Posts Tagged ‘Self-Discovery’

So…its here..the movie version of Elizabeth Gilbert’s runaway best selling book opens today. I have a date this weekend with a group of girlfriends to go see it. I’ve downloaded the CD from itunes. As a yogi and a wanderluster, I’ll admit right up front, I’m an unabashed fan girl. This is my version of “Sex in the City” weekend.

As I anticipate seeing the movie, I am reflecting on the many, many discussions I’ve had about Elizabeth Gilbert’s story of travel and self-discovery since I first read the book several years ago.  Reactions vary from my own…”I LOVE it, I LOVE Elizabeth Gilbert, I want to hang out with her–I’m certain we’d be fast friends. I want to be the ashram’s key hostess. I want to go to Bali and laugh from my liver.” To…“I didn’t care for it,  Elizabeth Gilbert seems self indulgent, people just don’t leave their lives (or their husbands) like that”–to many variations in between.  I am struck by how intensely personal each reaction is.  It seems to me that each reaction is a mirror to where an individual is in their life–no single opinion is right or wrong–we are just where we are.But, if we pay attention to our reaction to the story–we can gain awareness. What makes you afraid? What makes you angry? What makes you laugh? Do you maybe feel jealous?

I’m writing this post while sitting in a cafe, Just now, I can hear two women discussing the book. They are both saying how unrealistic the story is–that most people can’t just drop out and travel around the globe for a year to find themselves.

It is true, Liz Gilbert had a book contract in hand before she set off on her year abroad. That’s a really nice thing to have. I get that we don’t all have book contracts or trust funds or whatever you think it would take to make a break for it like Liz.  I will tell you that I know more than one person who has done a similar thing. They made a decision that they wanted to take some time to travel and gain some breathing space–they planned for it financially and took some risks and some really wonderful things happened for them as a result. I’d say that, if you think you want to take off in this way, its important to really know your intention before you take off–because travel without an intention is just escape.

The truth is, I don’t think that we necessarily need a pot of gold to embrace the spirit of this story. To me, the larger theme of the book was just to listen to what your heart is telling you and move towards it, regardless of whether your family, your friends, your work colleagues or society thinks its the “right” thing to do. I think that anyone can take a journey like Liz’s even without getting on a plane, even without quitting your job and leaving your life behind. I think it may take longer and… c’mon…admit it…won’t be nearly as fun, but you can take a similar journey inward without actually going anywhere. With the intention to follow your gut and your heart… magic can happen…just like it did for Liz.

Please share with me your thoughts about the book, the movie or any old thing related.

Update:  Saw the movie loved it, loved the meandering quality, beautiful cinematography. It made me want to reread the book because it reminded  me of pieces I had forgotten.


I’m just home from yoga class tonight. I had not been to class with Gopi, one of my favorite DC area teachers, in quite some time. What I like best about Gopi’s classes is that she infuses her vinyasa flow classes with bits of yoga philosophy. Tonight’s class theme was transitions, both on the mat and off.

Gopi encouraged us to pay attention to the transition from one pose to the next. She urged us to move with intention and grace. Then she asked the class how do your transitions on the mat mirror the way in which you face transitions off the mat? The moment she posed the question I broke out into a broad smile and thought to myself, ah yes, I see…transitions. Yoga is so often therapy–but a heckofa lot cheaper–isn’t it?

How do you make transitions in your yoga practice? Do you close your eyes? Do you hesitate? In class tonight, I made this observation, I hurry through my transitions rushing to get from one posture to the next. My transitions in yoga class are generally not made consciously, seems I’m avoiding the awkward middle phase. Why yes Gopi, you are right, my transitions off the mat have tended to be rushed and unconscious too.

Transitions are uncomfortable. If you are like me, when in a transition you may feel aimless, unfocused even slightly unhinged. I am currently in transition in several aspects of my life and have been for several months. Recently, I’ve noticed myself feeling impatient. I just want to get this whole transition thing over with already. That’s my old pattern of dealing with transitions. I hesitate to begin a transition until the heat is so hot that I have to jump out of the fire. Then, I’m ready to jump anywhere just to get my bum out of the flames. Rinse. Repeat.

For the series of off the mat transitions that I currently find myself in I am valiantly trying to slow down, sit with the discomfort, attempt to understand it, maybe even befriend it and learn a little something while I’m at it. Then move with intention and grace and hopefully avoid the nasty bum scorching this time. While I feel frustrated that I don’t know where all this evolution is leading me, something is decidedly different this time around. I have a sense of faith that the not knowing is ok. That, even though I’m not sure where this path is leading me, simply staying on the path is what is important and that this time when I arrive at my destination I’ll know a whole lot more about how I got there and my bum will be blister-free.

At the end of savasana Gopi challenged us to think of ways we can align our inner and outer worlds. She encouraged us to bring more of authentic selves to every part of our lives. That is really the ultimate transition isn’t it? I think its just that kind of universal transition that I’ve embarked upon. This time, I’m going to slow down and enjoy the ride.

So readers, does this resonate with you? What do you notice about how you deal with transitions in class and in life? Please, leave a comment. Would love to have a discussion with you.

Photo courtesy of brungrrl via Flickr with a cc license


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