I'm not traveling to Italy. Or India. Or Bali. My big enlightening will unfold (hopefully it will unfold, anyway!) right here in Midwest Minne, with a few jaunty, Western-centric excursions to Michigan, British Columbia and Mexico, and possibly a few other destinations dotting the map as well.
I'm not in the midst of a divorce. Au contraire mon frere! Quite the opposite for this newlywed!
I do not make my living as a writer. No one is paying me for my dazzling prose as I get down and dirty with my amygdala. Very few people are even reading my words (about 9 readers, according to my Google stats -- don't worry, I have no clear way to know who you are, though I can educate a guess that one my mother, one is my sister, and one is my husband...). No matter, since I'm mostly writing for my own amusement anyway versus attempting to achieve some sort of sense of posterity.
However, just as Ms. Gilbert detailed in her acclaimed "Eat, Pray, Love" memoir, I too am searching for that elusive thing called purpose. My version of the journey is just a bit more "everyday average gal", and with considerably less wit, lacking in the charm or any level of profound insight.
Here's where I'm at so far on my magical journey to enlightenment, give or take a few steps and stumbles:
Step 1: Wear stretchy pants daily and watch a lot of TV. Sometimes do laundry, and try not to forget to feed the cats.
Step 2: Feel guilty for wearing stretchy pants and watching a lot of TV daily. Even though I'm doing other stuff too. Come on now, with the Netflixing four straight episodes of Drop Dead Diva. Good lord, it's a cancelled Lifetime show, for the love of Pete! Bad, bad Molly!
Step 3: Screw the guilt! When else will I ever get to sit around and just wear stretchy pants and watch a lot of TV? I don't have any kids! I don't have any major time or life commitments! And, I worked my butt off for years to earn this lazy payout, and I'm going to relax and enjoy it already, dammit!
Step 4: Cycle back and forth between Step 2 and 3 for a bit.
Step 5: Consult with therapist about the discomfort I feel for not being more 'productive', and not knowing clearly what I want, because hey, I mean it's been over a month now, where's my enlightenment already??? Discuss many important truths that stem from this pain and discomfort, including its origin and its pervasiveness. No Balinese gurus for me, I have the wisdom of my licensed psychologist, thankyouverymuch!
Step 6: Noodle on themes from therapy, including observing my emotions and reactions without such harsh self judgement and criticism, accepting that I can love who I am, just as I am right in this moment, full of flaws and conflicts and stumbles (e.g. maitri), inviting in my own preferences as being valid, even if they differ from the preferences of others, and generally reflecting on the impermanence of, well, everything. And what the heck, let's share these vulnerabilities of mine in a public digital forum!
Step 7: Did you read step 6? Shit's heavy. I think I better stay on Step 6 for a while, before I try for step 7. And when I do start to tip toe onward, let's be honest, Step 6 is going to be a tandem effort with all other steps, from here on out.