Sunday, June 26, 2016

Best Words This Week : From Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It

Welcome to Best Words This Week.  It's a recurring post around here. 

This week I'm reading Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It.  It's a collection of writing from people who were inspired to change their lives after they read Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat Pray Love.  I read Eat Pray Love a long time ago (maybe eight or nine years).  I enjoyed it a lot and said Amen to a number of things Gilbert talked about in it.  It obviously inspired a lot of people to change their lives afterwards, as there are enough stories to literally fill a book.  I think that's because at its core, Eat Pray Love is about change. That's something everyone can relate to.  As Gilbert says in the introduction:

"It wasn't about travel, or spirituality, or divorce.  No, Eat Pray Love was about what happens when one human being realizes that her life doesn't have to look like this anymore - that everything (including herself) can be changed.  After that realization occurs, nothing will ever be the same again."

She goes on to write,

"My friend, Pastor Rob Bell, has a wonderful definition for the word despair.  He says despair is a spiritual condition in which you convince yourself that tomorrow is going to be exactly the same as today."

I love this.  Despair comes from when you're in a bad situation that you think you have no way out of.  But change is the antidote. 

Another bit I loved was Lisa Becker's contribution "Happy Wife, Happy Life".  Becker explains that although she was able to stay home with her children because her husband had a very good job, it completely unmoored her.  Even though she was delighted to be a mother, she had to find a way to go back to work, even if it wasn't the same way she worked before the children.  Her husband encouraged her to go back to work part time.  After some adjustments, she found a way to balance her work-self and mother-self.   She shares a conversation she had with her daughter about going back to work:

"She looked perplexed. 'You don't like being a mom?'

I cupped her face in my hands, kissed her heart-shaped lips, and said, 'No, I LOVE being a mom...and the fact that I work and I'm a writer makes me a better mother.'

She pondered this, 'Are you saying you're trying to be a good example for me?'

I laughed. 'YES!' I said. 'I did not join your life, you joined mine, and it's my responsibility as your mother to show you what's lead by support all your teach you how to be to follow your dreams...and how to love yourself first.'

This reminded me of my own mother who told me that when she was a stay at home mom, she started having terrible anxiety.  She went back to work, and it made her better mother.  And it set a great example for me as her daughter.

Love yourself first.  Then you can love others.  Which brings me to one more piece from what I've read so far.  One of the contributors. Shannon Sykes Westgate, wrote about a change of career. She bought a resort in Northern Michigan even though her background was in integrative medicine practice management.  She is much happier since she made the complete change in career.

She writes that she once heard the quote, "Your job is the excuse through which you get to love people."  I can't credit anyone with those words since the author admits they are not her own but also doesn't know who said them, but this resonates with me.  There's the job you get paid for.  I know these words are true for me in my "job" of being a teacher.  But we all have lots of "jobs" besides the one we get paid for.  Mother, father, wife, husband, daughter, son, sister, brother, friend, neighbor to name a few.  I could go on and on about this, but as I said in this post (and it was number one on the list for a reason) I believe love is doing.  If it's just a feeling backed up by no actions, it's not really love.  So I think that's why these words jumped out at me like they did.  When I hear the word "job", I think of work.  Action.  Love is action.

None of the people who contributed to this said change was easy.  Most of them did not get it right on the first try (or second or third and so on in some cases). But the only way they were able to grow was to take the first step.

If you haven't read Eat Pray Love, you should.  If you have, you would probably enjoy Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It.


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