Humanity Mankind’s only hope is flight and he must learn it after take-off.
If only he could fly…
That eagle soaring toward him could serenely take the canyon rim, and wheel and turn above it, without a thought of rocks below. How did she do it?
Subdued by desperation, Humanity Mankind reconfigures… a sudden willing, watching, fledgling.
“She soars on nothing! What is there that holds her up? Allows those graceful turns and easy risings? No flapping in her wings; legs tucked under her body. I’ll try that! Why is she so confident? What is her strength? She has no fear. I want that too. Oh, Eagle! I will your little eaglet be; if only you will speak to me!”
“Oh Mankind, let us fly together. What you lack in plume and feather, you will find within your heart!”
This eagle voice echoes in his head; not in his ears. It calms him. Age-old blither voices fade away and fear is gone. He stretches out his arms, like wings; legs together, body straight. The frightened runner feels a warm wind lifting him, steady and secure. Some invisible flow has taken hold upon the moment.
“She answered me! She will teach me flight! I’m ready, Mother Eagle. How shall I do it?”
The early morning sun finds man and eagle soaring side by side. Wordless words flow softly to and fro. Sweet prayer rises to the heavens, calling forth an eternity of power. Off-guard completely, this man’s man settles into love. He rides those thermal drafts from somewhere deep within the danger zone.
She sings to him. He can’t believe it! Suspended there, his past encasings fall away. His shackles…feet and hands…just fall away. Injured eyes, torn hair, scratched skin, warring fingers…all like snakeskin, peel away and plummet to the past; like clues for archeologists, into his first earth’s clefting.
Oh, lighter and at peace, Humanity Mankind listens to his heart. Not eagle’s song, but Other. A Holy Sound! Coming from the universe…
No…from far above the universe. A thrumming, pulsing, happy Voice! A human-sounding Holy Voice:
“Humanity Mankind! Are you willing to fly? You have a Sage beside you. Her name is Nature and she is Mine, as all of them have been. Her lantern is the sun. Now, fly with her across the canyon rim and on beyond. You needn’t run in darkness anymore; but wing your way, a new creation, far, far beyond your highest hopes! You are aloft. Your soul is safe. So, sing the Eagle Song and come to Me, My Son!”
And, as they fly, wings spring from him and woman springs from her. Lovers, angel-like, they soar beyond that chasm, soon behind them and forgotten. One, the soul and one, the song. One, the lamp and one, the light. One, the spark and one, the flame…
“One, the Sage and one, the Seeker. Humanity Mankind has come of age!”
(The End) Written by Linda J. Brown, August 11, 1993
Loft was bought by deeds like this. A little loft kept Humanity Mankind from sinking further; but many deeds and many prayers were needed, for the leaden elements were in a state of panic. They sensed the end and strove to win the moment for themselves. If there was to be any last moment, let it be for them, they reasoned. “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow…or even in just a second…we may die!” Such thoughts brought sink and canceled out the loft. Hopelessness infected all, threatened all, with lead and baser elements. Mere helium had to stay on its toes to keep its spirits up.
And so, man hangs, while dawn creeps up the canyon. What will be his fate?
He hasn’t many choices. If “Heavy” wins, he plummets to the bottom, to be roiled by ice-cold, dashing waters; gnawed by sharks, piranha, and huge, man-eating clams. Then, he will crawl, half-eaten, to the sand, and taking decades, get his breath and health and strength, only to face the unforgiving granite cliff sides towering, like prison walls between him and his future. With untold pain, he will have to scale them, somehow, leaving generations sloughed on tiny, craggy ledges. He will not die, however. That is certain. The Sage has guaranteed it. But, the hard way, will be hard. That too, is guaranteed.
The middle way would be to flounder, zig-zagging up and down. Neither borne aloft, nor totally in a tumble, as elements within him cancel each other out. It is conceivable that such a klutz might reach the canyon wall and gain a toe-hold. He could avoid the ruin awaiting him below, but what a strain to get a purchase on a sheet of black obsidian. And, one purchase will not do for long. There must be another, and another, and another, if progress would be made and not entrapment on a weathered, hostile ledge.
(To be continued…)
Skin’s small voice was shouted down. The runner ran. But, skin is a rather omnipresent organ whose chief function is embrace. It owns the treasure of touch and cuts through all domains and principalities, covering all alike. A notice hit its network.
As the message was sent by synapse to every molecule, the atoms changed. They did their seven-year recycle all at once. But, this renewal was a funny thing and totally undetected by the man. What happened was a sort of polarizing. some cells got leaden; some got light. Some heavy, some like helium. Strange goings-on inside, indeed.
One minute, it was there. The next, it wasn’t. The earth, I mean. He swore it was under his feet on that last step, but now, he floundered wildly in dark air, pumping legs like bicycle pedals. His arms flapped nothingness. He tried to swim in nothing. This wasn’t fair! There WAS a chasm! There should have been a sign, a fence, a warning! He was MAN! How dare they do this to him?
Far, far down below, a roaring river and pictured rapids. There would be crocodiles and snakes and dragons, too, perhaps. A bat flew at his head. Vultures wheeled hungrily, sizing up the meal. The night wind howled as storm came on with fury.
Tasting fear, his legs abandoned rivalry and stretched in hurdler stride. His arms and hands took up the cue and found a leaper’s stance. Dry bone digits stopped their endless clacking and took their places aerodynamically at the end of limbs. The ears popped their stuffing out and eyes opened wide to catch a fleeting clue of survival.
Only Skin was calm, though sweating profusely, ridding itself of toxic bile. Tears welled out of ducts, long dry, and calls went forth for something… Mother! Father! God! Anything! Some Rescuer…to save the situation.
Since just before the chasm, the skin had been extremely busy. Starting with a point above the heart, the transformation sped and spread from point to point, until at the moment when earth ceased to relate in any meaningful way to the suddenly-airborne runner, most of the body had been, at least thinly, covered with the blue-green algae of belief. With penetrating force, knowledge went deep, taking root in bone and marrow.
Now, man was half and half. Fortunately for him, it didn’t work out that his left side was old and his right side was new. No, it wasn’t that way, at all. It was that every other cell or so was different than it had been before the bastinado. The very breaths expelled by these small pockets of life was rarefied. Minutia coalesced with good intentions. Thoughts formed words and words formed prayers; and deeds made puffs of worship.
Loft was bought on puffs of prayer. His arcing fall arrested, man wobbled over the mile-deep cut; sensing black canyon walls, straight and sheer, no-nonsense, no forgiving. It wasn’t all that wide…this canyon. But he had come unprepared for leaping. Untrained, with a soft, indulgent body; unfit for mountain climbing, or mountain-falling, for that matter.
He couldn’t bully anybody. He should have listened to the Sage, especially this last time. What was it that He said? How did He say to do it? If only he had paid attention. Meanwhile, skin consulted its tattoo; marshaled troops autonomicaly; sent blood to the extremities, gave instructions, comfort, and commands.
“One righteous work, performed in THIS day, equalleth all the virtuous acts, which for myriads of centuries, men have practiced…”
(To be continued…)
A long, flat prairie appears before him. A few trees in the distance. An empty plain for running smoothly under the cool harvest moon. The full-grown man smiles in relief. A respite now, a healing, easy time in safety. And, no Sage in sight!
Humanity Mankind has made a few adjustments. Strapped his hands together to prevent their annoying habit of grabbing at his feet to rig elaborate lassos of his laces. He only takes the handcuffs off for meals. He now runs with a board between his legs so the right foot will forget about his left. It’s not comfortable, but Hey! It keeps them down to business. He’d like to sleep, but finds he can’t afford it. Unmonitored, his body is its own worst enemy, more dangerous than lurking lions.
But in a plain like this, where nothing threatens, he puts himself on automatic pilot and indulges in a dream. The world is his…no matter how he got it. He owns it all! He is its Master! Let those who doubt that fear and quake.
Here comes THE MAN!!!
Suddenly, a thundercloud, a stab of lightning, the crack of thunder. Rain and hail whip down with little warning. The moon is veiled and later, dark. He cannot see the rocky ground before him; but has a memory of comforting, endless plains. This, too, shall pass.
A lamp, held high, stabs through the fury.
“That Sage again? Will He never fail to torment me in all my darkest hours? He mocks me with His Presence, as if to say I cannot find my way. Well, I’ve come far enough without Your lamp, Old Man! Do You think a summer storm can frighten me?”
The Gate was open, but he shot the Sage anyway, just for being there. Just for blocking his way.
“Preposterous! Watch out for who? He always talks such nonsense! It has no meaning…never has. He’s just a lunatic who never seems to die; but I wish He’d pick on someone else. His lamp blinds my eyes. What? Here’s another Sage! Two in the same night? What IS this world coming to, anyway? There ought to be a law to keep them off the streets.”
This Sage is tall. He speaks a warning. The thunder cracks like timbers falling. A bolt of lightning strobes the land.
“A chasm up ahead? You must be joking. This plain is flat and vast, spread out in all directions. I’ve been running for a very long time and this is the best place that I have ever seen; the very best place in my very wide experience. I do not need You, Sage, nor do I want You in my life. What sort of man runs with an old attendant to put the light before his feet? I’d be the laughing stock of all. I am a REAL man! My name is Humanity Mankind! And if I’ve told You once, I’ve told You a thousand times…LEAVE ME ALONE TO RUN IN PEACE!”
Having made the longest speech of his life, the man beats Baha’u’llah on the bottom of His feet and throws Him in an underground pit, filled with vermin. He runs on, his handicaps threatening to mutiny at any moment. But, there’s a large patch of skin above the heart that calls itself Baha’i.
This skin immediately sends out an S.O.S. to its universal self…its plastic, elastic, sweating, breathing, heating, cooling, stretchy-sided grapevine. Skin’s telepathic message says:
There IS a chasm up ahead! We’ll be there any moment. It’s okay. These crazy legs DO have the strength to leap the leap. But, they need to know they’re going to. They need to learn how a man can fly. In tattoo now, right here above the heart, there is a map to show the way and plenty of instructions. Now, when it happens…when the chasm comes…just be calm and pray and do the following list of things. We will survive! Make no mistake! But, how is up to us. So, listen gang, let’s stop taking these stupid potshots at each other.
THAT’S our problem, not the chasm. Let’s get organized and let’s get set to fly!”
(To be continued…)
By now, Humanity Mankind’s body had become full-blown. He carried it proudly and indulged it wantonly. It commanded him, but he liked what it did for him. He belched and scratched and consumed great quantities. All the while, he ran.
At last, a desert filled with scorpions and burning sand. His Oriental feet weren’t up to it. For centuries, they’d been at rivalry, but now indulged in open warfare. It started with sly kicks and trips; mild stuff after which a lot of innocence propounded. But, things devolved into elaborate traps and plots by one foot against the other; so that, often, the runner was reduced to hopping around in one place while his feet engaged in a bizarre, karate-sort of dance. This kept him longer than necessary on the burning sand, and frequently caused him to fall into nests of scorpions or beds of deadly rattlers.
In all this burning heat, The Sage beckoned from a nearby oasis, holding forth a goatskin filled with water and a lamp that far outshone the sun.
Blaming the turbaned Sage for all his troubles, the young adult rushed forth, momentarily rallying his recalcitrant feet to march in the same direction. His right hand fired the crossbow and then the cannon, and wielded high the ass’s jawbone which split Mohammad’s skull.
From then on, that hand prayed five times a day!
Humanity Mankind was a funny sight as he swaggered away from his last kill. All hell broke loose in his beleaguered body. Imagine this: The left hand got a death grip on the right, twisting it to yank it off. Both hands, though clenched in a fight to the finish, began to bash the eyes and slash the feet. The ears, which had sided with all the indigenous Sages, Aztec, Inca, Indian, and many more, shut down, sucking their lobes, and eventually the whole outer flap, inside to block out polluting theories being bandied about so loudly from every side. The eyes refused to open for the whole, but peeked through lashes only for the benefit of Jews. The feet resumed their St. Vitus dancing with a vengeance.
As if that weren’t enough, his fingers and toes broke into warring sects and set about a-rattling against each other…like some voodoo sorceror’s dry-bones shaker… like old, dry tongues spitting wicked hatred. Cacophony! He couldn’t travel quietly anymore. Hunting was next to impossible. Naturally, hunger put him often in a very bad mood.
Conversion reigned. Confusion reigned. The extremities wished to expand their territories and sent corpuscles marching up the limbs and into limbo. Great battles assured the death of many cells. The stamps of many Sages Past behaved like power-hungry monarchs, each with an eye to conquering the whole; to make this fine, proud body, with all of its concomitant parts, exactly like the fingernail, or the eye tooth.
Great cancerous clumps began to form within this youth of promise, just at the threshold of his majority. To put it briefly, he was a mess! But, he labored on, doggedly, stupidly, not knowing anything but running…
(To be continued…)
The ungainly adolescent struggles up the rocky mountain, makes the crest at sundown, only to feel rage build overwhelmingly within to see that same Old Man walking forth to meet him: “I thought I got rid of you! Told you never to bother me again! Beat you to a bloody pulp! Tore you to little bits! Can’t you take a hint? I can manage things myself! I don’t need your stupid lamp!”
And so, he takes on Moses with a vengeance. Grapples Him to the ground; beats and pummels the Prophet mercilessly with His own rod until there’s nothing left of Him.
But mankind’s eye becomes Jewish.
Horrified, the angry youth grabs his own converted eye. Plucks it from his face and dashes it to a thousand pieces, smearing the offending orb over every surface; running, running, in his pursuit of power and from unseen pursuers. Though that eye is smeared to Kingdom Come… still, it sees from empty socket. It regenerates itself, while the overgrown teenager runs on, beating at his own face in furious, blinding attack.
The newborn eye perceives that, some time ago, a foot became Hindu; thanks to a little toe that had kicked at Krishna. Within a night or two, it watches the other foot step on Buddha, after the boy had thrown Him from the path that wound around a Bo tree. This one crushing step resulted in a Buddhist foot. Little by little, each foot won over its appending leg.
By then, the very sight of that lamp, shining through the branches from afar, was enough to cause saliva to drip in furious frenzy from Mankind’s curling lips, in anticipation of the satisfying blood lust vented in strange evening contests. The teeth that tore at Zoroaster later bore His Name.
One night, the Sage waited, as usual, with His lamp held high. But on his shoulder, He supported the heavy end of a large cross. The man/boy saw his chance, grabbed a rock and shards of iron. Grasping the Sage by the throat, he hammered spikes to holy hands and feet, driving those nails deep into that convenient wood.
“Ha, Sage! You make a fine signpost! Now, maybe others will see you, hanging there by the side of the road, and take warning! LEAVE ME ALONE! I need no interference! I want no interference! I will not brook anyone’s interference! Let all look upon the penalty for interference with ME, THE MAN!!!”
Shouting this, he strode proudly down the road, little guessing that his whole hand had suddenly become Christian. That spot would spread to arm and shoulder, as well as half the trunk.
(To be continued…)
Briefly, mankind is a runner, who from childhood has run across plains, mountains and fields, always pursuing an unknown goal. Over time, his body grew and exhibited various signs and emotions. His path is littered with the debris of dreadful encounters, and regular killings of his Sages.
A century ago, he came to the rim of a canyon, over a mile deep and very narrow. Because of forces from behind, he had to leap and is now in mid-air, striving to land on the opposite rim. He is ill and wounded and the outcome of this jump is unknown. God has assured us that Humanity Mankind will survive and will, eventually reach the Land of Peace, but he could smack into the canyon wall first, or land on the rocks below. Each righteous deed that we perform provides the lift he needs. Each evil or leaden thought, or act, on our part, serves to arc this free-flying, leaping body downward.
Here is the Fable of Humanity Mankind, which I wrote in August, 1993, and even performed as a dance in the Soviet Union:
THE GREAT LEAP FORWARD
The child had been running since the dawn of time…this baby named Humanity Mankind. Pure and whole at first, he toddles into great sweet jungles, along empty beaches, over jet black lava fields. No villages, no cities, no friends, no enemies, populate his world. He progresses slowly… skipping, dawdling, babbling happily to himself.
Easily lost, he wanders into tiger pits and badly frightened by the clawing beasts, he cries. Darkness comes with howling wind and driving rain. He cannot find his little cave again, until a Sage, with lamp in hand, guides him to a safer place within a garden. A fingernail grows wise.
The boy of ten gains survival skills, becomes wary, learns to hunt, listen, fend for himself, explore. Dinosaurs share his world, providing challenge, danger, meat. Night comes. The Sage waits at dusk. The boy has learned suspicion; listens on the balls of his feet and darts away. But a small clump of hair over his left ear becomes wise.
The youth daily stares danger in the face. Each night finds The Sage, in different dress and visage, offering light in the darkness and a staff for the midnight path. But, the child/man hates any path and has come to value murky blackness for deeds done in lightless places. Each night, feeling his own strong sinew and growing bone, he knocks the Sage away. It starts with a mere shove, then becomes a push, then a kick; soon a biting attack, and finally, a murderous, killing force.
But, every contact with the Sage leaves a small part of himself – a tooth, a nail, a patch of skin, a taste bud, somehow transformed. This he never notices in the rush of life; the rush of his own young, virile blood, initiating him into all things to be had. Things he never noticed as a child.
And all the while, he runs. Over mountains, across rivers, he runs, runs…
Something propels him onward to some distant place, but he thinks it only natural to run. He sees it as his birthright, his destiny; to conquer all upon the face of the earth, put there for him alone. His frenzy to have, to acquire, to possess, is tempered by the presence of that pesky Sage, standing at the entrance of, in the bosom of each night, holding a lamp which looks more and more disturbingly like the mid-day sun.
“How foolish! How inane! Out of my way, Old Man! Why do you haunt my nightmares so? Begone!”
And the Sage is murdered once again. But, cells at the back of the escaper’s spine take on a strange glow.
(To be continued…)
Back in May, 1992, I was working for a newspaper outside of Atlanta, Georgia and I made a discovery which I still use today. Here’s my journal entry describing this:
“I work at the newspaper and see a lot of mug shots for the business column about promotions and such. I’ve become fascinated with faces and what’s written there. This theory doesn’t work on photos of young people. Apparently, someone must season for about thirty or forty years for such a strange effect to occur. The older, the better. Here’s my theory, in a nutshell:
The two sides of a person’s face are sometimes different. Quite different. It’s pretty much impossible to see this when you are looking at the full face in the picture, and you’ll never see it if you are looking at the real person themselves. Portrait-type photos are the best to show this, when both eyes are, supposedly, looking straight at the camera. I say, supposedly, because when you cover one side, you frequently see one eye looking up or off to the side. Something you don’t notice on the full face view.
I think that I’ve stumbled upon a way to determine how that photographed individual might feel about the two dimensions of life – their social relationship with people and their internal relationship with God. I assume that the right side of their face (actually reversed in the picture, because they’re facing you) represents their feelings about humanity. That part is controlled by the left brain managing the practicalities and material details of thought.
So, to guess how they feel about the world, put a piece of paper over half of the face and study their right-side expression interpretively, listening to the impressions you are getting. Maybe: happy with life… suspicious… wouldn’t trust him a mile… filled with joy…and so forth. Your impressions are coming in from the expression in their eye, and the set of their mouth.
Then, move your paper and do this for the other side, their left half (to your right) which is controlled by the more intangible, spiritual, right brain. This side, I interpret as showing the person’s feelings about God. Frequently, I’ll find that eye looking slightly upwards, while the other one rivets the camera, directly. Or, I might get the impression that the person is mad at God, due to an angry glare coming out of that eye. Or else, there might be a smile, a glowing softness, or a confused, lost look.
This little parlor trick seems to be borne out and proved valid in all of these head shots that cross my desk. What fascinates me most is how LIFE shapes our face. And it’s not the action which happens to us; but our reaction to that action, which gets written across our face. Hardness, happiness, or a million degrees in between. Surely, this is nothing that we can control and we are never aware of it. It wouldn’t reveal itself to us in our mirror, and neither cosmetics nor plastic surgery can eliminate it, because it’s often the expression in the eye, as much as the drawing down or the curving up of the mouth.
Nowadays, I’m always looking for pictures to test this new theory on. I wish I worked in a portrait studio and had access to thousands of such pictures and a darkroom, so that I could cut the negative in two and match the identical sides together to see the full expression which that would make. My point is, that this is one more clue as to how life is writing on us all the time. And not just in wrinkles. It’s our attitude, attitude, attitude, that makes all the subtle difference and it gets written right there on our face. It can give away seemingly attractive faces and tell the emotion of that soul.
Is this the old Dorian Gray scenario? “
I know that I haven’t posted a blog for a week… but I have been writing! My next book, based on Questions & Answers, perhaps with a different title, is deep in production now and I spend all hours of the day taking more Upper Dictation; asking more questions; and digging deeper into the answers given for the original book, back in 1998. So, please forgive my silence.
But I did take last Thursday off to drive over to Tampa and hear Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of the wildly popular book: Eat, Pray, Love, which has now been translated into thirty languages and has sold seven million copies and counting. Can you blame me for wanting to hear her? Oprah called her a rock star author and she certainly is. But, she still acts like her natural self and is funny and very, very candid, telling stories on herself all over the place.
This was a luncheon put on by the Tampa Chamber of Commerce, called Women of Distinction, and there we all were, hundreds…maybe a thousand…of us, looking nicely polished up, standing in the book-buying line and chatting with each other in the lobby; waiting to rush in and claim a seat at one of the many round tables laden with lovely lunch. Liz Gilbert has a natural grace and beauty and she was less doozied up than many of us, but looking great on the two big screens blowing up her image, so that we in the back could see, as well.
Just as has been happening while I read along, on my second time through Eat, Pray, Love, here will come a refreshing zinger of philosophy, right out of the blue, in the middle of the funny stories. One which came out during this speech was her comment about the historical, new place that women find themselves in now. Only in the past seventy-five years, she reckons, have we been faced with real choices about what to do with our lives. Her grandmother never got conflicted about the career choice she made, while she was tending eight children on a dirt farm in the midwest and just, basically, struggling to make it through the day. Choice was never hers to begin with.
Gilbert can write authentically about being conflicted in life, because that’s what set her off on the year-long journey around the world to “find herself” at age thirty-four. That’s what makes the book so popular, and I’m sure that a great majority of her readers are women. She’s also kind of an unredeemed klutz and doesn’t mind saying so. She opened her talk with a confession about having loused up grandly on a simple flight to Santa Barbara to give a speech at the university there.
Being the good daughter of a Swedish mother, she got to the San Francisco airport four-and-a-half hours early to be sure to catch the flight, and to write her thank you letters during the wait. She sat in the proper boarding area, right near the door leading to the plane. But, got to woolgathering about a “deep” moral dilemma caused by the request of her nieces and nephews to buy them nerf guns and plenty of ammo. They had just been to a neighborhood so-much-fun party across four adjoining back yards and it was all-out war. Now, they wanted to throw a war for their friends.
Problem was, Liz’s sister is Quaker and Liz was feeling very conflicted about being the favorite aunt gun supplier here. She even mulled over the finer points of the machine gun nerf weapon, versus the hidden pocket pistol, and how much ammo was too much ammo. Meanwhile, her plane was boarding and leaving, and when she finally came to, she was alone in the silent airport seating area. Panic time! She ran around, agitating everybody, as well as the woman who was supposed to meet her at the Santa Barbara airport. No more planes flew there and the talk was set for five o’clock that very afternoon.
All she could do was run across the whole terminal and jump on a flight to L.A., requiring the poor woman to drive all the way there and get her, then drive back to Santa Barbara at some unlawful speed on those horrendous freeways. It was mighty frosty on that drive and she was half-an-hour late to her talk. She had lost her notes and her hairbrush in all the hubbub. Just another day in the life of a rock star, apparently.
Someone in our audience asked how that nerf business turned out in her family and she reported the happy ending. Her mother gave counsel and the green light to arm the kiddies, and they all had a lovely massive family War not long ago, during which her 57-year-old husband, (the famous “Felipe” of the book) thought he was James Bond and did a stunt roll from behind a tree, planning to come up shooting. He hurt his hip and still limps a little. So, she allowed as how War might be a wee bit dangerous, at that.
Here’s a woman, on her way to becoming another J.K. Rowling, and she talks about the heavy difficulty of writing her next follow-up book and being expected to repeat the phenomenon. Everyone wants more of the same, only better, and even more confirming and exciting. She spent two-and-a-half years writing a 500-page manuscript, only to realize that it wasn’t any good. It didn’t reflect her “voice,” which is one of the reasons that Eat, Pray, Love is so universally-loved.
That failed manuscript had been so very influenced by the specter of her millions of fans’ expectations and she had stiffened up in the writing of it. Her publisher had already paid for this second book and had announced its publication. Can you imagine the big pressures at such a high level of that business?
The thing was finished and it was due NOW, but she scrapped it and went out and planted vegetables for six months. Just dug in the dirt and got entirely away from writing. At last, one day, the first sentence of her new book came floating into her head and she ran inside, wrote it down, and retired to her room for three months to write the one which does contain her voice again. It will be about marriage, ironically, since that’s what had sent her over the edge at the beginning of her first book.
She and Felipe had vowed never to marry, but she said Homeland Security made them do it. So, she calls it a shotgun wedding. He is Brazilian and it probably has a lot to do with visas. She is now very happily married and has a lot to say in the appreciation of the institution. Knowing this woman’s fearlessness about saying it just like it is, I think we’ll all learn more than People Magazine could ever tell us about what goes on inside of this well-known, and highly-admired couple’s, personal life. Plus, we’ll learn a whole lot more about spirituality and confliction-resolution. Can’t wait to read Committed. That’s the first word of the new title, which used to be Weddings & Evictions, but has changed to Committed…..something or other.
She is a rock star author, with lots of blogs about her. Google her name and you will see. She’s also now “fabulously wealthy,” by her own amazed description. Another Rowling look-alike point. We all love a rags to riches story and she has invited us to come along on hers.
On October 8, just next Thursday, I will drive over to Tampa in the morning and become a member of the audience at the Women of Influence Luncheon featuring Elizabeth Gilbert as the speaker. The ticket for this event was my birthday present from my son, who knew how much I loved reading the fantastic and wonderful, very entertaining best-seller, Eat, Pray, Love, which had been a birthday present to me from my dear friend, Fawn Germer, a few years ago. If you haven’t read it yet, you are out of step, because everyone else on the planet has, by now. This is her fourth book.
So, instead of trying to decide what to wear to the event, to be attended by hundreds of swishy women…all of them Women of Influence… I am re-reading Eat, Pray, Love, just to refresh my memory. It’s surprising what you notice on a second read-through and I want to share part of it here, which I should never have forgotten reading the first time around, but I did.
Liz Gilbert is a person after my own heart and we share a certain characteristic, which I once…in my lack of exposure to other people’s autobiographies… thought was a rare occurance. That is: talking directly to God or to The Holy Spirit, as the case may be; and getting verbalized answers back. Not that strange! Not that crazy! Not that odd as a subject to admit publically in writing!
Yesssss! This will help me immensely in the writing of the manuscript I’m currently working on about my extensive Barbara Walter’s-type of interview with The Holy Spirit, a few quotations of which I have shared in this blog.
Anyone who has read Eat, Pray, Love, remembers the famous “bathroom floor scene.” Julia Roberts is currently filming this story in a movie to come out in 2011. She’ll do very well in this anguished episode where Liz is collapsed at 3 a.m. crying away in the bathroom of her new and fancy house for the 47th night in a row, because she doesn’t want to be married any more. Sort of accidentally, as a last resort, she began to pray, repeating a runaway entreaty of “Please tell me what to do”
Imagine her shock and wonder when she received a verbalized Voice in her head wisely saying, “Go back to bed, Liz.”
That became a turning point in her life, which helped her to extricate herself from an unhappy marriage and to cry her way through the speedbumps of the next three years of her life. At last, she begins her year-long journey to find herself and is in Italy, studying Italian and eating her way through the delights of Italian cooking, when her old foes, Depression and Loneliness show up to hound her. By now, she keeps a most private notebook to record her conversations with God:
“I need Your help.”
“I’m right here. What can I do for you?”
After she explains, she writes His Words in her notebook:
“I’m here. I love you. I don’t care if you need to stay up crying all night long, I will stay with you. If you need the medication again, go ahead and take it – I will love you through that, as well. If you don’t need the medication, I will love you, too. There’s nothing you can ever do to lose my love. I will protect you until you die, and after your death I will still protect you. I am stronger than Depression and I am braver than Loneliness and nothing will ever exhaust me.”
Now, this is what I’m talking about. This is what happens to me and probably to millions of others of us who are all keeping our most private notebooks. A really and truly, constant give-and-take with the Unthinkable God or the Unthinkable Holy Spirit, Whom all of us feel must surely be far too busy and far too high to be talking directly to us about our own lives and concerns; and cheerfully available to answer any of our questions. But, I’ve been doing it, long and strong, for many, many years.
It’s time we came out of the closet! Thank you, Elizabeth Gilbert for helping to regularize this claim.You stand right up there with Dr. Raymond Moody in making it okay for Near Death Experiencers to discuss what happened to them while they were (unthinkably) dead.
Though it’s not exactly on the same subject as a personal and private prayer conversation with the Almighty, here is a speech that this author made about the muse in the Creative Process, in which she deals with the subject in a very scholarly way.
I especially loved the way she described the experience of a ninety-year-old poet, whose poems had been “coming at her” since childhood. It’s the idea of an outside presence which shares the act of writing or any creative endeavor with a direct and personal involvement. Voices in the head are, apparently, much more prevalent and more important than most of us realize.
So, I continue to prepare myself to sit at the feet of this charming genius of a writer by re-reading her literary phenomenon. Plus, I already know what I’m going to wear to this swishy event. It’s my new Chico’s tunic, a birthday present from my daughter and her family.