Great Stories

I LOVE a great story. You can never share enough of the ‘good stuff’ that puts a little positive perspective out there. I hope you enjoy this story as much as I did.

 

New+York+New+Jersey+Continue+Recover+Superstorm+bZDA4KrliNJlIf you missed the May Oprah magazine, you missed a great story I want to share by Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat Pray Love). Enjoy.

Some years ago, I was stuck on a crosstown bus in New York City during rush hour. Traffic was barely moving. The bus was filled with cold, tired people who were deeply irritated–with one another; with the rainy, sleety weather; with the world itself. Two men barked at each other about a shove that might or might not have been intentional. A pregnant woman got on, and nobody offered her a seat. Rage was in the air; no mercy would be found here.

But as the bus approached Seventh Avenue, the driver got on the intercom. “Folks,” he said, “I know you’ve had a rough day and you’re frustrated. I can’t do anything about the weather or traffic, but here’s what I can do. As each one of you gets off the bus. I will reach out my hand to you. As you walk by, drop your troubles into the palm of my hand, okay? Don’t take your problems home to your families tonight–just leave ’em with me. My route goes right by the Hudson River, and when I drive by there later, I’ll open the window and throw your troubles in the water. Sound good?”

It was as if a spell had lifted. Everyone burst out laughing. Faces gleamed with surprised delight. People who’d been pretending for the past hour not to notice each other’s existence were suddenly grinning at each other like, is this guy serious?

Oh, he was serious.

At the next stop–just as promised–the driver reached out his had, palm up and waited. One by one, all the exiting commuters placed their hand just above his and mimed the gesture of dropping something into his palm. Some people laughed as they did this, some teared up–but everyone did it. The driver repeated the same lovely ritual at the next stop too. And the next. All the way to the river.

We live in a hard world, my friends. Sometimes it’s extra difficult to be a human being. SOmetimes you have a bad day. SOmetimes you have a bad day theta lasts for several years. You struggle and fall. You lose jobs, money, friends, faith and love. You witness horrible events unfolding in the news, and you become fearful and withdrawn. There are times when everything seems cloaked in darkness. You long for the light but don’t know where to find it.

But what if you are the light? What if you’re the very agent of illumination that a dark situation begs for?

That’s what this bus driver taught me–that anyone can be the light, at any moment. This guy wasn’t some big power player. He wasn’t a spiritual leader. He wasn’t some media-savvy leader. He was a bus driver–one of society’s most invisible workers. But he possessed real power, and he used it beautifully for our benefit.

When life feels especially grim, or when I feel particularly powerless in the face of the world’s troubles, I think of this man and ask myself, What can I do, right now, to be the light? Of course, I can’t personally end all wars, or solve global warming, or transform vexing people into entirely different creatures. I definitely can’t control traffic. But I do have some influence on everyone I brush up against, even if we never speak or learn each other’s name. How we behave matters because within human society everything is contagious–sadness and anger, yes, but also patience and generosity. Which means we all have more influence than we realize.

No matter who you are, or where you are, or how mundane or tough your situation may seem, I believe you can illuminate your world. In fact, I believe this is the only way the world will ever be illuminated–one bright act of grace at a time, all the way to the river.

-taken from Oprah, May 2016 by Elizabeth Gilbert

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CREATE

Image“We are the makers of music and the dreamers of dreams.”  -Willy Wonka

I was laughing at my whirl of ideas that I have collected on my phone, so I began this week to tackle my whims of creativity & take it a day at a time.

I like the idea of creating something or finding a piece of creativity in the every day, so I am taking on the challenge. I am striving to create, work on an idea, take a picture, try something new, learn more about a creative venture, finish books, write a musical….the ideas are endless, but NOTHING will be done if I don’t take it a little step at a time.

I just watched a great ted talk by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the best-selling book Eat, Pray, Love. She talks in this conference about how she gets through the conversations that everyone asks—how are you going to top this book? She has a great twist on your elusive creative genius. This talk may not be for everyone, but I definitely could relate in understanding the ideas and gifts that seem to come to you in your dreams or the early hours of the morning & always wondering what to do with them or how to bring them to fruition. 

Here is the link to the conference: http://www.ted.com/talks/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius.html

SHOULD YOU BE AFRAID TO DO THE WORK THAT YOU WERE PUT ON THIS EARTH TO DO? Great question taken from this Ted Talk by Elizabeth Gilbert

This statement reiterates in my mind that ideas come to us for a reason. Do we do every little spark that swirls in our imagination? Do we follow even one? Do we write and when the fog comes or the ideas dwindle, do we stop writing? Do we get inspired by a song & envision an amazing musical but not attempt to write it because you don’t have the first clue of how to create a production? Do you not begin a blog because you are afraid you wont know what to write? Do you put your camera down because everyone else is taking pictures? Do you not begin when a spark of genius lands within your heart?

That little spark was entrusted to you, a gift that has followed your souls desires & is trying to help you break free from the limitations you are putting on yourself. It is only yours for a time, so nurture it, learn from it, grow it & give it wings to help you fulfill the endless possibilities. 

“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”  -Pablo Picasso

Create. Find something to bring out your creative genius.  Sketch a flower, write a poem, listen to a new piece of music, look at magazines for interesting patterns and fonts, take a picture on your phone, notice the details of a feather & create an image, create sounds from drumming, whistle, dance…listen to what calls your heart to play.

Happy creating   -Heather

Lessons from Eat Pray Love

ImageIt is a wonderful thing to know that their are no coincidences, that life gives us signals we need, stops us to listen, helps us to begin to notice the things we truly need. Again I was gifted a needed coincidence. I had been feeling like I needed to watch the movie Eat. Pray. Love. I had not seen it since it came out in theaters, so I was curious to understand why I was being drawn to it.  I was having a bit of a down, migraine day, so I put the movie in and watched it for about 20 minutes before the idleness began to wear on me, the thoughts played that I had too many things to do, so I got up. I decided maybe a walk might shake things up and get my blood flowing. I walked, I listened to a podcast of someone I had never heard before, she took a call from a caller who began to parallel her life with the life of Elizabeth in the movie Eat. Pray. Love.    Now, we all know this movie has been out for years, so this struck me as a gift, I knew I needed to go home and finish what I started and see what spoke to me through this movie. Here are some of the things I took away…

Pray: with your heart. Her desperation led her to her knees. “Prayer is a relationship; half the job is mine. If I want transformation, but can’t even be bothered to articulate what, exactly, I’m aiming for, how will it ever occur? Half the benefit of prayer is in the asking itself, in the offering of a clearly posed and well-considered intention. If you don’t have this, all your pleas and desires are boneless, floppy, inert; they swirl at your feet in a cold fog and never lift.” -Elizabeth Gilbert

Dolce far niente—In Italian means “the sweetness of doing nothing.”  In America we do not take advantage of this, we work, we work until the day is done, we rarely have moments of “doing nothing.” I am not sure how we have become so accustomed to this way of life, but each and every one of us need to learn something from the Italian culture and enjoy more moments of sweet nothing.  “Americans have an inability to relax into sheer pleasure.Ours is an entertainment seeking-nation, but not necessarily a pleasure-seeking one….This is the cause of that great sad American stereotype- the overstressed executive who goes on vacation, but who cannot relax.”  -Elizabeth

Express yourself with gestures: I loved this!! Everyone kissing, giving thanks for delicious food with the “Muah!” May we all “Muah” everything we have.

The Augusteum: This was a meaningful moment in the movie because it was a place of great ruin. Elizabeth began to see the parallels of ruin as a gift in life, the road to true transformation.

Master your thoughts: let it be. “At some point, you gotta let go, and sit still, and allow contentment to come to you.”

Give selflessly to others: Elizabeth’s gift to the young Indian girl who was getting married into an arranged marriage was a gift of selfless beauty, a genuine gift.  There was another sweet gesture when Elizabeth had friends and family send money in lieu of her birthday & she was able to build a home for a single mother in need.

Tutti: I just loved the meaning of the little girl’s name “Tutti” which means “Everyone.”

Forgive yourself: let go of the ocean of regret. “There’s a crack (or cracks) in everyone…that’s how the light of God gets in.”  -Elizabeth Gilbert

God dwells within you as you: When you shine, you are doing His will. You are the true essence of who He created. “We don’t realize that, somewhere within us all, there does exist a supreme self who is eternally at peace.”  -Elizabeth Gilbert          “Your treasure – your perfection – is within you already. But to claim it, you must leave the busy commotion of the mind and abandon the desires of the ego and enter into the silence of the heart.” -Elizabeth

Have faith: “There’s a reason we refer to “leaps of faith”–because the decision to consent to any notion of divinity is a mighty jump from the rational over to the unknowable, and I don’t care how diligently scholars of every religion will try to sit you down with their stacks of books and prove to you through scripture that their faith is indeed rational; it isn’t.  If faith were rational, it wouldn’t be–by definition–faith. Faith is belief in what you cannot see or prove or touch. Faith is walking face-first and full-speed into the dark. If we truly knew all the answers in advance as to the meaning of life and the nature of God and the destiny of our souls, our belief would not be a leap of faith and it would not be a courageous act of humanity; it would just be…a prudent insurance policy.”  -Elizabeth Gilbert

Finding balance: Balance is not allowing someone to love you any less than you love yourself.  There was another great moment…Elizabeth says, “I couldn’t keep my balance.” Ketut responds, “Sometimes losing balance for love is part of living balance in life.”

“Zen masters say you cannot see your reflection in running water, only in still water.” 

Avoid fear: Fear leads you to run away from all the great possibilities of your life.

Choose happiness: “I’m choosing happiness over suffering, I know I am. I’m making space for the unknown future to fill up my life with yet-to-come surprises.” -Elizabeth Gilbert

“I keep remembering one of my Guru’s teachings about happiness. She says that people universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you’re fortunate enough. But that’s not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. If you don’t you will eat away your innate contentment. It’s easy enough to pray when you’re in distress but continuing to pray even when your crisis has passed is like a sealing process, helping your soul hold tight to its good attainments.” -Elizabeth Gilbert

The Quest–the journey:  “I’ve come to believe that there exists in the universe something I call “The Physics of The Quest”- a force of nature governed by laws as real as the laws gravity or momentum. And the rule of Quest Physics maybe goes like this: “If you are brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting(which can be anything from your house to your bitter old resentments)and set out on a truth-seeking journey(either externally or
internally),and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher, and if you are prepared – most of all -to face (and forgive) some very difficult realities about yourself….then truth will not be withheld from you.” Or so I’ve come to believe.”

There were so many gifts that seem to be hidden within this movie. I hope you seek to find gifts and gems in everything you do.  Peace and love to you.  -Heather