This past weekend, I was in one of my “I just don’t want to be called mommy for 24 hours” moods. So I hopped on a bus to New York for a break in the routine. While I had a great time eating my way through NYC, I think my real purpose was to make time in my life to read the book. Eat, Pray, Love.
First of all, let me say that the amount of books I read has diminished the last two years. In fact, I think the last book I read was Moneyball , a book about the analytics of baseball (a very good read, BTW).
Most days I feel as if I have more good luck than I can handle. But occasionally, I get sad or frustrated about not having more time. Can’t imagine what it must be like to be my family, listening to me stay, “I’m going out to write.” To do that, I often look past my kids’ dejected faces to get a hour to myself at Starbucks. Sometimes it feels as if I say no (to them) more than I say yes. And my husband … well … let’s not go there.
Fast forward to last Saturday.
Sometimes, books, like people, find you at a time in your life when you need them the most. I opened Elizabeth Gilbert’s book determined to distract myself on this four-hour ride. And as cheesy as it sounds, she has some passages that seem to reach out, grab me by my shirt collar, and say, “Pay attention.”
As Gilbert is deciding how to free herself from her life long enough to travel abroad for a year, I was immediately struck by this passage:
“The great Sufi poet Rumi poet once advised his students to write down three things they most wanted in life. If any item on this list clashes with any other item, Rumi warned, you are destined for unhappiness. Better to live a single-pointed focus, he taught. But what about the benefits of living harmoniously amid extremes? [And the line that touched me most]What if you could somehow create an expansive enough life that you could synchronize seemingly incongruous opposites into a worldview that excludes nothing?”
In these economic times when all of us are learning to live with less, I’m thinking about what it’s like to like with just enough? What kind of life can I live that’s just enough for me, where my family and friends are happier because I’m a little happier. And if I expand that circle, how can I make my community a little better if my life is a little better? What unnecessary things do I shed to make time for the things that matter?
At this moment, I have no answers to my questions. And I don't know if life philosophies are supposed to be this simple. Maybe in a few days or weeks, I can do a follow up to this confession. But this is enough for now—to finish reading Eat, Pray, Love.