I’ve recently been reading Eat, Pray Love as I somehow put off getting the most recent bookclub book and neither KLR or SMC seem to be offering me theirs, as they were a bit more proactive on getting into the library queue. Yes, I totally just tried to shrug my laziness off upon my generally good natured and obviously more on top of it friends. I also recently blamed KLR for my slightly neurotic behavior (because, since she no longer lives near me to discuss sanity issues, it’s clearly her fault. As a BFF, she should have to follow me when I move. It’s in the job description.)
But back to the book. In general I don’t like her premise. I find her to be quite selfish and self-centered. However, she’s a spectacular writer and I do find many of the the personal explorations quite interesting. I’m through her time in Italy – which, if you ask me, didn’t focus nearly enough on the wine that went with her quest for the next best meal.
Now, she’s off to India. I’ve been there – this chapter is not going to be about the food. Or the smells, which was probably a stronger sensory experience for me. I made a lsit of the smells of India: dogs. exhaust. curry. incense. Non-showered humans (specifically my American travel companions, so fear not that this is a statement about race or nationality. The fact of the matter is, a bucket just can’t get you as Zestfully clean as a shower). As you can tell, this trip didn’t didn’t put Southeast Asia on my vacation list. It’s a fascinating culture, the people are nice, all that… but I was glad to be home.
So, Liz of the Book arrives in India in search of devotion. Aside from the obvious – that you don’t really have to go anywhere to find that – I do think this experience will add depth to her character. Most of her belief language is Hindi-esque with Yoga as a vehicle – that is, the medititation-like “Om” yoga, not the Jillian Michaels DVD that fails to mention words like “namaste” or “inner” (unless in the context of “working those inner thighs”). I found a lot of it a bit wishy-washy – that is, until she started in on a guru. The stage-2 Yogi. The wisdom-leader. The medicine man of the soul.
Sold. I totally want one.
From my days of fettishing after Jewish subculture and practices, I know that the rabbi can sometimes hold a similar place… a student would “sit at the feet” of the rabbi and learn his teachings. Soak in the wisdom. Better herself. Become self-actualized. Live better, love better. All those things you can cross-stitch into a pillow or find on a cover of a day planner.
Don’t get me wrong… Jesus is my Guru, the best place to begin to learn about life. But at different points in my life I’ve been privilaged to have a relationship with different people that shed light into my life; it was like a refreshing breath. Sometimes it was encouragement, sometimes it was hard truth, often times it was nothing to do with me but rather the world and its design. But I loved the freedom and ability and luxury of sharing these thoughts with another human being and having reciprocated conversation around things of existential nature (can I use “existential” to modify “things”? Is that a bit of an oxymoron?).
I don’t have the time to run off to India for 6 weeks to become enlightened; I believe I can learn a bit about devotion in the rainy spring of Ohio. But I’m totally jealous of her dedication and follow through. I bet she gets the book club book the night after it’s selected, too. I’m also jealous of her book deal that turned into a movie starring Julia Roberts. And I’m jealous that she got paid in advance to take this trip and then write about it. But all this jealousy talk is probably not good for my inner-self. If I had a guru, I’m sure that’s what she’d say.
Do I put this under a “jobs” or “services” on Craigslist?