I am re-reading my notes and here are just a few things that stand out:
We are all spiritual beings having a human experience.
Your life is always speaking to you, but whether we are listening or not is up to us.
You are co-creating your life through the energy of your intentions. In other words, what you put out you get back.
I could take any one of these things and write for hours, but really I think I will just let those statements sit with you.
What each of the speakers was trying to do in his or her own way was to get at each of these.
Elizabeth Gilbert, who wrote Eat, Pray, Love and The Signature of All Things, spent her time talking about Joseph Campbell and the hero's journey. What she realized is that while there are no examples in historical fiction or mythology of a female hero, it does not matter. When she decided to leave her first marriage, she realized she would have to be her own hero. The other point she drove home is that a hero's journeys is not without struggle. It is not a romantic straight line to happiness. It is bone deep work with ups and downs and when you are true to your deepest longings, you can hurt others and make mistakes because your journey is not theirs. Yikes! Hurt people? Who wants to do that? But you forge ahead anyway because if you are listening to what you know and believe and feel to be true about you, you will manifest what is meant to be yours. When you are working with the universe to get what you want, things will appear.
When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.
This isn't physic hokey-pokey. I think it's just part of people really following the path they are meant to follow. I also think that if you are paying attention, what you need is often right in front of you.
Sometimes, though, we get confused with wants and what is really meant for us. This is a hard lesson to learn at 12 and 36 and 45 and beyond.
Gilbert's own journey did not involve marriage, life in the suburbs with 2.6 kids and a dog. Something else was calling to her and it took a very hard knock for her to get this, but she says the universe was whispering all along in her love and zest for travel and quests and journeys inside through her writing. All of this took her far away from the kind of life she imagined would be required to raise a child and so she made the difficult decision to leave her husband and set off on discovering the truest version of herself that she could find. This moment in a hero's journey is called Crossing the Threshold. For her, it was a prayer on the floor of her bathroom when she realized she could not go one more day living a life that was not hers.
She wants us to pay attention to those whispers, those nudges, those moments that make the hair on our neck stand up or our head tilt to one side in a question, or cock our eyebrows up in surprise. Those moments are there if we are open to them and they are there to give us information about what moves us. We don't have to cross the threshold in a big and dramatic way. We can simply follow it in the way that we are meant to, but often as imperfect humans we get too caught up in the shoulds. Being true to you involves no apologies and no shoulds, but it isn't easy.
First you have to be willing to ask the question, and then you have to be willing to consider the answer. You may not like it because it can involve some unraveling of a life you already have and that, of course, takes work.
Women with families often lament, "Who has time for this?" But her challenge is this--we only get so much time. How you are going to spend it is entirely up to you. Really. You.
We are co-creators of our lives which means part of it is in our control.
I am only starting to unpack this week. I am ruminating. The notes are copious and profound, but I haven't stopped reading them. Everyday I take out my notebook and I thumb through it until I stop on a word or a phrase that catches my eye. I am talking to friends who want to know more and I am working with a woman who feels as passionate as I do about really asking these questions. It's all really big and good and hopeful and very hard.
But it's worth it because we only get one go 'round. Why not do it in the way you want? Really, why not?
Be the hero of your own story-answer or ignore. It doesn't start until YOU start.