The Ins and Outs of an Ordinary Life

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Eat Pray Love Swim Bike Run

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert is quite the rage in bookclub circles (I just finished reading it for my bookclub and enjoyed it very much). It has also been on the NY Times Bestseller List for upteen weeks. The book is Gilbert’s account of a year she spent traveling to Italy, India and Indonesia in search of “everything.” After a crippling divorce and a crushing depression, her road to recovery begins in Italy, with the pursuit of pleasure, continues in India with a search for love of self and God, and ends on the island of Bali where she seeks balance.

Swim Bike Run is my version of Eat Pray Love. It is an account of this woman’s search for “everything” across Westchester County.

The Bike is my Italy. It is my source of pleasure as I travel many miles through the natural world and across the seasons. Most of the time I share the experience with friends, new and old. It is easy to make the ride fit my needs (both physical and emotional) on that particular day.

The Swim is my India. Even when I swim with the Masters Swim Team, I am in the pool alone. It’s me against myself. Because I suck so bad at swimming, I am constantly battling my negative thoughts. “Why are you even attempting this? You’re supposed to be in good shape. The coach thinks you’re hopeless, but he can’t tell you that.” And on and on and on, lap after lap after lap. Like Gilbert, I am learning to banish these negative thoughts by telling myself, “You have no idea how strong I am.” You don’t have to excel at something to enjoy it. I am learning to love swimming and rejoicing in my baby steps. Lance understands, “Feed the warrior…..Kill the coward within.”

The Run is my Indonesia. It is a constant balancing act, between my knees and my lungs, between pounding the pavement and finding the rhythm that propels me with little effort. Running is the only time I find myself thinking about just about anything or pretty much nothing. I can turn inward or I can turn on the iPod. I can focus on the rhythms of my body or the rhythms of classic rock.

When in Italy, Gilbert's favorite word in Italian was "attraversiamo," let's cross the street. This becomes a metaphor for her journey as she learned to cross the street, navigate all the traffic and end up on the other side of her life. Swim Bike Run, attraversiamo, let's cross the street and find out where an athletic life can take you.

1 comment:

leslie said...

Awesome! No other words needed.