Grief is Bigger Than You

Discover Elizabeth Gilbert's profound wisdom on navigating grief's landscape with humility in The Ted Interview. Explore her insights and learn to embrace healing.

Grief is Bigger Than You
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Elizabeth Gilbert is an American author whose works abound with wit and wisdom on the human condition. She gained international fame from her book, "Eat, Pray, Love," about her journey of self-discovery in Italy, India, and Indonesia. Here she explores her grief after the loss of her partner, Rayya Elias, to cancer in 2018.
For Gilbert, grief is both the landscape and the guide. You surrender to being moved through "grief by grief itself." And surrender you must. To "stiffen, to resist, and to fight it is to hurt yourself." Grief arrives with tremendous force and will carve you out on its own itinerary. "Hit your knees in absolute humility and you let it rock you...when it is done, it will leave."
It [Grief] happens upon you, it’s bigger than you. There is a humility that you have to step into, where you surrender to being moved through the landscape of grief by grief itself.
And it has its own timeframe, it has its own itinerary with you, it has its own power over you, and it will come when it comes. And when it comes, it’s a bow-down. It’s a carve-out.
And it comes when it wants to, and it carves you out — it comes in the middle of the night, comes in the middle of the day, comes in the middle of a meeting, comes in the middle of a meal.
It arrives — it’s this tremendously forceful arrival and it cannot be resisted without you suffering more. The posture that you take is you hit your knees in absolute humility and you let it rock you until it is done with you.
And it will be done with you, eventually. And when it is done, it will leave. But to stiffen, to resist, and to fight it is to hurt yourself.

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