Sunday, May 18, 2008

eat pray love

now that my mom is home, and finally beginning the long process of recuperating from her nine days in absolute hell, a good portion of her care involves watching her sleep. this is a welcome relief from watching her try to survive constant, excruciating pain, believe me. and so i've been spending her "down" time reading elizabeth gilbert's "eat, pray, love", a wonderful book recommended to me by the always lovely Monique. the book follows one year of Gilbert's life as she travels to Italy (eat), India (pray) and Indonesia (love) during an especially difficult time in her life.

I've just finished the Italy journey.

My favorite passage:

"It was in a bathtub back in New York, reading Italian words aloud from a dictionary, that I first started mending my soul. My life had gone to bits and I was so unrecognizable to myself that I probably couldn't have picked me out of a police lineup. But I felt a glimmer of happiness when I started studying Italian, and when you sense a faint potentiality for happiness after such dark times you must grab onto the ankles of that happiness and not let go until it drags you face-first out of the dirt--this is not selfishness, but obligation. You were given life; it is your duty (and also your entitlement as a human being) to find something beautiful within life, no matter how slight.

I came to Italy pinched and thin. I did not know yet what I deserved. I still maybe don't fully know what I deserve. But I do know I have collected myself of late--through the enjoyment of harmless pleasures--into somebody much more intact. The easiest, most fundamentally human way to say it is that I have put on weight. I exist more now than I did four months ago. I will leave Italy noticeably bigger than when I arrived here. And I will leave with the hope that the expansion of one person--the magnification of one life--is indeed an act of worth in this world. Even if that life, just this one time, happens to be nobody's but my own."

I also enjoyed this little passage, mostly because i can relate to being The Family Flake. And because my nieces lovingly refer to me as their "Crazy Auntie Darl."

"...I'm wary of the danger that if I drift about this world randomly for too long, I may someday become the Family Flake. Or it may have already happened. Last summer, my five-year-old niece had a little friend over to my sister's house to play. I asked the child when her birthday was. She told me it was January 25.

'Uh-oh!' I said. 'You're an Aquarius! I've dated enough Aquarians to know that they are trouble.'

Both five-year-olds looked at me with bewilderment and a bit of fearful uncertainty. I had a sudden horrifying image of the woman I might become if I'm not careful: Crazy Aunt Liz. The divorcee in the muumuu with the dyed orange hair who doesn't eat dairy but smokes menthols, who's always just coming back from her astrology cruise or breaking up with her aroma-therapist boyfriend, who reads the Tarot cards of kindergarteners and says things like, 'Bring Aunty Liz another wine cooler, baby, and I'll let you wear my mood ring.'

Eventually I may have to become a more solid citizen again, I'm aware of this.

But not yet...please. Not just yet."

Stay tuned...more passages to follow, I'm sure.

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