Transcribe your podcast

Pod squad, there's something we need to ask you to do today that would mean so much to us. And that is take 30 seconds to make sure you're following the show. This weird thing happened with Apple updates, and it's kicked a lot of people out of the pause squad. They've been paused. And so we need you to make sure you're not paused.


I was. I mean, I was paused out of my own.


Pod squad. I know you are. God.


So to check to see if this happened to you, Apple listeners, listen up. Open your podcast app, search, We can do hard things, and select the show page. In the top right corner, you may see a pause symbol. Tap the pause symbol to resume, please. If you see a download symbol, you can go to the settings and automatically download episodes. And if you see a plus symbol, please tap to follow the show.


So if you do this, the new episodes just come up in your feed. And this is really helpful to you because you never missed an episode. It's also really helpful to us. It actually matters to us. When you listen to the pod, it makes a big difference. So thank you so much. Go to We Can Do Hard Things show page on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Odyssey, or wherever you listen to podcasts and tap the plus sign in the upper right-hand corner or click on Follow. You know what?


Tell your friends. Maybe send them a link to your favorite episode or to the show. We love you. We appreciate you so much, pod squad.


We really do. Thank you, pod squad.


Un pause. Un pause us. I'm back.


We're adventurers in Hardthings on Mac.


Welcome back to We Can Do Hard Things. During this episode, we're talking to our bestie. Our bestie is back, and her name is Elizabeth Gilbert.


It's Lizzy Day. Happy Lizzy Day to everyone.


Happy, Lizeration. Yes, that's great, Cissy. No. Happy, Lizzy Day to all who celebrate. Elizabeth Gilbert is author of the international bestseller, Eat, Pray, Love, which has been translated into over 30 languages and sold over 12 million copies. The book became so popular that Time magazine named Elizabeth Gilbert as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. I feel like to me she's definitely one of the most five influential people in my world. In 2010, Elizabeth published a follow up to Eat, Pray, Love called Committed, as well as Big Magic, Creative Living Beyond Fear. She is the author of three novels, Stern Men, The Signature of All Things and City of Girls. Elizabeth is the creator of the onward book club, Spotlighting, Studying, and celebrating the work of Black women authors. You can also find her on Substack and subscribe to her newsletter, Letters from Love, which we'll be talking about today with Elizabeth Gilbert. Returning after a year and a half, if you haven't listened to our original episodes, go back and listen to episodes 94 and 95 is the one and only Elizabeth Gilbert. Yes. Where are you? What is.


Happening here? I'm in.


The Devil's waiting room is what it feels like here. I'm renting an Airbnb in a building in San Jose, Costa Rica, and they have a party room that's completely lined with red carpet that I thought I would rent for me and us for this party we're about to have. I'm just going to show you what we're dealing.


With here.


It's all for us. Just this party room.


You guys, it's a red. Hi, guys. It's like a red velvet. It's like you're in a womb. You're in a womb room.


Or I'm in an anti chamber of my heart that also happens to have wall to wall carpeting like my actual heart. Yes.


We all miss you.


How are you? I miss you. I love you.


Look at your fucking head.


Hi, guys. Hi, Amanda.


You're beautiful. Hi, Abby. Okay, I really wish you guys could just.


Feel this.


It's like I have my own puppy. It's like I have my own puppy.


So pod squad, what we're talking about right now is she just comes on. Liz comes on. We haven't seen her for a couple of months. You came and stayed at our house for a while, and we got to experience the letters from love, I-R-L.




We haven't seen you since then. Now you're in a red velvet room and your head is shaved and you look like a love monk right now. A love monk is right. You look like a love monk, okay?


That's right. I have never felt more like myself probably than in this exact moment. It's like, Of course, this is the haircut I should have always had. I've been dreaming about doing this for years. I actually really almost did it when Ray had died. It felt like I had to. I remember taking her clippers because she was a hairdresser and standing in front of the mirror and I was like, I don't even know how to do this, but I'm just going to do this because it feels like it must be done. Then I heard her voice as clear as day say, Oh, babe, no. Just go get a good short haircut and pay somebody some money toI'm like, don't do that. You're going to regret that. Don't do that. But I did it finally, and I love it.


Oh, it's so beautiful.


Do you pet yourself all the day? Yes. I shaved my head in college, and that's what I just was like always.


I can't keep my hands off it.


You have your own puppy. It's like you can be your own.


Comfort source.


Exactly. I'm my own teddy bear. It's just incredible. I love it. I wish I had done it a long, long time ago. I'm traveling right now and just jumping in and out of oceans and jumping in and out of rivers and jumping in and out of swimming pools and taking a shower and rubbing a bar of soap on my head and jumping out two seconds later. Done. Perfect. Ready for everything.


It's so good. When you texted me the little video of you doing it, you kept saying, I did it myself. I did it myself. I did this myself. Can you talk about the epiphany of that?


Yes, because my hair has been a problem. Many people listening to this probably have a similar experience that their hair was identified at a very early age by some parental or authoritative figure as problematic. Then enormous resources have been poured into deproblemizing this hair. A lot of suffering and a lot of pain and a lot of longing and a lot of like, What do I have to do to make it look completely different from what it actually is? The hair that you have all seen me with over the years is not what my hair looks like. My hair is dark and frizzy and curly and it is not shiny and blonde and platinum and straight. It costs me a fortune to make it look like what it isn't, and it costs me an enormous amount of time. I love the people who I go see to do all this stuff, but the idea that I could not have to have someone tend to my hair as if I was 18th century nobility and you have to have servants who put your clothes on for you because you can't, who dress your hair because you can't.


I don't need to have staff anymore to tend to my fucking head.


So good. And it's so big from a world perspective. You're like, I'm ready. I'm already ready. It's like cosmic when you think about like, no, in this moment, I'm ready.


Let's go. Oh, my God. I woke up like this. I literally woke up like this. It's incredible. Then I was in a meeting recently and I looked around the room and this is in New York City in the West Village, so one of the most liberal enclaves on Earth. There are 40 people in the room and all the men had short hair and every single one of the women had expensive looking, longer hair. I was calculating the amount of money and I was like, Why are we still doing this? I don't understand why this is still that in everything that we've put aside and rejected it, why am I still buying into this story that if you're a woman, your hair has to be long if a man, your hair has to be short? It's so stupid. It doesn't even make sense. It's so arbitrary. I was like, These dudes just got to get out of the shower, get dressed, and come here. I feel like that's male privilege that I'm now claiming.


For myself. Yes, yes. Amen. Do you feel.


Scared at all? Does it feel scary? Because I always think-.


Do you.


Feel scared? No, I feel unscared when I have a bunch of shit hair over my face. It feels like a shield of some sort or like a blankie, like a security blankie. It just feels so brave to just be like, Hello, this is my face with no frame.


My whole entire face. Yeah, I've heard a lot of women say that since they saw this that they're like, It's so brave you're letting yourself be seen. I think, Oh, right, there's not this thicket that I can hide behind and peek out from. But I never really had a thicket, which was part of the problem. I really wanted a.


Thicket, but I never really had one. You had a thinket, a finet. I had a thinket.




Did you think you did?


I had more like a few strands of Q-tips that I was trying to hide behind, but like... Yeah, I don't want to be seen wound. I have a lot of wounds, but I don't have that one. Abby, I think you and I have this in common. I'm not at all afraid to be seen. That's not frightening for me. But what was frightening for me was this crazy idea I had for years where I was like, I really want to do this, but I'm a public figure who's seen as a certain way, who gets paid to go speak at corporate events and who has this image that people are accustomed to. I really must look like my author photos. Just a few weeks ago, I was like, That is so stupid. If I can't do this, who can do this? I'm self-employed. I'm an artist.


Somebody has to do this. Then I read this article in The New York Times about all these young Chinese women who are shaving their heads. Did you read about this? No. It's like this mass movement that's happening in China right now of all these young women in their 20s, including some people who were beauty influencers on Chinese social media who are like, We're done with all of your standards of what we're supposed to look like, and they're all buzzcutting their hair. Of course, they look amazing. I think I was afraid I was going to look like a withered old man, but I don't think I look like you. I think it looks really beautiful and I like it better than I think I've ever looked and I feel more like myself than I think I've ever felt.


I just have some follow-up questions. Do you have any cow licks or weird things that happened that you weren't really totally aware of?


Yes, I do. I've had to learn how to shave it in circles because it grows in circles. But basically, it's pretty straightforward and it takes five minutes. I do it like every five or six days, and it feels like so cleansing to do it. Religious Renuncians have always done this. Partially it's just because like, You don't want to be dealing with this like your whole life is about something else. Your whole life is about your devotion to something else. That feels accurate too.


To me. Have you been more misgendered since shaving your head?


I haven't walked around the United States with it yet, but I've been walking around Central America with it, which is in many ways more conservative. I'm with a friend of mine who she's like, I don't see you getting any fewer or more looks than ever. I don't feel that either, which makes me think maybe it just looks right to other people, too. It does. Maybe it's not just me who feels like this is what I'm supposed to look like. Maybe it's people who've never seen me who are like, Yeah, that's what that person looks like.


That's so cool.


It's so cool. So cool. Like I asked you on text, though, the problem is what will you do with all of the hours that you're not just thinking about your hair being annoying or when you're going to get a hairdresser? And also what will you do with all your money and your drawers with all the magic potions? It'll just be hard.


Oh, my God. All this stuff.


You don't need all this.


Shit anymore.


The bags of shit. I don't have to travel with anything, Amanda, except the clippers.


I would be embarrassed for the world to know how much of ours I think about my hair. When they had that thing that was like, What's your Roman Empire? It's my head. It's my hair, my own hair. The exterior of my head. Yeah, the exterior. No, and it's not hair in general. It's not like as a study. It's not your hair. It's just my own hair all day, every day.


Well, you have magnificent hair.


Oh, well, thank you.


Thank you. And I'm sure you just woke up with it.


It did. And over time, it's just like that. Over time, it's only cost me $17 million.


Can you imagine the amount of money and time?




But I also really love the people who have done my hair over the years, and I'm delighted that they have a living. And Raya was a hairdresser. I know. She made me feel that way. I know. It's not like I want to take away the livings of people who do this, but I think this might be it. This feels really good.


Is there a connection between... Because you said, really, when you came to stay with us, when was it? What month?


It was maybe two months ago?


A time before now. But relatively recently, every time we spend time together, you're teaching me something just by what you're doing. You're not trying to teach me because then I wouldn't listen.




You're just being yourself. I feel like for me, you're one of my dearest friends in the world and someone that every time you're doing something, I'm like, Huh, that feels like something I'll probably be doing in five years. I'm going to really enjoy my hair now. Out.




Would look awesome with a shaved head.


You would look awesome and you would feel like a God.


So what started this practice? I'm going to call it a spiritual practice, and then you tell us what you call it, where you began waking up in the morning and saying to God, your deepest self saying, Love, what would you have me know today? You call them two-way prayers. Because I remember when you were trying to get me to understand that I could have a higher power early in 12 steps. And I would just say, Liz, I can't fucking do this. I cannot surrender to this higher power that is this he. And you would say you can create a higher power of your own understanding, and you can surrender to that. Is that the being you're talking to when you say love? What would you have me know today? And can you just take the pod squad through this spiritual practice that really is changing people's lives?




Would bring me more joy. I am so happy to be here. I don't even think I said hello to you guys because I just jumped into talking about shaved heads and carpeted ceilings. But hi, I love you all. Hi, Amanda. Hi, Abbey. Hi, Glenn. It's so good to see you. Thank you for letting me talk about the thing that is my most favorite thing to talk about and to think about and to be with. I'll start at the beginning, which my first encounter with this force. When I was going through my first divorce and my collapse from an absolutely love-addicted infatuation with the guy I left my marriage for where we flew very close to the sun and then crashed and almost died because it was that love story. I was just wrecked and shamed and full of despair and felt so much shame. It was mostly shame, just so much shame and so lost. I wrote about this and eat, pray, love. This was like 25 years ago. I woke up in the middle of the night. When I look back on it now, I just think, man, I didn't have any tools for what I was going through.


I was just going through it raw. But it was the going through it rawly that started to collect me my tools. But I don't know. I can't remember the moment of inspiration that caused me to take a notebook in the middle of the night and to just write a letter to myself. Self saying the things that I have always wanted to hear somebody say to me. They were really simple. Essentially, what love said to me was, I'm right here. There was this presence that said to me, I am right here. I have always been right here. There is nothing that you can do to lose me. There is nothing you can fail at so much that it will cost you my love. You can't earn my love. You can't lose my love. It is innate. It's yours. I am never going to leave you. I was here at the moment of your birth. I'll be here at the moment of your death. Whatever you need to do, I'll be with you. Because I remember that night I was struggling with whether I needed to go back on antidepressants. This voice was like, If you need to go back on antidepressants, I will be there with you loving you through that.


If you don't need to, I will be there loving you through that. There's nothing you need to change about yourself to be more or less loved than you are. I've got you and I'll stay up with you all night. If you need to stay up all night crying, I'll be with you. I'm right here with you. If you fall asleep, I'll be here when you wake up. Nobody had ever said anything like that to me. Although I'd been trying to train and trick people into saying that with medium levels of... If they did say it to me, it didn't end up working anyway because it wasn't supposed to be coming from them. It wasn't supposed to be coming.


From them.


No matter how many games I played to extract that from them. I started doing it as a practice, and I didn't even know really what to call that thing that was speaking to me. I didn't really feel very comfortable with the term God, unlike you guys. I was not raised in a high demand religion, so I hadn't had something forced on me about spirituality that was so aggressive and domineering that it made me want to recoil from it, but I hadn't really had anything. In a way, that's easier because I was building my own ideas. But over the years, I just kept reaching out to it. Then I just started calling it love. It's what it is. It's this unconditional, loving voice. I have a tattoo on my chest that says, I'm right here because that is the thing it says most more than anything. There are a few things that it constantly says. One is I'm right here. The other is You can't lose me. The other is You haven't done anything wrong because I'm such a guilt addict and I'm such a shame addict. It's constantly telling me like, You really haven't done anything.


Wrong and.


You don't need to do anything. It's okay if you can't do anything, which is very different from what I was raised as. It's like you must constantly be perfect and you must never make a mistake. Mistakes are totally unforgivable and any lapse is an emergency and a catastrophe. Fix it, shape it up, zip it up and love is like, I don't need your zipped-up self. I don't need anything from you. It's another thing I often says, I don't need anything from you. I remember when I was first beginning this relationship with this thing, I would sometimes say to it, I don't believe in you. It would say, I have no.


Problem with that.


I have no requirement for you to believe in me. I would say that you're not even real. Then it would say, well, then who.


Are you talking to? I've had that experience too. Who are you.


Talking to right now? Who are you up in the middle of the night having a conversation with? Like, I don't know, you're not even real. I didn't do it daily. I used to use it. It was real foxhole stuff. It was like when I was in real crisis, I would reach for it. It got me through Raya's death and Raya's relapse into drug addiction. It got me through two divorces. It got me through multiple shame and episodes and multiple breakups and failures and my own addiction. It's really been true to its word that it's never not going to be there. It's never not been wise. There's never been anything that has ever told me that wasn't wise. Like if I go back and open up journals from 10, 20 years ago, it's right on point. Lots of times I would go to it when I was frantic about something that was happening and I really wanted to know how that thing was going to end and what was going to happen. This is where love is a wise-ass to me, which I enjoy because of course it would have to be if it was mine.


I would say things like, I need to know how this is going to end. I need to know when this divorce is going to be over. I need to know what's going to happen. Love would say to me, That's not my department. I don't have actually any information about the future. I don't. It's not my department. I would say, Well, then what are you? It would say, I am love. I'm here. What I can assure you is that I'm here to love you through whatever happens. That's all I've got for you. I would say, That's not good enough. It would say, I understand why you would feel like that wasn't good enough, and yet I am here. I remember saying to it one time, Well, what is your role then? If you can't fix anything, you can't change anything, you can't predict anything, you can't undo horrible things that are happening. It says my role is to be present and comfort with you in your darkest hours. That is what I'm here for. That is what I will always be here for. When I entered 12-step recovery, I discovered that there's this thing that people in 12-step recovery have been doing forever that's called two-way prayer.


That Bill W, who was the original founder of AA said that it was the single most important practice that a recovering addict could have, that it was more important than having a sponsor. It was more important than doing the steps. It was more important than going to meetings. It didn't make it into the big book. What the hell. Because as much as people have issue with the big book as being too religious, they were actually trying to make it less religious because they didn't want to scare away agnostics and atheists. This is a mystical practice. They didn't want to put this mystical practice in here that says you can actually directly speak to your higher power and it will speak back to you. They're like, people aren't going to be able to handle this. They just left that out.




Bill W did it every single day of his life. And the original 100 who never relapsed of the first 100 AAs did it. It was like their foremost practice was this two-way direct communion. Bill W said it's so important to do this because it's more important than reading spiritual texts because any spiritual text that you read is somebody else's download experience, not yours.


Yes, somebody else's two-way prayer.


It's somebody else's two-way prayer that then became the Psalms or then became this divine revelation. But you get to have your own. And in fact, you have to have your own. And as I said to you, Glennon, when you were struggling with doing this, nobody, I always say this to my sponsores in 12 steps, nobody will or should surrender to a God who is forced upon them because that is coercion and that is not spiritual surrender. But I run my life now on these letters. I am... That is no exaggeration. Every single morning when I wake up, I say to this force, which I sometimes call God and sometimes call love and sometimes call source, What do you want me to know today? What would you have me know today? And for the first 20 years, all it told me again and again was I love you so much because I needed 20 years of that. I was so wounded from lack of love. It didn't matter how many people loved me. Millions of people could love me. It wasn't digesting. I didn't have the enzymes to be able to receive love. This thing had to just be like, You're perfect.


You're my child. I love you. You don't have to do anything. I'm right here. But now as I've gotten more and more well through my recovery, now I find that it gives me instruction because it can because I'm willing and open to that. Also I believe that I'm loved. It's convinced me that I'm loved. That was the main job that it had was to convince me that I'm loved. Then once it convinced me of that, it's like, okay, like today it was like, bring the very best of what you have to this podcast today and just share your own story and don't try to convince anybody or impress anybody. Just tell the truth about what's happened to you and I'll be with you. Then it'll say, call this person. Check in. I want you to do this today. This is the work I want you to be doing. Here's the person I don't want you to be calling today. It's now giving me direction. My rule is I don't do anything if it tells me not to do it because we don't want me out there in the world operating the way I operated for the first 50 years of my life that the highest intelligence in the universe is mine.


We don't want that. That doesn't even make any sense. I'm like, I'll give it over to you to this presence and it tells me what to do, and that's what I do. That's how it all started. Then I started this thing on Substack recently that's called Letters from Love, which is this community where I'm sharing my letters from love and teaching people how to do this, and they're sharing their letters from love. We've had it for about two months, but we've got 50,000 people now doing this. Their letters are so beautiful. Abby did one the other day that was... Oh, God, it was just exciting. I do this with my best friend, Margaret Cordy, who you guys know and love, and I administer this together. We were like, We know we're not supposed to have favorites, but Abby's letter is our favorite. The irony is that you were so nervous about doing it because you're like, I'm not a writer, but this practice has nothing to do with being a writer. It's not about writing, it's about hearing. It's about listening, and you're a really good listener, Abby. It's about hearing something that's trying to speak to you and then writing down what it's saying.


It's not a creative writing exercise. It's a mystical download where you are tuning into a channel and it's actually coming through you as revealed wisdom.




And that's got nothing to do with being a writer.


I was so nervous.


Is it the.


Texture of the voice? When you're listening to yourself and when you're channeling, how do you distinguish between this is the voice and the wisdom of Liz Gilbert that I don't want to ruin my life. This is the thing that ruled me for the first decades of my life. This is the wisdom that I am channeling from my higher wisdom, from love. How do you actually tell the difference?


You can't. And that's part of humility is that the only really honest and humble answer is I don't know. And I don't know and I have no way of knowing whether what I am hearing when I ask love, what would you have me know? Whether that is in fact a divine spirit, whether that is the innate, whether that is what the Buddhist call original mind, which is our shared mind before thought, before the contamination of thought. There's this original mind that we all share, which is sometimes what it feels like when I read the letters that people post because they sound so much like mine. It's like, wow, all listening to the same radio station when we ask this question, or is this just the part of me and my consciousness that is the kindest, the wisest, the most gentle, and the most forgiving aspect of me? Or is there even a difference between the kindest, wisely, most forgiving aspect of me and God's voice? What would God's voice be but the kindest and highest and most forgiving aspect of me? Coming back to what I was telling you, Glenn, about what I learned in India, the ashram that was so moving to me when they used to say, God dwells within you as you.


God dwells within you as you. It's going to sound like my voice, but it's going to sound like the highest, kindest, wisest, most temperate, most universally compassionate version of me. If that's all it is, I'll take that.




Exactly. I'd much rather be listening to that radio station in my head than the one that tells me that I am a worthless piece of shit, which is also playing 24 hours. I'm replacing trust in one voice with trust in another voice. When people say sometimes as they're learning this practice, Well, this just doesn't seem like it could be true that this voice is speaking to me. I'm like, You never fucking question the voice in your head that tells you that you are a failure. You never hear that voice that says you're a failure, you're a loser, you're fucked up. You never hear that and go, That doesn't sound like it could be true. You never have any skepticism about that. How about a little skepticism about that voice and a little less skepticism about this loving? Why is it so impossible to imagine that you might be loved and that there might be something that wants communion with you? There's an intelligence, a loving intelligence that wants communion with you and is right there waiting. I mean, love often says to me or God says to me in these writings, It was so funny watching you travel all over the world looking for me.


It was so funny watching you go to India for four months and get up at four o'clock in the morning and chant. And it's like, look, that's all great. That's all part of it. But God was like, Literally, all you had to do was ask me what I want you to know, and I would have told you. I am not a remote presence. I am not something that has to be searched to the ends of the world. I could not be more here. All you have to do is ask.


There is an element of it that is reparenting. It's like spiritual reparenting. If you had a circle and you got this little part of it with your parents and you imagine all the rest that you needed, like in a pie graph, then this, it's like you always have at your fingertips or in your heart, or all of it that you ever needed. But this is a way of spiritual reparenting, too. Is it the opposite of love addiction for you? Because is it like love addiction is searching for this in other people and other things, and this is a returning... Finding it out, finding it within, would that be the antidote?


Yes. Among other things, including a recovery community and certain practices of recovery and the steps. But yes, if I have an infinite love hunger that's bottomless, and I know that it is because I've had it my whole life and it doesn't matter what anybody throws in there. It's just a black hole. It just goes right. It doesn't stick. If I've got that, the only possible remedy for infinite love hunger would have to be infinite love. That's what I always thought, which is why I was out there looking for it and all these other people. But it's like Tollstoy had that beautiful metaphor, spiritual metaphor of the begger sitting on a pot of gold their whole life with their hand outstretch, begging for just scraps when they were literally sitting on a pot of gold the entire time because everything that was needed was within you. That's in all spiritual traditions. I mean, in the Gnostic Gospels, it says anything you do not bring forth that is within you will destroy you, and anything that you bring forth that is within you will save you. In the Upadhishads, it says, Where are we to find light when the sun has been extinguished from within?


It's all pointing to the same thing, which is the last place you're going to look. That's the beautiful humor of it. It's like, I looked for God everywhere else, and I looked for love everywhere else. The last place I checked was that it might be within me.


It's the Christian. The Kingdom of God is not outside, it's within. That's repeated. I think it's interesting that they didn't put it in the 12th step in the big book. I feel like maybe it's because they didn't want it to be too religious, and maybe it's because they wanted it to be more religious. Maybe it's because they didn't want the power. It feels like the Gospel of Thomas, or it feels like every time there's any section of any spiritual book that says actually, it's within you, it gets cut out.


Yeah, because then you.


Wouldn't require the book. Because then you wouldn't require the... You wouldn't require the book.


Yeah, you could be right about that. It's true. Well, you can't really build a movement around that. That's what Elaine Pagels wrote about in the Gnostic Gospels was the reason that the Gnostic didn't take over was because they were just saying you don't need a church and you don't need priests and you don't need these documents and you don't need these rituals. But I think the other reason she wrote very wisely was that it didn't take on, that it didn't really take over as a religion was that because most people, for some reason, would still rather go to an authority or to a structure and be told what to do because the self responsibility that comes with this is all within you is sometimes a little overwhelming. They'd like, Okay, I'd rather just go to confession every Sunday and be told to say these things and go home and live my life. I don't really want to take responsibility for my own spirituality.


I'd rather go to the hairdresser. I'd rather go to the hairdresser.




Rather go to I don't want to take responsibility for this head.


-same thing. -especially when you think about the people. I mean, this was born out of your desperation, frankly. I mean, beautiful healing work is often born out of sheer desperation of I have nothing left, so I might try this horse shit thing because why not? But if you think about AA, a bunch of addicts who are coming to a place, they themselves would think and folks looking at them would think, you're the people who are going to say, look at yourself and you know. I mean, when you're at that depths, it's so counterint, to think, no, just go a little deeper in there. In that thing that is the very thing that is causing you so much pain that you can't get anything right. Like, keep going.


It's there.


It's very countercultural. We think when we get to that place, we have demonstrated our untrustworthiness to the world. So why the hell would we say I'm the most trustworthy person to me?


Why do you think Jesus liked hanging out with prostitutes and alcoholics and drug addicts and the outcasts? They were closer to it. They were closer to it. They had more ego collapse. Like Carl Jung and Bill W. Wrote these beautiful letters about addiction, and they said for the addict to recover, they have to go through ego collapse at depth. All the external systems that you've been relying on to prop yourself up, they have to collapse. That's the only way that opening can happen. It's in Dante's inferno, too. What's at the bottom of the center of the frozen Lake of Hell, inside of Satan's belly, you come through that into paradise. That's the journey. It's the hero's journey. It's like this is the oldest story in the entire world. You've got to go through this dark night of the soul. Don't quit before the miracle. Keep going. But boy, when you're in it, you're like, This can't be right. This can't be right.




This can't be right.


That's exactly how it feels. This can't be right. Does anyone else have any idea? That's exactly. Anybody, honestly. Anybody.




Instagram will have it. This just feels like the... This sure feelslike I've lost the way. You really... What? You're telling me this is the way? It's so hard to believe. Yet you hear that story again and again and again, on the floor, face down, pile of snot, everything gone. Nobody left. You will pick up your calls, bankrupt, divorced, shamed, arrested, all of it. It's like ego collapse, ego collapse, ego collapse. Now you're getting closer. Stephen Mitchell says this. First, they pull the rug out from under you, and then they pull the floor out from underneath the rug, and then they pull the ground out from underneath the floor, and now you're getting there. Like now you're getting there. But no one wants to do that. No one signs up to do that on purpose. That's why so much of this happens in crisis. It's like, no, I'm doing everything I can to not have the rug, the ground, the carpet, the parking garage pulled out.


From underneath me.


I don't want to let go. I think.


Abby is going to read her letter, right?


Yeah, I'm starting to sweat.


Yeah, and I want to hear about what that.


Experience was like for you. We will. You will.


Do you have any letter that you can think of that really like, I know all of them do for you, but one that really woke you up and made you change something that was big for you that you can think about recently?


I don't want to get into the details because it involves other people, but being told to walk away from relationships that were very unhealthy but that I felt I was obliged to. There was about a year there where I was getting that message every single day, which was, I don't want you in that. All of my cultural training and all of my upbringing was like, But you can't get away from that. We're related to these people. This is the central bond. There's no way out. You have to martyr yourself and suffer to be in… You have to. You just have to. Love was like, Actually, you really super don't have to. In fact, you're getting in the way. It's not just that I want you out of that for your wellbeing. I want you out of that for the greater good. I know it doesn't look like that right now, but that's what I need you to do. That was probably the biggest act of faith since I've started this practice because I just kept saying that can't be right. That can't be right. But I've made this decision to just do it because what's my other option?


To just do the way I've always done things, which has led me to the brink of suicide so many times. That maybe can't be right. There's a radicalness that happens. I think that's why that entity, that voice had to spend those decades just pouring love into me before they started giving me direction. It's like I need to really shore you up and let you know that you are love no matter what you do. Now I'm going to tell you to do some stuff that might be very hard for you. It's certainly been like that with Substances when I came into program was that it just kept saying, We're doing this now, honey. We're doing this now. You used to... You used to have to do that thing, and I'm going to ask you to just put that down and come with me because we're not doing that anymore. That was hard, but that made more sense than some like, yeah.


When Liz came to our house and we were just all hanging out for a few days, it was amazing. She would just start this-.


Liz is the best house guest ever in the whole world because Liz wants to do everything that we want to do. Yeah.


Which is nothing. Exactly.


That's the secret, folks. That's exactly right.


We saunat and we cold plunge and we breath and we meditated and we talked and we ate. That's what we did.


For like, three or four days on the couch, we pretty much just didn't move from the couch. Yes. I think at some point you were like, Do you want to see the sights? I was like, No.


Why would I want to see anything but this? That's what you said. Why would I want to see things? I was like, God, I.


Love you so much. Yeah, it was great.


Because let's go where.


She doesn't get out much. So it's.


Important to show her the sights.




I will admit that when you first suggested that we write our own letters from love after you explained what you were doing, Abby was the brave one that said, Yes, please. I said, No, thank you. Tish said, No, thank you. Tish kept saying, But who's writing back? I don't get it. So I write and then what happens? Like, who's going to write back? Liz was like, love. And Tish was like, I'm going to go back to TikTok. Abby said, yes. And then would you Yeah.


Well, the Pod squad knows that I've been on my own personal therapy journey and an episode that's been previously dropped. I talk a lot about my desire and need to develop more self-love. I think that because of this therapy and then Liz shows up at our house and she's like, I've started this new project and I'm doing this Substack thing and it's letters from love. It was like, when the world shows up in certain ways, you're like, Oh, yeah, that's right. This is what we're doing now. When Liz was telling us about it and then asked me to do it, I said, Yes. Then I was like, Oh, fuck, but I'm not a great writer like Liz and Glennon. I had an immense amount of insecurity because it feels like a writing in the diary and publishing that. It's like a diary journal writing entry. I sat down and it took me 10 minutes. Wow! This thing came out of me in 10 minutes and it was like... I will say this. I was like, okay, so am I writing to myself or I had to figure it out. It feels a little confusing, but really, it's what love would say to you.


I sat down and it just poured out. Honestly, I don't think I fix much about it in the second read-through. Then I sent it to you and Margaret. Yeah, you both both were really affirming.


Which I knew were bananas.


I think one of the things that I'm no longer surprised about is how when we open ourselves up to certain things, they just literally show up in our lives. Glennon was like, Hell no. I was like, Oh, hell yes. That tracks.


Very tracks.


What would love to say to you, Glennon?


Oh, we'll be getting to you, Amanda. Don't you sit there. Don't you sit there too smugly. You'll have your turn, my dear. We'll see how.


You feel about this. Yes.


Because you're coming up too.


All right. Okay, I'm just holding that. I'm going to read the letter and then we can talk about it.


You guys can. Okay.


Also, I really don't like reading publicly, but here I go. Okay, dear love, what would you have me know today? Dear love. Oh, sweet little girl. Yes, I said little girl. You spent much of your life trying to figure yourself out, trying to understand yourself and how you fit into the world. Your questions about why you're here and what this is all about are good. These questions keep you alive and awake. Sometimes though, honey, they can take you out and make life unmanageable. Know that I see you. Know that you are good. Also, know that good and bad is bullshit. Know that your goodness isn't something I need to see you. Know that I love looking at you and watching you and seeing you explore, because isn't that what you love to do the most? Isn't seeing things and doing things and experiencing things the stuff that makes you feel the most and isn't feeling the best? Let me get back to the questions, honey. The questions will keep coming and coming and coming. Don't be so concerned with finding the answers. That's where you can get stuck. Life isn't about the answers. It's about living out the questions.


You have worked really, really hard trying to understand yourself and the world, and sometimes it's exhausting. You also have this little worry deep down that the work you've done and become, quote, expert at, excludes you from other work or asking other questions of yourself and the world. You did go down a long, arduous road. It was very focused. You did that for certain reasons that you're still uncovering and reaping the benefits and also recovering from. But that does not limit you to just that one thing. Sweetie, you have always known you were more than just soccer. And now that you are truly stepping into the pureness of love and self-expression, you will keep discovering that. You are discovering that nothing is by chance and everything that happened to you was on purpose. The addictions, the heartache, all of it was necessary. But even during all that tomult, I was there. I was with you, and I know you heard me. My feelings aren't hurt that you needed to ignore me for so long. And I can understand how hard it is to believe that I was there then, as I am now. Can you trust that I exist and that I've been there with you from the beginning?


I've been here before this body came, and I'll be here after this body leaves. You have spent so much of your life believing that the world or someone else would make you believe in me.




Some moments, that's been true, but not because someone else made it real. Someone else made you see that I exist inside of you. See that I've been here with you all along. When that someone left you, you doubted my existence. But I've been here. I will always be here. I think it's easier to not believe I exist inside of each and every one of us. It's easier in some ways to agree that there is no magic, because what if magic doesn't touch us? What if we are the ones love isn't allowed to have? It's just not true. I'm here for you all. Here you are, awake to the possibility of believing I exist. Do you think you could try easier to prove your worthiness? Your mother's love isn't necessary if you believe I exist and I'm here. And when you do, you will see your mother loves you. You will see that you are so worthy and so endlessly loved. What would it take? What would you lose if you chose to believe I exist and I am here with you always? Why does it feel like such a risk? I will never abandon you.


You have never been abandoned. I will never leave you. You have never been left. But I understand why it's so hard. You've taken so many wonderful risks in your life. Heck, it's why you have had a beautiful life. Those risks you thought would prove you were strong enough to do life alone. I would say that living the questions and those risks are proof that I exist. You were doing them in the name of independence. But deep down, I think you were trying to get at a deeper question of your life. I think you believe I exist. You know I do. Why not just accept it once and for all? I won't leave you. I won't abandon you. And if you choose to jump, I will catch you. Those cracks on your heart that you think aren't unfixable. Well, sweetie, they healed a long, long time ago. It's just a story about them that you can't get over. And maybe this leap of faith into my arms could be the thing that helps you change that story. Just an idea. Anywho, I love you and you are love, baby girl. But it's not about me, it's about you and what you want to do and if you want to believe, as I always have, that love doesn't just live outside of you.


It's everywhere. I am in everything. I am in everyone. I understand how hard life can be. We can do hard things. Right? The end.


Oh, my God.




My God.




Thing that I feel most surprised about that for me is how it's been like this weird door that's opened for me. That though it's not open all the day as long because I'm not there yet. I just think that this was one of the most life-changing things that has ever happened to me. When you were here sitting on our couch talking about this and reading the substacks to us, and there was this part of me that was like a full body yes. I don't talk about myself in my head. I don't listen to the mean, cynical voice as much as I used to. It really is that there's a new door that I can open and I have access to that is not locked. I feel like that the whole of my life has been this hallway and all of these doors I've just broken through. But I've just kept walking past the love door. I've just kept walking past it. I've knocked on it a few times. I've jiggled the doorknob that, Nope, it's locked. For whatever reason, this opened this door up, at least it left it a jar. Cool. For me, when I walk by it, I can walk through or I can peek my head in.


That's where I'm at in the process because I also still sometimes I'm like, Where is this fucking love thing? Where are you? It just said, I'm here.


Did you just hear it? Yeah. I was going to say, ask it. You can ask it anything.


I just said, I'm right here, baby. I'm here. I'm just so grateful that I chose to do this. I didn't know... It's just ironic that it's all happening at the same time that I'm actually trying to do this work.


Yeah, you're right on time.




The appointment. I think what was why Margaret and I both really wanted you to do it was because and I wrote about this a little bit when we posted it on social media. People think of you. People see you as so formidable. I wrote on social media about going to see you speak when Wolfpack came out and I went with a male friend of mine and he had never heard you speak before and you came out on stage. You said, 10 words. He said, I would follow that woman into battle. I would follow that woman over a cliff. You have this quality that makes other people feel like, Oh, well, there's the leader that we're looking for. That's the one we've been waiting for. Let's follow her over the clock. Let's go. She's this confidence, right? You're literally the Olympic champion captain. I've seen you, I've been lucky enough to see this intimately when I'm around you and Glennon and the kids, the leadership that you show, the way that you make people safe around you. Also, when you and I were talking about doing the letter and you were talking about your insecurity about being writer, and I reminded you of the letter that you wrote to your Olympic teammates when you broke your leg, the letters that you wrote.


I was like, You know how to do this, Abby. You wrote letters to every single person on that team from the hospital room when your leg was broken, telling them why they were so great. Then you did the same thing with the kids. When it was time to marry Glennon, you wrote them each a letter from love saying, Here's what I'm here for you. I'm going to commit to you. I think that it was so astonishing for so many people to imagine a world in which you wouldn't know how loved you are, that you would be insecure that maybe if you knocked on Love's door, it would open and nobody would be there or wouldn't open. Like even Abby Womback. That's why it's such an incredible service that you did to write the letter so vulnerability. I remember after you wrote it, you texted me and you said, I showed it to Glennon. I said to Glennon, This is really vulnerable. She said, I think maybe it's supposed to be. Like, yeah, it's not going to do anybody any good if it isn't. The Because then what we hear is, yeah, that's also how I feel.


If you can reach for that and find it, then we can too. I know I screenshotted a bunch of responses and shared with you about how that Substack community felt about your letter, but it was so important for them.


I think that with regards to leadership too, I've been a recovering professional athlete for the last almost eight years now. And what I have learned is that so much of my life I absolutely thought that leadership was just white male and just trying to be that. And what I've learned over these few years is, oh, no, out. The reason why I think that I was such a good leader is because I did lead with so much vulnerability, but I wasn't able to lead myself in the vulnerability. I think that that's what has been so profound about this. You can be on the outside. You can look like this amazing champion, literally gold medal Olympian, and you can lead all the people around you amazingly. Yet I didn't have that quality for my own self. So it's just... This has just been so impressive. I feel impressed with myself, actually.


I love hearing that.


Yeah, I do. I feel impressed with myself.


And what a beautiful experience to hear your person read what they hear from love and learn what they most need to hear.






That part about those scars on you and saying that those were healed long ago and it's just the stories you tell about them that are still there.


I was like, Yeah.


Well, Liz helped me with that one when she was here because we talked a lot about stories and Byron Katie and getting into the truth of it doing that exercise. I haven't stopped thinking about that since you left. I do that a lot of work in my personal therapy. What is true here? Because I actually need to know what the truth is rather than the story I have. That's been life-changing for me, too.


When love said to you, You've never been abandoned. You've never been left. It just reminded me of something that Byron and Katie says, which is, You can't abandon me. That's my job. I'm the only one who can abandon me. That's so good. Nobody else can do that. They can leave. People can leave, but they can't abandon me. Only I can abandon me. And as long as I have this practice, I can't abandon me. Oof.






Okay, HotSquad, we're going to stop here, but don't worry.


Yeah, what's coming.


Next, babe? Well, we're going to come back and I'm going to talk you through the arduous, difficult process that I went through. You will be shocked to know that I made this very difficult.


Kicking and screaming.


The Love Warrior had a tough time with.


The love letter. Yeah, kicking and screaming.


I mean, you all just wait. Come back. We love you. We can do hard things. See you soon. If this podcast means something to you, it would mean so much to us if you'd be willing to take 30 seconds to do these three things. First, can you please follow or subscribe to We Can Do Hard Things? Following the pod helps you because you'll never miss an episode, and it helps us because you'll never miss an episode. To do this, just go to the We Can Do Hard Things show page on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, odyssey, or wherever you listen to podcasts, and then just tap the plus sign in the upper right-hand corner or click on Follow. This is the most important thing for the pod. While you're there, if you'd be willing to give us a five-star rating and review and share an episode you love with a friend, we would be so grateful. We appreciate you very much. We Can Do Hard Things is produced in partnership with Cadence 13 Studios. I give you Tish Milton and Brandy Carlisle.


I walk through fire, I came out the other side. I chased desire. I made sure I got what's mine. I hope that you're there to help you. And I continue to believe that I'm the one for me. And because I'm mine, I walk the line. Because we're adventurers and heart breaks on math, a final destination is that. We stopped asking directions in some places they've never been. And to be loved, we need to be known. We'll finally find our way back home. And through the joy and pain that our lives bring, we'll finally find our way back home. We'll finally find our way back home. We'll finally find our way back home. We'll finally find our way back home. We can do a hard thing. I hit rock bottom, it felt like a brand new star. I'm not the problem. Sometimes things fall apart. I think it's the best thing to be free. And I continue to believe the best people are free. And it took some time, but I'm finally fine. Because we're adventurers and heart breaks on that. Our final destination, we left. We stopped asking directions to places they've never been. And to be loved, we need to be known.


We'll finally find our way back home. And through the joy and pain that our lives bring, we'll finally find our way back home. We'll finally find our way back home. We'll finally find our way back home. We'll finally find our way back home. We can do hard today. This world of adventurers and heart breaks on that. We might get lost, but we're okay now that we've stopped asking directions in some places they've never been. And to be loved, we need to be gone. We'll finally find our way back home. And through the joy and pain that our lives bring, we can do hard things. Yeah, we can do hard things. Yeah, we can do hard.