A few years ago there was a lot of buzz about the movie "Eat Pray Love". I don't like being left out of a trend, and so I watched the movie. I was disappointed, I mean it was o.k. but it just did not live up to the hype. I had such high hopes for this movie, Oprah said it would change my life!
About six months after I saw the movie I was at my local library. I happened to see Elizabeth Gilbert's "Eat Pray Love" just sitting there on the shelf. It beckoned me, it whispered to me "Hey, Tristan, give me a go. You know how you usually prefer the book to the movie. Sometimes they are nothing the same, remember "The Shining"? Come on what do you have to loose?" So I borrowed that book. Oprah was right, it was life changing. I read it with the enthusiasm of a zealot reading the bible, trying to memorize key points.
There was a key lesson in the book, that really stuck with me, and aggravated my husband profusely. "What is your Word?" According to Elizabeth Gilbert, every place, every person has a "word". To me it almost seemed like the legends that said certain native tribes had secret names. It was as if, if they shared their name it was like giving away part of their soul. These native people had a name that everyone called them, and a sacred name that was theirs alone. I'll be honest, I feel like that a little with my own name. Have you ever spoken to someone who over uses your name without giving it the reverence it deserves? I developed this little tick while years ago working at the local convenience store. We had to wear name tags. This meant that anyone who could read, could know my name, whether I wanted to share it or not. To me if you know my name it should be because I choose to share it with you. There would always be someone one who would look at my name tag and then feel the need to use my name repeatedly (it was usually some pervy looking man). "How are you today Tristan? (he would usually have this smug looking face, this look of I am so smart because I can read) Oh and Tristan, could you get me a pack of Players Light? Oh thanks Tristan. You have a great day Tristan". Oh it drove me crazy, but I digress....
I come back to "What's Your Word?" I drove poor Christopher crazy after I read that part of the book, and then for a long time after I had finished the book. The poor man just subtly would shake his head that painful look of "Oh God, here she goes again" etched on his face. It really resonated for me. Everyone "thinks" that they know who they are, but very few people actually "KNOW" who they are. Most people's self image is not based in real life, but in who they would like to be, so not the same. Ever met the most gossipy person who delighted in sharing everyone else's pain, and she would be the first to tell you that she is a caring person who really cares about other's feelings?
I gave very serious thought to my "word". Each time my "word" would change. The word should not describe what you do, but who you really are.... just one word. It's tricky business. I am not really sure why it was so important for me to find my "true word", but it was. I was on a voyage of self discovery. "What's your word" deeply resonated for me, but the book as a whole affected me deeply. Each new chapter I would wake my poor husband to excitedly share something new from the book, something that deeply impacted me. I finished that book and looked at the world with fresh eyes, my soul felt refreshed. I wanted to truly live, to take the world into my very pores, to experience life, not just to live.
As with most things, over time my big inspirations fade. I find new inspirations and they become the focus for my life (yes I'm that person). I kind of forgot about the impact that Eat Pray Love had on me because it had been a while since I read it. That is until last week. I was sorting through the cheap DVDs at the Walmart Boxing Day sale, there was the DVD "Eat Pray Love" for $5. I bought it. The night before last my husband and I sat down together to watch it (yes it's a chick flick, and we all know the reason why a man sits though a chick flick, it is not to indulge his more feminine side, but because he feels that there may be a reward after the movie for him, if you catch my drift). We sat watching the movie, and as I watched it, I liked it so much more than I did the first time. It echoed the book. At the point that they began to talk about their word, I could feel Christopher's whole body grimace. He knew what was to follow. Weeks of being harassed about "his word".
So now I have begun afresh searching for my word. My quest to find my perfect word. My first instinct says that my word is "Mother", but that's not really it, that's my phase right now. I don't really mean phase, I mean, that is not all I am, that is not who I am. I think my word is "phoenix". I was someone else, and that someone else erupted into flames, and burned to ash, only to emerge raw and pink to begin again. I am changing, growing, evolving. Yes, I think my word is phoenix (I think that Christopher will be most relieved that my quest may be finished.)