Thursday, April 7, 2011

Changing Inside and Out

Our class has discussed, throughout the year, how finding home seems to be a balancing act of internal feelings and instincts with external environments and situations; with this in mind, Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love does a wonderful job of demonstrating the process one might go through to reach this balance. To be clear, when I say a balancing of the internal and external parts of our lives, I mean to say that we are most at peace when our internal life matches our place in external life. In other words, we are most “ourselves” when our feelings reinforce and compliment our place in society around us. As an example, Gilbert’s internal life, in the beginning of her book, didn’t match her external life because even though she externally had everything she could possibly want or need, she still didn’t feel internally fulfilled. Gilbert, in a way, listens to her internal feelings and instincts calling her to shed her old (and clearly ready to be shed) external place in order to take on a new one; thereby creating for herself a new home. This process isn’t just a one way street either: the feelings cause Gilbert to want to change, she leaves her previous external “home” to change, and in coming back her inside has changed in the process of changing the external. If we take this template of change, which Gilbert illustrates through her story, and turn it on ourselves and our lives, where are we in the dialectic of internal and external? How many times have we felt something deep inside us call us away from our normal external territory and, while in the process of exploring the unfamiliar territory, find our feelings have changed and our “homes” have gotten a little bigger? Gilbert, in this way, provides for the common reader a template of her life which can easily give us insight into our own personal transformation. Even if we all can’t afford to spend a year abroad discovering ourselves.

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