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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Eat, Pray And Just Keep Going

I will admit I'm a little late to the "Eat Pray Love" party. I pretty much missed it all together.

When it was published a few years ago it didn't really resonate with me. I wasn't taken with Elizabeth Gilbert's writing voice, and found it... a little self-indulgent. It seemed she had way too many first-world problems and I was not sympathetic. When I was dealing with two dying parents and a son in the throes of drug addiction, somehow empathy for her divorce and angst was hard to evoke.

Fast forward three or so years and a film of the book later, and I recently found myself drawn to it.

Now that my life is in a saner (?) calmer (?) place, I found that what she had to say resonated with me.

I put the book in iTunes and listened as I walked, drove and did things around the house, Gilbert's soothing voice reassuring me that I could in fact make it through yet more change. Change is the one constant I have discovered, and I am trying desperately to make friends with it, sometimes doing better than others.

I question my calmness and sanity because I live inside this head and know more often than not my thoughts are hardly sane or calm. But I do a good job of showing up and presenting well enough when I need to. We're all alike I believe - all of us wracked with self-doubt, insecurity and questions. Some folks just do a better job of not showing it, and have various coping strategies for dealing with it.

As I listened to Gilbert's thoughtful journey I came up with some thoughts of my own. Lessons the hard and not-so-hard times have taught me.

You can make all the plans you want, but sometimes life has something else in mind for you.

Be open, don't judge and be kind. Not just with others, but yourself as well.

If you don't take risks you'll never grow and see what's possible.

Dare to be a fool for love. It's always better to throw yourself out there, heart-on-sleeve than not.

Be passionate about something. To me there is nothing sadder than going through life unexcited and disengaged.

Don't worry about what's not happening. Be here now, not a week or year from now. Worrying is my biggest challenge, but I'm working on it.

Everything changes. Good times don't last forever, but neither do the bad ones.

Do something for someone else every day.

Don't carry anger and resentment. Forgiveness is vital to happiness.

I certainly do not claim to have anything other than my own life to draw from, but it's been a pretty interesting life full of more challenges than some, and less than many others. The biggest lessons I've learned have been having to walk through the fire and come out on the other side. Now when something happens that is difficult I ask myself - "What am I learning from this?"

Knowing there's something to be gleaned from everything I go through somehow makes it a bit easier to take. I'm still really far from having it all figured out, but at least I'm asking the questions.

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