in someone else’s words
June 7, 2011 § 2 Comments
Yet another theme change.
If my consistency in choosing a blog theme is any indication of my personality, well then I suppose it’s a bit obvious that I am obsessive, picky, indecisive and thrifty (thrifty because so far I’ve done the blog header design thing myself & used the free wordpress themes).
In keeping with the theme of self discovery (or self explanation) I’ve been re-reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love this month.
I know I know, a twenty-something woman finding meaning in Eat Pray Love – how original, how shocking. But before you judge me on my cliche book choice, let me just say that I read this book for the first time years ago in 2006 after my Mom recommended it. I thought it was a good read then but I didn’t really delve into it and search for “take-aways” like I do with books now.
And let me tell you (aside from having to make a concerted effort to delete Julia Roberts from the script) this book is so much better the second time around.
I think sometimes we read to escape everyday life, and sometimes we read to try and explain everyday life.
At this point in time, this book is helping me explain.
This isn’t a book review, it’s just me sharing a few excerpts from this book that speak to me right now.
I’ve been really contemplative lately. Just chalk it up to excessive, long term unemployment along side with 2 big moves (Florida to Texas and Texas to Hawaii) all in a 2 year time span and you can see why the following quote seems fitting. In the opening section of Eat Pray Love Glibert uses a quote by Virginia Woolf to explain her own unconventional life…
Virginia Woolf wrote, “Across the broad continent of a woman’s life falls the shadow of a sword.” On one side of that sword , she said, there lies convention and tradition and order, where “all is correct.” But on the other side of that sword, if you’re crazy enough to cross it and choose a life that does not follow convention, “all is confusion. Nothing follows a regular course.”
I don’t think I’ve ever thought of my life plan as anything that resembles ordinary. I’ve always craved challenge and adventure so taking on a lifestyle that includes travels and uncertainty doesn’t bother me. But there’s another part of me that likes to be in control 100% of the time, and I maybe didn’t prepare myself for things not going as planned. Then again who plans to graduate college in the midst of a national recession that results in 10% unemployment? As Woody Allen put it, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.”
Many of us look into the fire and only see inferno. I need to actively learn how to…as Walt Whitman once wrote, stand “apart from the pulling and hauling…amused, complacent, compassionating, idle, unitary…both in and out of the game and watching and wondering at it all.” Instead of being amused, though, I’m only anxious. Instead of watching, I’m always probing and interfering.
This quote explains me. I can’t stop. I can’t be content in the stillness.
I’ve lived in Hawaii for 6 months now and I’ve been to the beach probably less than 10 times. This wouldn’t seem like such a strange occurrence if I had a full time job and sparse free time, but I’ve got plenty of free time – I just don’t know how to be okay with it.
Going forward I’m going to make an effort to be present. To accept that even though I have semblance of a plan, I’ll be okay if things turn out differently. I have a lot to be thankful for so all the panic is sort of unnecessary.
If I really embrace any “take-aways” from this book, I think the most important of all is to try and remind myself of the ancient Sanskrit mantra that Gilbert refers to throughout the book,
Om Namah Shivaya – I honor the divinity that resides within me
and just be content with that.