Figured It Out Friday: Syncrinicity

When things are meant to happen, they just do.

Thursday night, I met three other contributors to the book Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It at a book store in Pasadena California. It was my first opportunity to read my essay in front of a crowd. Here are some pictures from the event.

IMG_2349

The audience and reading space was small and intimate:

IMG_2337

IMG_2336

IMG_2340

…and my spiritual sisters (fellow contributors) were great!

Lisa Becker, Eduardo Martinez and Amy B Schur

Lisa Becker, Eduardo Martinez and Amy B Schur

Here are some other pictures from the night’s event.

IMG_2358 (1)

IMG_2365

IMG_2362

IMG_2361

Our contest for a free autographed copy of Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It is still running, click the link to enter!!

Peace
Ed

Free Book Give Away!! Signed Copy of Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It

Hi everyone!! Spiritual Bahana is giving away a free autographed copy of Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It signed by yours truly, Eduardo Martinez.

For those of you who don’t know, last summer I entered an essay writing contest by the acclaimed author Elizabeth Gilbert. Liz Gilbert is a New York Times best selling author who’s inspired millions of women and men to look at their lives and change them for the better. Since its release in 2006, over 10 million copies have been sold and it established her as a world famous writer. Eat Pray Love sold over 10 million copies ever since its first release in 2006. Her story of self discovery was also made into a movie directed by Ryan Murphy, the creator of American Horror Story and most recently The People Vs. Oj Simpson.

Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It is a collection of essays written by fans from around the world who were inspired to go on their own spiritual quest after reading the book. Although I didn’t travel around the world to find myself, I believe you’ll find my simple story of hard work and determination just as inspiring.

The book and author were also featured on Good Morning America:

You have mutliple chances to win! You can enter by:

  1. Leaving a blog comment lettings us know what you thought of Eat Pray Love.
  2. Following Spiritual Bahana on WordPress (click “follow” on the sidebar—>).
  3. Follow @spiritualbahana on Instagram.

You can chose one or all options for multiple entries. The contest begins today and will run through midnight on Sunday, 5/15. The winner will be announced on Monday, 5/16.

Please click on the link below to log your entries. Best of luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Giveaway-Signed Copy of “Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It”

Hi everyone!! Spiritual Bahana is giving away a free autographed copy of Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It signed by yours truly, Eduardo Martinez.

For those of you who don’t know, last summer I entered an essay writing contest by the acclaimed author Elizabeth Gilbert.  Liz Gilbert is a New York Times best selling author who’s inspired millions of women and men to look at their lives and change them for the better.  Since its release in 2006, over 10 million copies have been sold and it established her as a world famous writer.  Eat Pray Love sold over 10 million copies ever since its first release in 2006.  Her story of self discovery was also made into a movie directed by Ryan Murphy, the creator of American Horror Story and most recently The People Vs. Oj Simpson.

Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It is a collection of essays written by fans from around the world who were inspired to go on their own spiritual quest after reading the book.  Although I didn’t travel around the world to find myself, I believe you’ll find my simple story of hard work and determination just as inspiring.

The book and author were also featured on Good Morning America:

You have mutliple chances to win! You can enter by:

  1. Leaving a blog comment lettings us know what you thought of Eat Pray Love.
  2. Following Spiritual Bahana on WordPress (click “follow” on the sidebar—>).
  3. Follow @spiritualbahana on Instagram.

You can chose one or all options for multiple entries. The contest begins today and will run through midnight on Sunday, 5/15. The winner will be announced on Monday, 5/16.

Please click on the link below to log your entries. Best of luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Field Trip: Cheryl Strayed Lecture

It has been an amazing season for book releases and author tours! We have been fortunate enough to meet Elizabeth Gilbert and we jumped at the opportunity to meet Cheryl Strayed.

cheryl strayed

Cheryl Strayed is certainly one of our favorites. We both loved Wild and her podcast that she co-hosts with Steve Almond, Dear Sugar.

Wild holds a particularly special place in my heart. I was reading the book on the very night that my dad was shot and killed and it became an important part of the beginning of my journey into healing.

Cheryl was appearing in Pasadena on a school night! This means Ed & I are usually in bed by 8:00, but we fought traffic after work, drank some caffeine and headed over to the venue. We received copies of her new book of quotes Brave Enough and excitedly sat down to hear her speak.

brave enough

Cheryl was incredible. She has such an amazing way with words, without being pretentious. She is authentically relatable and honest.

Cheryl started off by asking the audience if anyone had a tattoo of one of her quotes and there was someone there who in fact, did. She discussed the new book of quotes and the purpose behind publishing it. She clarified that she did not do this because she feels like she has a vast amount of wisdom that must be shared, but because each of these quotes had a story behind it for her and she was starting to realize that her quotes had stories for other people. She had been getting many emails and pictures of people’s tattoos, stories and memories of what her quotes had meant to them and was realizing that they had taken on different meanings to different people.

strayed strayed

Cheryl lectured for a very short time and devoted the rest of the time to questions and answers. She answered a very wide range of questions varying from grief, advice, writing, movie making, overall-wearing and my personal favorite, sharing her favorite word (a tie between love and fuck).

After the lecture, we were able to get our books signed and meet Cheryl. She was so incredibly gracious and listened to me pour my heart out over how important Wild was in my grief process.

ang and cheryl ang and cheryl

She signed Ed’s favorite quote in the book and spent a minute or two talking with us and thanking us for coming.

ed and cheryl ed and cheryl

We certainly did not regret staying out late on a school night. It was a wonderful experience to meet Cheryl and hear her discuss so eloquently, a wide range of topics.

Hiiii, it’s Ed,

When Angelina mentioned that Cheryl Strayed’s book tour was headed to Pasadena I knew I had to go.  I’d been on a Cheryl obsession ever since last year; eating up all the information I could find on her.  I loved that her spiritual journey was unconventional and it resulted in finding the love of her life.

If Cheryl went on a journey through the Pacific Coast Trail – then I had to go on a journey through the Pacific Coast Trail.

Over the summer I was up near Oregon in search of the PCT

Over the summer I was up near Oregon in search of the PCT

 

20150720_010601140_iOS

When I opened Cheryl’s new book, I found the perfect quote that describes “god” for me:

I love that she personalized it!!

I love that she personalized it!!

I understand Cheryl’s point of view when it comes to the ultimate creator of the universe. She was raised in an abusive home where she witnessed the physical abuse of her father. Afterward her mother passed away from a terrible bout of cancer.  I was raised in a home where every desire of one’s heart could be answered through prayer – instead of hard work.

When I look at the human experience as a whole, sometimes I ask the Lord, “couldn’t you have made it easier for us here?” God is a creator of wonderful experiences but at the same time, it can be a ruthless bitch!

Ed

Indie Pendee La La Movie Friday: Diary Of A Teen Age Girl

I have so much to say about this week’s choice for Indie Pendee La La Movie Friday but if I were to choose one word to describe the whole experience, I’d have to say it’s: uncomfortable.

Before I begin, I’d like to point out that I thought this would be a fitting movie for Spiritual Bahana since the voice is from a female perspective and about sexuality. What convinced me to go see it was the line at the end of the movie trailer: this is for all the girls when they have grown.  This lead me to believe it was going to be an innocent reflection on teenage sexuality from an older woman’s perspective.

FAR FROM IT!

There was nothing innocent about this movie.  With the small cast made up of well known actors such Kristin Wig and Alexander Skarsgard, I figured it would be emotionally dramatic and well presented.  Instead what I experienced was a movie that felt very much like barely legal kitty porn.  The movie’s main character, played by twenty – three year old actress Bel Powley, is a junior in high school who enjoys having sex.  But she enjoys having sex with her mother’s thirty something year old boyfriend.

I knew going into this movie that there’d be some controversial topics such as female sexuality and teen sex, but I didn’t expect to see it played out on screen. At one point, I wish I had bought a sign with the words: I’m gay I promise! because it felt really uncomfortable being a male in that theater.

The only scene I can stand by is when Minnie, the teen age girl, tries to find comfort from her mother only to find that she’s getting high with her friends and boyfriend.  It reminded me of when I realized that some parents – although adults – still act like teenagers themselves.

But that’s about it.

For this week’s La La movie…big thumbs down!

Byyyyye,

Ed

 

Elizabeth Gilbert & the Power of Goodbye

As somebody who, in my second marriage, insisted on a prenuptial agreement, I can also testify that sometimes it is an act of love to chart the exit strategy before you enter the union, in order to make sure that not only you, but your partner as well, knows that there will be no World War III should hearts and minds, for any sad reason, change ~ Elizabeth Gilbert

Currently, Angelina and I are on a Liz Gilbert obsession fest.  We’ve been listening to her new Podcast through iTunes and we’re eagerly anticipating her new book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.  We’ll also be blogging about our field trip to her book signing in either Pasadena or San Diego.  Ever since she wrote Eat, Pray, Love and Committed I’ve read and listened to everything she has to say.

Just recently I found out she’s going to follow up Eat, Pray, Love with a book entitled: Eat, Pray, Love Made Me Do it.  It’s a chance for fans of the book to write about their own Eat, Pray, Love experiences.

Angelina and I often find ourselves on the same spiritual frequency and we end up texting each other about things we are experiencing at the same time.  It was an early Saturday morning when I found out about the contest and decided to write about my own experience.  Once I finished the first draft  Angelina text me about the contest.  When a connection like that happens, I take it as a sign that I am where I’m supposed to be that particular moment.

Here’s my entry for the contest:

In September of 2000, at the age of twenty – eight, I made a decision to enter into a life long commitment.  After many years of discernment, courtship and love I entered a Roman Catholic seminary to pursue the priesthood.  My idealized version of a marriage to chastity, poverty and celibacy was soon replaced after I met a man who would help me understand why I wanted to escape in the first place.    

At the start of my second year I met Richard, a new seminarian who was handsome and shared the same interests as me.  One of those interests being a love and devotion for their overbearing Hispanic mothers who would love nothing more than to say they have a priest for a son.  That year, in the safety of a religious institution, Richard and I both discovered the one thing that we were trying to escape  – homosexuality.      

Before the second year ended I already knew the priesthood wasn’t in my future; I left the idealized version of myself behind and decided to pursue my education and live as an out and proud gay man.  The early part of my thirties was spent catching up with lost time by hitting the night club scene, dating as many men as possible all while working on my undergrad as well as graduate degree.  By October 2007, I had finished my first credential; I was well on my way in creating an intellectual and stimulating career – until I met Joe.

Joe was supposed to be the icing on the cake; the last piece to a perfect puzzle, but instead, he turned out to be the end of the second idealized version I had created of myself. 

What I didn’t know at the time was that I had spent so many years searching for an identity that I never cultivated who I truly was and what I really wanted.  I kept my ability to love hidden for so long that by the time I was ready to give it, I had no understanding of how to do it.  My ability to love was so raw, unshaped and so unmanageable it manifested itself as obsessive, compulsive and was too great to contain.  It was so great that I was too much for Joe to handle which ultimately scared him away.

By the end of 2007, I was on a career high but my heart was shattered into a million pieces. 

All of these events happened right around the time Eat, Pray, Love was published.  I was such an internal mess I quickly became a frequent visitor of the self – help isle of every bookstore.  I had been hearing a lot about A New Earth and decided to read it.  But it wasn’t until I read Eat, Pray, Love that I decided to take action. 

In 2008, my parents had retired, moved to Arizona and needed to rent out the 800 square foot house they owned in California.  It was the place of my birth and happened to be vacant while I was reading the book.  I decided to turn it into my own private sanctuary where I would visit the foreign places of my soul.  Instead of Italy, Bali and India, I would visit my past, my heart and God.

There were several rules I had for myself the year I rented out my parent’s home: no T.V, no bringing work home and no wild parties.  Instead, I’d come home, light many candles, burn incense, journal and pray.  It was a ritual I practiced for one year straight.  In this time I learned the art of meditation and reestablished my relationship with God based on my own experiences with life.  In my journal entries I deconstructed and healed the relationship I had with my parents; allowed myself to express the deep feelings and longing I had for Joe and made peace with God and homosexuality.

After reading Liz Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love I was inspired to give myself time to heal.  I connected with her when she wrote the lines: “I dated so many guys when I was young, I never gave myself the opportunity to find out who I was or what I wanted.”

I’ve been on a spiritual journey to find the truth about myself and life; one thing I’ve learned is that the more I search, the more I evolve. 

Peace,

Ed