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Renata Janine Roos is a  local resident who passionately writes short stories about different things that inspires her and happened in her own life.  She published a book of poetry, sharing with readers glimpses of her soul and the road she has travelled. She also practiced Therapeutic Reflexology and various other alternative therapies.
In her own words, "I am trying to reach out to the world in the only way I possibly can, that is through my words, the paint on my canvas and to care for you with my healing touch.  Hopefully this will make a difference, if only for a short contented while. I just want to practice all the talents that God gave me with equal respect and live my life to the fullest.
My biggest bonus of moments is to share it with you."

by Elizabeth Gilbert

It was yet again one of the Cape of Storms’ cold, wet wintry nights. I was bored and flipped through the channels on TV, not knowing what I am searching for, but my soul craved substance. Not another movie or reality programme full of mundane things that happen to us normal human beings anyway! Lives that are out of tune, or without equilibrium - just empty.

In between my shuffle, I stumble across a programme of ‘Oprah’ interviewing this dynamic vibrant woman called ‘Elizabeth Gilbert.’ The wisdom of her words immediately captivated me. It was a fascinating interview about her book, and one phrase in particular caught my attention:

Oprah asked what she thought about soul mates...
Everybody lately uses that word so longingly; so desirably, so yearningly, wondering if they will ever find their true soul mate.
And then this wise woman responded:
“Don't search for it because the intertwined soul is complicated.”
I quote from her book page 157 a conversation between Richard and Liz.
“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? 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.”

This is my interpretation of her words from her conversation on TV.
You do not want to blend your soul with another person, because you will forget, what life is all about.
The space between two people creates room for expansion, development, growth. It allows you to be your own whole person, to be content in your own space and to be happy to share that joy with your other soul partner/s.
You can find a soul mate in another human or animal for a very brief moment, a stranger or a beggar - a single encounter of thought.
It does not mean it has to be forever, or lasting, or binding.
Be careful to long for a soul mate because you give up all your energy, to devote to that person and in the end it suffocates both of you tragically.

Rather befriend your fellow humankind slowly, let the flowers grow in your own garden and give some away.
Be there for your loved one but belong to yourself first.

After the truth of what she said sank deep into my consciousness, I realized that this might change my whole life today!

So treat yourself with flowers today, eat the chocolate of your choice, read a book or do something you always set aside to do for others and enjoy your own soul’s freedom.

I watched this program with amazed feelings and was drawn to her warmth and funny expressions.
I had to smile at the interviews they had with various other women and the effect the book had on their lives. One woman even went to all the same places trying to find the same truths.
Which, of course, defeats the object, everybody’s journey is different.

So first thing the next morning, I went to the nearest bookshop and bought this book, of which only two were left. It had sold out all over the country!

I sat in my room for three days and laughed, cried and prayed with this lady.

The most captivating verse for me was:
“I want God to play in my bloodstream the way sunlight amuses itself on water.”
So absolutely beautifully put.

Although I have never been divorced, I have a few single friends who went through the pains and heartache. The devastating effects on both parties, their children and the whole family as well as their circle of friends involved in their lives.
The crying and despair of troubled souls on the bathroom floor.

And then the individual search of every human being, for true love and the love of God.

These are my own thoughts on what I perceived through her writings, and experiences.
I am quoting verses from her book that are relevant to my thoughts.
In our search for God and our faith of preference, everybody’s own understanding where they belong in the realm of religion and what he/she calls their God, is irrelevant as long as you believe that He resides within you and that He loves you unconditionally, whether it is culturally, theologically or traditionally.
“God is an experience of supreme love.”
“I believe in a magnificent God.”

These beliefs takes the reader right through the whole book.
Her yearning for a spiritual teacher and to change her life forever.
“I wanted worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence – the duel glories of a human life.” (Page 30)

Don’t we all?
I felt her misery on the bathroom floor, and wanted to say get up stupid woman! He/ your husband, does not even know why you are crying, stop bleeding your heart on this cold floor, get up!

After leaving her husband she immediately finds a lover! Hmmm, some of my very own friends did the same, more tears and more confusion.
I mean the poor bloke that is now her ex husband is trying to get over the shock that you have left him with his thousand inadequacies and short comings, and then you so nicely rub salt on the wound, like he is a piece of ‘biltong.’ Nice ladies, how can you expect a fair settlement!
The man is crushed to the bone, his ego in tatters.

I wish she had that insight from the beginning, but the heart needs to be comforted, and a woman wants her pain to go away…. NOW!
Then you pay the price girl.
Even if you have to go to Italy or Timbuktu, you pray and you find that sunlight that could chase away the black dog (depression) from your door.
And: “Never forget that once upon a time, in an unguarded moment, you recognised yourself as a friend.” (Page 57)

Her travelling in Italy was delightful, the food and the warmth of the Italian people.
In chapter 27, page 83, she and her friend Sophie went to the Pizzeria da Michele and ordered pizza.
“I love my pizza so much that, in fact, I have come to the belief in my delirium that my pizza might actually love me in return. I am having a relationship with this pizza, almost an affair.”

Don’t you just love this?, Isn’t it like all women?, We love, we eat and we enjoy all the good things. When we feel emotional we reach for that “thin, doughy, strong gummy, yummy, chewy, salty pizza paradise!”
We gain weight and we shed tears. So bloody what!?
Women have relationships with food, men, kids, animals and every living thing and still, we have the sacred space for our soul mate.

And then on a dark night the question, who am I?
“First you are a child, then you are a teenager, then you are a young married person, then you are a parent, then you are retired, and then you are a grandparent – at every stage you know who you are, you know what your duty is, and you know where to sit at the reunion.
You sit with the other children, or teenagers, or young parents, or retirees. Until at last you are sitting with the ninety-year-olds in the shade, watching over your progeny with satisfaction. Who are you?” (Page 99.)

Virginia Woolf wrote: “Across the broad continent of a woman’s life falls the shadow of a sword.” On one side of the 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.”

Does this mean we have to stop the eating, the lover, the travelling the search for God,? NO, but we have to start mending our soul.

It was in India that I have felt the depth of this woman’s feelings. The profound spiritual experience in the Ashram and could feel her change as tangible as my own breath.
Her approach to meditation and her questions about where she fits in into this whole universe of belief. When we feel weak before the unknown - and ask ourselves…
“I wondered who the “me” is when I am conversing with my mind, and who is the “mind?.” I thought about the relentless thought-processing, soul-devouring machine that is my brain, and I wondered how on earth I was ever going to master it.”

“And then I said to God: I’m really sorry, but this is the closest I could get to you today.” (Page 144)

To her it was through Yoga, meditation, a spiritual teacher. And so for everybody there is a way through which you can connect with God to find inner peace.

The biggest truth for me in her journey is to let go of your past.
“Letting go, of course, is a scary enterprise for those of us who believe that the world revolves only because it has a handle on the top of it, which we personally turn, and that if we were to drop this handle for even a moment, well- that would be the end of this universe.”
Why don’t you let it be?
“Look for God, like a man with his head on fire looks for water.”

Let go dear woman, of the painful memories of yesterday. Your struggles, your failures and the days you felt you were not fit to be a mother. The days when you endured hardship with no money in your pocket and the nights when you thought…, is this all there is to a marriage?. Staring at the all the different patterns on our ceiling.’
Too scared to give up your security, the home that eventually took shape as the years went on, and the comforts. Maybe everything will change if I…
Let it go, talk to the wall in your kitchen like Shirley Valentine, cry on the cold hard floor of your bathroom like Liz and many others, but know for sure you don’t have to be alone.
Let the voice of God play like a song in your mind.
“You have no idea how strong my love is!!!”

“The search for God is a reversal of the normal, mundane worldly order. In the search for God, you revert from what attracts you and swim toward that which is difficult. You abandon your comforting and familiar habits with the hope (the mere hope!) that something greater will be offered you in return for what you’ve given up. Every religion in the world operates on the same common understandings of what it means to be a good disciple.”
“Be a good neighbour, respect yourself and others, master your cravings.”

Listen to that, we that love food so dearly! Master your cravings.
I am telling you my weight prevents me from finding the love of my life!
They want a woman, tall thin, slim, trim and boobed tubed !
The old ones want young girls and the young men want tuned up older women, they must still have a flat stomach, and please no baggage or children.
The best are taken, the divorced flat out broke, either financially or the heart.
But they want…

Hold on to your religion through all of this.

“I am tired of being a sceptic, I’m irritated by spiritual prudence and I feel bored and parched by empirical debate. I don’t want to hear it anymore. I couldn’t care less about evidence and proof and assurances. I just want God. I want God inside me. I want God to play in my bloodstream the way sunlight amuses itself.”

This is the most spectacular piece of writing in this book.
With that invitation in our hearts, we are open to a new life and to explore the whole wide world.

We all have our tragic lives, our hopes and dreams, and in the end we all are one.
When we can reach that point in our life where we feel balanced, filled with love, devoted to our God and found the one true love that God has set aside for you to enjoy on this earth.
Total bliss, equilibrium, whole.

So tonight I will pray and thank my God for a special moment. The moment when His message was sent over the broad spectrum of the universe, the TV channel.
A woman just like you and me, with a funny sense of humour, light in her eyes and compassion in her voice.
Thank you Elizabeth Gilbert, for sharing yourself with us, the big, the fat, the thin, the pretty and the ugly.
But in God’s eyes we are all one happy family.
We all eat, pray and love dearly.

Renata Roos
South Africa




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