Journey 6: Ascend Toward Stubborn Gladness

stubborn gladness

I loved where curiosity led me on my journey today. I have connected deeply lately with Elizabeth Gilbert, reading her posts daily on Facebook, and feeling so aligned with her journey. Watching her authentic life, I was inspired to read her best selling book again, Eat, Pray, Love. I just finished it and felt that inward stirring that lets me know I am on the right path.

In the book, Liz refers to the Brazilian man that she met while in Bali (the Love portion of her journey) as Felipé. On her website recently, I saw a picture of her with a smiling handsome man and assumed it was her husband. The man in the photo was named José. I realize that for the sake of privacy, many of the names in Eat, Pray, Love were changed. So curiosity led me to the internet today, to discover if Felipé and José were indeed one and the same.

Thanks to Google, I quickly found pics of Liz and her husband, José Nunes. The couple married in 2007. That question answered, my eyes were caught by another headline on Google that stated, Steep Your Soul: A Quote That Made Elizabeth Gilbert Want to Marry Her Husband. Well that was intriguing! Allowing curiosity to continue to lead the way, I clicked on that link and discovered a short video of Liz appearing as a guest on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday program. I watched the video, very curious indeed about what José had said that won the heart of Liz, who had vowed she would not marry again after the painful and difficult ending of her first marriage.

What an amazing 3:32 video. Liz shares that quote that won her heart. José told her, “A woman’s place is in the kitchen, with her feet up, drinking a glass of wine, watching her husband cook her a meal.” And yes, for most women, that man is a keeper! However, going further, Liz shares that what’s really going on when she sits with her feet up, drinking her wine while her husband cooks, is connection. José loves to cook, influenced by his Italian mother. That’s a gift that he enjoys sharing with his wife. But the real gift that he offers to Liz is his attention. As he gets her comfy, he says, “Now, Darling, tell me everything. What happened today?” Not every man likes to cook. And for some, those roles would be reversed in the kitchen. What struck me was his genuine invitation to share….share everything, while he listened, while he prepared a meal to share, as well. That is what touches the heart, a genuine interest in what’s going on in the life of another.

Liz says she asked herself, “How did I win this life?” A very wise friend of hers told her she blossomed into the type of woman, the sort of person, who attracted this type of man to her.
After her divorce, during her year spent in Italy, India and Indonesia, Liz grew, and shifted, and released the past and cared for herself in such a way that she drew another to her that was aligned with the woman she had become. That part of the video brought tears to my eyes. That’s what the journey, what MY journey is about….becoming the best version of myself…and drawing like hearted, like minded people to me to share the journey. This is NOT a formula for attracting a mate, although soul mates are not excluded. It is a recipe for life. A way of living. A shift that enables a view of oneself that is so rich, so loving, so nurturing that those who appear in our lives are those who are able to sustain themselves in the same way. The journey that is then shared is magical, supportive, encouraging, without neediness or a tendency to look to others for happiness. Those truths resonated deep within me as my soul whispered Yes….I want that for my own journey. I want to care for myself and nurture my growth in such a way that those who journey most closely with me are drawn because they too are experiencing a similar walk.

Liz closes the interview with her favorite quote, which I immediately looked up. From poet Jack Gilbert (no relation to Liz) she shared, “We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world.” (From his poem, “A Brief for the Defense”) Even with all the joy that flows from the soul that is focused in the now, that is connected to Source, that looks within for peace and happiness rather than without, there is no denying that in this world there will be days of sorrow, times of stress, unforeseen problems. The “ruthless furnace” is there. It does not have to define my life. Like Liz, I love that idea of holding on to a stubborn gladness in the face of such trials. It’s not denial. It’s not just a positive attitude. It is striving for a higher feeling, a higher vibration, in spite of all that is going on. It is knowing, in my own heart and soul, that who I am is unshakeable. I can be stubborn. Ask anyone who knows me well! What grace and strength to be stubborn for the sake of gladness.

I am undone by my journey today. I am so grateful that my curiosity beckoned me onward and that I followed to see where the trail would go. Take three and a half minutes to watch this video. For your heart. For your soul. For the sake of stubborn gladness.