Thursday, April 7, 2011

Eliminate Fear and Be Free

(I apologize in advance if this blog reads more like an unorganized rant)

It was Barbra Streisand who said, "Why is it men are permitted to be obsessed about their work, but women are only permitted to be obsessed about men?" I think Elizabeth Gilbert would agree with Babs on this, too. Gilbert, not unlike any other woman, has suffered through heartbreak. In the midst of a marriage she once cherished, she found herself unhappy. A perpetual fear of motherhood, a perpetual fear of an ordinary life. Gilbert wasn't worried whether her living room was the right shade of beige, she was worried that her own life was becoming... beige. Beige in the sense of mundane. Gilbert is passionate about writing. That is what she is: a writer, and a damn good one at that as I found myself captivated in her memoir. Her journey of self-discovery aided her in more ways that just some "selfish" ambition: she released herself of an unhappy marriage, mended her mental, physical and spiritual health and provided through her New York Times bestseller an inspirational message for the world. Gilbert so beautifully illustrated that life is meant to be lived under one's own terms. For her, she needed to be alone/single/chaste. She needed to travel the world and marvel. She needed to take the time to meditate, to breathe. She needed to find God. She needed to see the world is something much bigger than just herself.

I felt a connection to Gilbert immediately, perhaps that's why I fell in love with this book. I have time and time again let myself fall victim to heartache. It's not easy to erase those sort of things from your mind. And while Gilbert has moments of complete despair and desolation, she still managed to completely turned her life around. She wanted/deserved something beautiful for herself. And reluctantly, as so many women do not understand until they endure heartbreak, what we deserve or want may not be in a man. Not to say we can't find happiness in a relationship with a boyfriend or husband (as Gilbert finds herself once again in love towards the end) but women should not limit themselves to this idea.

I had never really considered reading "Eat Pray Love" but I'm glad I did. This book found me at the perfect time in my life. It's now that I've begun to question: What am I doing with my life? Am I happy? Do I need to take a risk? How can I do something bigger than myself?

“What would you do if you had no fear?” Since Tuesday, the question has entirely consumed my thoughts. Being free of fear means truly being free. Fear has the ability to constrain, hold us back, wring the life out of us and shrivel into nothing. If I possessed no fear, I wouldn’t be writing this blog right now. I wouldn’t be in this class. I wouldn’t be in this state. “Is this lifetime supposed to be only about duty?” (23). Life should be an experience. Life should be joyous. Life shouldn't feel like a task or a bother. This blog is developing into something increasingly cliché and Carpe diem-esque. But, it’s true. Seize the day.

"Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it."

So what is so wrong in a journey of self-discovery? It is not selfish to yearn for happiness. It is not selfish to live without fear. What we should fear is not to live at all.

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