Lessons from Eat Pray Love

ImageIt is a wonderful thing to know that their are no coincidences, that life gives us signals we need, stops us to listen, helps us to begin to notice the things we truly need. Again I was gifted a needed coincidence. I had been feeling like I needed to watch the movie Eat. Pray. Love. I had not seen it since it came out in theaters, so I was curious to understand why I was being drawn to it.  I was having a bit of a down, migraine day, so I put the movie in and watched it for about 20 minutes before the idleness began to wear on me, the thoughts played that I had too many things to do, so I got up. I decided maybe a walk might shake things up and get my blood flowing. I walked, I listened to a podcast of someone I had never heard before, she took a call from a caller who began to parallel her life with the life of Elizabeth in the movie Eat. Pray. Love.    Now, we all know this movie has been out for years, so this struck me as a gift, I knew I needed to go home and finish what I started and see what spoke to me through this movie. Here are some of the things I took away…

Pray: with your heart. Her desperation led her to her knees. “Prayer is a relationship; half the job is mine. If I want transformation, but can’t even be bothered to articulate what, exactly, I’m aiming for, how will it ever occur? Half the benefit of prayer is in the asking itself, in the offering of a clearly posed and well-considered intention. If you don’t have this, all your pleas and desires are boneless, floppy, inert; they swirl at your feet in a cold fog and never lift.” -Elizabeth Gilbert

Dolce far niente—In Italian means “the sweetness of doing nothing.”  In America we do not take advantage of this, we work, we work until the day is done, we rarely have moments of “doing nothing.” I am not sure how we have become so accustomed to this way of life, but each and every one of us need to learn something from the Italian culture and enjoy more moments of sweet nothing.  “Americans have an inability to relax into sheer pleasure.Ours is an entertainment seeking-nation, but not necessarily a pleasure-seeking one….This is the cause of that great sad American stereotype- the overstressed executive who goes on vacation, but who cannot relax.”  -Elizabeth

Express yourself with gestures: I loved this!! Everyone kissing, giving thanks for delicious food with the “Muah!” May we all “Muah” everything we have.

The Augusteum: This was a meaningful moment in the movie because it was a place of great ruin. Elizabeth began to see the parallels of ruin as a gift in life, the road to true transformation.

Master your thoughts: let it be. “At some point, you gotta let go, and sit still, and allow contentment to come to you.”

Give selflessly to others: Elizabeth’s gift to the young Indian girl who was getting married into an arranged marriage was a gift of selfless beauty, a genuine gift.  There was another sweet gesture when Elizabeth had friends and family send money in lieu of her birthday & she was able to build a home for a single mother in need.

Tutti: I just loved the meaning of the little girl’s name “Tutti” which means “Everyone.”

Forgive yourself: let go of the ocean of regret. “There’s a crack (or cracks) in everyone…that’s how the light of God gets in.”  -Elizabeth Gilbert

God dwells within you as you: When you shine, you are doing His will. You are the true essence of who He created. “We don’t realize that, somewhere within us all, there does exist a supreme self who is eternally at peace.”  -Elizabeth Gilbert          “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.” -Elizabeth

Have faith: “There’s a reason we refer to “leaps of faith”–because the decision to consent to any notion of divinity is a mighty jump from the rational over to the unknowable, and I don’t care how diligently scholars of every religion will try to sit you down with their stacks of books and prove to you through scripture that their faith is indeed rational; it isn’t.  If faith were rational, it wouldn’t be–by definition–faith. Faith is belief in what you cannot see or prove or touch. Faith is walking face-first and full-speed into the dark. If we truly knew all the answers in advance as to the meaning of life and the nature of God and the destiny of our souls, our belief would not be a leap of faith and it would not be a courageous act of humanity; it would just be…a prudent insurance policy.”  -Elizabeth Gilbert

Finding balance: Balance is not allowing someone to love you any less than you love yourself.  There was another great moment…Elizabeth says, “I couldn’t keep my balance.” Ketut responds, “Sometimes losing balance for love is part of living balance in life.”

“Zen masters say you cannot see your reflection in running water, only in still water.” 

Avoid fear: Fear leads you to run away from all the great possibilities of your life.

Choose happiness: “I’m choosing happiness over suffering, I know I am. I’m making space for the unknown future to fill up my life with yet-to-come surprises.” -Elizabeth Gilbert

“I keep remembering one of my Guru’s teachings about happiness. She 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’re 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, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. If you don’t you will eat away your innate contentment. It’s easy enough to pray when you’re in distress but continuing to pray even when your crisis has passed is like a sealing process, helping your soul hold tight to its good attainments.” -Elizabeth Gilbert

The Quest–the journey:  “I’ve come to believe that there exists in the universe something I call “The Physics of The Quest”- a force of nature governed by laws as real as the laws gravity or momentum. And the rule of Quest Physics maybe goes like this: “If you are brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting(which can be anything from your house to your bitter old resentments)and set out on a truth-seeking journey(either externally or
internally),and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher, and if you are prepared – most of all -to face (and forgive) some very difficult realities about yourself….then truth will not be withheld from you.” Or so I’ve come to believe.”

There were so many gifts that seem to be hidden within this movie. I hope you seek to find gifts and gems in everything you do.  Peace and love to you.  -Heather

Lessons from If Only

Image“I have to tell you this and you need to hear it. I loved you since I met you, but I wouldn’t allow myself to truly feel it until today. I was always thinking ahead, making decisions soaked with fear… Today, because of you… what I learned from you; every choice I made was different and my life has completely changed… and I’ve learned that if you do that, then you’re living your life fully… it doesn’t matter if you have five minutes or fifty years. Samantha if not for today, if not for you I would never have known love at all… So thank you for being the person who taught me to love… and to be love. ”  -Ian Wyndham, If Only

Have you ever noticed the longer you have something in your life, no matter how special it is, it seems to be taken for granted.

Yesterday I was not feeling very well, so I took the day and relaxed with a couple of movies. I popped in a movie I had never seen before, If Only, with Jennifer Love Hewitt. It was an emotional ride, but a ride worth taking. It left me in tears thinking about the incredible man I am married to and thinking about how differently my life would be if he were not in it. I balled my eyes out even more. So, needless to say, I am writing my post today about learning to appreciate the one you LOVE.

The movie was a sweet reminder that no matter how well we think we are at appreciating those we love, we can always be a little better. It is a choice we make every day.

So, here are my thoughts inspired by the movie:

Be Present: (In the movie Ian was never present, too busy with work) Take the time to truly listen and care about one another. Ask questions, inquire about what is important in their life. No matter the time, how long you have known them, there are always going to be pieces to uncover. Be there for the good and the bad days. Love should be unconditional. People grow and change–seek to find something new and listen. Be interested in them and what is important to them.

Praise and Appreciate: (In the movie Ian tells her how much he loves her music) their work, their writing, their strengths, the little things they do for you. Get excited for one another for the positive things that happen in daily life. i.e. My husband was so excited when I told him that I just had my first UK follower on my blog. He was genuinely excited and that made me appreciate him even more. Thank the one you love for making your day a little better by just being there.

Try new things together: (In the movie Ian takes Samantha to do something she had always wanted to do, but was too afraid to try) Step out of your comfort, go do something. It doesn’t even need to be something that scares you—just something together. My husband’s father collected electric, lionel trains when he was a boy, so I knew my husband had a interest in trains because of his father. There was a train show last week, so I suggested we go. We had never been to anything like it our entire marriage. It was fun to see my husband look at some miniature train sets and think about his father. His eyes lit up as he said, “My Dad would have liked that.”

Open up and share new things: (In the movie Ian takes Samantha to some childhood places and shares some heartfelt memories with her) Share your hopes, dreams, wishes and heartaches. In sharing there ties a deeper connection.  This may be a good time to mention: Make a Couples Bucket list—see my blog post on this. Great way to connect!

Little things make a beautiful difference: (In the movie Ian gives Samantha a charm bracelet to remember the day & the details of their relationship) Think of things that your love would appreciate. Here are a few ideas from my home: my sweetheart warms my robe when I am taking a shower. I will stick mini chocolate bars and notes in his suitcase when he goes out of town and he leaves a little mini note for me and my daughter on our mirror. You could also send a picture of a fun day/trip and thank them for such a special, memorable day. Attach a cute picture with a thought and text it to those you love. Give good, long hugs.  Burn a cd of their favorite songs, make a special memory book of your memories together…For my husband’s birthday I had friends & family write him a personal letter and I compiled them into a special book with pictures and bound it for him as a special gift. The ideas are endless. Think of something they would love and appreciate.

Do something special to show you care and do listen to their needs: (In the movie Ian arranges to have one of Samantha’s music pieces played at the concert) Share something with the one you love that shows you truly understand them. Maybe give them a special gift that reminds you of them. i.e. My husband in his travels picked up a beautifully carved wooden quail because of my deep love for the wild quail that run through our yard daily. Give a book that you have read that you think they will enjoy and write a sweet note inside. Give them a note list of all the qualities you LOVE and appreciate about them.

Tell them you love them: (In the movie Ian tells thanks Samantha for teaching him to LOVE) Speak the truth without fear. Genuinely share your hearts desires and the love you feel for one another. Set LOVE free.

Well, those are my thoughts inspired by a beautiful, emotional movie. If you decide to rent it and watch it, be prepared to cry. I know it will leave you yearning to appreciate and hug the ones you love just a little more.

Thanks for reading and following. Have a beautiful day.   -Heather

Lessons learned from the Ramen Girl

 

The Ramen GirlJust Stir

I took some personal time and watched the movie, “The Ramen Girl” all alone. It was a mixture of words for me regarding the movie…slow, confused, a language barrier, a love story, sweet, people trying to heal, growth, a journey to find ones self, and finally LOVE and understanding. I seem to always relate to a character who is trying to find themself. It is a process. I did find myself pondering on moments of beauty held within this movie. I loved the idea of soup being a gift of oneself. It is a great metaphor in all we do…to give from the heart, to fill the pot with your love, your emotion. Life should be like that. Everything we do should be an expression of who we are. Every meal a gift, every day a welcomed morning of inspiration. Every touch given with sincere meaning. When we smile, it should be freely given, genuinely felt, not a insincere gesture to be nice. When we pray, it should be with feeling and meaning. When we speak, it should be with truth. We should love without fear — endlessly!! In the movie, she makes her own expression of how Ramen should be and calls it “Goddess Ramen.” She put a little of herself in the ingredients. I love that.

What ingredients are you putting into your life? Is there LOVE . FAITH . HOPE . LAUGHTER . PLEASURE . CONNECTION . INTENTION . RITUAL . SPIRIT!! In the movie the teacher tells the main character, Abby…”No Spirit.” She wasn’t putting feeling into her art of Ramen making. How are you feeling about your life? What do you feel you need? What little things can we do daily to make it an expression of the life we love, desire, need? Creating moments of intention causes one to have no regrets, to live daily with desire, to journey with faith, knowing answers are hidden within every moment.

I like the Cantonese meaning of the word Ramen, it means “to Stir.”

Life also needs “to stir” us within. It needs to bring out our individual ingredients, our gifts that only we hold. When we are stirred within, there is a momentum withim us, the movement of life, the flow within all things. To make most things, you must stir. You create from a whirling (stirring) of ideas. To cook you must mix many things together and then stir. To change one’s perspective, there must be a stirring within the soul. Think of a broth with a base of thin noodles, a beautiful array of vegetables floating on top. Imagine taking a chop stick and stirring. It is a wonderful metaphor of life. Everything moves in harmony, it’s own place, it’s own color, it’s own rhythm. JOY . GOODNESS moves us along… with the help of a heartfelt creator.

Peace to you.