Going with the Flow


“Sometimes when we were stuck, we’d stop for a minute to rest, regain our strength and let the waves take us for awhile. Even when we weren’t going anywhere, it was still sailing.” -Addison on Private Practice

Yes, I’m quoting an ABC TV show but I think it is a very important point that the character makes during one of her therapy sessions. She’s in the process of trying to have a baby and after failed IVF treatments,  has opted for using a surrogate. The process seems long and daunting and her fears keep popping up every step of the way. Her instincts are telling her to take a step back, regroup, process the thoughts, feelings and emotions she is going through before making any big decisions. Addison finds comfort in the decision to stop, for now. To put the brakes on and take a deep breath.

We often fear that if we aren’t making a decision, then we are letting life pass us by but in reality, choosing to not make a decision is a decision in itself. To take a moment and let the waves of life carry you still counts as living. Sometimes the desire to make a decision can feel almost paralyzing. Elizabeth Gilbert wrote in her latest book, Committed, “The problem, simply put, is that we cannot choose everything simultaneously. So we live in danger of becoming paralyzed by indecision, terrified that every choice might be the wrong choice.”

So rather than beat ourselves up over our indecision and our fears, isn’t it a much better idea to relinquish the stress, the power, the weight of our perceived failures and just let life happen? Isn’t it better to go with the flow?



The writer Koa Beck posted an interesting criticism in today’s Huffington Post. It was on the writer Elizabeth Gilbert and her most recent memoir, Committed. The piece by Beck can be seen as a feminist rant on what she considers to be Gilbert’s self-absorption. Beck takes aim at women’s fiction by comparing Gilbert’s work to the sea of pink covers at your local bookstore chain.

The neurotic female protagonist perpetually on the hunt for a man and who finds solace in an array of Gucci purses has always been safely contained by the chick-lit genre, a shelf that can be ignored in a bookstore and clicked past in Amazon.

Beck goes on to say that Gilbert’s phenomenally successful memoir, Eat, Pray, Love,  reads like “one long Seventeen magazine spread, the appropriate title perhaps being, ‘How I Traveled for an Entire Year and Still Managed to Only Obsess About Myself and My Problems.'”

I am all for literary criticism and this is not the first time I have heard criticism of Gilbert’s work reminiscent in tone and content. However, I wonder if Beck believes that women coming to terms with their own identity and spending time on self-reflection is a negative endeavor.  I visited Beck’s site and her writing is extremely strong.  However, as a fan of Elizabeth Gilbert, whom I met a few months ago and is as cool in person as she appears on page, and women’s fiction in general, I take issue with her quick dismissive attitude towards entertaining books that offer glimpses into the lives of women.  Yes, not all women’s fiction succeeds in telling succinct, interesting stories, but then again, not all literary fiction succeeds either. I have found that a large portion of literary fiction titles leave me feeling depressed and hopeless, not exactly the ideal reaction to art and creativity. What’s wrong with being entertained? And to be entertained while looking at your own life choices, even better! Can’t you enjoy literary and commercial fiction without having to choose on over the other?

Another question Beck’s post raised for me is about the issue of self-absorption. Is it wrong to be self-absorbed? Isn’t it smart to fully understand your motivation and actions? Aren’t we always being told that the strongest relationship you ever build should be with yourself? I have said before that I tend to put others first and that I need to start putting some quality “me” time into my daily routine. So self-absorption is not a problem I face. However, I don’t think it is an action that should be condemned. Yes, if you are ignoring everyone else for the sake of your own wants and needs, that could lead to a detrimental problem. But we all could stand to be more connected to our inner guides, our thoughts and feelings, and overall individual comprehension and appreciation of life.

Is self-absorption a bad thing?

Is self-reflection the same thing as being self absorbed?

Elizabeth Gilbert on Marriage

Great interview with Elizabeth Gilbert over at the Seattle Post. She discusses the phenomenal popularity of Eat, Pray, Love and gives insight into her next book which I’m sure more than a few readers are eagerly anticipating!

Here’s what she had to say about her upcoming book:

I spent a year studying the institution of marriage. I wanted to think my way into an institution that I do not feel much comfort with. We’ve now been married two years.

I wouldn’t mind doing “Eat, Pray, Love II” if that’s what were on my mind, but it isn’t. The book I’ve just finished writing is what happened to me and the Brazilian guy, the romantic guy in the book. He’s been my husband for two years, my partner for four. It’s a very different thing …

Update: Here is a fantastic speech that Elizabeth Gilbert gave this month. Check it out! It is completely worth it and something you will thoroughly enjoy!