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Have you read Elizabeth Gilbert’s book with the subtitle ‘One Woman’s Search for Everything’? If yes, do you remember the passage about Liz being in the woods (not in the bathroom, but this is about the same)? If no, find out if this book could make you think or laugh, too. Attraversiamo.

Got lost in the woods like the author of 'Eat, Pray, Love'?

I finished reading the World Bestseller ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ on Tuesday waiting in Heathrow airport for my delayed plane. Liz made me think and laugh as she has such great humour and the book helped to keep my spirits up. Since then I have struggled if I should/could/would do a blog post about it. Arguing with myself in my head about the pros like “it’s fun, I love to write” and the cons like “this is not a priority, no strategic logic to do this, maybe just a way of procrastinating”. You know this kind of paralyzing internal dialogue I bet!

I decided to give it a go. Last but not least the memoir finishes with an outlook of hope – despite a quite complicated situation – and with her favourite word in Italian ‘attraversiamo’ or ‘let’s cross over’.

 

Life is a journey – and you can ‘have both’

I strongly believe in the statement that ‘you can have both’: you can have the cake and eat it, too. Or as Elizabeth Gilbert writes, “I wanted to experience both. I wanted worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence – the dual glories of a human life.” (…) So I stopped trying to choose – Italy? India? Or Indonesia? – and eventually just admitted that I wanted to travel to all of them.”(p. 30)

I would phrase this a little bit different because I believe that transcendence is a) not divine and b) you’ll be able to enjoy yourself truly and with balance in this world once you understand that this life will end and that everything is constantly changing.

In her book, Elizabeth Gilbert goes on a journey where she first indulges in sense desires (eat – Italy), spends afterwards time devoted to her spiritual path in an ashram (pray – India) and eventually finds a balance between the two, AND her new love in Indonesia.

We’re all on a journey. Life presents us some huge challenges. They may keep us miserable for a while or stuck for a long time. But always, always they allow us to grow!

 

Are you lost in the woods?

Elizabeth Gilbert at TEDElizabeth writes, “when you’re lost in those woods [of depression], it sometimes takes you a while to realize that you are lost. For the longest time, you can convince yourself that you’ve just wandered a few feet off the path, that you’ll find your way back to the trailhead any moment now. Then night falls again and again, and you still have no idea where you are, and it’s time to admit, that you have bewildered yourself so far off the path that you don’t even know from which direction the sun rises anymore.” (p. 50)

Why do I quote this passage and was touched by it?

There are so many people who share this, who got lost, completely lost. Who felt so small and stupid and alone when starting to admit it to themselves that they were lost. ‘Being lost’ can take quite different forms, but it’s all about having lost direction.

 

How can you get back on track?

You don’t need to go to Rome and eat lots of Pizza, pasta and gelati or scrub the floor of an Indian temple like Liz to get better. There are many other ways to foster positive emotions. For example, reading Eat, Pray, Love or Sense and Sensibility. Or watching a film that makes your heart sing (August Rush a super soppy but beautiful movie in which an orphaned musical prodigy uses his gift to try to find his birth parents) or makes you laugh out loud (Bridget Jones’ Diary – our all-time favourite scene) to start with.

Erica Jong QuoteDo you lead the life you want? Are you on track or are there things you know are not good for you?

Rather than getting lost in the woods you deserve to find the path to a clearing where you can flourish. You deserve to ‘have both’, a life full of joy, meaning and love.

My mission is to empower women like you to be and stay at your best while doing good for all the people around you. On this blog, you’ll find lots of articles and resources telling you more about how this works and how you can lead a brilliant life.

Read part 2 of this article and learn how to get out of your way and how to conquer this little voice in our head …

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Patricia Mauerhofer

Managing Director at My Brilliant Life Academy
Patricia Mauerhofer is a Swiss teacher, writer and coach. She uses her fast-paced brain, big heart and intuition to empower highly sensitive and gifted women like you to live a brilliant life.

Combining professional experiences in communication, project management and public health with scientific research around mind-body wellbeing, effective time management, goal achievement and happiness she supports you to harness your sensitivities and play to your strengths.

Working with her allows you to complete your mission and to have time for the things and people that matter most.
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