Friends. Food. Fun. What could be better on a gorgeous, warm and sunny San Francisco afternoon? The book club ladies (sans Francisca) gathered at Kristen’s house in the Sunset to revel in Elizabeth Gilbert’s fantastic memoir “Eat, Pray, Love.” While discussing the author’s personal pilgrimage through Italy, India and Indonesia to find her true self, we feasted on antipasti including caprese salad, grilled asparagus and scrumptious figs with blue cheese. We shared how we related to her journey as we devoured to-die-for orecchiette pasta with chicken sausage and red chili flakes smothered in a tangy cream sauce. We pondered how the she might be integrating all her learnings into her day-to-day life post-travels as we gobbled up chocolate, vanilla and hazelnut gelato dripping with gooey chocolate ganache. Obviously, we had no problem taking a cue from the Italy indulgence theme from part one of the book.
Since the book club ladies weren’t able to attend my Freedom Party a couple of weeks ago, they gave me a heartfelt present. It brought tears to my eyes (there’s always some laughing and crying at book club!). Each gal picked out a special stone carved with an inspirational word like “Dream” or “Courage.” The fifth rock simply read “Friends” symbolizing the enduring strength of our friendship. Whenever I’m reading in my hammock in the backyard, these precious pebbles will be there to remind me that these four wonderful women will always be there for support and love.
As we wrapped up the day and I got into my car, the clear view of the ocean beckoned. Instead of heading straight home, I spontaneously drove out to the beach – one of my favorite spots when I used to live in the city. Just like in the book, I felt pulled to have some time just for me. I cast off my flip flops and waded in the cool, salty surf. I just love how the sound of crashing waves is so meditative. Even in this calm, peaceful place I noticed, though, that my mind still wandered. And since instead of berating myself for mind chatter I’m practicing holding myself with compassion, I just went with it. Riding the wave. I recalled how about seven or eight years ago I performed a letting go ritual on this same stretch of sand. I had written down things that were frustrating about my job, my life, etc. and then tossed them into the sea.
In that moment of reflection, I really related to a quote from the book, “I think about the woman I have become lately, about the life that I am now living, and how much I always wanted to be this person and live this life, liberated from the farce of pretending to be anyone other than myself.” My heart swelled with gratitude. This book has opened my eyes even more to my own personal journey and to deepening my own spiritual path. And by following an urge to do something nice just for me on this sunny afternoon, I gave myself the gifts of enjoying the present moment and of honoring who I am now and who I am becoming.
[tags]book club, Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat Pray Love[/tags]