Monday, June 6, 2011

lessons learned from eat, pray, love.

Last weekend, I began reading Eat, Pray, Love. It was a spur of the moment decision to read it – I actually wasn’t sure if I wanted to, seeing as it’s received mixed reviews, but my mom had picked it up at the library and I just happened to be looking for something to read while lounging in my backyard.

As I read through the first section about Gilbert’s travels through Italy, I found it strangely fitting that I’d picked this book up when I did. I had vowed to take Memorial Day weekend to relax and unwind, putting away my responsibilities and stresses for a couple of days. My goal was to connect with and enjoy the moment; this was Gilbert’s goal as she spent her days in Italy.

In her quest to figure out her life, Gilbert spent several months in Italy simply because it was something she wanted to do. She didn’t have a set plan to visit certain places or do anything specific. She got up in the morning and did whatever she felt like doing. I found that so truly inspiring that I almost wanted to get up and go to Italy, too, except then I realized I don’t much care for traveling or being in a country where I don’t speak the language. Instead, I tried to extract this revelation and apply it somewhere in my own life.

If you read this blog regularly, you know that one of my goals this year is to live in the moment because I have a hard time doing so. I’m constantly dragging the past along with me like a ball-and-chain and simultaneously worrying about all the possible outcomes of any given day in the future. If I’m not doing that, I’m busy listening to music, reading blogs, or watching TV to distract myself from my own thoughts. Rarely do I ever just sit with myself and breathe.

I am, however, pretty good about indulging myself on a regular basis. If I want a treat from Starbucks or a cute top from Forever 21, I go ahead and get it, so I’m no stranger to the whole “doing what I want when I want to” mantra. But usually I don’t go deeper than simple things. I don’t stop and listen to my mind, my heart, or even my body to figure out what it is I want on a daily basis. Last weekend, I had no choice – my body was pretty much demanding that I take a break and spend time in the fresh air.

I really enjoy the way Gilbert weaves her story because it’s relatable. I’m hopeful, but not necessarily expectant, that perhaps I’ll find inspiration in the next two parts of the book. For now, though, the reminder to check in and do what makes me happy is floating around in the forefront of my brain and it’s doing wonders for me.