“[My guru] says that people universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you are fortunate enough. But that’s not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it…” —Elizabeth Gilbert
I wanted to include a quote today by the fabulous Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love. This book is an international best seller, and on August 13 the movie version, starring Julia Roberts, will be released, and I can’t wait to see it.
If you are not familiar with Eat, Pray, Love, it is Elizabeth’s real-life journal of setting off on a year of discovery to heal after a messy divorce. On her journey she travels to Italy to eat and enjoy the pleasures of life (with an emphasis on eating gelato); next, to India to meditate, practice yoga, and do some spiritual searching; and, finally, to Indonesia to find balance. If you can’t find balance in Bali, I’m not sure where you can. I could have found balance just from eating gelato three times daily.
I have to admit that I have not finished reading Eat, Pray, Love, but after reading the first portion of the book about her eating adventures in Italy, she had me at hello. The whole first section of the book describes in great detail her daily gastronomic delights and travels throughout Italy. Warning: Do not read this section of the book on an empty stomach. It made me want to hop on an Alitalia flight to Naples to check out the pizza she describes as being the best in the world. I really liked her restaurant-ordering tactic of asking the waiter to bring out the best dishes. What restaurant owner doesn’t want to be flattered in that way? And you know what they serve you is going to be superb (as long as you don’t have any food allergies). Plus, you don’t have the struggle of trying to decipher a menu in Italian!
Enough about the food. Barring the divorce part, this is a writing assignment I could wholly embrace—a one-year assignment traveling to faraway places I’ve always wanted to visit, eating amazing food, all-you-can-eat gelato, meditation and yoga, all while trying to figure out how to balance my life. Yeah, I could do that!
So, the Maria version of Eat, Pray, Love is Eat, Work, Yoga. Like Elizabeth, I, too, am taking a spiritual journey and making my personal effort all about finding happiness. Happiness in what I eat—by eating healthy, organic, locally grown foods (except for an occasional sushi or gelato binge). Happiness in my work—finding enjoyable work that allows me to indulge my passions for writing and yoga. Happiness in my practice of yoga, which has brought so many amazing things to my life, including a sense of balance and calm (without the long flight to Bali). I’m writing my Eat, Work, Yoga memoir each day at MariaMedia, and I’m really excited to say that in just a few days, I’ll be launching a new Web site to fulfill my passion for yoga: The Daily Downward Dog. Yes, The Daily Downward Dog will be spinning off into a full-blown multimedia experience of its own, so I’ll keep you posted as it launches.
Yeah, my spiritual journey is taking place in beautiful northeast Ohio and consists of eating, working, and practicing yoga, but I am truly blessed and happy, and I’m working diligently each day to maintain the bliss.
P.S. For my male readers (I know there are a few of you out there), check it out…the male version of Eat, Pray, Love came out last year, entitled Drink, Play, F@#k, by Bob Sullivan. The story covers a jilted husband’s journey from his home in New York City to a drinking binge in Ireland, the decadent party life in Las Vegas, and then off to the hedonistic pleasures of Thailand. I love a good parody.
Gelato Photo: Tan Hsin-Ee
Tags: Bob Sullivan, Daily Downward Dog, delicious food, Drink Play F@#k, Eat, Eat Pray Love Book, Elizabeth Gilbert, Elizabeth Gilbert quotes, Gelato, happiness, India, indian philosophy, Italy, Julia Roberts, Love, Meditation, Pizza, Pray, Self Discovery, spiritual practice, spirituality, Women Who Rock!, Work, world travel, Yoga