I didn’t particularly like the book Eat Pray Love.
I know that in this grasp-for-solution age of semi self-enlightenment, that sort of review may borderline blasphemy. Don’t care.
I’ll admit that Elizabeth Gilbert writes well. And you’ve got to give the woman her props –she found a pretty cool way to finance a trip halfway around the world. And I love Italy and food, so I was quite sucked into that first layover on her fulfillment-finding journey.
It’s just that at the root and development of her story, I was nagged by an overwhelming sense of her own self-indulgence. Good for her for picking herself up out of the depths of depression and taking action. Good for her for moving on and out. But the bigger-than-life manner in which she accomplished it smacked of entitlement to me. I know she says in the book and in later interviews that her way isn’t the only way, that she’s not professing a single solution to all that nags at us as our everyday lives come undone. Still, I couldn’t get past the checkbook. She had a pretty sizable one –most of us don’t.
I know that roadblock in my thinking probably says way more about me than her, but I kept wondering as I heard accolade upon adoring accolade bestowed upon Eat Pray Love, was I the only one on the planet who could see a problem with her solution? Her runaway voyage was phenomenally far and for most of us, I’d guess, pretty far-fetched.
However, I do applaud the concept of running away.
I just did and but for its brevity, it was way helpful.
How to explain that a non-stop, packed-full trip to NYC was the most relaxation I’ve had in months. We didn’t have time to change for the theatre, sample the sauna or do the mani-pedi stop, but somehow the frenzy of an all-night city was both breath-taking and breath inducing.
Remember breathing? In with the good, out with the bad. Not to be confused with sighing. Sighing, I seem to know too well of late. Breathing is another matter.
But my own runaway to the Big Apple, I know, may seem as out of reach as an Ashram in India to some.
That’s why I’m offering (and seeking –please join in) another solution.
You’ve heard the mantra –women don’t take care of themselves. And we should. We need to. But often, we don’t.
Sure, we’ve finally caught on to the notion that eating right and getting to the gym is a good idea. But most of us are still pretty damn neglectful when it comes to that other health. The whole control center of our beings usually gets little concentrated care. Perhaps it’s because we get lost in the clutter of everyone else’s lives that we store in our heads and in our hearts. Or perhaps it’s that parenting well has taught us to place someone else’s needs before our own.
Who came up with that idea?
What good are we really to our children if we allow the temples of our own beings to fall apart? If the firing between synapse connections isn’t working on full cylinder power, how clear can our thinking possibly be?
Wow –what solution was I proposing to offer? It seems I’ve got more an explosion of questions than any real answers.
Oh, I remember. There was a solution I was going to share.
Do something for yourself.
Not the pearl of wisdom you were hoping for?
Sorry –desperate times and all. But that’s the nugget of knowledge I’ve come up with.
Do something for yourself.
Anything –big or small.
So in my own pursuit of this epiphany, I decided that in the days leading up to my next birthday, I was going to do something daily for myself (who better, after all?). Not huge, costly treats, mind you. Just something. Everyday.
But I was nearly stymied on day one.
My sister-in-law told me it was because I wasn’t listening to the universe.
(I think the drumming in my brain may have drowned out any sounds of the universe. Oh wait, that’s actual drumming. Did you know that you could still drum pretty damn loudly even with a broken hand?)
Okay, day two. Listen to the universe, I told myself.
Yeah, I got nothing.
I went to the grocery store after work. (Weird, but I actually like the grocery store, so that wasn’t the stumbling block) But my Stop & Shop trek wasn’t because of anything I needed –it was for someone else.
I rebooted. There had to be something in this mega chain store that I could grasp at to call my daily indulgence. So what did I come up with? I bought a couple of birthday cards. Really? How is that not for someone else?
I am really bad at this. –This whole do-something-for-me idea was turning into a chore. Aargh. This exercise wasn’t supposed to add stress.
Strike three and I’m outta here, I thought.
Take a breath. Listen to the universe.
I bought myself a $9 lipstick and called it a day. (I do like the color –maybe I could get the hang of this.)
Day three. Barely functioning on way too little sleep (see blog title), doing something for myself didn’t make it to the top of the day’s to-do list. I called packing for New York my “something” for the day. Pretty lame. Who likes packing?
But then, after turning down an offer of a glass of wine, I listened to the universe.
What I hadn’t already packed, I would do without.
Sanity came in a Cabernet and the company of family.
Ahhh –maybe this is a solution.
Tonight my to-do-for-me is a birthday celebration for a friend. And although it’s what I am giving to her, it’s a treat for me as well. I’m not going to feel bad about checking it out with the hubby and kids. I’m not going to care that I won’t be making them dinner.
This is for me. I deserve it. Maybe not once a day –but at least once a week and more often than once in awhile.