Category Archives: Eat Pray Love

Champions at Heart

“You don’t need a man, Liz. You need a champion.” – Eat, Pray, Love

I always liked that line, because it hits me. Right there. You know the place: That space between your heart and your throat where you can physically feel your dreams? Yeah, there. But why?

Let’s pause to look at this for a moment, because it’s actually true. We each need a champion. First, let’s define “champion.”photo 1

Among other things, a champion is a “warrior or fighter” according to Merriam-Webster. It’s also a verb: to champion means “to protect or fight for.” Let’s explore the latter, because although Javier Bardem uses the noun in the movie, I believe his true intention (or sub-dialogue) was the meaning behind the verb. So let’s go there!

When we’re children, we seem to have champions all around us. Sometimes it’s our friends or our parents. Sometimes it’s our teachers or siblings. It’s people who hold us up, hold us accountable, teach and lead us. They are there for us when things get stormy as well as when things are calm and sunny. At face value, champions are the “winners.” Looking deeper, champions are those wonderful individuals who value and respect us as individuals ourselves and who inspire us to be our best self, without asking anything in return.

Usually, I would say that all we need is to be our own champion. We do. However, it’s not “all” we need. We need each other, and we each need a champion: That one person in our life, at that one moment, who supports and protects us – who holds us up (or helps us up) when we need it most. It’s the person who makes us laugh or lets us cry – without judgment or expectation – because they know it’s what we need at that moment. It may not be the same person every time. In fact, it probably isn’t.

I know who my champions are, even though they’d probably hate that title. 😉 They’re the ones who help me to be who I am every day, by supporting, challenging and encouraging me to show up for myself. Sometimes I forget they’re there though, and then I’m reminded by something seemingly small. Perhaps something so small that they don’t realize that they just donned a cape for me and became my champion in that one moment, and it made all the difference.

So, today – it’s a simple reminder to say thank you. Thank you to all the wonderful “champions” out there holding us up, helping us out, laughing with us, and reminding us of who we are, and what we can become. Perhaps, too, it’s a reminder that maybe we’re also wearing a cape for someone and don’t even know it. How wonderful!

In the end, I think that’s why that line hits me: Feeling supported and loved is an amazing gift; Feeling championed? That’s love on a whole new level.

One word

This week I want to share something with you that I found particularly interesting. I have been reading Laura Munson’s book “This is Not the Story You Think It Is…” and toward the beginning (actually in the 2nd chapter) there is this amazing excerpt that Laura shares with us. Perhaps you’ve heard of it before. Indeed it’s fairly reminiscent of a through-line in ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ (perhaps both ladies read the same author – I don’t know). What I do know is I want to share it with you now, as well as Laura’s thoughts and words leading up to the excerpt. From Laura:

“And then I remember an excerpt from a book that has seen me through hard times before. It’s called The Cloud of Unknowing. In it, an anonymous fourteenth-century Christian mystic writer asks us to choose a word. One word. And to fasten it to our hearts. That word, working in us, will bring us through the hardest times. Or so the anonymous writer promises. In my life, that word has been many things. God, love, hope, truth, joy, grace, beauty, wonder, surrender, freedom. Right now it is more simple than any of those things. It is not a deity or a goal or a state of being. It’s an action verb. It is simply: breathe.”

And here is the excerpt:

“Take just a little word of one syllable rather than two . . . Such a one is the word God or the word love. Choose which you prefer . . . and fasten this word to your heart so that whatever happens it will never go away. This word is to be your shield and your spear, whether you are riding in peace or in war. With this word you are to beat upon the cloud and the darkness above and beneath you. With this word you are to strike down every kind of thought, driving it down into a pool of forgetting. If any thought should press upon you, asking what you would have, answer with no word but this one. If your thoughts should offer, out of their great learning to analyze your word for you and tell you its meanings, say to your thoughts that you want to keep it whole . . . It is not a matter of analyzing or elucidating . . . No one can truly think of God. It is therefore my wish to leave everything that I can think and choose for my love the thing that I cannot think. God can be loved but not thought. He can be taken and held by love, but not by thought.”

For me, this is one of the most poignant and simple things I’ve read in a while. I have to admit, I have not yet read ‘Eat, Pray, Love,” but I did see the movie, and I spent the following few days thinking of my word. And then I picked up Laura’s book (which is a must-read), and the same suggestion was laid before me to ponder. And I urgently thought, “What IS my word?” “Do I even have a word?” “Am I a failure if I can’t come up with a word? One word?” Geesh!

The problem was I couldn’t come up with just one. I had several, actually, that felt ‘right’ for me. So – how could I choose? Was it: faith, light, peace, authenticity, or truth? What was my word? You probably know from previous writings that I refer to God in many ways, as God encompasses so much for me. So, I tried “God” on for size – and I still felt like I couldn’t settle on one word. And yet the author was so clear. One word. One one-syllable word. That’s all. How was I going to do this? And then I realized something. It wasn’t about the ONE word. It was about the act of making a decision, and holding it. For me, what mattered more than the word was making a choice. And once I settled down, stepped away from my mind and allowed myself the room to choose – you know what happened? I chose Me. I’m not sure it gets simpler than that. Me.

Some of you may think that odd – but it’s the most authentic, loving, peaceful, happy, light and divine word I can come up with. By choosing “me” and fastening myself to my heart – I have chosen to step into my own power. I have chosen to honor who I am as an expression of something Divine. And I have chosen to feel the freedom that comes with making such a decision.

In the end, it became much simpler than I was making it. There are so many words I could have chosen along the way to help me through difficult times. But they would be transient words, ever-changing in the face of challenges. The one word that would never change is simply Me. And for that realization I can honestly say I am incredibly grateful. Thank you, Laura. Thank you, Liz. And thank you anonymous Christian mystic for prompting me to make the choice.

In love and light,
Martina