A Novel Journey
In Elizabeth Gilbert’s novel, Eat Pray Love, a lively debate happens among Liz and the friends she’s made in Italy about Words. Words capitalized into descriptive labels that hold the secret to truly learning the soul of any city. The friends went on to determine that London’s word is ‘Stuffy’; Rome’s word, appropriately, is ‘Sex’; and New York’s is ‘Achieve’ (though I think Ambition fits well also) and Stockholm, depressingly to Liz and Sophie, is ‘Conform’.
Liz’s Italian friend Giulio surmised that the reason Liz didn’t feel like she could totally inhabit the city of Rome was “Maybe you and Rome just have different words.” People, like cities, have a soul deep connection with words and labels that we either give to ourselves or are given to us by those around us.
Words have power, they are thoughts that come to life.
During her journey, Liz had difficulty picking out her word because there were so many words that could apply to herself or her life but none that summed up the whole. She looked for a long time before it came to her – Attraversiamo – Italian for ‘Let’s cross over’. So not a simple noun or verb but her personal call to action; her personal way of living life. She needed to crossover from her previous life and build something new for herself before she could feel fulfilled and happy.
The concepts in Eat Pray Love caught the attention of millions of people. In their very simplicity and grace, everyone could and did find some kind of meaning that resonated in the messages therein. The concept of Words is a particularly strong one. From the beginnings of our lives we’re given labels. From there it goes on and we absorb them all whatever they are consciously and unconsciously and they start forming, well, us in all our messy glory.
Like Liz, I’m a woman in search of her Word. As I search, I find words that fit the time, the place and who I am at that moment but my personal life’s call to action has so far eluded me. I content myself with picking out a new word to live by for every year. This year’s word for me is Communication. This blog is a direct result of that word. My BFF is resonating with Possibilities this year. Isn’t that an exciting word? Possibilities. The whole universe is now laid open at her feet to explore. Another friend’s word is Change. That brings growth and adventure to the table. Words of action, adventure and change. Powerful.
Thoughts have power as they are the reflections of our deepest desires and needs.
As human beings we tend to focus on the negative. I believe that this is not our natural state. We are born a clean slate, happy and new, but we absorb the chaos and negativity around us. Our parents and role models may be hard on us, but we are hardest on ourselves. Like Liz, I believe that we should search for our Word. But don’t stop there, go on to pick any and all happy and fulfilling words to drive out the negatives.
Finding loving and happy Words for ourselves can drive ourselves to live up to those words. They can become a touchstone or mantra to repeat when days seem long and dark. Think of words that your inner critic applies to you. Mine calls me “lazy”, when that little voice rises up, I replace lazy with “productive”. Do you feel how one is flat and lifeless whereas the second one feels better, lighter?
Words have the power to bring things to life, make situations better and to empower people to be the best versions of themselves.
What’s your Word?
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