Eat, Pray, Love: Mid-Life Crises (Part 3)

 Part Four in a Series

Now that I have finished the first one third of Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, I am not so sure that I really want to go to Italy after all.

That she gained weight in the land of Michelangelo does not surprise me. But I put on weight on a two week trip to Vietnam a couple of years ago.

And if I can gain weight in a country with food that is not exactly known as being calorific – and in spite of the fact that I was doing laps for one hour in the hotel swimming pool each morning – I would hate to think what would happen to me if I found myself in the land where pasta was invented.

Fast Forward to India

“We are meant to sit for an hour in silence, but I log the minutes as if they are miles – 60 brutal miles that I have to endure,” Gilbert writes of her 4 o’clock in the morning meditation sessions, which start the day at the ashram in India at which she is seeking enlightenment.

“By minute 14, my nerves have started to go, my knees are breaking down and I’m overcome with exasperation.”

Minute 14??? Is she serious???

Rewind 7 Years

On my 54th birthday, I decided to give myself a new body for my 55th birthday. Joining Hong Kong’s very trendy California Fitness Centre, I hired a personal trainer.

I spent two and one half hours at the gym six nights a week – no days off. That included a 15 minute warm up, one hour pumping iron, 15 minutes of stretching, and one hour on the cardio vascular machines (which I dubbed the “torture contraptions”).

And I hated Every Second of It!

Gilbert writes of the brutally slow passage of minutes. For me, I was agonizing through the brutally slow passage of seconds! I would keep checking the counter . . . Oh, how slowly those seconds passed!

If the number 108 is considered auspicious because it is a “perfect three digit mulitple of three, its components adding up to nine, which is three threes,” what on earth does the number 3,600 – or 60 seconds times 60 minutes – signify?

Picture Imperfect

There were picture windows in front of the bank of torture contraptions overlooking a bustling street in Kowloon’s Tsim Sha Tsui district.

I remember looking longingly at the McDonald’s, the KFC, the Pizza Hut, the Thai restaurant, and the Chinese fast food outlet that were just a few seconds away from me and thinking, “Why am I doing this to myself? I could be eating right now!”

Readers Respond  

Writes Clementre Blach (location unknown): Very interesting stuff. I’ve been learning more about meditation and hypnosis lately. Both seem like great methods of enlightenment and personal development. 18 November 2010 (via Comment Box)  

E. of Kapa’a, Hawai’i, writes Here’s my take on meditation having tried to listen to other people on how to meditate. First of all, don’t try to meditate at all! Second, don’t count the clock. I actually put together a little mix on my iPod that has ocean waves with some sort of subliminal system that helps put your mind in the right place to meditate. I cranked the volume up on the waves and lowered the volume on the subliminal part. I didn’t like the music they used to cover up the subliminal part. I figured my mind would hear the subliminal messages regardless of the volume. Then I just find a moment either late at night when it is quiet or outside in my yard where I can just focus on the plants, birds, etc. I just let my mind relax and don’t try to do anything. Believe it or not, it seems to work wonders for me. Chances are you can do the same you just haven’t tried to not meditate. Let me know if you have any success. BTW, my best friend is from southern India. She makes the best tasting food in the world! 21 July 2010

Accidental Travel Writer Responds I found the same thing with cardio-vascular . . . by putting a towel over the timer, it seemed to reduce the stress levels associated with watching the seconds pass so slowly. But I haven’t tried meditation in years … This is all making me think that I should give it a try!  

Copyright: Michael Taylor

Related Posts

Eat, Pray, Love: Walk in the Footsteps of Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat, Pray, Love: Mid Life Crises (Part 1)

Eat, Pray, Love: Mid Life Crises (Part 2)

Eat, Pray, Love: Mid Life Crises (Part 3)

Eat, Pray, Love: Ayurvedic Cuisine (Part 1)

Eat, Pray, Love: Ayurvedic Cuisine (Part 2)

Eat, Pray, Love: the Movie