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  • Amanda Cressman, N.D.

Eat Pray Love

I find it intriguing that the week before I head off for a 10-day meditation retreat, I found a book that was lost for 2 years.A little old book – maybe you’ve heard of it – Eat Pray Love.I say this with a smile, as this little old book has sold over millions of copies and has now become a feature film to be released in August, starring Julia Roberts.

It’s not too often that a person’s story resonates with the masses, the way Elizabeth Gilbert’s account of her year abroad after an arduous and difficult divorce.There is something in the way she writes, a delicate balance of humility and humour, of insight and intrigue into the way we deal with the shadow and light aspects of our personalities and our lives.

For those of you who do not know the story, the premise is: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia.She spends 4 months in Italy pursuing pleasure and she finds this mostly through delicious foods; 4 months in India pursuing devotion through meditation at an ashram and 4 months in Indonesia pursing balance where she strives to find an answer to the question, ”how to live in this world and enjoy its delights, but also devote myself to God?”

I marvel at the timing of finding this book, as I am heading out for a meditation retreat where 10 days will be spent meditating for 10 hours each day and the whole while, doing so in silence.Now, I realize this is not balance, not in the least…just as the first 2 journeys of Gilbert’s trip were not either.Her first trip to Italy, where pleasure was sought out, reminds me of the world we live in.In a moment, if I am bored I can watch something on the television or Internet.If I’m lonely I can call, email, text, video chat or drive to see anyone.I can book a flight ticket online and the next day step onto another province/country/continent.I can eat any cultural food I wish, wear whatever clothing I feel moved to and read whatever I can get my hands on.It’s amazing the variety and plentitude of options we have.

So why am I meditating and leaving all these opportunities?I think something so extreme is sometimes necessary to create balance.If you swing so far on the pendulum in one regard, the natural rhythm of life will swing you in the opposite direction.I’m sure when I return, meditation will not take place for hours everyday, maybe not even at all…but at least a break will be made, a chance to stop and think and let the pendulum finds its own balance.

Maybe that balance for you will be taking time to sit outside at night, even for a few minutes to listen to nature, maybe it will be watching the sun as it rises/sets taking some time to take the colours in, maybe it will be taking time to prepare your favourite dish, or taking yourself out for a movie.Whatever the case may be, it may not feel like balance at first, it could even feel selfish, but remember the pendulum.You don’t want to be too far on one side, before life swings you back and you don’t need to eat Italian food or meditate at an ashram to get there either.Whatever way you can, create that balance and you’ll be better off for it.

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