Yes, Do!

Too often, we hear the words “NO” and “DON’T.'‘ We must strive to hear the bits of positivity through the negativity in order to continue spreading love and light.

—Carolyn J. Braden 10/23/2018

 Art by Carolyn J. Braden, Media: Gelly Roll pens, Sharpie marker, BIC pencil

Art by Carolyn J. Braden, Media: Gelly Roll pens, Sharpie marker, BIC pencil

I started reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Big Magic, recently and it made me stop and think. A couple of sentences from the Motives chapter (page 98) kept making my head spin, so I had to go back and reread the chapter to try to understand her intent better.

Here is a quote from Big Magic:

“Whenever anybody tells me they want to write a book in order to help other people, I always think, Oh please don’t. Please don’t try to help me.”

She wrote on to to explain herself a bit, and from that I was able to translate what she was trying to say (write books for yourself and if they happen to help others, then awesome!) but the sentence “Please don’t try to help me” kept blaring in my ears. The word “don’t” sounded so prescriptive when used twice in a row.

While I know Elizabeth didn't intend to be negative, “Please don’t try to help me” could have been rephrased. It was her true feelings, so I am thankful for her being so brave to put her thoughts out there like that, but the thoughts that come to my mind after reading and re-reading the chapter are simply this: We are here to help each other.

Everyone needs help. We can’t do anything alone. Even writing this piece, I had inspirational help via Elizabeth Gilbert! Humans helping humans is what our world is all about. It’s in our nature. True, you can’t help those that don’t want help (and shouldn’t go overboard trying to do so), but everything we say and do has an opportunity to reach someone.

When I write, I know it is helping me, but I also am very thoughtful in knowing someone may read my writing. I try to be positive and uplifting because it helps me, but I also hope to be that “little positive something” in someone’s life when they need it the most.

I taught myself how to do this mostly due to teaching children for over 10 years. How I said things and what I did ALWAYS had the opportunity to affect a child. I wanted to affect them in the best way possible, so I always was thinking ahead before I said or did. Doing that for so long became a life lesson to try to continuously encourage children and adults in the best way possible.

Am I perfect in what I say? Of course not! I have a new puppy in my home right now, and the words “NO” and “DON’T” are hard not to say! However, I work on a daily basis to think of better ways to say things. It’s incredibly difficult sometimes (because some people trigger the worst in us), but you have to try your best to be graceful with your words.

So, let me now turn Elizabeth’s words into a phrase I would say:

“Whenever anybody tells me they want to write a book in order to help other people, I always say to them ‘Yes, Do! Write that book because you never know how your life story may help someone else out there that dealt with a similar situation. We are all here to help each other and your book could do just that.”

While I don’t love every thought in Big Magic, I completely respect Elizabeth Gilbert and her creative talents. I know everyone doesn’t love everything I do or say, and I respect them just the same. It’d be a pretty boring world if we all liked all the same things!

If you’d like to read her book (she also wrote Eat, Pray, Love among several others), check out the link to it on Amazon.com below.