There is a major sense of thinking that goes on when you are asked to think about the events in your life over a period of years or monthes. No one has a simple answer to why they do something. Madonna quotes in her single Human Nature, " What was I thinking?". That is the first question that someone who sets out on the road of self discovery asks themselves. It can be a good or bad thing that they are pondering on.
The title when I first got the book, struck me. I am reminded that as Catholics we are taught to say Grace before we begin a meal. That's always how I was raised. especially on holidays. But for Gilbert she means it as a spiritual experience. She goes to places that are known for food, like Italy but it is not food she is interested in. I have heard that many cultures, like Chinese and Indian view eating as aspiritual experience, and something sacred. That could be the reason why she chooses places like that. It is not or the food, it is a tool in her own spiritual journey.
In our own lives, we are so busy that we have no time for a time out like this. That is what makes me care a lot less about the fact that she got an advance on this book. She was, in a way killing two birds with one stone. Her mental health was in shambles, and she got to make money to do it. Unlike the rest of us that have to spend $150 on a therapist, her art was her therapy and she got paid to do that. There are others that would think of that as a selfish, but if it works who cares.
In reading this book I have reflected on my own journey also. I think about the fact that my life has not turned out the way I want it in a lot of ways. For the most part, I am happy but there have been a lot of things that did not turn out the way I wanted them to go. For example, I found out that my friend's dad had cancer during the summer and I knew she needed me. But I also needed her to talk me thorugh the fact that a bio major can't get C's. Obviously you can tell whose is worse, but it took a lot of effort to put my own anguish aside (or what I thought was anguish) and help her deal with losing her dad. My mother even said to me, " How can you be so damn selfish?". The simple answer, I have my dad, and since my friend is two years older I always looked to hrer for advice and she has always been there. All of a sudden, our roles were reversed. I recently during spring break (ironically while medatating) came to the realization that I was pretty self involved during that time. We are like sisters, and with all the legit stuff going on I don't think she noticed my insensitivity, but looking back I feel rotten about it.
I am making it a goal in 2010 to meditate and reflect more on my life. Obviously, college students can't run halfway around the world and go to foreign countries. However, I think in reading about Liz's journey I have a lot more in common than I realized. We both struggled with mental illness at one point (her depression, I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). I am positive that her book is the first book in a long time that allowed me to have such a mental eye opener. That has not happened for me since 2007. In doing more self exploration, I hope to avoid the " What was I thinking situations?". I know that's a daunting task, but maybe I can minimie them. I never want to sink to the point where I am insensitive to a friend's needs on any level.
Liz's book, I am hoping is in the 'self help' section. I am planning to take a lok when I go home for Easter at Boarders just to see where she is catagorized. There have been many writers that I have read that I feel should be in that section, but I am quite certain that I will find her in memiors to. 1980's Harvard star Elizabeth Wurtzel took the mental health world by storm in 1994 when she published the first book about Prozac. I made a joke when I was buying the book for a friend that Wurtzel should be in the sel help section, not women authors. He didn't get my joke. In a darker phase of her life, she is asked if she feels that her understanding her own life makes others feel understood. She comments that " That sounds about right." I think Gilbert does the same thing, but her's is more thought provoking, and more recent given the stressful time we are in witht the eceonomy. I hope to find more authors like her, and learn from their experiences so that I can further my own self exploration in the future.