The “Eat, Pray, Love” Experiment

I’m not sure if anyone else feels this way, but every time change comes in to my life, I try to read a really life-changing book (I know, I know… I take nerd-dom to a new level). I have had a few people recommend the book “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert to me, so I picked it up the other day from the library. In this autiobiographical account, Elizabeth details her year-long quest for true spiritual enlightment. — 4 months in Italy, eating good food, learning the language, and seeking pleasure in life; 4 months in India, studying yoga and spirituality at a yoga Ashram with a guru; and 4 months learning life lessons from a Balinese medicine man in Indonesia.

Well, I definitely picked a life-changing book to read.  It’s honest, really well-written, and dripping with wisdom.

It got me thinking… I think people do not take nearly enough time in our culture to work on their own happiness and spirit. Wouldn’t it be cool, I thought, if I went on my own journey pursuing three things I wanted to develop or experience to make me a better, more enlightened person? And what if I could work on my passion, dancing, like Elizabeth pursued a relationship with God? I think it’s safe to say that I am a preacher of the dance gospel — maybe that makes it my religion (“Please open your Bibles to the gospel of Martha Graham, please…” ).

So I’m doing it! Starting in December, I am going to spend one month focusing on eating, nutrition, and keeping my body at optimum health. I am going to try to make meals for myself more, try new food, and learning as much as I can about taking care of my body. I will be traveling to Chicago during this time for Christmas — resisting my mom’s fudge will be an interesting challenge. I’m hoping to explore the city with this new mindset.

Come January, my focus turns to training. I’m hoping for bootcamp-style, constant dancing and studying as many dance styles with as many dance teachers as possible (even as a kid I always loved the montage where the dancer is training feverishly). I will be in Sacramento to study with Amy Sigil and other belly dance teachers in the area for the first half of January, and I’m planning to continue studying Indian dance, modern, ballet, and explore some new dance styles.

February is going to be the month where I am going to focus on creating. I am surrounding myself with as much inspiration as possible, collaborating with other artists to achieve my goals, and work on some pieces. I am hopefully going to be traveling to Atlanta for Tribal Con during this period, which I am really looking forward to for a lot of inspiration.

And I think you should do it to!

I’m calling it the “Eat, Pray, Love” experiment. Who would be interested in focusing on three passions, three things-you-always-wanted-to-do, three do-your-soul-some-good things; spending some time pursuing each one (it could be a day, a week, several months — however long you want your experiment to last); and sharing our experiences as a community? When going through huge changes, sometimes it can really be great to have a community of people supporting you doing something good for yourself. It’s also great to hear about one another, and it will keep us all motivated to keep with the experiment. If you’re interested, post a response to this blog.

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22 responses to “The “Eat, Pray, Love” Experiment

  1. I’m game. Shall have to do some serious meditation on what those three things would be. You should get a message board up or something for it.

    Bet you read Asharah’s post that had the video of the author of that book in it (if not check it out!). I thought she was a wonderful speaker. I see her book come through the library all the time, so she must have some really touching words to share.

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  3. I already left this message on FB but I’ll put it here too…
    I love this idea. Perhaps healing will come quicker in an open forum like this. Of course I want to focus on enhancing my dance, but my biggest challenge has been meditation lately. My younger brother passed a few years ago (he was mentally ill and took his own life) and since then I have been unable to reach ANY state forgiveness…even with the aide of crystals, stones, cleansing, saging…nothing! During meditation I unable to thinking of anything else but him.

    • I think this is one of the more important things you could do for yourself — spending a month (or week, or year) to let yourself heal and forgive. I am so glad you’re joining the movement!

  4. Ok, thought about it. (really didn’t take too long)

    1. Dance: train everyday and work on choreographies
    2. History: start an online blog or zine to keep up my studies and writing practice
    3. Paganism: keep up with my witchy studies and try to find ways to lead through example

    • “Keep up with my witchy studies…” this made me smile. My family has practiced celtic & shaman witchcraft since I was a child. I fell away from it for a while, due to the Ultra Christian EX husband, and I am wanting to find my niche again. Are you a Sole Practicioner or do you practice with a Coven?

      BTW, I interested in your second month…History. Are you a writer?

      • I’m just a solitaire. I did a self-dedication on Samhain about two years ago, so I try to study when I can. No particular path, just what speaks to me (in the good and hard ways).

        I’ve been salivating over the idea of being a writer since I was a kid. The goal right now is to get into grad school for history and get a solid background on one to two periods. I’d like to find creative ways to share that knowledge with everyone. Are you interested in history as well?

  5. You could always look at message boards. Both of my troupes have yahoo groups so that we can communicate with each other more easily and have a place to post links and whatnot. Just an idea. Yay I’m so excited about this!

      • Yahoo has worked well for me. The set-up is pretty straightforward and only takes a few minutes. I like tribe and have found it a great place for people to connect but the website does tend to be spotty. I’m always afraid one day I’ll try to log on and it won’t exist anymore.

  6. All righty…I think I found my 3.
    1.) Work on more ATS technique, less choreography, in the Troupe and alone. I have to have a strong foundation before I can put up pretty shutters, right?
    2.) Take 15 minutes everynight to meditate. Focus on forgiveness and light. Implement wiccan practices, crystals and chakra balancing.
    3.) Eat better. NO FAST FOOD…this is hard considering I have a 1 year old, full time job and dance. Green drink time! Ewwwwie 🙂

    • These sound like great goals! Another part of the experiment is try to approach these goals not as like, “I’m going to stop eating crappy food” but like, “I want to try to spend a month preparing good food, researching new foods, learning more about what I put in my body.”

      • You’re right Megan.

        I would like to have a month where I examine the processed foods we cook, and look for sodium content. My hubby and I are very healthy and organic (for the South!) but we don’t eat nearly enough veggies…we’ve been subbing “green drinks” for a few years. I’d like to find a really great cookbook for vegatarian dishes.

        Many of our friends are into the “raw” movement, which is not my intention. I just want to find healthier ways of eating veggies than just the standard peas/green beans. The trick will be finding foods that my infant will also enjoy.

  7. Megan,

    I read your blog and I love the idea! I read the book several years ago, and as I was moving my bookshelf a few months ago, I had this same idea; to take a few months at a time to work on integrating a new thing into my life. I had actually already set out a plan for my own journey over 2010, instead of planning a New Year’s Resolution. But I didn’t NAME it. So this has inspired me to do so, and to keep a record of it. Mine will be Pray (digging into a new style of yoga that I have fallen head over heals in love with, and continue to dance ATS which I feel is meditation in motion), Eat (develop my relationship with food, visit farmer’s markets and hopefully become more of a locavore), and Create (open my own yoga and dance studio). Thanks for that last bit of inspiration I needed to tie it up in a nice little package!

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  10. megan!!! this is awesome. i luv the idea. i luv that you’re doing it.
    and i’m totally inspired.

    Can i join in the experiment, a month late?

  11. I know this is from way back in the day, so I apologize for only just now reading and commenting in support. When I saw the title I sort of “dropped out” of reading your blog because I didn’t want to spoil a book I hadn’t read yet. Now that I have read this book I am catching up! I think it is a great idea to narrow your focus to a few specific goals so that you can work on them intensely. I have been doing this in my life a little already, and I plan to write about it some in my blog eventually. I’m looking forward to seeing how this experiment plays out (well, mostly “has already played out” I suppose) in your life.

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