What I once thought was a severed friendship was restored with tears, hugs, acknowledgement and words of affection at Denver’s Paramount Theater on Wednesday, May 4, 2022, featuring The New York Times best-selling author, Elizabeth Gilbert, best known for her memoir, Eat, Pray, Love.
It all started at the welcome reception hosted by the Lotus Network, an organization grounded in the belief that”It’s never too late to rediscover your potential by creating a safe place for women of all ages to learn, connect, grow and share.” Co-founder Lisa Cook welcomed us with genuine excitement that we were there on behalf of YOGA + Life® Magazines, as she smiled ear to ear sharing that her mother and daughters were also at the event — generations of women living the journey that it’s never too late.
When Cook walked away from the table, I was there standing next to this fragile friendship alongside new and old friends. We haven’t spoken or seen each other in months, as we locked eyes, we had this unspoken understanding that it is never too late for us to forgive and renew our friendship that we missed so dearly.
Gilbert lit up the room with warmth and humor as she graced the stage saying, “This is the first time in over two and half years that I am not wearing pajamas for an event.” She was introduced as one of the most celebrated authors and speakers of our time to a sea of wide-eyed and open-hearted women and “a few a good men,” by her friend and ordained Lutheran Pastor, founder of House for All Sinners & Saints in Denver, Nadia Bolz-Weber.
Gilbert immediately captivated the audience with her intimate energy, powerful presence and seamless delivery. She engages in a way that truly makes you feel like you are in the living room listening to stories of her early days in NYC becoming a writer, receiving tough love from her mentor that changed the course of her life and losing the number one person she loved the most on the planet. Her spirit of humility on how she talks about the addiction to striving, controlling, hustling, to finding herself on her knees, bowed down on the bathroom floor as her beloved was slipping away from her once tight grip, hearing the inner whisper of her friend Richard from Texas who she met at the Ashram in India (Read the “Pray” part to get know more about Richard from Eat, Pray, Love), “that everything is gonna be alright.” But how? chuckling mid-sentence, asked Liz, I have no ideas, good night.
Laughter fills in the air as the audience leans in wanting more.
“You know, there are a lot of words I’d use to describe women:
Go Getter, etc. …
Because if you are a woman you have to be those things, you don’t have a choice, but the word we don’t ever use to describe women or ever hear people say, is RELAXED.”
Of course, like most of us, Gilbert goes to Google to search for relaxed images of women and what pops up are thin white women, getting hot stone massages. “Now, that is problematic,” exclaimed Gilbert. She shared further, stating she wants to start a revolution because she is reminded that the most relaxed person in the room holds the most power.
When Bolz-Weber asked her friend, Gilbert, who sold 12 million copies of Eat, Pray, Love in 30 languages and was made into a feature film to star Julia Roberts on the big screen, what her greatest accomplishment in life is, Liz replied, “Befriending my mind. I ask myself what if I got more curious than afraid?”
This made me pause and think about the friendship that I missed. What if we made peace? What if we cleared the air? What if we acknowledged our disappointments and were more curious than being afraid, jealous, rejected and not accepted?
Gilbert wrapped up the evening like a present we were thrilled to open. She shared three gifts that guide her to live in a relaxed state:
- Priorities (Be realistic and don’t over commit beyond your capacity.)
- Boundaries (Honor your yes and your no.)
- Mysticism (Get quiet and step into silence.)
She starts her day writing in her journal and was very clear to all the writers in the room that journaling is different from your writing time. You could feel the exhale of relief when she elaborated and said, “Just write when you can, I don’t write every day. Journaling is a time of surrender and connection and I ask the God of my understanding, ‘What would you have me do today?’ instead of the ‘Why me?’ questions. I treat myself like I would if I brought home an abused puppy, because I am like one.”
She giggles, but with all seriousness says, “My inner voice is a lot friendlier. I really love hanging out with Liz. I believe in a loving Intelligence who made me, loves me. Even if your parents didn’t want you here, something wanted you here, that I trust and promise. Be safe and be happy, good night.”
Drop the mic, Gilbert. What an inspiring evening that is rippling through the hearts of many. If you were not one of the thousands of people at the Paramount that night in Denver getting to know Liz Gilbert and have an opportunity to read her work or attend an event, you will be filled with nourishing words that will feed your soul.
As far as the once severed friendship, here is the afterglow from the Liz show, it is never too late.
The Afterglow from The Liz Show
Amy Baker, Rachel Glowacki, Margaret Furniss, Jessica Rueger
Amy: “I am most relaxed when I am in the presence of women who make me feel like I belong, who accept the whole of me, the quirks, viewpoints and interests. This evening connected me with those women and left me wanting to create more of these moments in my life.”
Margaret: “There is nothing quite as restorative and energizing to me as spending time with strong female friends; the way we hold space for each other without judgment, laugh together, to just let loose and RELAX.”
Jessica: “I was inspired by the ease of Liz’s presence, how she verbally and visibly demonstrated what being a relaxed woman looks and feels like.”
Featured photo by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders.