The Scene: "Now, I'm the kind of person who, when a ninth-generation Indonesian medicine man tells you that you're destined to move to Bali and live with him for four months, thinks you should make every effort to do that," Elizabeth Gilbert writes after an Indonesian medicine man did exactly that. And she did, indeed, move to Bali, where she made life-changing discoveries.
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The Reality: Most of us aren't headed to the South Pacific! It's hard enough to get to the Jersey Shore or even the local park. That's why we watch Lady Gaga--to escape our own reality. But here's news: watching other people's lives is NOT an excuse for not living yours.
Be someone you aren't! If only once a week--or for a week.
We hear it all the time: Do something radical and uncover the real you. The flying trapeze! Belly dancing! But does it really work?
Meet Laine Bergeson, a senior editor at Experience Life magazine based in St. Paul, Minn. She was paging through other magazines one day and saw an ad for a weeklong women's welding workshop in Taos, New Mexico. She'd never felt the desire to weld in her life, but, she says, she felt struck by lightning. She simply had to go and immediately made a reservation.
Laine, 34, who is petite, polite, and flashes nearly everyone a big, generous smile, says, "I've always wanted just for a day to be a person someone would be afraid of in a dark alley. I think the welding workshop spoke to that desire." So, she headed west and put on her safety gear. Her first day welding was "pants-wettingly terrifying," she says. But as the workshop went on, she recognized, "Welding brought out the courage in me--not only because there's a 6000-degree flame and if you're not careful with it you'll cut off your hand, but also because I'm usually quite risk averse."
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At home, she realized, she rarely did anything she hadn't done the day before. Now, simply standing all day, using her body in different ways, and working with tools gave her a rush of new feeling. "I felt powerful," Laine says, "not in a for-show way, but in a real way." And she carried that feeling home with her.
Our Mantra: It's not about the blowtorch. Welding was for Laine kind of like what learning to eat, pray and love was for Liz. Heeding the Balinese call with courage helped Liz move through her depression and grief. Heeding the call to pick up a blowtorch energized Laine, and gave her even more:
"Learning to weld helped me remember there are unlimited possible worlds. It was kind of amazing in that way, which I love."
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Photo Credit: IMDb.com