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Elizabeth Gilbert Quotes

56 of the best book quotes from Elizabeth Gilbert
  1. #1
    “I am burdened with what the Buddhists call the ‘monkey mind’ — the thoughts that swing from limb to limb, stopping only to scratch themselves, spit and howl.”
  2. #2
    “Stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone ought to be.”
  3. #3
    “If you clear out all of that space in your mind you would have a door way.”
  4. #4
    “God never slams a door in your face without opening a box of Girl Scout cookies…”
  5. #5
    “As smoking is to the lungs, so is resentment to the soul; even one puff is bad for you.”
  6. #6
    “I wondered, ‘Why have I been chasing happiness my whole life when bliss was here the entire time?‘”
  7. #7
    Without a doubt, you were lucky to be raised here. But you never got to move here—and for that, I am sorry for you. You missed one of life’s great experiences. New York City in 1940! There will never be another New York like that one. I’m not defaming all the New Yorks that came before 1940, or all the New Yorks that came after 1940. They all have their importance. But this is a city that gets born anew in the fresh eyes of every young person who arrives here for the first time. So that city, that place—newly created for my eyes only—will never exist again. It is preserved forever in my memory like an orchid trapped in a paperweight. That city will always be my perfect New York.”
  8. #8
    “Imagine that the universe is a great spinning engine. You want to stay near the core of the thing – right in the hub of the wheel – not out at the edges where all the wild whirling takes place, where you can get frayed and crazy. The hub of calmness – that’s your heart. That’s where God lives within you. So stop looking for answers in the world. Just keep coming back to that center and you’ll always find peace.”
  9. #9
    “In my experience, this is the hardest lesson of them all. After a certain age, we are all walking around this world in bodies made of secrets and shame and sorrow and old, unhealed injuries. Our hearts grow sore and misshapen around all this pain - yet somehow, still, we carry on.”
  10. #10
    “This is a good sign, having a broken heart. It means we have tried for something.”
  11. #11
    “We search for happiness everywhere, but we are like Tolstoy’s fabled beggar who spent his life sitting on a pot of gold, under him the whole time. Your treasure–your perfection–is within you already. But to claim it, you must leave the buy commotion of the mind and abandon the desires of the ego and enter into the silence of the heart.”
  1. #12
    “Om Namah Shivaya, meaning, I honor the divinity that resides within me.”
  2. #13
    “People always fall in love with the most perfect aspects of each other’s personalities. Who wouldn’t? Anybody can love the most wonderful parts of another person. But that’s not the clever trick. The really clever trick is this: Can you accept the flaws? Can you look at your partner’s faults honestly and say, ‘I can work around that. I can make something out of it.’? Because the good stuff is always going to be there, and it’s always going to pretty and sparkly, but the crap underneath can ruin you.”
  3. #14
    “In desperate love, we always invent the characters of our partners, demanding they be what we need of them, and then feeling devastated when they refuse to perform the role we created in the first place.”
  4. #15
    “I have a history of making decisions very quickly about men. I have always fallen in love fast and without measuring risks. I have a tendency not only to see the best in everyone, but to assume that everyone is emotionally capable of reaching his highest potential. I have fallen in love more times than I care to count with the highest potential of a man, rather than with the man himself, and I have hung on to the relationship for a long time (sometimes far too long) waiting for the man to ascend to his own greatness. Many times in romance I have been a victim of my own optimism.”
  5. #16
    “At some point in a woman’s life, she just gets tired of being ashamed all the time. After that, she is free to become whoever she truly is.”
  6. #17
    “We call it ‘dolce far niente’, the sweetness of doing nothing.”
  7. #18
    “Do not apologize for crying. Without this emotion, we are only robots.”
  8. #19
    “You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That’s the only thing you should be trying to control.”
  9. #20
    “The more exquisitely and delightfully you can do nothing, the higher your life’s achievement.”
  10. #21
    “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 attainment.”
  11. #22
    “But if you can plant yourself in stillness long enough, you will, in time, experience the truth that everything (both uncomfortable and lovely) does eventually pass.”
  1. #23
    “To find the balance you want, this is what you must become. You must keep your feet grounded so firmly on the earth that it’s like you have 4 legs instead of 2. That way, you can stay in the world. But you must stop looking at the world through your head. You must look through your heart, instead. That way, you will know God.”
  2. #24
    “You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestation of your own blessings.”
  3. #25
    “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.”
  4. #26
    “Love is like that is a deep well with steep sides. Once you fall in, that’s it. You will love that person always.”
  5. #27
    “I found that eating alone by the window in a quiet restaurant is one of life’s greatest secret pleasures.”
  6. #28
    “When I was younger, I had wanted to be at the very center of all the action in New York, but I slowly came to realize that there is no one center. The center is everywhere - wherever people are living out their lives. It’s a city with a million centers.”
  7. #29
    “Not many people know how to be satisfied.”
  8. #30
    But to become an adult, one must step into the field of honor. Everything will be expected of you now. You will need to be vigilant in your principles. Sacrifices will be demanded. You will be judged. If you make mistakes, you must account for them. There will be instances when you must cast aside your impulses and take a higher stance than another person - a person without honor - might take. Such an instance may hurt, but that’s why honor is a painful field.”
  9. #31
    “If you’re a coward--and let’s just say that you are, for the sake of argument--it means nothing. My Aunt Peg, she’s an alcoholic. She can’t handle drinking. It ruins her life and turns her into a mess--and do you know what that means? It means nothing. Do you think it makes her a bad person? Of course not--it’s just the way she is. Alcoholism just happened to her, Frank. Things happen to people. We are the way we are--there’s nothing to be done for it. My Uncle Billy--he couldn’t keep a promise or stay faithful to a woman. It meant nothing. He was a wonderful person, Frank, and he was completely untrustworthy. It’s just how he was. It didn’t mean anything. We all still loved him.”
  10. #32
    “When women are gathered together with no men around, they don’t have to be anything in particular; they can just be.”
  11. #33
    “You must learn in life to take things more lightly, my dear. The world is always changing. Learn how to allow for it.”
  1. #34
    “Never has it felt more important for me to tell stories of joy and abandon, passion and recklessness. Life is short and difficult, people. We must take our pleasures where we can find them. Let us not become so cautious that we forget to live.”
  2. #35
    “A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave.”
  3. #36
    “People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.
  4. #37
    “To lose balance sometimes for love is part of living a balanced life.”
  5. #38
    “Whenever you are faced with the prospect of purchasing gloves, you must ask yourself if you would be bereft to lose one of them in the back of a taxicab. If not, then don’t buy them. You should only buy gloves so beautiful that to lose one of them would break your heart.”
  6. #39
    “She was of the mind that people should make their own decisions about their own lives, if you can image such a preposterous thing.”
  7. #40
    “Lucky is the soul whose only troubles are self-inflicted.”
  8. #41
    “Yet I can tell you that there was a lonely and untenanted corner of my heart that I’d never known was there—and Frank moved right into it. Holding him in my heart made me feel like I belonged to love itself.”
  9. #42
    “Sometimes it’s just true that other people have better ideas for your life than you do.”
  10. #43
    “Resist change at your own peril, Vivian. When something ends, let it end.”
  11. #44
    “Everyone should leave the table feeling as if they’ve gotten a bad deal,” my father once taught me joylessly. “This way, you may rest assured that nobody was taken for a ride, and that nobody can get too far ahead.”
  1. #45
    “I always hated hearing old people yammering on like this when I was young. And I do what to assure you: I’m aware that many thing were not better in the 1940s. Underarm deodorants and air-conditioning were woefully inadequate, for instance, so everybody stank like crazy, especially in the summer, and also we had Hitler.”
  2. #46
    “The world just happens to you sometimes, is what I think. And people just gotta keep moving through it, best they can.”
  3. #47
    “After a certain age, time just drizzles down upon your head like rain in the month of March: you’re always surprised at how much of it can accumulate, and how fast.”
  4. #48
    “Having a baby is like having a tattoo on your face. You kind of want to be committed.”
  5. #49
    “We don’t realize that, somewhere within us all, there does exist a supreme self who is eternally at peace.”
  6. #50
    “Those girls are on the road to trouble,” I heard an older woman say about us one night, as we were staggering down the street drunk—and that woman was absolutely right. What she didn’t understand, though, is that trouble is what we wanted. Oh, our youthful needs! Oh, the deliciously blinding yearnings of the young—which inevitably take us right to the edges of cliffs, or trap us in cul-de-sacs of our design.”
  7. #51
    “Nothing will uproot your life more violently than true love—at least as far as I’ve always witnessed.”
  8. #52
    “When the karma of a relationship is done, only love remains. It’s safe. Let go.”
  9. #53
    “There is a reason they call God a presence – because God is right here, right now. In the present is the only place to find Him, and now is the only time.”
  10. #54
    “We must take care of our families, wherever we find them.”
  11. #55
    “I fell in love with him, and it made no sense for me to fall in love with him. We could not possibly have been more different. But maybe that’s where love grows best—in the deep space that exists between polarities.”
  12. #56
    “When I get lonely these days, I think: So BE lonely, Liz. Learn your way around loneliness. Make a map of it. Sit with it, for once in your life. Welcome to the human experience. But never again use another person’s body or emotions as a scratching post for your own unfulfilled yearnings.”
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