Eat, Pray, Love

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From Linda’s opinion page: She is definitely in the news. I’ve watched Elizabeth Gilbert on Oprah twice now and found myself stirred by Gilbert’s eager and more than passionate delivery when asked a question about or to elaborate on the experience of writing her book, “Eat, Pray, Love.” The excited state of the audience during both shows was off the charts, spinning my head to a place that wanted to know and understand what I could be missing. At this point I had not read the book, but found it interesting to realize there are so many people (especially women in this case) who experience their lives as lacking and unfulfilled; ready to drop everything and fly to Italy, India or Indonesia to find themselves or just a small perfect piece that would make the puzzle of who they are whole. Listening to the women who shared their similar stories, I realized they were waiting for some kind of permission “to be.” I don’t live in a well, so I’ve always known there are types of personalities, male or female, who have a little trouble being assertive and can be quite passive or submissive in nature much to their detriment, but the number, after following the aftermath of this author, I’ve found to be overwhelming. I guess we haven’t progressed as far as I thought we had. Elizabeth Gilbert, an excellent writer and story teller, has surely become an effective pied piper for an eager trail of confused, fractured or wanting women. After I read the book, I appreciated the raw emotion she chewed through to free herself and can understand how others in a similar knot will follow her lead. I also, more importantly, found that I’m not confused, fractured or wanting, BUT if I were, I’m sure I could gain twenty to thirty pounds enjoying great forkfulls of food right here in the USA, my spiritual essence could be nourished in my own back yard, and I’ve always believed love comes to those who love. Of course that’s all based on “Bergman-Althouse” experience and philosophy. So, I’m flexible enough to understand the need to do whatever it takes to reach our own contented and fulfilled place. I just hope that while reaching for the greener grass, women, who’ve been influenced by the hype and their own romantic fantasies, won’t leave behind budding and fertile relationships, careers and environments they could come to regret. Yes, Virgina, in truth, life has it’s regrets. I extend my New Year’s wish of creativity and courage for all those who need to release what is no longer meaningful in their lives. I’m not done. How about a little patience and tenacity that will enable you to hang on to what’s most important in your life and make it work for you? “Eat, Pray, Love” is an inspirationally well written book with a great title that can be practiced and lived whether you are confused, fractured or not. Those of you who are (and I pray the numbers are less than it seems), GO FOR IT! with any motivation that sticks.

HAPPY 2008 TO EVERYONE!!!!!

Linda Bergman-Althouse

Author of “Save Them All

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Paws Pause for Christmas

‘Tis the season to be jolly with my friend’s niece Molly. I bought her a dolly, and she named her Holly!! Okay, I’ll stop. I always look forward to Christmas. Although I hear many a heavy sigh, followed by “not again,” it’s never too much for me. I love it all; the decorations, baking, the sweets that none of us should eat, the shopping, the presents and the wrapping, the music, the Christmas cards, friends coming over for tea, the hugging and the all encompassing reason for the season. I embrace every minute detail! My cats, Kitty, Pearl, Cybill and Seven, can’t possibly comprehend any of that, but they seem to love the holiday season even more than I do. Normally, we’re a fairly laid back household. I can’t get the furry ones to do much more than sleep, eat and make deposits in the litter box during the rest of the year. And I’m usually the only one who moves toward the door when the bell rings and when people enter, one might hear the lack of traction on the kitchen flooring because the furry foursome can’t become invisible fast enough. Some people don’t  believe I have cats, they never see them (even the pet sitter) until Christmas time. I was even accused of renting them just for the holidays. But when the season begins, my “hideouts” are definitely under foot. They want to see everything and everybody. The postman is exceptionally exciting because he usually has a box to open, which means they get to watch me remove presents, which they sniff audibly and when the box is empty, they jump in. There’s some pure joy current in the air that truly has an affect on them. It begins when the tree and boxes of decorations come down from the attic, watch out, they can hardly contain themselves. Fortunately they are not destructive, they just want to see and be a part of everything. They paw the ornaments before I get them to the tree and visit each light on the strand as it lays across the carpeting during testing. After the tree is up and decorating completed, my furry children want to be near it, either on the arm of the sofa, sitting in front of it gazing at the twinklings or under it, but never in it.

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Christmas Carols will bring them close to the stereo or radio. Kitty and Pearl don’t seem to mind how loud I play them. Presents are something to rub against or lean their heads on when they snooze. You won’t find our cats approaching anyone throughout the year, but during the holidays, they want a pet from everyone, they even become so bold as to jump in a strange lap or two. They get ecstatic when we open gifts on Christmas morning. They are simply so thrilled to roll around in the wrapping paper that it appears they have been waiting for this special treat all year (and there is no presence of catnip). Their unusual behavior at Christmas always astounds but warms me. May you, also, enjoy some of that strange behavior as our paws pause for Christmas. Savor the holiday moments, connect with those you love (or merely tolerate), sniff all the Christmas goodies, feel the vibrations of some great carols and jump on a lap or two. I remember reading a verse that goes something like: “When you worry and hurry through your day, it is like an unopened gift . . . thrown away. Life is not a race. Take it slower and hear the music, before the song is over.” Those wise words are a regift from me to you.  Please carry them with you to 2008.
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Merry Christmas To All and To All A Good Night!!!!

Linda Bergman-Althouse

Author & Wildlife Rehabilitator

(Let’s hope there are lots of “Save Them All” under Christmas Trees this year!)