom and it has been such a guiding light for me in my life. because in the hardest times I don't know, if you remember the stories that my mother would say, no matter what the hard times are hard times will come, but you know what else will always come is a sunrise and a sunset, and so it's up to you. You want to be there for it, be there for it. I think it's that's about perspective and gratitude, and those two things are so key to. I think I have life. Yes, I love this when two don't surrender of this is so. Oh, my goodness hello.
dont surrender. All your joy for an idea you used to have about yourself that isn't true anymore. Why did that will come from what? How long to read. You know how they heard. How long do we hold of dinner this old idea? I was going to do this job or I was gonna, go to this school or I was going to be married to less person and it doesn't service anymore and INA. Where that came from is I was asked to write a letter to my twenty something self in my book, tiny beautiful face, and that's one of the things I told my younger self is that that that it was ok to re, write my story from time to time and not only ok but necessary, and that you can't you know, there's one thing about hold. Sometimes you do have to see things through. though they dont cause you joy, but sometimes you need to say you know what, unlike us, render my joy. If you're not gonna, be this thing anymore, I'm enemy this other thing, that's otherwise,
such a more eloquent, beautiful poetic waves and stop holding onto the past. That's right, yes, so many people were living right now, based upon what they thought or what they what it or what they re imagine and its the lawyer transfer stories no longer to have you. Wake up and realizes story isn't true. I think it's not about waking up one morning, though, is that, though it does sometimes feel that way. I think that you, you know being awake to our lives, is in some ways a daily process. You know checking in with this idea of like why what is my intention and you said intention as your favorite word, and I remember at some point recently us the two of us talking and you you you'd you'd counselled me. You said
several always ask yourself: what is your intention and I think that being awake to those stories you tell yourself about yourself- is about reminding yourself always. What is your intention? Yeah have other people change towards you, since all of this happen, most people haven't, I hear the people who really love me who loved me before you for a long time after I had this experience with. While I would I would say: oh no, nothing has changed in my life That was my way in some ways I was of trying to say I have a change of trying to be humble, and now I say two things change. It was money and I lost my anonymity to some extent. You know I had to decide to just remember who I was. to really emphasise the people who I have in my life, who don't care. If I
wild or not. You know and anticipate trust that kind of the grounds so who I really am in the world rather than who people think I am as a writer and house a family adjusted to it all my family. Well, you know, as you know, my eyes, cargo Bobby the experiences they ve had made a new meeting, Reese Witherspoon Lowrider and becoming friends with with people who, like I would have never dreamed in my childhood. Are you and your child is meeting you know? That's been, I think, a fun ride for them. So there is that that piece of this that's been eating really fun for our family, but mostly they're just just like we always were sure, met her husband, Ryan, nine days after completing our track on the Pacific press trail. They got me reading one, ninety, ninety nine and are raising their two children, their son car, now eleven and ten year old, daughter Bobby not far from reassuring, completed her light, changing hike.
Would you mind sharing the story about Bobby and cover? I will I'll tell that story every summer for the last couple. whereas I've taught a writing workshop in Germany, France and we went almost three years ago, Over and Bobby were at the time, eight and nine, and we arrive and families in the French Alps, and so you is this little village, with these high snowy peaks and of the summer time the sky is full of Paraguay theirs, they call them peripeties in French and my kids, even though there are eight nine immediately said, mom were going to do that, and I said no, you are absolutely not going to do that. They keep at us all week. We want to go, we wanna go. Finally, I say to them: you know you can't go you're too young and so of course, Mise daughter marches over to the fellow who, like sullen, the parapet, Anti rides, and he says oh eight, eight. You just have to be eight wow,
so I say to my kids: you know no, I'm afraid I can't. I can't let you do this and I said also you you're too afraid to do it You think you want to do it, but you're going to get up there to that mountain top and you have to you know you have to jump off of it and you're, not you're, not going to be brave enough to do it, and my son looks at me Nine and he says mom, you know what I am afraid, but I dont want to be a person who lives my life not doing things just because they scare me, oh god,
but you're nine Europe. Ninety, why Arbour say Europe Cargo as this to me- and I was one of those moments of awakening where I just thought here here is where I had to be brave enough to break my own heart as a mother. He knew he had me. I was just because I was like oh my gosh and my husband and I just looked at each other and we said: ok, ok, we will do this and we paid two decades and the next morning. Ok, we bundled up in these like wind jackets. I'm not joking, I brought this was terrified, so we send them up. I stated the Frenchman. Will you please make sure that all the buckles are done? You look and he's, as I will make sure Madam Mina, and so we go and stand in a meadow and the town where they are to land and thirty minutes later
they start to get close enough, that they can see us and their yelling mom, dad mom tat hint. He left in the gaps and they're alive, and they have this amazing like each of them, though, the looks on their faces. There's no. Inventing that look. It's under the most authentic looks of achievement, success and pride and joy and you that that an eyelid it feeling union yeah see coming from the inside out, yeah yeah. It's shouting yes from the deepest place in your soul, in your spirit and its in its and is doing something that was hard to do that you did anyway, you know, that's bravery, that's bravery as courage, a brave enough to break your own heart. Are you standing on the ground for those thirty minutes, longer than thirty minutes as it stands up and then waiting from the jump on us it out, and are you thinking what am I not said, my crazy if something you you're imagining every possible yeah? Well,
in writing nl, this is always the one of the hardest things about life right as apparent, always making myself either get myself an NGO. The answer is no, and yet what are you gonna? Do you cannot what live your life, not letting your kids do anything that scares you. If you interview However, a baby right now tell me of that that one of the greatest things you ve ever done. I think they would go. Tell you that yeah and you know, I think that this is one of those four adds that runs through brave enough. Is this idea of of how we have to take responsibility for our lives and make hard choices, but also how people help us along the way, and you know I paid for that ticket to get them to the top of the mountain, but there are the ones who have to jump off and the deal with jumping off a mountain is you have to do it yourself same deals climbing up to the top it turns out, but you know, I think, said
in so many ways like my children showed me, they taught me a lesson that I taught them that I need to take again learn for myself, which is a really fascinating part of life. Isn't it the way you learn same things over and over again in a new light. Yeah. Can you finish this? I feel the presence of God when, when I'm in natural, beautiful wild places, I experienced love. When I breathe the purpose. Effort Venice is to move forward to have to have a whole life, and I'm living my purpose when I'm loving and giving and writing
and you believe the purpose of a soul is, I think, of my saw as my centre, the repository of the deepest truths, the thing that has guided me since the moment I was born and will guide me to my death. Do you have a hope for your legacy? Yes, I hope that People find solace and the words that I have left them, whether it be in my writing in my books or in the conversations we ve had together. What do you think is the biggest obstacle to peace, the biggest obstacle to peace. I think its scarcity. the idea that we don't live an abundant world. I think people get really afraid when they think something's been taken from them you think, that's the same thing as the force of rage because
events in the news now, over and over again we see the violence and we see the rage. What do you think the source of age is the same thing. I think it is that scarcity. I think that people feel very afraid when they they feel threatened, that their power has been taken away more, that other groups of people have been granted some sort of power or access that they don't have, and that becomes Rage and violence and the route of racism is our God. So deep. I think the route of racism is in this false ocean of the other us in them. That kind of divide that, that maybe we're not born with, but that were taught so early on. Yet again, it's interesting. It's connected to scarcity. It's like we are this.
I've been there that drive, and these people are this and this, and that that that idea, that we have to hold power and save share love good job and so who ve been erased. Teachers, my mother, my father, not in not a positive teacher, but taught me things about the world and humanity that are actually negative, but I do think that that has learning about some of the difficult things has been useful to me. In my life, my kids have taught me a lot, my husband and who guided me on my path as a writer and real success is knowing that you did the best work you can possibly do. There's that's the only measure that matters to me. If I can say yes, I gave up my all. Yes, I did my best. That's
says yeah. This is perfect, for you cause. You already wrote about it. What it vice. Would you give your younger self? The thing that I really wish? I could travel back in time and how myself, when I think, I'm not alone in this, is just to say that my younger son, you are ok
doing good, just keep doing it and you're gonna learn your cannot rely now just relax and dont, and don't worry so much about you know finding the answers and finding love and finding success. Just do your work, live your life, be kind, be good! Pay! Your on electric bell, a turn out. Ok, yes, if you do that, have integrity, trust, your integrity, dont trust in own. What somebody else thinks that you should be doing with your life. Trust your own integrity, tat, trust your got, which, as you know, what I am doing that and ended up workin out. Didn't it always well. I M so inspired by this, but I have to say: listen. I think everybody should have this little book by their nightstand. I think graduations you're coming up I'm giving it for graduation. All thank you
give it for birthdays. I give it I'm I'm thinking it's perfect for mothers day. That's right! It's it's! The book for old times is a book for all seasons. Thank you, I'm so tat. You inspire me Oprah! Oh thank you. Thank you for saying that and thank you for inspiring us. Thank you for I love it link you I'm over Winfrey and you ve been listening to supersede conversations the pod cast. You can follow superficial on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook if you haven't yet go to apple, pod, callous and subscribe rate and review this pledge gas join me next week for another supersede conversation. Thank you for listening.
Transcript generated on 2020-10-09.