When I say “light,” I don’t mean lightweight. I mean enlightening. I loved the way Gilbert struggled with and balanced her head and her heart, and the lengths she would go to in order to find alignment. I related well to her story, and I lived vicariously through this book a life I might have had.
Here are my three questions and answers. After them, you’ll find out how to see what others on the tour are saying.
The author, because of personal traumas, decides to go on a spiritual/emotional journey. Have you ever gone through such a journey because of a personal trauma? And what did you learn about yourself?
Many years ago, I came back from living a year in Japan, and I had a spot on my lung. The treatment options were drastic: (1) a lifetime of steroids (which could affect fertility — hah!); (2) an experimental drug that wasn’t available in this country; or (3) a lobectomy, removal of that part of my lung.
Needless to say, I didn’t like any of my options.
About that time, a modern-day mystic named Ethel entered my life. Thus began a spiritual journey I am still on today. As I clear away crap, I have made room in my life for the man who would become my husband (a better man than I’d ever dreamed of), my children (ohhhh, how I’m grateful for these two), and improved health. There are ever-deepening layers of knowing and loving myself.
The author learns Italian for the pure love of it (no real practical reason). Have you wanted to learn something just for the pure sake of the knowledge? Did you pursue it and how did it make you feel once you had done it?
I’m laughing because blogging is something I do for no practical reason. I do it for fun. I make virtually no money (unless you just happen to click on any of the Google or BlogHer ads you see here, or order from my Amazon or Yoga ads — go on, be the first).
Blogging makes me feel great. If only laundry did, as well.
In Chapter 60, the plumber/poet from New Zealand gives Liz some Instructions for Freedom. #7: “Let your intention be freedom from useless suffering. Then, let go.” To what extent has any suffering you’ve experienced in response to your own struggles (such as infertility, loss, illness) been inevitable? Natural but unhelpful? Useless? Does the suffering serve any purpose for you? Is that purpose enough to justify ongoing suffering?
Here’s what I believe is true. That doesn’t mean I always live as though I believe it.
Suffering is a choice. Being uncomfortable has a purpose — to get us to change something that isn’t working. The signal to pursue pleasure is much more subtle than is the signal to end pain. When my higher self calls me to expand and grow, it often has to resort to the latter.
For example, I thought infertility would kill me. I thought my life was over, bleak, meaningless. But it was all just a story that was happening to the temporal me (let’s call her Small Lori). But infertility was not the defining theme for the timeless me, my spirit, my higher self (let’s call her Big Lori). Rather, it was what called Small Lori to grow, to rise above, to plow through, to toughen up, to open up. Clearing and opening like this enables the Small and the Big to unite for periods of time.*
So, to get back to the question: Is it inevitable? Yes (except for people who come into this life fully actualized). Natural? Yes. Like a caterpillar must become goo in a cocoon before it emerges as a butterfly. Unhelpful or useless? No. Not when prompted by Big Lori. Small Lori, however, does create unhelpful and useless suffering and drama on occasion. (OK. More frequently than that.)
So simple, yet not easy.
* Please note that I am speaking only about my own suffering. I would not presume to understand anyone else’s or to simplify it in these terms.
Great book. Read it if you haven’t.
Hop along to another stop on this blog tour by visiting the main list at Stirrup Queens (http://stirrup-queens.blogspot.com/). You can also sign up for the next book on this online book club: Baby Trail by Sinead Moriarty (with author participation).