|Swaziland isn't exactly Bali but this seems familiar|
I have been re-reading Liz Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love lately. If you are not familiar with the story, its about a recently-divorced woman in her 30's who gets a writing opportunity allowing her to live for a year in Italy, India and Indonesia learning about the pursuit of pleasure, devotion and balance, respectively. It's also about taking responsibility for your happiness and finding your own path through the world despite what society expects. It's not a road map to how to be happy, just like Into the Wild isn't a how-to guide on how to become self-sufficient, but it's an interesting memoir which I found funny and uplifting without being too Self-Helpy.
Ever since I gave up the pursuit of being a size 0 and 4.0-having Type A, I have been a pleasure-seeking creature who never says no to dessert. Life is short right? So, I felt like I had the lessons of "Eat" down pat, and joked that Peace Corps was going to be one long "Pray" phase. In "Pray", Gilbert lives in an Ashram for 4 months learning meditation and begins to break down mentally. All of her insecurities, "residual demons" and other emoitonal vomit starts coming up, and she feels like she is regressing, not progressing, as a human. I used to think this was the hardest (read: most boring) chapter to read, but now I identify with it completely. And the beauty of it is, I think I, and many other volunteers I have spoken with, have kind of gotten past all that. You kind of have to break to rebuild. As a friend and I were recently joking about, It's not that we feel we have more issues than before coming, we are just aware of them. Does that mean we are ready for the pursuit of Balance? I hope so. A few of us were joking that Peace Corps is also three stages, which we dubbed "Sit", "Sweat", and "Roll". A lot of names got thrown out for being too crass (you can use your imagination), too self-deprecating ("Cry", "Complain", "Binge") or too cloying ("Succeed", "Grow"). I think our choices are totally accurate for the main 3 components of Peace Corps.
|Chillin' on the rocks in Khiza!|
|No transport for hours. Cold. Pouring. Hungry. Barefoot. Have to wear Yankees gear. This is "Sweat" for sure.|
|On top of Sibebe, largest granite out crop in the world, all because the internet was broken at the office :)|
I hope many of y'all have found that you are rolling with it, and if you aren't there yet, try more sitting. It'll happen, eventually. Here is a quote from the end of the book as a little food for thought: “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.”
Speaking of food for thought, I am getting increasing impatient to land in Rome (69 days but who's counting?) and get to "Eat" once again.
|"I'm learning some amazing moves from this guy" - Dee, Always Sunny|