I have three books that have inspired me and that I keep coming back to for rejuvenation. My favourite of these is the one that resonates with me and with who I am: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.
Elizabeth shares a myriad of ideas, epiphanies and inspirations that she stumbles across in a year-long journey of self-discovery and healing.
Yesterday I revisited one of these ideas/epiphanies:
Elizabeth is living her lifelong dream –adventuring in Italy, India and Bali. As the scene opens, she is engaged in a conversation with her Italian friend, Giulio: “Giulio asked me what I thought of Rome. I told him I really loved the place, of course, but somehow knew it was not my city, not where I’d end up living for the rest of my life. There was something about Rome that didn’t belong to me, and I couldn’t quite figure out what it was…” “Giulio said, ‘Maybe you and Rome just have different words.’ “What do you mean?” Then he went on to explain, that every city has a single word that defines it, that identifies most people who live there…” “Giulio asked, ‘What’s the word in New York City?’ I thought about this for a moment, then decided. “It’s a verb, of course. I think it’s ACHIEVE. (Which is subtly but significantly different from the word in LA which is also a verb: SUCCEED. ….” Giulio asked, ‘What’s your word?’ ”
This may sound simple to define but it can be a revealing eye-opener and what you may answer with may just take you by surprise. So how do you find “Your One Word”? How do you sum up yourself in just one word? Does that word change?
Sometimes the answer may come to you immediately. But sometimes you have to let the idea germinate and grow in your heart before you can see the Word.
I think that Giulio, Elizabeth’s friend, is right. I think everyone does have one word that defines who they are. I also think that you can have growing words as you change and grow in life: these changing words are defined by your experiences and your emotions.
In the movie version of this book, Elizabeth’s initial answer is: Daughter, Wife, Mother and finally Writer. However her friend argues that this is not “her”, this is who she is to others and it is what she does.
When I first read this book, I could not find my Word. But this weekend has been a weekend of epiphanies. Now, I have finally found my word.
My word is: Seek.
Your Word may be a noun or a verb. It is not an adjective because that describes you not defines you. But when you find Your Word it can open up a doorway of possibility. So often in life, we want to find out all the answers and understand all the questions but do we pay as much attention to ourselves as we do to the external and the material. Do you really know yourself?
Another way you could view this idea is to ask the people closest to you what one word they would use to define you: not an adjective to describe you but a noun or verb to define you. I can guarantee that the word that they will come up with will differ from Your Own Word. Why? We all wear different faces in our lives and two different people in our lives will have two different versions of ourselves that we allow them to see.
So….What’s Your Word?
Sit with this idea for a while and see what you come up with. It may come to you immediately or it may take time but eventually you will find Your Word. If you know your word, write it down. So, tell me what’s Your Word?