There were times, especially when I was traveling for 'Eat, Pray, Love,' when, I swear to God, I would feel this weight of my female ancestors, all those Swedish farmwives from beyond the grave who were like, 'Go! Go to Naples! Eat more pizza! Go to India, ride an elephant! Do it! Swim in the Indian Ocean. Read those books. Learn a language.'
Listen - of course money changes everything, but so does sunlight, and so does food: These are powerful but neutral energy sources, neither inherently good nor evil but shaped only by the way we use them.
I have no business being a journalist. I'm the least, I'm the least - I'm the most trusting, I absolutely make a habit of believing anything that anybody tells me about themselves. I've never had any reason in the world to think that anyone has wanted to harm me, or lie to me. I believe whatever is being sold, most of the time.
As somebody who, in my second marriage, insisted on a prenuptial agreement, I can also testify that sometimes it is an act of love to chart the exit strategy before you enter the union, in order to make sure that not only you, but your partner as well, knows that there will be no World War III should hearts and minds, for any sad reason, change.
It's not an accident that both my sister and I are writers. Our parents created an accidental Petri dish. My family has great storytellers, and I grew up in a very funny, conversational house and didn't have television. This small family farm was a bubble world that didn't have much to do with reality.
I think sometimes we look at other people's marriages and we think they must always be so happy together. I don't know anybody who's married for a long time who hasn't somehow made room in their love story for the hate and resentment that they sometimes feel toward each other.
Unfenced by law, the unmarried lover can quit a bad relationship at any time. But you - the legally married person who wants to escape doomed love - may soon discover that a significant portion of your marriage contract belongs to the State, and that it sometimes takes a very long while for the State to grant you your leave.
Creativity itself doesn't care at all about results - the only thing it craves is the process. Learn to love the process and let whatever happens next happen, without fussing too much about it. Work like a monk, or a mule, or some other representative metaphor for diligence. Love the work. Destiny will do what it wants with you, regardless.
I've always considered myself lucky that I do not have many passions. There's only one pursuit that I have ever truly loved, and that pursuit is writing. This means, conveniently enough, that I never had to search for my destiny; I only had to obey it.
Men go into marriage with virtually no expectations whatsoever. Ten years later, the men are delightfully surprised to find out that it's actually kind of nice, and the women have sort of had to take a nose dive from what they thought it was going to be.
Most important, though, I had to wait until I found the perfect traveling/eating/drinking/napping companion. And I did finally find him, two years ago - my Brazilian-born, French-speaking, wine-worshipping, tripe-consuming, uncomplaining traveler of a sweetheart.
My career started young and I was really ambitious, and then I had success and I hung out with people who were much older. I think I might have been temporally misplaced, so I thought I was 40. It was a premature midlife crisis.
What I think is amazing is not that 85% of people who get married under the age of 25 get divorced, it's that 15% of them stay together. How did they manage to pull that off? You almost can't wait too long. It's the single simplest measure to predict divorce.
Which is - you know, like check it out, I'm pretty young, I'm only about 40 years old. I still have maybe another four decades of work left in me. And it's exceedingly likely that anything I write from this point forward is going to be judged by the world as the work that came after the freakish success of my last book, right?
When somebody has an enormous success in this culture, people start asking two questions, which are 'What are you doing now?' and 'How are you going to beat that?' And I have to say, I love the assumption that your intention is to beat yourself constantly - that you're in battle against yourself.
Despite having written five books, I worry that I have not written the right kinds of books, or that perhaps I have dedicated too much of my life to writing, and have therefore neglected other aspects of my being.
When I lost my friends, it was because I had used the power of giving on them recklessly. I swept into their lives with my big fat checkbook, and I erased years of obstacles for them overnight - but sometimes, in the process, I also accidentally erased years of dignity.
I feel like there are women who are genuinely born to be mothers, and women who are born to be aunties, and women who really probably not should be allowed near children. The tragedy that happens is when any one of those women ends up in the wrong category.
I think it's wonderful when a love story begins with a great deal of romance and affection, passion and excitement, that's how it should be. But I don't necessarily know that it's the wisest thing in the world to expect that it ends there, or that it should, 30 years down the road, still look as it did on the night of your first kiss.
I think it's unfortunate that there exists only one path in America to complete social legitimacy, and that is marriage. I think, for instance, that it would be far easier for Americans to elect a black president or a female president than an unmarried president.
That is who Barack Obama is - a person of admirable character - and that is who he has remained for me over these last four years. I have not agreed with his every decision, but never once have I seen him break his cool, lose his composure, or abandon his insightful perspective - even during the most serious and/or absurd national disasters.
I should just put it bluntly, because we're all sort of friends here now - it's exceedingly likely that my greatest success is behind me. Oh, so Jesus, what a thought! You know that's the kind of thought that could lead a person to start drinking gin at nine o'clock in the morning, and I don't want to go there.
I push every day against forces that say you have to go faster, be more effective, be more productive, you have to constantly outdo yourself, you have to constantly outdo your neighbor - all of the stuff that creates an incredibly productive society, but also a very neurotic one.
But when it comes to writing the thing that I've sort of been thinking about lately, is why? You know, is it rational? Is it logical that anybody should be expected to be afraid of the work that they feel they were put on this Earth to do.
You know, I think that allowing somebody, one mere person to believe that he or she is like, the vessel you know, like the font and the essence and the source of all divine, creative, unknowable, eternal mystery is just a smidge too much responsibility to put on one fragile, human psyche. It's like asking somebody to swallow the sun.
I love my friends and family, but I also love it when they can't find me and I can spend all day reading or walking all alone, in silence, eight thousand miles away from everyone. All alone and unreachable in a foreign country is one my most favorite possible things to be.
I don't hate humanity and I'm not interested in people who do. Although, it's funny, actually, some of my favorite writers really do. Like Martin Amis. My dirty secret. 'London Fields' is one of my favorite books ever. And it's indefensible! But he's so funny... I forgive him everything.
I used to say, 'Man, I think I'd be a really good dad. I'll be a great provider. I'm funny; I'll go on trips with them - I'll do all sorts of stuff.' But the momming? I'm not made for that. I have a really good mom; I know what she put into it.
These days I settle for feeling only 85 percent sure about most things, most of the time. I believe this is keeping me sane, and I also believe that it's keeping me human. In fact, I'm 85 percent sure of it.
My writing practice taught me the important thing is steadfastness. It's not necessarily discipline. Discipline can become a prison. When your spiritual practices become another thing for you to be anxious about, they've lost their usefulness.
I was a bartender for a long time, so I know how to make drinks, but I'm more likely to offer them than to have them. I think this is one of the reasons why I get to live longer than my great-grandmother did, and why I get to produce more writing than she did, and why my marriage isn't in dire straits.
We set up one rule in our house, which is, 'Guests of guests cannot bring guests.' That rule was required because that happened one weekend, and we finally said, 'Okay, you know what? That's a little too much.'
I consider a good dinner party at our house to be where people drink and eat more than they're meant to. My husband is a really fantastic cook. His mother is Italian and if you walk into our house, we assume you're starving.
When I look at my life and the lives of my female friends these days - with our dizzying number of opportunities and talents - I sometimes feel as though we are all mice in a giant experimental maze, scurrying around frantically, trying to find our way through.
But, ancient Greece and ancient Rome - people did not happen to believe that creativity came from human beings back then, OK? People believed that creativity was this divine attendant spirit that came to human beings from some distant and unknowable source, for distant and unknowable reasons.
But it is my understanding that the health of the planet is affected by the health of every individual on it. As long as even two souls are locked in conflict, the whole of the world is contaminated by it.
All too often, those of us who choose to remain childless are accused of being somehow unwomanly or unnatural or selfish, but history teaches us that there have always been women who went through life without having babies.
I also get that we women in particular must work very hard to keep our fantasies as clearly and cleanly delineated from our realities as possible, and that sometimes it can take years of effort to reach such a point of sober discernment.
Your treasure - your perfection - is within you already. But to claim it, you must leave the busy commotion of the mind and abandon the desires of the ego and enter into the silence of the heart. The kundalini shakti - the supreme energy of the divine - will take you there.
We invented marriage. Couples invented marriage. We also invented divorce,mind you. And we invented infidelity,too, as well as romantic misery. In fact we invented the whole sloppy mess of love and intimacy and aversion and euphoria and failure. But most importantly of all, most subversively of all, most stubbornly of all, we invented privacy.
The Silly Putty-like malleability of the institution [marriage], in fact, is the only reason we still have the thing at all. Very few peoplewould accept marriage on it's thirteenth-century terms. Marriage survives, in other words, precisely because it evolves. (Though I suppose this would not be a very persuasive argument to those who probably also don't believe in evolution).
In every possible instance Saint Paul begged Christians to restrain themselves to contain their carnal yearnings to live solitary and sexless lives on earth as it is in heaven. But if they cannot contain Paul finally conceded then let them marry for it is better to marry than to burn. Which is perhaps the most begrudging endorsement of matrimony in human history.
Here was something I already knew to be true about myself: Just as there are some wives who will occasionally need a break from their husbands in order to visit a spa for the weekend with their girlfriends, I will always be the sort of wife who occasionally needs a break from her husband in order to visit Cambodia. Just for a few days!
First spouses, I have learned, don't ever really go away--even if you aren't speaking to them anymore. They are phantoms who dwell in the corners of our new love stories, never entirely vanishing from sight, materializing in our minds whenever they please, offering up unwelcome comments or bits of painfully accurate criticism.
But, ancient Greece and ancient Rome - people did not happen to believe that creativity came from human beings back then, OK? People believed that creativity was this divine attendant spirit that came to human beings from some distant and unknowable source, for distant and unknowable reasons."
I'd learned enough from life's experiences to understand that destiny's interventions can sometimes be read as invitation for us to address and even surmount our biggest fears. It doesn't take a great genius to recognize that when you are pushed by circumstance to do the one thing you have always most specifically loathed and feared, this can be, at the very least, an interesting growth opportunity.
To sit patiently with a yearning that has not yet been fulfilled, and to trust that, that fulfillment will come, is quite possibly one of the most powerful "magic skills" that human beings are capable of. It has been noted by almost every ancient wisdom tradition
I feel like all this stuff that we make: books and art and music, all of it. There's this energy that circles the world that wants to be made manifest, and it is just looking for someone to come through. And it's dying for you to make it. And if you don't do it, it will go find somebody else.
I was the baby of the family, but I was never babied, and that allowed me to take whatever artistic temperament I had and apply learned discipline. I was taught how to work. I think that's everything. Creativity and imagination alone are not going to get you there.
Maybe [artistry] doesn't have to be quite so full of anguish if you never happened to believe, in the first place, that the most extraordinary aspects of your being came from you. But maybe if you just believed that they were on loan to you from some unimaginable source for some exquisite portion of your life to be passed along when you're finished ... it starts to change everything.
When I get lonely these days, I think: So BE lonely, Liz. Learn your way around loneliness. Make a map of it. Sit with it, for once in your life. Welcome to the human experience. But never again use another person's body or emotions as a scratching post for your own unfulfilled yearnings.
Indeed, when I came to Italy, I expected to encounter a certain amount of resentment, but have received instead empathy from most Italians. In any reference to George Bush, people only nod to Berlusconi, saying","We understand how it is - we have one, too.
I'm trying to dismantle a stereotype that in order to live any kind of creative life, you have to be in torment and suffering. We're addicted to this idea because it makes for good bio pics...but I actually think it's better to live a life where you're constantly exploring your curiosity and creativity.
Writing is not like dancing or modeling; it's not something where-if you missed it by age 19-you're finished. It's never too late. Your writing will only get better as you get older and wiser. If you write something beautiful and important, and the right person somehow discovers it, they will clear room for you on the bookshelves of the world-at any age. At least try.
A soul mates purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life, then introduce you to your spiritual master...
What I object to is the hyper-fetishized wedding day, the prioritizing of wedding over marriage. I have a real problem with couples spending far more time discussing the seating arrangement or the color of the bridesmaid's gowns than hashing out, for instance, their feelings about how they intend to handle questions of housework, child-rearing, finances and fidelity for the next four or five decades.
Of course, we all inevitably work too hard, then we get burned out and have to spend the whole weekend in our pajamas, eating cereal straight out of the box and staring at the TV in a mild coma (which is the opposite of working, yes, but not exactly the same thing as pleasure).
When Catherine told me about this (tragedy nearby), I could only say, shocked, "Dear God, that family needs grace." She replied firmly, "That family needs casseroles," and then proceeded to organize the entire neighborhood into bringing that family dinner, in shifts, every single night, for an entire year. I do not know if my sister fully recognizes that this _is_ grace.
He looks at you like you're someone he's never met before, much less someone he once loved with high passion. The irony is, you can hardly blame him. I mean, check yourself out. You're a pathetic mess, unrecognizable even to your own eyes.
Oh, I just want what we all want: a comfortable couch, a nice beverage, a weekend of no distractions and a book that will stop time, lift me out of my quotidian existence and alter my thinking forever.
And when you sense a faint potentiality for happiness after such dark times you must grab onto the ankles of that happiness and not let go until it drags you face-first out of the dirt - this is not selfishness, but obligation. You were given life; it is your duty to find something beautiful within life no matter how slight.
In desperate love, we always invent the characters of our partners, demanding they be what we need of them, and then feeling devastated when they refuse to perform the role we created in the first place.
I have good idea, for if you meet some person from different religion and he want to make argument about God. My idea is, you listen to everything this man say about God. Never argue about God with him. Best thing to say is, 'I agree with you.' Then you go home, pray what you want. This is my idea for people to have peace about religion.
Moss is inconceivably strong. Moss eats stone; scarcely anything, in return, eats moss. Moss dines upon boulders, slowly but devastatingly, in a meal that lasts for centuries. Given enough time, a colony of moss can turn a cliff into gravel, and turn that gravel into topsoil.
How much do you love me?' and "Who's in charge?" ....these two questions of LOVE and CONTROL undo us ALL, trip us up and cause war, grief, and suffering. People follow different paths, straight or crooked, according to their temperament, depending on which they consider best, or most appropriate -- and all reach You, just as rivers enter the ocean.
There are only two questions that human beings have ever fought over, all through history. 'How much do you love me?' And, 'Who's in charge?' Everything else is somehow manageable. But these two questions of love and control undo us all, trip us up and cause war, grief, and suffering.
God isn't interested in watching you enact some performance of personality in order to comply with some crackpot notion you have about how a spiritual person looks or behaves. We all seem to get this idea that, in order to be sacred, we have to make some massive, dramatic change of character, that we have to renounce our individuality.
We all seem to get this idea that, in order to be sacred, we have to make some massive, drastic change of character, that we have to renounce our individuality. To know God, you only need to renounce one thing - your sense of division from God
Maybe this is just some stupid romantic South American idea, but I need you to understand-darling, for you, I am even willing to suffer. Whatever pain happens to us in the future, I accept it already, just for the pleasure of being with you now. Let's enjoy this time. It's marvelous. Felipe-Eat, Pray, Love
If we never leave our house except to drive to work, do we need to be even remotely aware of this powerful, humbling, extraordinary and eternal life force that surges and ebbs around us all the time? Apparently not. Because we have stopped paying attention.
There is so much about my fate that I cannot control, but other things do fall under my jurisdiction. There are certain lottery tickets I can buy, thereby increasing my odds of finding contentment. I can decide how I spend my time, whom I interact with, whom I share my body and life and money and energy with.
You have to get hurt. That's how you learn. The strongest people out there, the ones who laugh the hardest with a genuine smile, those are the people who have fought the toughest battles. Because they've decided that they're not going to let anything hold them down, they're showing the world who's boss. One must always be prepared for riotous and endless waves of transformation.
The only thing more unthinkable than leaving was staying; the only thing more impossible than staying was leaving. I didn't want to destroy anything or anybody. I just wanted to slip quietly out the back door, without causing any fuss or consequences, and then not stop running until I reached Greenland.
A creative life is an amplified life. It's a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life. Living in this manner-continually and stubbornly bringing forth the jewels that are hidden within you-is a fine art, in and of itself.
Then again, you cannot stop the flood of desire as it moves through the world, inappropriate though it may sometimes be. It is the prerogative of all humans to make ludicrous choices, to fall in love with the most unlikely of partners, and to set themselves up for the most predicatable of calamities.
According to the mystics, this search for divine bliss is the entire purpose of a human life. this is why we all chose to be born, and this is why all the suffering and pain of life on earth is worthwhile--just for the chance to experience this infinite love. And once you have found this divinity within, can you hold it? Because if you can...bliss.
In Venice in the Middle Ages there was once a profession for a man called a codega--a fellow you hired to walk in front of you at night with a lit lantern, showing you the way, scaring off thieves and demons, bringing you confidence and protection through the dark streets.
It seems obvious that there comes period in your life when you have to learn to say no to things you don't want to do. But the biggest trickiest lesson in holding on the stalwart committment to your creativity is learning how to say no to the things you do want to do.
I'm so excited about school. I'm such a shameless student. I laid my clothes out last night, just like I did before my first day of first grade, with my patent leather shoes and my new lunch box. I hope the teacher will like me :)
But at some point you have to make peace with what you were given and if God wanted me to be a shy girl with think, dark hair, He would have made me that way, but He didn't. Useful, then, might be to accept how I was made and embody myself fully therein.
I think the thing that I lost in myself when I stopped writing fiction and the thing that I rediscovered and started mining again is, for lack of a better word, magic. It's the way you can brush up against the inexplicable and the mystical.
I am burdened with what the Buddhists call the monkey mind. The thoughts that swing from limb to limb, stopping only to scratch themselves, spit and howl. My mind swings wildly through time, touching on dozens of ideas a minute, unharnessed and undisciplined. You are, after all, what you think. Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions.
There's this great kind of spooky dance that happens that I can't access any other way. I think most of us are given kind of one pathway to that dance, and that's why I'm a writer. It's the only way I can get there. I can't do it through art, I can't do it through singing, I can't do it through mothering, I can't do it through invention.
Deep grief sometimes is almost like a specific location, a coordinate on a map of time. When you are standing in that forest of sorrow, you cannot imagine that you could ever find your way to a better place. But if someone can assure you that they themselves have stood in that same place, and now have moved on, sometimes this will bring hope
Take care of the problems now, or else you'll just have to suffer again later when you scew everything up the next time. And that repetition of suffering - that's hell. Moving out of that endless repetition to a new level of understand - there's where you'll find heaven.
Traveling is the great true love of my life... I am loyal and constant in my love of travel. I feel about travel the way a happy new mother feels about her impossible, colicky, restless newborn baby - I just don't care what it puts me through. Because I adore it. Because it's mine. Because it looks exactly like me.
Here in America, marriage still has a mystical, intangible power: It is a passport to adulthood and respectability and to a certain extent citizenship. Any relationship less than "married" is considered temporary and not worthy of honor.
There's no reason to keep a piece of furniture in your house that is so sacred and rare that you can't put your feet up on it and a dog can't jump up on it. Likewise, a book that sits on a shelf like a piece of porcelain, only to be admired, never to be read again, is a dead book.
We search for happiness everywhere, but we are like Tolstoy's fabled beggar who spent his life sitting on a pot of gold, under him the whole time. Your treasure--your perfection--is within you already. But to claim it, you must leave the buy commotion of the mind and abandon the desires of the ego and enter into the silence of the heart.
What profound reward you must glean from studying the world so closely....Too many people turn away from small wonders, I find. There is so much more potency to be found in detail than generalities, but most souls cannot train themselves to sit still for it.
Learning how to discipline your speech is a way of preventing your energies from spilling out of you through the rupture of your mouth, exhausting you and filling the world with words, words, words instead of serenity, peace and bliss.
Il bel far niente means 'the beauty of doing nothing'... [it] has always been a cherished Italian ideal. The beauty of doing nothing is the goal of all your work, the final accomplishment for which you are most highly congratulated. The more exquisitely and delightfully you can do nothing, the higher your life's achievement. You don't necessarily need to be rich in order to experience this, either.
The resting place of the mind is the heart. The only thing the mind hears all day is clanging bells and noise and argument, and all it wants is quietude. The only place the mind will ever find peace is inside the silence of the heart. That's where you need to go.
At that moment of realization (that union with God is always present), that's when God let me go, let me slide through His fingers with this last compassionate, unspoken message:You may return here once you have fully come to understand that you are always here.
But I was always coming here. I thought about one of my favorite Sufi poems, which says that God long ago drew a circle in the sand exactly around the spot where you are standing right now. I was never not coming here. This was never not going to happen.
So this was the Ashram's final joke on me? Once I had learned to accept my loud, chatty, social nature and fully embrace my inner Key Hostess - only then could I become The Quiet Girl in the Back of the Temple, after all?
The search for contentment is, therefore, not merely a self-preserving and self-benefiting act, but also a generous gift to the world. You cease being an obstacle, not only to yourself but to anyone else. Only then are you free to serve and enjoy other people.
Ketut, why is life all crazy like this?" I asked my medicine man the next day...So what can we do about the craziness of the world?"Nothing." Ketut laughed, but with a dose of kindness. "This is nature of world. This is destiny. Worry about your craziness only-make you in peace.
With each reunion (we) had to learn each other all over again. There was always that nervous moment at the airport when I would stand there waiting for him to arrive, wondering, Will I still know him? Will he still know me?
How do the survivors of terminated relationships ever endure the pain of unfinished business? From that place of meditation, I found the answer - you can finish the business yourself, from withing yourself. It's not only possible, it's essential.
The ingredients of both darkness and light are equally present in all of us,...The madness of this planet is largely a result of the human being's difficulty in coming to viruous balance with himself.
I met an old lady once, almost a hundred years old, and she told me, 'There are only two questions that human beings have ever fought over, all through history. How much do you love me? And Who's in charge?
I have never felt the need to invent a world beyond this world, for this world has always seemed large and beautiful enough for me. I have wondered why it is not large and beautiful enough for others.
I asked, "You mean, you might as well spend your life going upward, through the happy places, since heaven and hell - the destinations - are the same thing anyway?""Same - same," he said. "Same in end, so better to be happy on journey."I said, "So, if heaven is love, then hell is...""Love, too," he said.
All I could say was, "I don't know what to do." I remember her taking me by the shoulders and looking me in the eye with a calm smile and saying simply, "Tell the truth, tell the truth, tell the truth.
Yet what keeps me from dissolving right now into a complete fairy-tale shimmer is this solid truth, a truth which has veritably built my bones over the last few years--I was not rescued by a prince; I was the administrator of my own rescue.
People tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will descend like fine weather if you're fortunate. But happiness is the result 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.
I had always been taught that the pursuit of happiness was my natural (even national) birthright. It is the emotional trademark of my culture to seek happiness. Not just any kind of happiness, either, but profound happiness, even soaring happiness. And what could possibly bring a person more soaring happiness than romantic love.
I know I'm not a self-indulgent idiot; I also know I'm not the second coming of Deepak Chopra. If I had believed either of those, or both, as some people do when they get famous, that's when the mental illness arrives.
In a world of disorder and disaster and fraud, sometimes only beauty can be trusted. Only artistic excellence is incorruptible. Pleasure cannot be bargained down. And sometimes the meal is the only currency that is real.
In every possible instance Saint Paul begged Christians to restrain themselves to contain their carnal yearnings to live solitary and sexless lives on earth as it is in heaven. "But if they cannot contain " Paul finally conceded then "let them marry for it is better to marry than to burn." Which is perhaps the most begrudging endorsement of matrimony in human history.
In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it's wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.
You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That's the only thing you should be trying to control.
The trick at every turn was to endure the test of living for as long as possible. The odds of survival were punishingly slim, for the world was naught by a school of calamity and an endless burning furnace of tribulation. But those who survived the world shaped it--even as the world, simultaneously, shaped them.
A true soul mate is probably the most important person you'll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave.
We gallop through our lives like circus performers balancing on two speeding side-by-side horses--one foot is on the horse called "fate," the other on the horse called "free will." And the question you have to ask every day is--which horse is which? Which horse do I need to stop worrying about because it's not under my control, and which do I need to steer with concentrated effort?
We were taught to be dependable, responsible, the top of our classes at school, the most organized and efficient babysitters in town, the very miniature models of our hardworking farmer/nurse mother, a pair of junior Swiss Army knives, born to multitask.
Time -- when pursued like a bandit -- will behave like one; always remaining one country or one room ahead of you, changing its name and hair color to elude you, slipping ou the back door of the motel just as you're banging through the lobby with your newest search warrant, leaving only a burning cigarette in the ashtray to taunt you.
The culture of Rome just doesn't match the culture of Yoga, not as far as I can see. In fact, I've decided that Rome and Yoga don't have anything in common at all. Except for the way they both kind of remind you of the word toga.
I felt like I was some kind of primitive spring-loaded machine, placed under far more tension than it had ever been built to sustain, about to blast apart at great danger to anyone standing nearby. I imagined my body parts flying off my torso in order to escape the volcanic core of unhappiness that had become: me.
As I got older, I discovered that nothing within me cried out for a baby. My womb did not seem to have come equipped with that famously ticking clock. Unlike so many of my friends, I did not ache with longing whenever I saw an infant. (Though I did ache with longing, it is true, whenever I saw a good used-book shop)
The six elements of her Fail Proof Broken-Heart Curing Treatment: "Vitamin E, get much sleep, drink much water, travel to a place far away from the person you loved, meditate and teach your heart that this is destiny.
But I don't know how much more socializing I can do, Felipe. I only have the one dress. People will start to notice that I'm wearing the same thing all the time." "You're young and beautiful, darling. You only need the one dress
I am far more of a loner than people would imagine. But I am the most gregarious and socially interactive loner you ever met. The thing is, I am fascinated by people's stories and I'm very talkative and can't ever say no to anything or anyone, so I tend to over-socialize, to give away too much of my time to the many people I adore.
Here's the thing: the unit of reverence in Europe is the family, which is why a child born today of unmarried parents in Sweden has a better chance of growing up in a house with both of his parents than a child born to a married couple in America. Here we revere the couple, there they revere the family.
Part of the elasticity that you need, in order to continue to try to create, is the foregone conclusion that not all of it is going to be fabulously successful. But it's all going to be part of a long lifetime body of experimentation.
My husband is not American. He was born in Brazil, where he grew up under a filthy, corrupt dictatorship. In his twenties, he moved to Europe, where he lived for a while under various socialist democracies. He spent a few years on a kibbutz in Israel, living out a utopian experiment in communal existence.
Now, if you are like me - if you are like practically anybody in America - then you probably hold some negative opinions about the French, based upon movies, rumors, recent headlines, unfortunate run-ins with Parisian waiters, or... you know... all that unpleasantness surrounding the Vichy regime.
Nothing in the last few years has dazzled me more than Hilary Mantel's 'Wolf Hall,' which blew the top of my head straight off. I've read it three times, and I'm still trying to figure out how she put that magnificent thing together.