When surrounded by the fog of uncertainty, the popular thought is to take one step at a time or “one day at a time, sweet Jesus.” Apparently, my personal reaction is to stick to routine above all things (one must have a tidy house when feeling suppressed with chaos) and alternate between bursts of energetically-getting-things-done and sit-and-read-a-book modes. Combine this with deciding once and for all that I must go to work and must change my eating behaviors before I will buy another item of clothing, and my life is topsy-turvy.
But is it really?
After reading Mists of Avalon (why not fully escape for 800+ pages for a little respite with the Goddess?), I finally decided to read Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Again, it’s a book that I was hesitant to read after it’s widespread popularity. And, I have to read it with an open heart because sometimes it comes across to me with the voice of a whiney New-Yorker, accompanied by the world’s smallest violin. I realize that it’s probably jealousy. She’s my shadow, and it’s easier not to like what she got to do than to try to manifest some of her privileges in my life. That, and I take most of my spiritual understanding and gifts for granted.
I am enjoying it, though, especially the Italy section that describes luscious foods in short detail. I’m on week 3 of the South Beach diet, finally able to stave off the sugar cravings and 7 lbs. lighter. Needless to day, penne and pastries and gelato aren’t on the menu for me these days. Most of the foods she describes I’m not sure I’d be able to handle anyway. (Octopus? Intestines? Really?) Like most Americans reading this book, it’s a good vicarious journey, akin to my affection for Under the Tuscan Sun. Fortunately for me, she’s leaving Italy (before I head downtown and raid Scarpino’s gelato stash) and heading to India. Maybe this will stimulate my meditation practice.
While several of Gilbert’s revelations triggered thoughts for me for further reflection, her laywoman’s interpretation of Italy’s infatuation with food intrigued me. You’ll have to read it yourself for her words, but let it suffice here to say that when you can’t control the rampant corruption and uncertainty of the powers that be or the world around you, you can rely on beauty — beautiful food, art, and music, to name a few — in this very moment. That makes this day worth living, worth enjoying, worth savoring.
This might explain some things. If Americans could direct our addictive tendencies toward expression through art, dance, music, creative and delicious foods, then maybe we would be a little less suppressed, obese (if we can practice moderation!), depressed, medicated, etc. Maybe. It’s just a thought.
As for me, I’ll appreciate the beauty around me. I’ll try to present our healthy meals a little better and to make the kids’ meals a little healthier, too. I’ll work at making our garden more enjoyable — flower and vegetable, poison ivy be damned! A tidy house is beautiful to me; maybe one day it will even be clean. I’ll keep working on my body temple, as my inspirational card suggests, and I’ll respect the beauty within that radiates outward. I have a beautiful husband, children, friends and family. Soon, even our budget will look beautiful as the debt dwindles and things become a little less vicarious. May I continue to do beautiful work with and for others.
With gratitude for all the beauty that surrounds me, I realize that no matter the circumstances, Love is certain. For isn’t it the love and appreciation for all these things that radiates the beauty after all?