24 August 2010

Chew On This

"People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they're not on your road doesn't mean they've gotten lost."
~Dalai Lama~

I just recently finished reading the oh so popular, "Eat, Pray, Love," and it was nothing short of DEE-LISH-US! I took my very sweet time reading the book as I found it comparable to a slice of key lime cheesecake with pecan graham cracker crust drizzled with raspberry sauce. (You're wondering about me, aren't you? haha)I have not been so moved by a book since "The Four Agreements," by Don Miguel Ruiz. The irony is that this book has been sitting in my "to read" pile for a little over a year. I finally decided to pick it up and see what all the hype was, not that the title alone wasn't enough to get me to shell out the 99 cents I paid for it at my favorite recycled bookstore. What I cannot understand, however, is how anyone could part with this "bible" of a book. I have highlighted the hell out of it and scribbled my usual notes in the margins. There are very few books that make it to my "life library," but this one is definitely a keeper.

If you have boobs and have ever known the heartache of struggling to unload life's backpack from your person in order to save your own ass, then you must read this book. The author, Elizabeth Gilbert, who is very funny, by the way, details her travels over the course of a year in search of "Self" after a devastating divorce and subsequent heartbreaking affair, a "loss upon loss," she writes. She takes off on her "voyage of self-discovery" that will include a year of travel to Italy, India and Indonesia; spending four months in each spot. Like so many others, I, too, have experienced her type of overload; only difference is, the best I can hope for is Bon Bons, Bubble Bath and a Blow Up Doll....there's the extent of my "eat, pray, and love." *Big sigh!*

Elizabeth's journey begins in Italy where she is in pursuit of pleasure and to also learn their "language of romance," which she has yearned to master. Personally, I find it a bit annoying and a little to "Godfathery" for my taste. "That's-uh very-uh spicy-uh meat-uh ball-uh!" Nope, not working for me. French....that's what I want my lover whispering into my ear! "Je veux vous aimer ce soir et pour toujours mon cheri." Oh yeah, that's what I'm talking about!! And how about Vietnamese? Now there's a birth control method for ya! I'll bet their foreplay includes two muzzles and ear plugs just for extra "protection." Okay, so where was I? Oh great! Now I can't get my French lover out of my mind's "rental space." I'll go ahead and give him another week before I start the eviction process.

So back to the book. After tons of fun and lottsa pasta in Italy, Elizabeth jets over to India where she moves into an ashram and begins her four months engrossed in learning the art of meditation, spiritual enlightenment and her "lasting experience of God." This was my favorite part of her journey. If you have ever tried to meditate, you know what I mean when I say, learning another language is probably much easier to accomplish than to calm a woman's mind. We multi-task 24/7; even when we are "trying" to sleep. I have done everything to quiet my mind and make the voices stop. I simply cannot do it...but I want to....oh so desperately. After reading the book, I have new hope as the author had the same problem. She is "burdened by what the Buddhists refer to as the "monkey mind," (thoughts swinging from vine to vine)." Immediately I had an intense craving for, not one, but a whole bunch of bananas. Coincidence? I don't think so.

With all these "swinging thoughts," one is "always digging in the past or poking into the future," writes Gilbert. The very thoughts that latch onto my brain like leaches sucking the energy out of any possibility whatsoever of enjoying current events. "Live in the "Now," are you kidding me? Who on earth is going to nurture my old wounds; keep them alive, if you will? Sounds idiotic, doesn't it? I just thought about Eleanor Roosevelt's quote, "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery and today is a gift, that is why it is called the present. And even though I think that quote is so profound, invariably I will spend the 86,400 seconds I am given a day rehashing my past or questioning my future. Makes me wonder if Eleanor herself even practiced what she preached. If I was a doctor, I'd be a quack. If I was a pastor, I'd be a hypocrite. If I were a man, well, I'd just be in the garage working on my project du jour. I have yet to meet a man (not saying that they don't exist) that even acknowledges he has a past, let alone, agonizes over it. How do they do that?

In the book, Gilbert writes that she has heard it said that "prayer is the act of talking to God, while meditation is the act of listening." Me, listen? Ha! Okay.....just as soon as donkeys take up flight. Well, that's not entirely true. I listen to some things....all the things I want to hear. But I'm changing! So help me God (are you listening?), I'm changing! I talk to God all of the time, but I never hang around to hear His answers. The same way I pass someone and say, "Hi, how are you?" and yet never wait for their response. It's not that I don't care how they are, I just feel more urgency to get back to my past or worrying about the future that hasn't happened yet. *Big sigh* So if you can sit still and rest your mind for even ten minutes, you will do yourself a favor. "The only place the mind will ever find peace is inside the silence of the heart." (as told to Gilbert by a monk.<----I just noticed that word was two letters shy of monk(ey). Perhaps monks are monkeys who have stopped "thought swinging." haha

Gilbert wraps up her journey in Indonesia on the island of Bali. While in Bali, she reunites with an old medicine man who she had met on a prior trip and befriends a Balinese healer that would change her life. Oh yeah, and then there's the "happily ever after" even after she has sworn off anything that will hurt her heart further. His "pick-up line," "We must get our hearts broken sometimes. This is a good sign, having a broken heart. It means we have tried for something." Smooth, right? Good, good book!! It is all the rage in facebook land, but not without "some" very perplexing controversy. Most are loving it, but some are "boycotting" it simply because yoga, meditation, healers and GASP.....Buddhists are involved. Give me a break!!!!

I actually had a woman ask me how I could call myself a Christian and practice yoga. RUFKM?! I didn't know how to respond because I couldn't get past her IGNORANT statement! And how can YOU call yourself a Christian while you are clearly judging me?! (a practice which seems to be okay amongst a large amount of the "Christians" in my life) One comment that has weighed heavily on my heart was one written in response to someone who had just seen the movie. The comment was, "That's why I haven't bothered to read the book or see the movie. And now she's a Buddhist? Weird!" Why does ANYONE's path to "goodness" have to be labeled at all, much less as "weird?!" To my mind, her statement was weird! Who cares how you get there, so long as you get there! My friend Kim "rocked it" on her facebook page beside "Religious Views." She wrote, "I'm sure Jesus and Buddha were both on the right track." I will never forget reading that for the first time and thinking, "Wow! Just WOW!" Why is that the hardest thing for people to get?

I, myself, was never taken to church a day in my life so I had to discover religion on my own. I had no religious "identity," so to speak. I had myself baptised Catholic so that I could get a reduction on my oldest son's tuition at the Catholic school he attended.(and maybe a little pre-planning on my way to becoming Mrs. JFK, Jr. haha) Okay, so now I'm a Catholic....what's next? I was lost....completely lost amongst the rituals, the sacraments, THE CONFESSIONALS?!! I take issue with anyone other than God who decides my penance. And inasmuch as I respect every one's choice of religion, the Catholic church was not where I found "my" God.

I visited many more churches and various religions trying to find my "home." It is was much harder than finding the perfect pair of shoes, but there was no question when the day finally arrived; when I had arrived. The "Angels" truly did sing. That was eight years ago and I still have a hard time wrapping my brain around religion and all it's controversy. My religion? The building in which I attend services is non-denominational; my church is right where it always has been and always will be, in my heart. You will never hear me say this one or that one is going to hell because of anything. It is not my place. You will never hear me say that your choice of religion is not the right one. It is your choice. Kindness....that is my religion.

Eat (healthfully) and Pray for Love,
The Paper Whisperer


Anonymous said...

Well said my Sistah !! Well said!!! Love & Miss you both!!! Jeanne

Anonymous said...

I don't believe in God, but your writing is laugh out loud funny!

Anonymous said...

I've known you for ten years and knew nothing about a blow up doll! Want to share? Another GREAT story, Robarino! Love you AND your humor. Desperate for some laughter today. Can I borrow your doll? baha

Anonymous said...

Well said, Robin!! Bravo!! ~Doris

The Paper Whisperer said...

Thanks Jeanne! We miss you both, also and of course, love you always!

Dear Anon-Let me be your "God." haha I have a few friends who do not believe in God and they are still my friends. You can stop by anytime you like just try and forewarn me so I can lay my kite and key down. I'M JUST KIDDING! Thank you!

I was wondering who would be ballsy enough to question my blow up doll. Shoulda known it'd be you! There is NO blow up doll. I needed a "B" word and blow-up doll was the first thing to pop into my deranged little head. haha Do they even make those for women? Hope nothing serious is wrong...call me if you want to! I'll make ya laugh, you know I will! Hugs!!

Anonymous said...

Ahh...yes... EPL was read in 2007 and took some time as I was so darned bored while visiting Italy.. it was clearing of my mind of her heartache with the divorce which went into longterm memory mode for me... rehashing those memories was hell! India was more like it! I went to TX to find myself in the 80's, after a breakup with a "love"... not as eventful as Gilbert's travels but did the trick.... there's no place like home....can't compare Buddha with Christ... Buddha is dead.. Christ isn't.. kindness and love are the keys... Sunny..love your
humorous prose dahling... you make me laugh... I too am Catholic recently... to take communion without having to go to two church services..... hhhhhhhh.... love my man! oh .. next read... Committed... let me know your thoughts...

The Paper Whisperer said...

Dear New Catholic~India moved me the most! ALL of it! I would never in a million think of going to a place like Texas to find anything other than a great steak! But, hey, whatever works! You have made a somewhat valid point regarding Buddha/Christ, however, I am still of the mindset, "to thine own self be true." To me, it is small peanuts in the grand scheme of things. A song just popped into my head, "In the end, only kindness matters..." can't think of who sings it. CRS kicking full force on Monday's! Amen? Looking forward to committed...stay tuned! Thanks for taking the time to write.

Anonymous said...

Loved this article, your take and always your humor. I haven't read the book, actually... have never heard of it! But you've certainly spiked my curiosity. Thinking you find this as hilarious as I did~ I laughed out loud when you mentioned the monkeys!!!!!
I attended a Buddhist convention downtown in the early 90's. There were guest speakers, the monks chanted and made a huge sand mandala and of course they had BOOKS!!!!! I bought a book, "Taming our Monkey Mind" by Phyllis Krystal... about insight, detachment, identity!!! Although I found an interesting read, my husband still laughs at me over this book and getting those damn monkeys off my back and out of my head!
Please let me know if you'd like to borrow!!! lmao ♥karen

The Paper Whisperer said...

Oh, my little "care" bear, Karen! Monkey see, monkey do! And how'd that "BOOK" work out for ya?! And I don't want to just "borrow" it, I want to shred it, liquify it and put it in an IV drip hooked up to my monkey butt!!! Thanks for sharing your funniness, honey-ness! I owe ya a banana! ;-D

Anonymous said...

Loved you posting, girlie! Will have to consider the read.

On the meditation thing... I hear ya on the 'swinging thoughts' thing. I was told that in meditation, you try to let your mind be blank but things will be
bubbling around as you do. The key was to continue your effort to enjoy and listen to the eventual silence. (Although my head is never truly silent in there! I have still not located the OFF switch!)

As far as religion, I am just sort of dissappointed in all that I have seen presented. It seems a bit suspicious to me that the one BOOK folks try to follow is such a collection of 'examples' for life. And I just cannot seem to trust in a single source of reference that has been so blatantly edited. How
come you never read anything about the life of Christ between age 13 and 30? I ain't buying. I do believe in an ultimate higher power, just not what others
prefer, he he he. I have found some comforts outside the 'norm' as it were.

Nature is the greatest example and teacher in my opinion. And as far as all those rules and regulations, along with all the free bonus critics that are
included - no thank you.(to be continued if you are ever interested)

I love your writing. And I love you! You have the true gift of words and I ingest them ravenously, lol.

Keep on plinking those keys my dearest!

Angie Ledbetter said...

Well, guess I'm your only non-Anony friend? LOL

Glad you enjoyed the book, and the journey. And, yes, kindness/love is the most important thing. 'Specially to one's self.

The Paper Whisperer said...

Hey Rob! Apparently the "art" of mediatation requires a lot of practice. I'm definitely afflicted with the "monkey mind." Please let me know if you ever find that "off" switch. I don't think it's the same "off" that people are constantly telling me I. haha

The "Book," is an area of struggle for me, and has been for some years. I read it as a beautiful story, and the "gospel" of many opinions (and everyone has one, don't they?)...an ancient facebook, if you will/won't. I still chuckle to think that they actually have people place their hand on the "book" and "promise to tell the whole truth, nothing but the truth, so help you God," and think they are actually going to tell the truth! I think they'd have a better chance of getting people to tell the truth with their hand placed on Oprah magazine. Why? Because EVERYONE knows how much power/influence that Oprah has. haha I pity the fool! Did you happen to see her show that she was lambasting "A Million Little Pieces" author, James Frey? Whoa Nelly! She chewed him a new one for humiliating her and I think he is now in the witness protection program. haha But enough about "me," I want to hear your "more!" Please share! I love ya back and thank you always for your support! You keep readin' and I'll keep writin'!

Angie, you are correctamundo! Self-love....hardest and yet most productive! Please stop by more often, as I like the color photos. Whole different world from your bloggage with all your colorful followers. Big sigh....when I grow up, I wanna be just like you!!! :-D

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I think most Christians meeting Jesus, wearing jeans and a plaid shirt, would, upon listening and watching him, declare he was not Christian.

Too many of us follow image not substance.

I'm glad you found illumination and healing in this book.

Teachers are great. But if we walk in their steps alone, we do not choose where our feet head. And if we do that, how can the path we take truly be ours?

I think wisdom and healing exists, not across the seas, but in the faces we meet everyday and within our thoughts and wounds.

You have written a funny, insightful post -- thanks.

Have a great weekend. Love the title of your blog, Roland

The Paper Whisperer said...

Dear Roland~
Wow! Wow! Wow! Very well said! A perfectly PERFECT "prescription" for healing the mind, body and soul. Follow in His footsteps, but don't cover your own tracks??! Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving YOUR footprints and your powerful words. Enjoy your Labor Day!

Laura Boatner said...

I read this at your suggestion. I'm glad I did. Kindness...pure and simple. What a concept.