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  • Well, hello, Helen.

  • Very nice to see you.

  • You think, uh, he's a mad, mad, mad, mad, mad days So many emotions, but all bad, Happily But it's just so aware that among the people listen to their summer in really tough times Right now I hope this is gonna be a beautiful hour of therapy and helping its in its own way.

  • Um, because we have with us just on extraordinary author, An extraordinary mind.

  • Um, Elizabeth Gilbert, obviously known for her tarnishing bestselling success with eat, pray, love.

  • Um, although her favorite book, from my point of view is called Big Magic, where the subtitle is Creative Living without Beyond fear, Creative Living beyond fear.

  • Now, when you think about it, that is a pretty good agenda for, uh, this conversation.

  • I think, um, Liz describes the emotional landscape of our lives.

  • I think like no one else.

  • I've I've read and I'm not even her target audience is really extraordinary in during that she given amazing Ted talk 11 years ago.

  • Now perceived your creative genius.

  • That was really it.

  • Really reframed.

  • Have to think of creativity.

  • Been seen like 19 million times or something.

  • That's really changed.

  • How long, people, They're just open to the creative genius coming in from the outside.

  • Um, so it is a delight to welcome to that head connect stage.

  • It is with Gilbert Craze.

  • Great.

  • It's just See you.

  • How are you?

  • Where you are you who you living with or staying with?

  • What's up?

  • I'm fine.

  • I don't want to brag, but I'm in New Jersey, Um, where anybody would want to be.

  • Uh, I'm by myself.

  • I've got a little house out in the country and I think I'm on day 17 of no human contact other than virtually on damn well I'm not anybody who you need to be worrying about right now, So I'm good.

  • Wow.

  • Well, so you're in a way, you're you're having ah, relation experienced.

  • What so many people having I mean, this the days of isolation for many people on brings with it lots of difficult emotions in a way.

  • And we're gonna we're gonna go through many of them.

  • I hope in the next hours, I'm I'm hoping to talk with you about Let's have a journalist here about anxiety, loneliness, curiosity, creativity, procrastination, grief, connection and hope.

  • How about that that's our agenda.

  • You up for that?

  • Well, bef aid just a little light tasting menu of all the massive human emotions.

  • Let's let's do it.

  • Absolutely.

  • I think I think it's probably good toe dive straight in with the anxiety that I know a lot of people are feeling right now.

  • So many reasons to be anxious.

  • But for yourself, your loved ones and just for this time and for the world and how we all get through this Have you been feeling anxiety it Listen, how how do you think of it?

  • What can you say to us?

  • I have been Andi.

  • Think you would have to be either a sociopath or totally enlightened not to be feeling anxiety at a moment like this.

  • So I would say that the the first thing I would want toe encourage everybody to do is to give themselves a measure of mercy and compassion or the difficult emotions that you're feeling right now.

  • They're extremely understandable.

  • I think sometimes our emotions about our emotions become a bigger problem.

  • So if you're feeling frightened and anxious and then you're layering, shame on top of that because you feel like you should be handling it better, or you should be doing your isolation better.

  • Or you should be creating more while you're alone, or you should be serving the world in some better way.

  • Now you're just multiplied the suffering, right?

  • So I think that the antidote for that First of all, it's just a really warm, loving dose of compassion and mercy towards yourself because this is if you're if you're an anxiety, you're a person who is suffering right now, and that deserves a show of mercy.

  • The second thing that I would say about anxiety is this.

  • That here's what I think is the central paradox of the human emotional landscape that I'm finding particularly fascinating right this moment, and it's really come to light for me.

  • So they're these two aspects of humanity that don't match at hence the word paradox.

  • But they really define us, and the first is that there is no species on Earth more anxious than humans.

  • It's a hallmark of our species because we have the ability slash curse.

  • Do you imagine a future?

  • And also, once you've lived on Earth for a little while, you have the experience to recognize this terrifying piece of information, which is that literally anything can happen at literally, any moment to literally any person.

  • And because we have these vast, rich, colorful imaginations, we can see all sorts of terrifying movies in our heads about all of the possibilities and all of the scariest things that could occur.

  • And actually, one of the scariest things that could occur is occurring.

  • It's something that people have imagined in Vic Shin and imagined in science, and it's actually happening right now, so that's quite terrifying.

  • The paradox is that in that level were very bad emotionally at fear and anxiety, because we would stir ourselves up to a very heated degree because of our imaginations, about how horrible can get and it can get very horrible.

  • But we can imagine it even worse.

  • The paradox is that we're also the most capable, resourceful and resilient species that has ever lived on Earth.

  • The history has shown that when change comes to humanity, either on the global level, like it's happening now are on the personal level.

  • We're really good at it, were really good at Adaptation and and I think that if we can remember that, it can help to actually mitigate the fear.

  • And you can remember it in a historical perspective by looking at what humanity has gone through and what we have not only survived but figured out how to thrive through, and you can also look at it personal level.

  • You could make an inventory of what you yourself have survived and notice, as I often notice.

  • My panic and my anxiety about the imagined future is deadly on my nervous system.

  • But I actually have discovered that when there's an actual emergency in the moment, I tend to be pretty good at it.

  • And I think most of us are like that.

  • Um, you'll see that repeated in history and so many examples.

  • I think about the heartbreaking and devastating phone messages that people were leaving for their loved ones from the towers on September 11th.

  • And you can hear the calm, the common people's voices.

  • The biggest emergency ever was happening, and in that moment, intuition told them what to do.

  • The important thing to do now is to make this phone call, and I think if you can trust that when the point of emergency actually arrives, you'll be able to meet it, and then when the world changes, you'll be able to adapt to it.

  • It certainly helps me calm them.

  • I mean, I guess there's a reason why fear is there.

  • You know, I didn't just evolved by accident.

  • It's supposed to direct our behavior and help us avoid danger.

  • Andi.

  • It's just that sometimes it gets out of control and actually gets gets in our way and damages us.

  • I mean any, any specific advice and, like how someone could turn their fear into something useful at this moment, Can I tell you a story that that I'm using as a Touchstone for myself right now?

  • And drying Wonder and and inspiration from though some of you may have heard of a young woman named Amanda Heller.

  • She was in the news recently because she got lost in Hawaii in the wilderness for 17 days, and there was a massive, massive hunt for her because she had left her car.

  • She gone first, simple hike, had left her phone in her car, went off of the woods, took a wrong turn and then had this disastrous 17 days fell off a cliff, broke her leg, walked for 40 miles on a broken knee, lost her shoes in a flash flood.

  • She had to sleep, packed in mud in order to protect yourself from the cold and mosquitoes.

  • She was eating mods.

  • I mean, just harrowing story of survival.

  • I met her recently, and she was so lit and radiant with this kind of serenity and this kind of wonder and joy.

  • And I and I said how you like this, You know, you went through one of the most traumatizing things that a person could go through that well, first of all, if I discovered that I can survive anything going back to this idea of how resourceful and adaptive humans actually are.

  • But the piece of her story that I am just using, like a life, a life raft right now is that she said on her second day in the jungle, when she realized that she was truly and very much in trouble.

  • She'd already spent one night in the woods and she was completely lost.

  • And she's totally alone.

  • And no one knew where she was and she was full of terror.

  • She said she closed her eyes and she grade or asked a request.

  • She made a wish to herself, to consciousness, to the universe.

  • And she said, Please take my fear away and when I opened my eyes have it be gone and have it be gone and have it not come back and you open your eyes And it was gone and it was replaced by intuition.

  • And I think intuition is a little bit the opposite of fear, because fear is the terror that you feel about a frightening, imagined future.

  • Intuition can only happen when you're in the moment.

  • And so from that point forward, she did not experience fear for the rest of the time she was in the woods.

  • He just was guided by some deep intuitive sense, located somewhere between her sternum and her navel.

  • And in every moment she ask it right or left up or down, Eat this, don't eat this and just trust it.

  • Complete absolute surrender to the intuition of the moment.

  • And and she said it hasn't returned.

  • The fear hasn't returned.

  • She still guides for life that way, though, to return to some sense that there's a navigational system within you that will, if you stay present in this actual moment, tell you what to do one moment to the next.

  • Now, if you want to suffer up, out of the moment and imagine a future, and then you can suffer indefinitely eso it is almost almost like a spiritually or meditation practice, and anybody out there who's done any spiritual meditation practices.

  • This is what you were practicing for your practicing for this moment, and those of you who haven't tried that this might be a really interest be centered in the, um wow, that's that's remarkable story.

  • And I guess what I'm hearing is there's two things.

  • It's one just like the the reaching out to the universe there, but But specifically there was a decision to let go off the future.

  • And just to focus on the moment.

  • That's it.

  • Yeah, um, nothing will bring you more pain than in the future, and I see what I'm seeing happening right now.

  • He said this to you the other day.

  • Chris's You know, there's a relatively small percentage of the population who will suffer physically from this disease, and there's a larger percentage you're going to suffer economically from it.

  • But then there's this massive, uncountable number of people who will and our suffering from it emotionally.

  • And right now those people are my concern because they're really in pain and there's millions and millions.

  • So you're living by yourself, Liz and many others.

  • Aaron in that same circumstance right now, Um, I suspect summer feeling like crushing loneliness.

  • Um, but talk, talk about that.

  • Do how do you handle loneliness?

  • And in a situation like this, when it when it's so alien to everything that we as a social species are usually about we crave of the people we crave touch.

  • We crave hugs.

  • We want to be there with people.

  • How?

  • How can we avoid this being a period of crushing loneliness?

  • I don't think you can avoid it, but I think you can walk toward it.

  • And I think that for me, I've deliberately many times in my life, going off into isolation in order to face those things.

  • I've gone on long meditation retreats.

  • I just this year I was in India and I spent 17 days alone with no contact with anybody, which was a weird practice run for what's happening right now.

  • And I see as I see people really losing it and and feeling like they're crawling out of their skin, either from anxiety, fear, boredom, anger, blame, loneliness, depression, all of these things that come up when you are forced to just be in your own presence.

  • I know all of those feelings because as a meditator, I've experienced all of those in stillness.

  • It's the hardest person in the entire world to be with is yourself and so the only way that I learned as a meditator to be able to survive and endure.

  • My whole company was with universal human compassion toward me and to recognize this is a person who's suffering right now from loneliness, and this person needs kindness from self towards so, and it's a very high teaching.

  • But I think that it's a very interesting moment to practice that on dhe, and so what I would, I would suggest to people.

  • And again, this takes a certain amount of resolve, and it takes a certain amount of curiosity about learning more about the human experience.

  • What I'm seeing people do is people are spinning away from that isolation because they're so terrified of it.

  • What happened with the world right now is that basically all of our pacifiers were yanked out of our mouths.

  • Everything that we ever conducive and reach for that can get us out of having to be in the existential crisis of being alone with ourselves was taken away, and I see people rushing to fill it.

  • I mean constant zoom meetings and constant parties online and constant direction, and all of that is lovely.

  • But my from a spiritual psychological standpoint from a creative standpoint, I would say, If you have any curiosity about this, don't be in such a hurry to rush away from an experience that could actually transform your life.

  • I think sometimes the experiences that can transform us the most intimately are the ones that we want to run away.

  • And I think of a story that the Dalai Lama told about one of his teachers, and he's a sort of it.

  • When the Chinese invaded to that and all the monks were running into India for safety, one of his teachers, who was one of the great masters.

  • The last glimpse that the Dalai Lama had of him was that he was walking into China very patiently and very slowly toward it.

  • You know everybody else was running away from it.

  • He was walking toward it.

  • And I think there's a level at which first responders do that and in the real world, in an intimate way, they go into the emergency.

  • They go toward the emergency.

  • All the people who are trying to sell this now and worldly ways are walking toward the emergency.

  • But there's a way that you could do it emotionally as well.

  • And that is to walk with curiosity and with an open mind toward your most difficult and painful emotions without resistance and say, What is it like for a person to feel like they don't have something to do for an hour?

  • Um, how and and you can open up your compassion in that there's so many lessons and compassion that could be found here.

  • How about a general universal mercy that we can all feel toward people who are in solitary confinement?

  • Let's have that be part of the conversation now.

  • You've experienced it for two days in your own house.

  • Maybe it's time to change the prison system.

  • Do you see how hard this is?

  • Or you can have compassion to where people who have lost a loved one in there alone.

  • You can open a by feeling your own feelings.

  • You can open up your feelings more universally toward the world.

  • So I think there's a great opportunity here for growth on the personal level.

  • But you have to have just almost like a whimsical curiosity to be the one walking into China rather than the one away from it.

  • And that's how I'm doing.

  • So let's let's follow up on that word curiosity that you've used a few times.

  • There are a lot of wisdom that I've heard should've thrown around online.

  • Right now, this is a great time to follow your passion and, you know, dive deep into whatever it is you must been wanting to do.

  • I'm in big, big magic.

  • You made an argument that following your passion isn't necessarily the wisest strategy.

  • You you argue that no, don't do that.

  • Follow curiosity.

  • Does that apply?

  • And now make that case.

  • Yeah.

  • You know, I've I've been on a personal crusade to rid the world of the word passion because I feel like as an instruction for people on how they should be living, because I know that in my case, it brings me nothing but anxiety purposes, another one that has become a cudgel, that we used to bludgeon ourselves into thinking that we're not doing enough for that.

  • We're not doing life writer that you're supposed to be more useful.

  • You're supposed to be changing.

  • The world is supposed to be uncovering some particular talent that only you have and with it your simplistic and transform everybody and monetize it.

  • No pressure, you know, I start to get hives, even repeating that.

  • But that's the cultural.

  • That's what we've been taught.

  • You know, that's what we've been taught is that purpose and passion are everything.

  • I would like to replace it with a far gentler word.

  • And I think curiosity is very gentle because the stakes are so much lower.

  • The stakes of passion say you have to shave your head and move to India and, you know, get rid of all your positions and start a startup like what?

  • It's so.

  • It's so intense.

  • But curiosity is a very simple, universal experience that causes you to want to look at something just a tiny bit closer, and you don't have to change a life around it.

  • You just look on dhe.

  • It might be taking weekend to try something new for a little while.

  • It za mild.

  • It's almost so easily missed.

  • And I think so many times we're looking way up at the sky for the sign from God about our passion, and our purpose is supposed to be in.

  • Meanwhile, there's this lovely little bread trail, crowns of bread, crumbs of curiosity that if you couldn't slow down and again, this is about not rushing out of the experience of being silent.

  • Still in alone, you can slow down, you might be able to see them.

  • But if I could say one thing that I'm noticing is an obstacle right now, because I think a lot of people thought, Oh, isolation, Great.

  • This is the perfect time for me to learn Italian and take that calligraphy classes start writing that novel and they find that they're actually okay in a paralysis of things idea.

  • And they're not creating anything or doing anything.

  • Um, first of all again, like a blanket of mercy on you, these are hard times, and it might take you a minute in your nervous system and in your mind to adjust to the new reality.

  • But the second thing I would say is that when people are saying they're having troubled with their creativity because they're in isolation, I might daringly suggest that perhaps you're not enough isolation.

  • And by that I mean, are you monitoring how much external