Recently I re-read Elizabeth Gilbert's wonderful Eat, Pray, Love. There is something about this book that speaks to me, her wanderlust, her enthusiasm, her knee smacking humor. I can admire her willingness to live life with open arms, even in the face of deep depression and striking emotional loss. But mostly I relate to her search for self and faith and hope in a world that sometimes, if you let it, can feel cold and lonely and oppresively small.
The thing I'm really pondering on, lately, is a little blurb towards the end of the book, where a wizened old Balineese medicine man instructs her to mediate by sitting still and smiling at the world..."even in your liver!"
Too often I catch myself being harsh and cynical, trying to beat everyone to the punchline, to hidden truths. I try so hard to avoid being embarassed or in the dark or vulnerable. I want the world to think I'm strong! I'm clever! You can't pull a fast one on me! Most of the time I'm scared of being made a fool of again, of having my heart trampled on, of things I can neither control nor know. I want to know! But where is the strength in that sort of paranoia? How much of the world will I miss out on because I'm too afraid to sit still, smile, and tell the world so be it.
Happiness, she postulates, is something we choose. Something we work at and fight for and never get lazy about. Maybe if we smile at the world enough, the world will smile back.
I want to find out.