Saturday, November 12, 2011

In the End

You don't choose a life.  You live one. ~Emilio Estevez as Daniel Avery in The Way

Last evening, we had a date night...complete with a rush hour traffic drive all the way to Eden Prairie (!) to the only theater in town that seems to be showing The Way, the independent film from Emilio Estevez and starring his father Martin Sheen.  Both of whom, I love!

(a little hard to get a clear picture of the screen in the movie theater!!!)

Add this movie to my list of loves.

It's the story of a father (Sheen) whose semi-estranged son (Estevez) dies while on the pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago...and the father's adventures after he decides to walk the path for him.  Funny, poignant, clever, this movie fueled my passion for travel, for self-exploration, compassion and, in the end, self acceptance.

The beautiful part of this movie for me is it resonates so much with my life -- my philosophy and the way I want to live.  After becoming an exchange student to Finland when I was 17, I was hooked on the experience of different places, different people, new adventures.  In my twenties, I never stayed too long in one place because there was too much of life to witness, to explore, to live.

The crux of my life seems to be having the free spirit of an adventurer and a heart that craves home.

So no matter where I was pulled to, the pull home was stronger and in 1998, I finally gave in.  It is here where I met my now husband, and here where we have built our life together.  And my spirit still wanders.

As we were driving home, T asked me what I got from the movie...I said that through the movie I found a peace in accepting who we are, our own imperfections, our own humanness and the humanness of others. We walk the same road and have our own unique, individual experiences...but we're never alone if we open and allow for the possibility that we are all one.

I asked him what he took away from it...he said that we always think the gesture needs to be big -- walk 800km on a pilgrimage journey to make big changes -- but really, it doesn't have to be about the bigness at all.

I agree.  For many years, I thought it had to be about the grand gesture. Teach English in the Czech Republic, go on a three week long backpacking trip, bike 500 miles to Chicago.  I wanted to make space for big changes in myself by accomplishing great things.  I wanted big stories to tell of adventure and experience.  And I did.  I got all of it.  But in some ways, I think I was more tied to the thing than to the inner experience that doing that thing allowed.  In the end, I had accomplished much, but I was still me. Where were the big changes?  It didn't feel like a failure by any stretch, but it did feel like I started feeding this ego need that said I had to do more in order to be more.  That being me and pursuing cool experiences wasn't enough.

For many years, I missed the point.

I think the grand gesture is sometimes about the wish to outrun ourselves. The changes we wish to make are about the feeling that we aren't good enough fueled by any number of things, but for certain, a culture and society that constantly feeds us messages about where we fall short...about our being anything but perfect.

Well, what's perfect, anyway?

It reminds me of an analogy I once heard about how a sculptor must chip away at the stone, at what the statue is not in order to discover it.  The sculptor is not so much creating a sculpture, but is uncovering it by chipping away at what is unessential to the finished product.

This is a lot like our journey through life, and speaks to me about the adventures I still crave.  Any new experience, any time we challenge our comfortable edge, any time we question our habits, reactions or long-held beliefs, we chip away at what is unessential in us so that we can become, not someone different or better or more perfect, but become more of who we are. More authentically ourselves. More able to live our own life.

Sometimes it takes a grand gesture -- I'd be lying if I said I'm not secretly planning my trip to the Camino de Santiago believing that it would leave some part of me transformed for the undertaking.  But really, it could be as simple as taking a hike in a different park, trying a new recipe, a new yoga class, or pursuing that one thing you gave up years ago but still dance, or piano, or painting.

Life is for living fully.

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?  ~Mary Oliver

What's For Dinner Tonight?
Tonight, we go watch a Kung Fu recital/display of sorts and have dinner with friends -- their son is the first degree black belt.  I'm so excited to see him in his element!

Last night's dinner, however, was a quick bite at Biaggi's before the movie.

Being Friday and date night and all, I decided to treat myself to a Cosmopolitan before dinner...

I have to say it was one of the absolute best cosmos I've had in a restaurant in some time.  Worth every cent, though it was a lot of cents! Which is why we call it a "treat". : )

Not wanting to be too stuffed for the movie, we decided to share an appetizer and an entree.

Fried ravioli for the appetizer...spinach ricotta ravioli lightly fried served with a tomato basil bruschetta topping in a light shallot cream sauce.  The texture was different than I expected, more chewy, but it was really good.

Our entree was a shrimp and crab seafood cannelloni in a lobster tomato cream sauce.  Holy moly was this rich!  I barely ate my half and ended up I was pretty full for the movie.

No harm, no foul though...except I couldn't get any popcorn and it smelled so good!  This is the number one problem with the dinner-and-a-movie scenario in my book.

Ah, next time!

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