Inspired: Elizabeth Gilbert and Her Metaphorical Minivan

Last week my friend Lisa sent me these quotes from Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love and also a new work of fiction, The Signature of All Things. I’ve always been a fan of Elizabeth Gilbert, and I appreciate her even more now that she’s given us this great minivan metaphor.

In this interview in Origin Magazine, the interviewer asks Elizabeth Gilbert the question, “How has disappointment changed you?” and this is what she said:

It softens me. It makes me be a more sensitive, kinder person. I know what it feels like to be bruised; I know what it feels like to carry things around with you that never totally heal. There’s closure and then there’s the stuff you just kind of like, well, I guess it’s going to be in the minivan with me forever. And you carry it with you and you continue on your journey with your minivan full of stuff, which I think most of us do.

All the parts of us that we ever were are always going to be with us. You make space to carry them and you just try not to let them drive. But you can’t chuck them out either. I think I have more compassion than if I had led a life where everything worked out exactly as I had planned or if I had never been wounded or if I had never been betrayed or I had never been harmed.

Later in the interview, the interviewer asked her what the world needs from women right now, and this is her response (chokes me up every time I read it):

I think the world needs women who stop asking for permission from the principal. Permission to live their lives as they deeply know they often should. I think we still look to authority figures for validation, recognition, permission . . . .

The best and most powerful things that I’ve done in my life were when I decided that I don’t f***ing need somebody to tell me that I can do it. To just go and make it myself, do it myself, build it myself, do the project first and not bother along the way to get the requisite paperwork. That requires faith. Primarily it requires a faith in the condition that you are allowed to exist. You are here and you are allowed to be here and therefore you are allowed to make decisions about yourself and the people in your life; rather than sort of backing up and making sure it’s okay with everybody at every turn.

Amen, Liz. Amen!

Have an inspired day . . .

Heart Amy


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