Monday, May 24, 2010

Eating and Loving - At Least I'm Good at Something

Have you ever read Eat, Pray, Love? It's a beautiful, inspiring, moving book. It's personal and also universal, as the author so eloquently described today on Oprah.

I read it three years ago right before I started grad school. I think I breezed through it, read it too fast, and I picked it up again today in anticipation for the movie, which stars Julia Roberts and comes out in August. Go with your best girl friend! And have wine after!

The author wrote the book after she traveled to Italy, India and Bali the year after her divorce. It's about her journey out of that loss and into loving herself again, finding herself again. But it's also about stopping in the hustle and bustle of life to take time for yourself, to take time to appreciate life's little joys and to always strive for inner peace.

The first section is about Italy, and all the beauty and rich food that goes with that. Italy is my favorite place. I've been lucky enough to see it twice and pray I'm lucky enough to go again. One of my close friends, Z, mentioned a few months ago that it'd be fun to go to Tuscany for cooking classes, and one day, I'm going to make sure we take that trip. Hell, or just go to Tuscany! I love the food and the wine and the art - it's in the air and embraces you with every breath. I secretly hope MG proposes there, though I realize I'm not in a romantic comedy, nor is he a rich, famous celebrity like Tom Cruise.

Italy I get. I get pleasure. I get taking time to smell the roses (or the ragu as the case may be). And love (what she finds in Bali) I get in many ways. I love my friends and when I love anyone, I love as the verb - I love with my actions. I don't know exactly what happened to me when I was mourning my grandfather that made me ready, finally ready, for meeting the love of my life. I know that for the first time ever, I truly wanted it. I realized that I can go through anything alone, I am strong and I always survive, but that I don't want to be alone. I want someone to be in the trenches with me and I don't want to cry alone anymore. And maybe that's it, maybe that's all it took.

What I struggle with most, I think, is peace (India). My aunt and my mom told me once they believed I moved around so much from place to place because I was like a cork floating in a river, just bouncing along and moving wherever the currents take me. They were wrong, and I knew it even at the time. It didn't make sense to them to live in places like New York or DC. But I moved around so much because I wanted to, not because I was some victim of life, not thinking about or planning my next step, but just being tossed and bullied from this way to that.

I will admit that I sometimes feel a little like that cork, though. When people hurt me or things get tough, I feel like I'm in a boat, paddling along on my course, but I get knocked and pushed around, sometimes off course if even for a moment, from the force of the hurt or stress. It's hard to shake, it's hard to get back on course.

That is what I need to work on. I need to find my own power to stay on course and hold onto peace. And I think Elizabeth Gilbert is right - giving into little pleasures and immersing in love are crucial to finding inner power and inner peace. Enjoying, no, not just enjoying but reveling in life's pleasures and in love's power and presence are the things that can keep me on course and keep that peace within me strong if I focus on them rather than the weight bearing down on me. It's good to indulge in extra servings and extra hugs.


CarrieAnn said...

If we lived in the same place, I would totally go see "Eat, Pray, Love" with you. I haven't read the book, but maybe I will now!

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