Eat, Prey, Love --- Movie motivator into a life of Abundance

a writing by NILANJANA HALDAR



- Myself. Exactly three years back, anorexic, lonely, stemming out of the deep-rooted desire to be recognized by people I always associated with. You know what that's like, being thirsty no matter how much you have to drink. A commonplace of sorts for people stuck at some point in their lives and unable to move forwards, no matter how hard they try. I craved an image of another, ignored symbolic messages that my intuition picked up, aimed for love of another, thrived on approvals from people, was indecisive about life and future, projected disapprovals/ rejections into a bleak future ahead and felt overburdened by the weight of an enormous baggage of rootless guilt, fear, and attention-seeking. The anxiety of it all surrounded me all the time. Temporomandibular joint dysfunction, bruxism were common and I had no clue they were so and therefore, I carried them and suffered along. I let situations, life events take their toll on me. Ruminations have been the biggest one. Work-life stresses and problems I dwelled over off-and-on right into the night formed these worthless beliefs of being unworthy of love. Forgot to mention, I reduced my intake of calories to look skinny. Earlier to these three years, I was overweight and looked no good, so to overshadow the burden of self-loathing, I cut down on healthy food in order to be approved of, physically. The toll all of it took on me was self-loathing, subdued cries underneath covers, beating oneself up, and dwellings over more and more ruminations round the clock. Often staying in isolation was better than making friends. Bottomline was I wasn't happy with anything that surrounded me--- myself, my work, people, or thoughts of the future.

Worse of all I attracted people who brought out the worst in me. Friends who criticized everybody at work, a guy with sleazy thoughts and ideas who I fell for and who used me like one would seduce a timid school-girl for lewd-pleasure. I’m not ashamed but yes, I want to be clear about the mess I had cast around myself simply because I failed to love what I already had and to go from there. I was full-on craving, craving for love, craving for more recognition, craving for friends, craving for fame, glory and what not. You do not ever outshine yourself being a craver. You simply dig your own grave, that’s all. I chased him like a gazelle drowning in mid-water and clung onto him for love like the only source of fresh-air. It was downright pathetic.

And then, out of the blue, as if in answer to questions unanswered, I was gifted with a life-transforming movie. This movie, "Eat, Prey, Love" opened my eyes. Liz saw her whole life as if she had already lived it and gives up her old, predictable life full of parties, putting up a good face, donning pretty clothes, feeding on salad and embarkds on a life-transforming journey. Deep down at one small corner of her living-room, she had this case, a case full of pictures in her bucket list she had been jotting down as a kid. After years of a happy marriage she realised, she had never felt fulfilled and why, because she hadn't even started living the life out of the box yet. Remember, we all have a box in different forms. It is where our passion lies. Cut pictures of places to visit, of seas in which to swim, of frozen lakes in which to skate. To truly live a life of joy and fulfillment and stepping into paradise is by opening up that box and ,materializing every single thing the box had kept hidden for so long. I gave up the stringence I entangled myself to and started to accept myself just as I was. I no longer felt burdened by the guilt of putting on a few extra pounds while relishing the delights of a full happy meal.  My friends circle changed like a fleet of white hawks jutting past the skies. I learnt the art of loving myself no matter what. And soon enough my confidence started to soar. 

I remember how it started. First, to clear myself of the mess of this playboy out of my mind, I wrote his name on a piece of paper and held it against a fire-flame and watched the name burn away before my eyes, symbolic of those memories I was casting away. And then to pamper myself, I simply let my tongue choose whatever it wanted. Liz says, “I want to go somewhere where I can Marvell at something, language, spaghetti, gelato”. I tried that! I started relishing all kinds of food without any guilt. Anorexics have this funny disease called “self-loathing” born out of scraps of excess eateries consumed all day. It’s a disease which only a true anorexic will understand. And this time I choose to give it a break. And believe me when I say, it was exhilarating. I was no longer a size 45, true, but I started living a lot more happily and joyously because I felt better.

There’s one thing I must I have really really fought hard against and that would be ruminations. It is a disease I dread, believe me. I do suffer from it. I have devised several ways of overcoming it and yet they get the better of me sometimes. Well, for the part about ruminations, I simply let go of all control. They said, “Practise self - love “. How does one do that. I had always blamed myself for stuff going wrong in my life. I chose to stand as the perpetual cause for all the different wrongdoings up my life even when none were my own. I never was the reason. I simply was myself. Blaming yourself will never work out sweetie. What it does to yourself, and I say, from experience, it makes you lead a dark-life, one in which you see only shadows of guilt draping the corners of the room, the debris of regrets of not knowing yourself lie scattered on floors of endless spirals of rooms in that dark world. I lived in it for over 2 years now. I cannot believe how utterly devastating that can be when for a happy, gay outsider, it is invisible, because all of it happens inside your mind and none of it is real. Anybody who has been in my place, will relate to the metaphor perfectly. It is a spiral of catastrophic regret that is unreal for others but real for the victim.

I’ll tell you how I climbed these riddles . I simply pushed myself not knowing where that would get me. And with every push, I simply got better at dealing with my other life struggles for example stuff like work-struggles. And then there were star-class catches on the way in the form of ruffian-minded people who you were posted to work under and who bullied you like Shahjahan’s builder-troupes. Well, I was humiliated in front of others, yelled at for others mistakes and tried to be squashed under foot. That was like 2 years later, say, 3 months back , y’know. That’s when I began to change my thinking. I told myself, “ You bloody bastards can try killing me but this time I’m going to fight back and not let you outwit me, that’s a promise” And with that resolute, I went ahead and pushed myself through the struggles. I was threatened with failures, I was made to cry, I was ridiculed about my parents. I tell you with certainty, after facing months of unnecessary pain, my mind shut silent this time and simply grinned at every struggle then on, because it realized it no longer cared. A diamond was born out of the coal and I was starting to get a glimpse of it. And with every glimpse, I smiled to myself, thinking, all of this was so temporary.

I started to emerge thereafter. With help from people who always loved me, I realized I already had it all. What, then , was I chasing? Nothing. I simply let go and let myself bloom into more and more of me and nothing else because I had enough. I wasn’t here to fight against the world. I was here to live it the best way possible. Why then was I craving? I needn’t crave. I had air in my lung, I had four limbs, friends and family who loved me, good health to take me a long way, food to keep me happy, and a job I had always wanted. The rest were temporary things I could utterly ignore. Wow! The revelation hit me like a jolt in the head. I didn’t need anything because I already had it.

Liz’s story from the book wasn’t really mine. It was a lot different. But it did pave the way for a fresh start and helped me see the light through the clouds of sorry-thoughts and gloom I was harboring. And then Liz started to pray and meditate. I on the other hand started to notice universal signs pave my journey. Signs nobody notices unless one chooses to listen. I’ll give an example. Before I start I’ll introduce myself a little more. I am currently a junior resident in department of Ophthalmology PGIMER, Chandigarh. We were boycotted by our department prior to our final MS (it’s like Masters in Surgery) exams, they didn’t want to help us or guide us anymore just prior to exams owing to allegations of irresponsilibility made against us by our seniors (which I tell you honestly, weren’t true at all). I really was worried the day we were told so, and couldn’t study that night when out of the blue three words popped out in front of me , “ Options and Decision “ and “SMILE” ( Small Incision Lenticule Extraction, that’s a type of surgery ) and the message I read from the universe was to smile :) straight at my problems which I did and instantly, I felt better.

And then, I turned my attention towards my family and friends who have always been there for me. I fell in love with life and moved on. I started to cherish everything and everyday with vigour and felt the love climb up my soul. I started to attract wonderful friends and others who matched my new-found frequency and pushed me straight for my dreams. And I have never had to look back since.

This is my story of transformation as to how from being a girl with no identity, I leaped into one where I felt all alive and an abundance of energy and joy in living out every single day of my life thereafter "

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