Liz Murray wasn’t like every young adolescent. She comes from New York City and spent time living homeless at a young age. Liz grew up in the Bronx in a tough neighborhood. Her parents being drug addicts didn’t leave the best impression. It went on for so long, and as she shares “You can’t live like that forever, it catches up with you.” What happened in her life is that both of her parents got HIV. Both of her parents went into shelters as she became homeless at 15 years old sleeping in parks with nothing but her backpack.
Liz thought she was just like everyone else. No matter what was in front of her she had dreams that she wanted to accomplish. She wanted a family. She wanted a better life.
People would often ask her very strange questions when she was homeless. Like where did you sleep? Did you eat from the trash? She had a different internal experience. She felt hopeless but it felt so much out of her reach. She had this voice in the back of her head that she believes we all have. This is what Murray refers to as your ‘what if’ voice. She believed that EVERY moment was a new possibility.
Just because you cannot change your past does not mean you cannot change your future.
The what if voice said what if you go to school? What if you change?
One of her favorite quotes from Martin Luther King is “Your life begins to end the day you become silent about the things that matter.”
Liz had a transformational experience when her mom passed away. It unlocked her mind to begin to think of possibility in her own life. There was something about knowing that life changing rapidly also changes all of life rapidly.
In high school she’d knock on doors and ask these people to accept her. She went from school to school to school experiencing a lot of rejection.
The feeling that she wants to share with the world is the simple thought is “What would happen If I keep going.” she shares.
She continued to knock on doors and finally got into a school. Then she fell in love with the idea of getting straight A’s. She did that. She then fell in love with going to Harvard, and then that happened.
Watch her full story here:
One affirmation that Liz Murray lives by is the simple saying “New moment, new opportunity” which serves as a reminder that in each new moment we have a new opportunity.
What a beautiful reminder that our time, energy and vision for our life is our choice. As a child that went from homeless to Harvard, she reminds us that anything is possible.
Liz Murray’s life looked like it was a tragedy in the making if you simply saw her life from a young age and gauged her future based on her past. But she did not accept that. She refused to accept drug addiction as normal. She refused to accept homelessness as normal. She refused to accept anything less than her personal best as normal and she knew that she deserved and could work and earn a better life and that is exactly what she did.
Sure, Liz Murray is an anomaly. But anyone can be if they think like her. If they think in terms of new moments being new possibilities anything is possible all the time. What a beautiful and magical way to think. Liz reminds us all that anything is possible and just because you are somewhere you don’t want to be doesn’t mean that you cannot move to a greater place. She did, and she continues too.
Now, with a TED talk under her belt and a feature length film documenting her life story she inspires millions of people worldwide to step up to the plate and live full out.
You can watch the feature length film on Liz Murray’s Life here:
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