I am currently reading the book Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I have been reading this book on and off since last spring. That just seems to be the way I read books. I have the intention of finishing, always. And almost always do finish the book on my own time and and my own pace, clearly! But, it doesn’t bother me. I don’t feel like a slow reader. I don’t even give myself deadlines for reading, unless I am trying to finish or almost finish a book before traveling somewhere for knowledge purposes. So, to sum up this little rabbit trail (that I began my blog with?), I love to read, but I enjoy doing it on my own time and at my own pace.
Going back to Eat, Pray, Love. I was reading it a few nights ago and was really struck by something (American author), Elizabeth Gilbert said. As a quick catch up though, for those of you that haven’t read the book, let me fill you in. The main character, Elizabeth is unhappy with her life in many ways. She is seeking a divorce with her husband, and just spends sleepless nights on the bathroom floor crying, wondering where her life has gone, and where it is headed. To speed ahead, she realizes she needs a drastic change, perspective shifter, new view on life, the whole deal. A big one. So, she sets off on a year long trip around the world. She starts off in Italy where she learns to love life (and food :). She spends a couple months there immersed in the culture and already begins to change. She continues her journey by heading to India where she taps into her “spirituality,” and learns to truly meditate and pray. She learns how to focus on a single thought and live in a moment…THE moment, (which is what this blog entry will eventually be about!), and then ends her year-long expedition in Bali, Indonesia where she learns the true meaning of love and what it looks like and feels like to practically love someone. Ok, phew…if you’re even remotely interested in this book after reading my review, kudos to me I guess!? Now go read the book 🙂
Ok, so back to a “a single thought…a single moment:Focus.” While Elizabeth is in India she is speaking with her Ashram about why it’s so easy for her to meditate and focus, but not for Elizabeth. The Ashram tells her to practice focusing on a single ONE thing such as the inhale and exhale of your breathing, or a single beam of light. Try focusing on it for one minute a day, and then two, and three the next day, and so on and so forth. That is something I have been trying to do recently because my mind goes a mile a minute! More so focusing on doing one single thing, or reading one single thing, or researching one single thing. It’s amazing how putting all your focus on one thing really pays off! It’s so much smarter than sort of focusing on a bunch of things. I’m learning a lot about where my mind wanders when unattended, that’s for sure!
Elizabeth’s Ashram says this about the human mind: “it is restless, turbulent, strong and unyielding. I consider it as difficult to subdue as the wind.” (Gilbert, P 131). Your mind is so powerful. Trying to wrap yourself around it and tell it you’re the boss is extremely difficult! It’s not impossible though. It can be done with simple techniques like I mentioned above! Or, ones you come up with on your own.
The quote that struck me the most though, that spurred me on to write this blog post was this one: “The other problems with all this swinging through the vines of thought is that you are never where you are. You are always digging in the past or poking at the future, but rarely do you rest in the moment.” I am guilty of this in my traveling at times!!! I am sooooo amazed at what I am seeing that in my mind I am already thinking about coming back in the future sometime, and how soon I can do it, or I am thinking about the last place I was at and how the new place I am at is/isn’t like this new place. Is this something you struggle with? I believe a lot of a current culture is like this. I know it’s not just me! I challenge you, along with myself, to live in each moment of each day this week!!! Let me know how it goes, and I will do the same. I’m not encouraging you to not plan anything and to just completelely throw caution to the wind, but I am encouraging you to focus on single thoughts and moments, and appreciate them, even the tough ones!