By Elizabeth Gilbert
Apparently, lately all I have to blog about is the books I read. I started this one a long time ago and since the school year and sports seasons have started, it’s taken me awhile to finish it. This is the story of Elizabeth Gilbert and her yearlong travels to Italy, India and Indonesia to examine one area of her nature in each place. I really got a lot out of this book and as much as this post is to let you know how enjoyable this was to read, it’s just for my own notes as well.
Hindus and Buddhists – have a string of 108 beads (japa malas), this tradition was eventually brought to Europe as rosary. People carry and rub the beads as their mantra and symbol of faith. Elizabeth divides her story into 108 tales, or beads. The book is divided into three sections of 36 tales each. She wrote the story during her 36th year (how symbolic!).
Italy – discovery of pleasure (Italian language and cuisine)
Wrote to herself in recognition of herself as a friend:
“I'm here. I love you. I don't care if you need to stay up crying all night long. I will stay with you. If you need the medication again, go ahead and take it. I will love you through that, as well. I f you don't need the medication, I will love you, too. There's nothing you can ever do to lose my love. I will protect you until you die, and after your death I will STILL protect you. I am strong that Depression and I am braver than Loneliness and neither will ever exhaust me.”
India – examination of devotion faith (stayed in the Ashram of her Guru)
An excerpt from story #49
“I have searched frantically for contentment for so many years in so many different ways, and all these acquisitions and accomplishments – they run you down in the end. Life, if you keep chasing it so hard, will drive you to death. … Time when pursued like a bandit will behave like one. … At some point, you have to stop because it won’t. You have to admit that you can’t catch it. That you’re not supposed to catch it. … You gotta sit still and let contentment come to you.”
"So I've started being vigilant about watching my thoughts all days, and monitoring them. I repeat this vow about 700 times a day: "I will not harbor unhealthy thoughts anymore." Every time a diminishing thought arises, I repeat the vow. I will not harbor unhealthy thoughts anymore. The first time I heard myself say this, my inner ear perked up at the word "harbor," which is a noun as well as a verb. A harbor, of course, is a place of refuge, a port of entry. I pictured the harbor of my mind - a little beat-up, perhaps, a little storm-worn, but well situated and with a nice depth. The harbor of my mind is an open bay, the only access to the island of my Self (which is a young and volcanic island, yes, but fertile and promising). This island has been through some wars, it is true, but it is now committed to peace, under a new leader (me) who has instituted new policies to protect the place. And now - let the word go out across the seven seas - there are much, much stricter laws on the books about who may enter this harbor.
You may not come here anymore with your hard and abusive thoughts, your plague ships of thoughts, with your slave ships of thoughts, with your warships of thoughts - all these will be turned away. Likewise, any thoughts that are filled with angry or starving exiles, with malcontents and pamphleteers, mutineers and violent assassins, desperate prostitutes, pimp and seditious stowaways - you may not come here anymore, either. Cannibalistic thoughts, for obvious reasons, will no longer be received. Even missionaries will be screened careful, for sincerity. This is a peaceful harbor, the entryway to a fine and proud island that is only now beginning to cultivate tranquility. If you can abide by these new laws, my dear thoughts, then you are welcome in my mind - otherwise, I shall turn you all back toward the sea from when you came.
That is my mission, and it will never end.”
...to be continued...