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Elizabeth Gilbert

  • 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.

  • ... I am the planet's most affectionate life-form (something like a cross between a golden retriever and a barnacle) ...

  • ... I understand that an unexamined life is not worth living, but do you think I could someday have an unexamined lunch?

  • As smoking is to the lungs, so is resentment to the soul; even one puff of it is bad for you.

  • This is what rituals are for. We do spiritual ceremonies as human beings in order to create a safe resting place for our most complicated feelings of joy or trauma, so that we don't have to haul those feelings around with us forever, weighing us down.

  • Nobody's really paying that much attention to your massive personal dramas.

    • Elizabeth Gilbert,
    • in Oprah Winfrey, O's Guide to Life ()
  • I feel like all this stuff that we make: books and art and music, all of it. There's this energy that circles the world that wants to be made manifest, and it is just looking for someone to come through. And it's dying for you to make it. And if you don't do it, it will go find somebody else.

    • Elizabeth Gilbert,
    • interview ()
  • ... we have these extraordinary minds and souls ... because there is a supreme intelligence in the universe, which wishes for communion with us. This supreme intelligence longs to be known. It calls out to us. It draws us close to its mystery, and grants us these remarkable minds, in order that we try to reach for it. It wants us to find it. It wants union with us, more than anything.

  • I would like to spend the rest of my days in a place so silent – and working at a pace so slow – that I would be able to hear myself living.

  • You can butcher the sheep only once. But if you are careful, you can shear the sheep every year.

  • Everything was a miracle until we solved it. ... the first man who ever saw a flying fish probably thought he was witnessing a miracle — and the first man who ever described a flying fish was doubtless called a liar.

  • Moss is inconceivably strong. Moss eats stone; scarcely anything, in return, eats moss. Moss dines upon boulders, slowly but devastatingly, in a meal that lasts for centuries. Given enough time, a colony of moss can turn a cliff into gravel, and turn that gravel into topsoil.

  • Moss grows where nothing else can grow. It grows on bricks. It grows on tree bark and roofing slate. It grows in the Arctic Circle and in the balmiest tropics; it also grows on the fur of sloths, on the backs of snails, on decaying human bones. ... It is a resurrection engine. A single clump of mosses can lie dormant and dry for forty years at a stretch, and then vault back again into life with a mere soaking of water.

  • Everybody in my family is a talented storyteller. We can't play team sports, we have a tiny little problem with drinking, and we're all pretty dysfunctional about money — but man oh man, can we tell a good story.

    • Elizabeth Gilbert,
    • "Speak Memories," in O: The Oprah Magazine ()

Elizabeth Gilbert, U.S. writer

(1969)