Back, finally! And with a posting partner, no less.
My co-author told me about a strand of yoga in which one breathes in pain, and breathes out love. I read Italy is an in-breath of pain, India the stillness as oxygen enters the bloodstream, and Indonesia the out-breath of the love Liz found.
"I go to rice fields in morning, before sun. I sit in rice field with mouth open and take water from air. How you call this...Dew? Yes. Dew. Only this dew I eat for six days.....same thing that is god is same thing inside me. Same-same." (Page 233)
The notion of Ketut following his dream and his self-imposed rules to the point of near starvation jumped out at me. With no food or water for six days (the length of the Judeo-Christian biblical Creation, just to transpose a tradition), finally he resorts to the simplest, most poetic nourishment I have ever heard: breathing in the morning dew, until he sees the golden color of god within himself.
Circle in the Sand
"'God long ago drew a circle in the sand exactly around the spot where you are standing right now.' I was never not coming here. This was never not going to happen." (Page 280)
These are Liz' thoughts after she announces to Wayan that she has raised $18,000 (lucky number 18 - "life" in Jewish tradition, and (of course) one sixth of 108) for the purchase of a new home. This is the notion of prophecy in Greek epic literature - it is not going to happen because it was prophesied; it was prophesied because it is going to happen. We choose our way to our destinies, perhaps. I see Liz breathing out here, even though she experiences considerable anxiety before Wayan buys the house. She has given away her own home in New York out of pain and desperation, and created a home for Wayan out of love and chutzpah.
"'Show me your shame,' I asked my mind. Dear God...'Show me your worst,' I said. When I tried to invite these units of shame into my heart, they each hesitated at the door, saying, 'No-you don't want ME in there...don't you know what I did?' and I would say, 'I DO want you. Even you. I DO. even you are welcome here. It's OK. You are forgiven. You are part of me. You can rest now. It's over.'"(Page 327)
This was perhaps the most personal passage of the book for me to read, because it is still the hardest thing to do - to welcome in those thoughts you hate, the ones you KNOW are just trying to hurt you, that you are sure hate you. How else, though, to walk with strength in a world where whole personas are built around such words, and can exert influence on the day-to-day, without first conquering the ones inside, that influence the minute-to-minute and the year-to-year? And what was the lesson Liz learned from Bob over in Utah (p. 274)? "When you set out in the world to help yourself, you inevitably end up helping...Tutti."
I want to stop there. I hope we can generate a comment or two before putting this one to bed, and maybe hear a suggestion or two about how to attack the next book. I didn't start with a "review," but maybe the next one could be approached more conventionally.