I just got back from a week long part stay-cation and part away-cation with some friends who live in two different cities. We visited some local Austin famous places like the Oasis and Hamilton Pool. We also saw The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (nice movie). I always feel so blessed after I get to spend time with these particular friends because I’ve known them for 20+ years now. Our kids have virtually grown up together and at one point in each of their lives, they thought they were cousins. It didn’t matter that we looked different, to them they just felt like family. I feel lucky to have them in my and my kids lives.
During this time, I read a very interesting book (that most of the rest of the world already knows about because the movie is now out starring Julia Roberts) Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia (Amazon Link) by Elizabeth Gilbert. It was if the author was writing parts of my story! It got enough positive reviews to warrant a movie starring Julia Roberts but it certainly touched a nerve with some of the Amazon reviewers who decided it was self indulgent! One of the moms at a water park we went to saw I was reading it and told me how great it was and she loved it. She told me “just wait until you get to the part when she’s in India.” This is obviously a book that elicits very different responses from people depending where they are in their life/spiritual journey.
I won’t quote some of passages (that I desperately want to) here because my blog is read by many people…not just women age 30+ going through a mid-life awakening and search for meaning. This is a non-fiction account of the author’s experience of taking one year ‘off’ to find God/herself. She does not have kids and received a hefty book advance which makes this a much easier endeavor. She spends 4 months in Italy (eating), 4 months in India (praying), and 4 months in Indonesia, specifically Bali (loving). She writes about divorce, marriage, God, spirituality, crushes, love, food, different cultures, depression, not wanting to live, yoga, meditation, physical intimacy, soul mates, etc. The only character in India who the author says she uses his real name is Richard from Texas. Richard has an interesting take on soul mates (see quote below) and apparently he builds houses in Austin. I SO want to run into Richard from Texas some day! Given I live in Austin, it might happen. Now for some quotes:
“Sincere spiritual investigation is, and always has been, an endeavor of methodical discipline. Looking for Truth is not some kind of spazzy free-for-all, not even during this, the great age of the spazzy free-for-all.” p. 2.
I’m not going to type it all here, but the top of p. 49 she talks about how she tried to make sense of her depression and why she would feel this way from chemical, diet, seasonal, to being an artist/writer, to her situation, to her parents, to xyz and she concluded it was probably a little bit of everything and things she didn’t even understand.
“Virginia Woolf wrote, ‘Across the broad continent of a woman’s life falls the shadow of a sword.’ On one side of that sword, she said, there lies convention and tradition and order, where ‘all is correct.’ But on the other side of that sword, if you’re crazy enough to cross it and choose a life that does not follow convention, ‘all is confusion. Nothing follows a regular course.’ Her argument was that the crossing of the shadow of that sword may bring a far more interesting existence to a woman, but you can bet it will also be more perilous.” p. 95
“The Bhagavad Gita – that ancient Indian Yogic text – says that is is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life with perfection.” p. 95
“The classical Indian sages wrote that there are three factors which indicate whether a soul has been blessed with the highest and most auspicious luck in the universe: 1. To have been born a human being, capable of conscious inquiry. 2. To have been born with – or to have developed – a yearning to understand the nature of the universe. 3. To have found a living spiritual master.” p. 124
“People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that’s holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then they leave. And thank God for it….[they] shake you up…tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light could get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you [have] to transform your life, then introduce you to your spiritual master and beat it.” p. 149
“To know God, you need only to renounce one thing – your sense of division from God. Otherwise, just stay as you were made, within your natural character.” p. 192
“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.” p. 260
“The Yogic sages say that all the pain of a human life is caused by words, as is all the joy. We create words to define our experience and those words bring attendant emotions that jerk us around like dogs on a leash. We get seduced by our own mantras (I’m a failure…I’m lonely…I’m a failure…I’m lonely…) and we become monuments to them. To stop talking for a while then, is to attempt to strip away the power of words, to stop choking ourselves with words, to liberate ourselves from our suffocating mantras.” p. 325
Yes, this is a great book to read for those of you on a journey ‘to understand the nature of the universe’ which is a means to understand yourself.
| Filed under: book review
, new york city
| Tags: austin
, bhagavad gita
, eat pray love
, elizabeth gilbert
, richard from texas
, soul mates
, virginia woolf
| 3 Comments »
Oddly enough, I was nominated for the Texas Social Media Awards. There were 125 nominees and I happen to know at least one of the people who nominated me and that was Thom Singer, our local networking guru. Thanks Thom!
There are some heavy weights in social media on the list and I’m honored to be among them! The list was created by people who happened to know about the awards, so I think they are missing some key social media people in Texas. However, they seem to have most of the relevant Austin folks on there with a few notable exceptions.
The judges will be hard at work selecting the top 25, and they will be announced on February 13. The winner will be announced at a party on March 15, 2009, the day before my Building A Web Business After Hours panel happens at South By Southwest Interactive (SXSWi)!
The judges will take into consideration comments left on each person’s entry and mine is listed under my name Aruni Gunasegaram. So leave a comment there if you are so inclined and maybe I’ll have a better chance of making the top 25 than I did at winning that free trip to Tobago.
I’ll be on a blogging haitus for the next several days for a much needed life break. I’ll be back sometime mid to late next week.
| Filed under: social media
| Tags: austin
, texas social media awards
| Comments Off
Austin ranks 10th in the U.S. in job creation
Austin Business Journal
Here’s the full story: http://www.bizjournals.com/austin/stories/2009/01/05/daily17.html
The Austin area added 6,200 private-sector jobs in the 12-month period between November 2007 and November 2008—the 10th biggest gain in metro employment in the country—according to figures released Tuesday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Texas is showing considerable resilience amid a crippled national economy. The two largest markets in the state—Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth—registered the nation’s biggest private-sector employment gains.
The Houston area added 42,400 jobs between November 2007 and November 2008, and Dallas-Fort Worth picked up 35,100. No other U.S. market gained more than 15,600 private-sector jobs during the 12-month period.
All four of Texas’ major metro areas ranked among the top 10 in job creation in the last year. San Antonio was No. 4 with 11,700 new jobs.
But the rest of the country isn’t faring nearly so well. Just one-fifth of the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas managed to add any jobs at all. Seventy-eight suffered losses, 21 posted increases, and one was unchanged.
Detroit was hit with the biggest loss of private-sector jobs, 67,700 in 12 months. November 2008 brought the 38th straight monthly decline for Detroit.
Four other markets lost more than 50,000 private-sector jobs during the past year: Atlanta, Los Angeles, Miami-Fort Lauderdale and Phoenix.
The following are the 100 biggest labor markets in America, ranked according to raw change in private-sector employment between November 2007 and November 2008:
1. Houston, up 42,400 jobs
2. Dallas-Fort Worth, up 35,100 jobs
3. Washington, up 15,600 jobs
4. San Antonio, up 11,700 jobs
5. Seattle, up 9,900 jobs
6. Virginia Beach-Norfolk, up 9,100 jobs
7. Oklahoma City, up 8,100 jobs
8. New Orleans, up 7,200 jobs
9. McAllen-Edinburg, Texas, up 6,700 jobs
10. Austin, up 6,200 jobs
| Filed under: austin
| Tags: austin
, texas job growth
| 2 Comments »
Those of us who live in Austin, Texas love talking about how great it is here. On top of the perfect ‘winter’ weather (it’s 7o degrees in February), great people, and great tech community, we have a top ranking state university (The University of Texas at Austin) and awesome Twitter members.
Yesterday, we took the kids to see the UT Austin Longhorn football team practice in the morning. Hook ‘Em Horns! The weather was around 6o degrees and because it was a morning practice there weren’t nearly the amount of people there that my husband said were there at the one evening practice he went to before. Our son loved getting close to the players and our daughter had fun rolling down the hills. Our son held his hand out as some of the players were moving from one practice field to the next and they touched his outstretched palm which made his day! He gets his love of college football from his dad. I’ve been known to watch a game from time to time. We then went to Shady Grove for lunch which is near Lady Bird Lake and enjoyed the sunny day by eating outside.
For dinner we met up with some Austin tweeters who I had never met before except of course for Connie Reece who got me started with blogging and probably first told me about twitter! Oh and Thom Singer who we have known for several years…well before I forayed into blogging. We met at Waterloo Ice House on Loop 360 and at 7:00 pm and it was still 70 degrees! The kids had a blast playing on the playscape and in the sandbox.
The Austin Tweet-Up was organized by Kim Haynes for Susan Reynolds and Bryan Person who were in town visiting from DC and Boston. It was great fun meeting several people I’ve gotten to know via tweets on twitter and meeting new people in Austin. What is it about those magical 140 character tweets?
For some other write-ups on the Austin Tweetup check out Kim Haynes’ and Thom Singer’s posts, here and here.
Picture by Kim Haynes of @agentgenius, @LaniAR, @mikeneumann, and @susanreynolds.
| Filed under: Just For Fun
, random stuff
| Tags: agent genius
, austin tweet-up
, kim haynes
, lady bird lake
, longhorn football
, mike neumann
, shady grove
, susan reynolds
, thom singer
, UT Austin
, ut longhorn football practice
, waterloo ice house
| 3 Comments »