Tag Archives: Elizabeth Gilbert

I Had Gotten My Spark

26 Oct

I thought there would be fireworks and it would be magical. 

I’d built it up to be such a great thing because I’d gotten so much out of the book… but being stuck in traffic, parking way across campus, and showing up 20 minuted late really seemed to fizzle things out. Nothing was going according to plan…
I had met her when my life was in shambles, Telenovela shambles … the kind where you wish you weren’t the main character because everything was so jacked up but it turned out that when you looked in the mirror you were that character, you were in shambles. 

Yeah that was me some years ago, and  I found such comfort and Aha! moments in Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love novel that it helped me transition through such a tough time. Going through that with her words swirling in my thoughts and settling in my heart, I’d expected that same transformational lightning-bolt moment to happen again. But the two hours in traffic seemed to take the umph out of the lightning.

Sadly … I’d missed the opening. I hate missing anything, I’m the kind of person that gets to the movies early just to enjoy the previews, I don’t like missing the Oscars monologue, I don’t like missing beginnings, they sort of set the tone for everything else. So missing out on the first half of anything, especially this speech was kind of a downer. 

But just then and there as I walked into the auditorium, sweaty and hair in desperate need of a hat or some Aquanet hairspray, I saw her and gratitude kicked in. I wasn’t focused so much on what I had lost, on how far I had parked, on the disasterous traffic, or what nugget of Big Magic I had missed, but I was centered on my gratitude.

 I had caught the second half. 

I mean in sports that’s when things matter, the second half. That’s when Hail Marys are thrown and the crows go wild. In books that’s where thing matter, in the second half. So as I stood there in the aisle leaning against the pillar I focused in on that voice I had heard so many times before in the Magic Lessons podcasts, and it appeared.

The spark.

I came away with two great take-home moments from stories that seemed to resonate with the writer and creative force inside me.  Great lines that made there way into my morning routine and do t-give-up inner dialogue.

And even though after the lecture ended the bad luck continued, I still found gratitude. The line was long for the book signing, and even though the chick in front of me took longer than she was supposed to and stole my moment with Gilbert making her posse quickly usher me away after she signing my book, I still felt good.

I had gotten my spark.

 I had gotten my take-home moments … two of them and I was thankful for the mini lesson.

  

Today I Was Thankful For Elizabeth Gilbert

1 Aug

Survive. Everyone is trying to do it, including me.

But I realized some people are trying to get passed this stage and move on to the next. Apparently there are three stages in life and I had no idea. There’s Survival, Success, and Significance. The Almighty Oprah has spoken and you know if she said it has to be true. Well I don’t know if she said it, but she totally agreed with whoever did and her endorsement goes a long way. Just ask any writer that made it to her Oprah’s Book Club Selection.

Dude.

Anyhow, I’m sad to say that I’ve been stuck so long in the survival stage I wasn’t aware that there were two others. I’ve been hanging on, chugging along, keep on keeping on for some time now. During the day I can escape my survival stage with bucket list adventures, family outings with my kids, triathlons, friends, or indulging in the best chocolate ever.

But I’ve realized that it’s in the quiet of the night when it catches up with me, you know when I realize that I’m still surviving, and not succeeding or feeling significant in any way. Thank God for meditation, a good cup of tea, and the awesome Wish Factor that is humor, These have become my nightly saviors. Namaste Deepak Chopra for bringing some peace. Holla to you Yogi Bedtime tea makers with your little pick-me-ups written on the teabag. And as for you Jason Bateman and Jimmy Fallon … you rock. I think I would have jumped off a cliff if it weren’t for the fact that you crack me up. These have been my survival tools and I thought they were great.

But is that what I want? Do I want to just survive, or do I want to succeed? Or do I want to make my existence significant to those closest to me, you know live with purpose?

Considering that I was in survival mode, these seemed like pretty heavy questions. These were chocolate-worthy Ben & Jerry moments.

elizabeth-gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert

And just when I was feeling pretty crappy about being in survival mode Eat, Pray, Love superstar Elizabeth Gilbert saved my day. I really enjoyed her book when I read it a couple of years ago and admire her journey. Not because she’s a successful writer but because she was in a really crappy situation, I mean it sucked. If your life has ever sucked, been in complete disarray, then this is the book for you. Her journey even helps you on your journey. But I’ve got to say if you haven’t really had hardships or felt emotional devastation then this book may not be for you. She may just seem like a crazy, neurotic chic that traveled for a year. You might not “get it,” and that’s o.k. But for my purposes today Gilbert saved me.

I happened to come across one of her lectures online during these heavy life questions, and I found my answer. She went on to talk about how even with all this success, she herself doesn’t have it together and she thinks it’s funny that people accuse her of doing so and come to her for help. She struggles too, maybe not financially because c’mon Best Seller, please. But more on an emotional level and just with every day business and life. It happens. Even though people look like they have it together there are moments, days, weeks where they need a Godiva chocolate and Jason Bateman too.

Dude. Light bulb.

You’re doing the best with what you’ve got and who you are.  And survival stage may seem like forever, but it’s only temporary. You’ll get to where you want to go if you keep at it. Cut yourself some slack because tomorrow’s another day and you get another try. Live your best life and aspire. Yes, aspire. But be kind to yourself when you fall short, be forgiving when failure and disappointments happen in your life’s scavenger hunt, because  you’re a “Pioneer of Continuing On.” Be grateful and thankful for the little things, for the little accomplishments that help you get through it.

Dude.

So today I cut myself some slack just for being in the survival stage.

Today I’m thankful for the awesome Nopales recipe that I rocked out in my kitchen … Totally Food Network worthy.

Today I was thankful for my kids spontaneous burst of laughter over the word booty right before bedtime.

Today I was thankful for my cup of Yogi Bedtime tea.

Today I was thankful for my 500th post. WOO-HOO to me! I am a writer even when I don’t get paid, anyone who writes 500 pages of something can definitely be called that. I’m thinking I’m worthy of business cards now.

Today I was thankful for Elizabeth Gilbert who helped me with my course correction.

 

 

My Eat-Pray-Love Moment Without Boarding a Plane to India or Bali

11 Mar

As I mentioned last week I finally got around to lacing up my New Balance and get back on the workout wagon after being kicked in the ass by the flu. And in doing so, I’ve added challenging goals to help me get back in good Guat health condition. This includes roller derby class, which is not only a massive quad and butt workout, but also scary as hell. And then there’s my big American Lung Association Climb coming up. But I thought I’d also embark on another challenge. Something that’s supposed to balance out my entire body, because you know me … I need balance.

Meditation.

For the next 21 days I’ll be participating in a meditation challenge to try to improve my whole wellness — body, mind, and spirit. I’m challenging my body in all sorts of ways that require BenGay, why not challenge my mind, right? I mean I got Advil if necessary.

Meditation … that’s one of those hey-that-looks-easy experiences, but it’s really not.

Image via loveofmantrameditation.com

Image via loveofmantrameditation.com

I see it happen on television and movies. They sit there, in their kindergarten style cross-legged position, with their fingers doing that circle thing, listening  to weird New Age Music that’s composed mostly of wind instruments with names I can’t even pronounce. They look like they have peace and stillness, but they’re actors. They’re just pretending to be centered and balanced.

I can pretend to be too, but for the sake of this challenge I’m supposed to be serious and tap into that peaceful side of the Guat. I’m supposed to empty my mind of all thoughts and worry. I don’t know if I can empty my mind for more than five seconds. I might get bored with empty. I think too much. I talk too much. I’m a writer … it happens.

But don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind sitting on the beach, hearing the sounds of the waves and just relaxing. I don’t mind hanging out by myself in the late hours of the night when everyone is asleep, reflecting on my day and being surrounded by a nice quiet, not the creepy Hitchcock kind of quiet, the nice kind which is usually accompanied by tea. I don’t mind that. But apparently that’s not meditating. I was schooled.

I’m not a big meditating person. It seems a little difficult for me, freeing my mind of thought. I thought I did that while I was asleep, but apparently I don’t, which is why my friend sent me that 21-day Meditation Challenge email. So I thought why not, what have I got to lose? Fifteen minutes every day for 21 days, I can do this. I can have an Elizabeth Gilbert Eat, Pray Love moment without boarding a plane to India or Bali.

I may wind up more relaxed, more balanced, more at peace and less likely to get all George Costanza on somebody when they piss me off, but then again nothing may change and I might just enjoy the quiet of the night without the repetitions of a mantra, without the OOOOOOMMMMMs, without the New Age music. I might realize that a good piece of chocolate, my DVR, and some quiet is all I really need. Don’t know. But I’ll find out.

It’s The Only Consequence I Enjoy

9 Aug

“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings.” — Elizabeth Gilbert.

 

Every once in a while I completely forget about insisting. I forget about the fight. I forget about the participation factor. I’m too tired. And in this exhaustion phase I think things will magically happen for me.

However, there’s no abra-cadabra or hocus pocus here. Just Guat reality. The kind that requires massive amounts of chocolate.

Then I read something like this and I snap myself out of it. I am reminded that everything I do takes a personal effort. No need to complain about the freebies I don’t get. If I want to lose weight and make my arms look like that of an Olympic Athlete (any sport will do), I need massive personal effort — the kind that requires loads of sweat. I’m just not gonna wake up and look at a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Chick.

Hard work + perseverance = happiness. This is the formula.

But not everything in life follows that formula and produces immediate results. Sometimes things are long-term. Like acne or herpes. Now, I haven’t had any personal experience with either one, but I hear they both suck and their life span is pretty long. But aside from skin conditions and sexually transmitted diseases, personal effort goes a long way toward physical and emotional happiness.

Quotes like this remind me to continue being proactive. For some people happiness happens, easily. They wake up and BAM it’s there. However some of us have to work a little bit harder for it … participate relentlessly. Earn gray hairs and everything on your quest. But eventually when happiness is reached it’s a good feeling. I’ll tell you when I get there.

Happiness … it’s the only consequence I truly enjoy.