“I think I deserve something beautiful.”
~ Elizabeth Gilbert
Those of you who have read the book or perhaps have seen the movie “Eat Pray Love” know that it’s the story of a woman who went on a world-wide travel adventure to “find herself.” She spent four months in three different locations, each with a bend toward a different aspect of the human condition … sensual satisfaction of the palate, ears and eyes; deep soul searching and a sublime transcendent union with the universe; and finally the blending, the balancing of it all in glorious love. A friend recently commented that The Ride reminded her in some ways of this memoir, and it didn’t take long for me to recognize how very right she was. Nor long to borrow the book again from our local library to re-examine it with a new understanding and fresh perspective. Although my journey was never about “finding myself’,” the endless miles of driving did, nevertheless, bring a cornucopia of new insights and some surprising changes (like that I suddenly love bright colored clothes, sparkly nailpolish and purple curtains … I mean, really, where on earth did that come from??) in this person I call lovingly call “me.” And also a realization of something rather interesting….
I separated from my husband, who I later divorced, in 1989 after 10 difficult years of marriage. From 1989 to 2003 – a period of 14 years – I spent on myself, for the most part, catering to typical human needs and wants … working, relationships, enjoying theater, music, art, food, parties, shopping, wine, sex, etc. … and not giving much thought, if any, to the spiritual side of life. In 2002, I moved from PA to NY state, to live in the area where many generations of my ancestors had lived and died – and to get away from a pressure-filled job and the crowded, noisy city. To quietly enjoy a peaceful, slower-paced life among the lushly beautiful hills and checkerboard farmlands of Upstate NY. A few months after I moved I entered into a relationship that, upon its heartbreaking demise in 2003, had me careening off into a quest for understanding, from a spiritual level, the why’s and wherefores of myself and life … and a few other people. Initially, I spent four solid days doing nothing much more than staring at a lake deep in the Adirondack mountains, repeatedly whispering the words “Show me” to the waters, the woods, the sunsets. To any bit of the cosmos that would listen. And possibly answer. I came back full of hope and curiosity … and delightedly delved into 14 years of spiritual pursuit and enlightenment.
As I returned from my two years on the road in early May, I knew there would be a period of readjustment, a need to rebalance, or as a Facebook friend called it, “unpacking.” What I hadn’t realized was just how much of a challenge this unpacking process would be … re-entry into the orbit of “normal” life is taking longer than I anticipated, gravity weighing in with force and heat shields straining under the blaze of a new day’s light. Just who is this person now? What are her hopes and dreams today … and what are they going forward? Where does her soul meet her humanness? I find it rather provocative to discover that prior to the Ride, my adult life had consisted of two very separate and distinctly different 14 year periods. As I enter into what will most likely be the last parenthetical period of my life (though I admit I hope for a little longer than 14 years!), I, like Elizabeth Gilbert in the book, am looking at a beautiful time of coalescence. A time of balancing, of the bringing together … a blending and an integration of the seasons of my life that had gone before. An epoch of giving birth to what is yet to come. “At some point, you gotta let go, and sit still, and allow contentment to come to you.” Contentment, yes indeed. And maybe even that last glorious love. But it’s going to take some time.
For now, though, I think I’ll pour a glass of wine, sit on the deck, and watch the sun set. Each day will come when its due.