Note: I attended Oprah Winfrey’s Life You Want Weekend Tour earlier this fall. I’m blogging every day this week about main messages from the event. Today is Day 5.
By Chanda Temple
Several years ago, Elizabeth Gilbert walked into a New York City post office and had this thought: I can’t wait to get home and have a good cry.
She was in the midst of ending her marriage and had just had a bad morning in divorce court. She figured that a big ugly cry was what she needed. But God saw something different for her. He told her she could go home and cry, but she first had to walk through the streets of New York City to find something beautiful. Why? Because she had to realize that even in her darkest time, the world is full of beauty.
Gilbert walked out of the post office and saw five elephants walking through Manhattan. The elephants were in town because of the circus, and Gilbert was thankful for what she had just seen. She told God, “That will do. Thank you.”
The experience taught her that people must demand to go on a quest for beauty every day, a sentiment she shared with the audience attending Oprah Winfrey’s Life You Want Tour in Atlanta earlier this fall.
Gilbert did not go home and cry on her couch that day. Instead, she went home, exalted. Soon she started seeing elephants everywhere. When she saw elephants, she felt they were signs, signs that she was on her path and that she should not dare stop.
Two years after seeing the elephants in Manhattan, she was in India, riding an elephant. She would later write the New York Times Best Seller “Eat Pray Love.” Three years after that, actress Julia Roberts was on an elephant, playing Gilbert in the movie, “Eat Pray Love.” The experience was electrifying for her.
“…ya never know how a good quest will end,” Gilbert told the audience.
Gilbert offered several tips on moving away from the old and familiar and into the new and unfamiliar.
- No matter how miserable your path is, you can change your life. But don’t expect change to be easy. Change is scary and uncertain. But change is necessary.
- In between the person you’ve been and the person you’ve become, lies a vast territory you must navigate. So you must regard it as an epic quest or journey.
- You may be in sorrow, but know your life will not always look like what you are experiencing right now.
- You don’t have to begin your quest today, but you do have to start making plans.
Chanda Temple worked as a reporter for 20 years before becoming a public relations professional. She blogs about being better in business and more at http://www.chandatemplewrites.com. Follow her on Twitter at @chandatemple.
Follow Elizabeth Gilbert on Twitter at @gilbertliz.