Wednesday, August 20, 2008

just a reminder

Good morning, good people,
This is just a reminder that we are meeting tonight on the balcony of Greenlife Grocery at 6:30 p.m. to discuss our August book, Eat, Pray, Love. Hope to see you there.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Reading and Discussion Schedule

Good morning, friends,

Here is the schedule for the next four months. I left December off to give us a break at that busy time of year.

Wednesday, August 20th: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (Susan, please come, although you haven't read the book.)
Wednesday, August 27th: no discussion because of Democratic Convention

Wednesday, September 17th: If Grace Is True:Why God Will Save Every Person by Philip Gulley and James Mulholland
Wednesday, September 24th: discussion focus -- God's grace? and others that come up

Wednesday, October 15th: American Gospel by Jon Meacham
Wednesday, October 29th: discussion focus -- concept of separation of church/state and others that come up

Wednesday, November 19th: The Shack by William P. Young
Wednesday, December 3rd: discussion focus -- out of body experiences/reincarnation and others that come up NOTE: I moved to first Wednesday in December because of Thanksgiving. Hopefully, it is early enough in the month to lessen interference with activities.

Please note that this will be the last email to those of you who have not let me know you want to stay on the list. I need to whittle down the list to be workable for me.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Eat, Pray, Love discussion questions

Dear Coexisters,

Here are some discussion questions to consider for our August book. Feel free to bring some of your own next Wednesday, August 20, at 6:30 p.m. on the balcony at Greenlife Grocery.

Italy, the pursuit of pleasure:

1. Gilbert writes that "the appreciation of pleasure can be the anchor of humanity," making the argument that America is "an entertainment-seeking nation, not necessarily a pleasure-seeking one." Is this a fair assessment?

2. Sitting in an outdoor cafe' om Rome, Gilbert's friend declares that every city -- and every person -- has a word. Rome's is "sex," the Vatican's "power"; Gilbert declares New York's to be "achieve," but only later stumbles upon her own word, antevasin, Sanskrit for "one who live at the border." What is your word? Is it possible to choose a word that retains the truth for a lifetime?

3. Abstinence in Italy seems extreme, but necessary, for a woman who has repeatedly moved from one man's arms to another's. After all, it's only after Gilbert ha found herself that she can share herself fully in love. What does this say about her earlier relationships?

India, the pursuit of devotion:

4. Gilbert mentions her ease at making friends, regardless of where she is. At one point at the ashram, she realizes that she is too sociable and decides to embark on a period of silence, to become the Quiet Girl in the Back of the Temple. It is just after making this decision that she is assigned the role of ashram key hostess. What does this say about honing one's nature rather than trying to escape it? Do you think perceived faults can be transformed into strengths rather than merely repressed?

5. After imagining a petition to God for divorce, an exhausted Gilbert answers her phone to news that her husband has finally signed. During a moment of quietude before a Roman fountain, she opens her Louise Guick collection to a verse about a fountain, one reminiscent of the Balinese medicine man's drawing. After struggling to master a 182-verse daily prayer, she succeeds by focusing on her nephew, who suddenly is free from nightmares. Do these incidents of fortuitous timing signal fate? Cosmic unity? Coincidence? Something else?

Indonesia, the pursuit of balance:

6. When Gilbert finally returns to Bali and seeks out the medicine man who foretold her return to study with him, he doesn't recognize her. Despite her despair, she persists in her attempts to spark his memory, eventually succeeding. How much of the success of Gilbert's journey do you attribute to persistence?

7. Prayer and meditation are both things that can be learned and, importantly, improved. In India, Gilbert learns a stoic, ascetic meditation technique. In Bali, she learns an approach based on smiling. Do you think the two can be synergistic? Or is Ketut Liyer right when he describes them as "same-same"?

8. Gender roles came up repeatedly in Eat, Pray, Love, be it macho Italian men eating cream puffs after a home team's soccer loss, or a young Indian's disdain for the marriage she will be expected to embark upon at age eighteen, or the Balinese healer's sly approach to male impotence in a society where women are assumed responsible for their childlessness. How relevant is Gilbert's gender?


9. Gilbert hashes out internal debates in a notebook, a place where she can argue with her inner demons and remind herself about the constancy of self-love. When an inner monologue becomes a literal conversation between a divided self; is this a sign of last resort or of self-reliance?

10. In what ways is spiritual success similar to other forms of success? How is it different? Can they be so fundamentally different that they are not comparable?

11. Do you think people are more open to new experiences when they travel? Why or why not?

Just for Fun:

12. With which of the people Gilbert encountered on her journey would you want to spend time? Where and for how long would you commune with this person? Explain.

I'll post book schedule in the morning!



Wednesday, August 13, 2008

August is here

Good evening, my friends,

Again I apologize for the lull between posts. Work is very busy because inventory is next Wednesday. We finally have the garden center ready. How many of you are reading or have read Eat, Pray, Love? I have just now finished my visit to India and am about to begin my journey to Indonesia. As you read please not which of the "beads" speak most to you. How many of you will be ready next Wednesday to discuss the book? I will post questions tomorrow if enough of us are ready for questions to be posted. Please advise!

I also will post a list of books tomorrow to read through December, so please get any more recommendations to me this evening or tomorrow morning.

Got to travel to Indonesia now. I look forward to hearing from each of you ASAP.