HOW NOT TO BE OVERWHELMED.
Dear Ones —
So a funny thing happened to me yesterday at Oprah’s The Life You Want Tour.
Or, rather, a funny thing DIDN’T happen to me.
I wasn’t nervous. I wasn’t overwhelmed. I didn’t walk around all day thinking, “I can’t believe I’m here!” or “I hope I don’t ruin everything!” And every time Oprah came near me, I didn’t squeal (internally or externally) “Oh my god that’s OPRAH FREAKING WINFREY, OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD I’M STANDING NEXT TO OPRAH!!!!!.”
Nope. I actually felt calm.
This is not what I had expected. Because that was a crazy situation, people — a giant arena, a big-ass spotlight, a potentially blinding amount of glamor, the possibility for humiliating screw-ups, and a lot of expectation piled right on top of me.
But I realized this truth, yesterday morning: If I turn this into a big drama or a thrill ride, then I’m making it all about me. Which isn’t fair to anybody here, and won’t serve anybody here. And I came here to serve.
Oprah invited me to this event because she wanted me to bring something very specific to that audience. It’s none of my business why she thought I could do it — but she thought I could do it. And she didn’t need me freaking out. And all those women in that arena who came there yesterday with real questions about their own journeys and their own lives didn’t need me freaking out, either. They needed a calm, steady voice with a strong, honest message. Period.
So I said to myself yesterday morning: “Keep it together, Gilbert. Do what they need you to do. Be who you came here to be. There’s no higher way to honor these people than to bring them your most dignified self.”
Then I erased my drama, and did my job.
I fell asleep last night thinking that if I can hold onto that state of being (the drama-free notion that we are here to offer our services to each other, and that we are here to perform with grace whatever task destiny is calling forth from us next) then maybe life can be a lot less overwhelming.
Whether it’s a painful task that we are called to, or an exhausting task, or an exhilarating task, or a joyous one — get your drama out of it, and do whatever you need to do with the highest dignity.
There’s a lot of trust required for that state of being. Not so much trust in yourself, but trust in who is guiding you. Yesterday I relaxed completely into that trust.
I’m gonna try to hold onto that.
We were all invited to be here, and we all need each other’s grace. Let’s hold it together, Dear Ones.
~Elizabeth Gilbert, Facebook post, 9/8/14