I’m having a difficult time reading Eat Pray Love. I get about halfway through Italy and I can’t seem to go any further. I think I’ve stalled for two reasons. One, I cannot relate to the author at all. As a freelance writer with no kids, she has the ability to just up and leave for a period of several months or years or whatever. Most people in my circle cannot upend their lives and pick up and relocate. Most dream of doing so but then reality sets in. People have jobs, run businesses, have children or animals, and have other commitments that require them to stay put. I myself have a full-time career at a not-for-profit organization and a part-time freelance career. I volunteer at my church teaching 7th and 8th graders Religious Education on Sundays. I serve on the social justice committee as well. I am a member of an advisory board at MCV, I have two rescue dogs that I couldn’t leave to fend for themselves and oh, yes - I have two daughters who need me. All. The. Time.
The second reason is that I don’t think I need a geographic cure to help me find peace and meaning within my life. I'm a firm believer that wherever you go, there you'll be! It's important for me to always be on a journey of self-discovery no matter where I am.
I like that I am able to do yoga at the local Y and meditate in my bedroom and that I do it because it makes me feel good. I love that I can go to Whole Foods for new and interesting cuisine. I love knowing that, any minute now, I might be going to my job, shopping at the mall or entering a restaurant and meet that perfect guy - the one God has created just for me. And nothing is better than walking into my church on the North Side every single Sunday morning and feel like I’m coming home.
I am happy for the author that she found her authentic self through her travels but I like the fact that I can eat, pray and hopefully love right in my own city. I can do it and still go to my job every day. I can do it and still care for my children in the home that I love with my family nearby and the dogs in the back yard. I believe you can find inner-peace and authenticity wherever you are when you put your mind to it.
Yes, I know that there are places out there that are quite magical. Dr. Seuss summed it up quite nicely:
Oh, the places you'll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored. There are games to be won.
And the magical things you can do with that ball
will make you the winning-est winner of all.
But, right now, where I am in my life, I’d still rather find my inner-self, inner-peace and yes, even my inner-bitch, in my own home. Where I belong. Without having to travel great distances to do so. Because, to borrow another quote, “if I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard; because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with”.
Ain’t it the truth?