Elizabeth Gilbert on writing (and meditation)


Somebody asked me the other day if writing was easy for me.

When I hesitated with my answer, they asked, “I mean…has it gotten easier over time, as you’ve gotten better at it?”

(By which I mean — I want my writing to be interesting for ME. If, as a side effect, my work eventually becomes interesting to you, that’s awesome. But mostly, I am just trying to interest and educate and occupy and challenge and delight myself.)

Often writing is indeed quite difficult for me. But I’m not sure that’s the point, and I know it’s definitely not a problem, because all the really interesting things in life are difficult — love, wisdom, growth, compassion, learning, travel, loyalty, courage, endurance, transformation…

But “interesting” doesn’t mean “tormenting”. When things get difficult, it doesn’t mean you have to suffer and moan and pull out your hair and rend your clothes. It just means things have gotten…well…verrrrry interesting.

You do it anyway — the interesting thing — because you want to have a rich and varied life, not a flat and simple one.

One of the best living teachers of meditation around — Pema Chodron — once said that the biggest problem she sees with people’s meditation practice is that they quit just when things are starting to get interesting. Which is to say, they quit as soon as things aren’t easy any more, as soon as it gets painful, or boring, or agitating. So they miss the good part, the wild part, the transformative part — the part when you push past the difficulty into some raw and new and unexplored universe within yourself.

And maybe it’s like that with every single important aspect of our lives. Whatever it is you are pursuing, whatever it is you are seeking — be careful not quit too soon. Don’t quit the moment it stops being easy, OK? Because that moment? If you stay in it and then stubbornly push past your fear and resistance? That’s the moment where INTERESTING begins.

May you all have an interesting week!


2 thoughts on “Elizabeth Gilbert on writing (and meditation)

  1. So glad you prompted this exercise and suggested I blog about it. It was revealing and fun to explore how we see ourselves with an “outside the box” approach. Life is a journey and I’m a student. The more I learn, the more I want to learn. 🙏


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