dear friends,

be well, be love.


the next big green

the green movement has led millions to rediscover the integral connection between people, place and planet. could a down-to-earth consciousness revival be next?

by lynn braz

when a friend first suggested i read eat, pray, love, i balked. having just returned from a three-month sabbatical in northern india, i felt i didn’t need to read about someone else’s journey there. it would only incite envy, since elizabeth gilbert turned her life-at-a-crossroads crisis into a blockbusting bestseller while one newspaper article and a blog was the best i could manage. plus, i’d already read enough “spiritual” books to last the rest of my lifetimes. but after the fortieth friend/acquaintance/colleague raved about the book, i caved, determined to be the first person on the planet not to relish it. i failed, of course, and i dare anyone who has ever dined, dated or doubted themselves not to like it.

“i would actually avoid any title with the word ‘pray’ in it,” says oakland-based fashion consultant tracy miller. “but eating and loving, i’m very interested in.” miller discovered that it wasn’t the pasta in italy or the lover in bali that intrigued her most. “what i identified with was the search for self. i struggle with being my own spiritual counsel. eat, pray, love validated my journey towards understanding who i am and what i have to offer myself and the world,” miller says.

elizabeth gilbert, although a talented and accomplished author, was by no means a household name before eat, pray, love was published. her extraordinary success and exposure — appearances on oprah and nbc’s today show, speaking engagements across north america, favorable reviews in the new york times, miami herald and just about everywhere else — are all the more remarkable considering meditation and mystics are not ordinarily super hyped subjects. but part of what makes gilbert’s memoir irresistible is her ability to disclose desire for a spiritual experience that is less cosmic and more down-to-earth.

her timing is perfect. with the green movement reaching critical mass — corner bodegas stocking recycled toilet paper and organic produce, year-long waiting lists for hybrids, network tv shows like las vegas airing special eco-themed episodes, al gore winning an academy award and nobel prize — americans seem ready to take their growing concern for and care of the environment and expand it to a deeper understanding of how everything on this earth is interconnected. we already have the technology to end global warming, achieve energy independence and live in harmony with the earth. now all we need is the willingness to use those tools. that means giving up not only conveniences, but also our sense of entitlement. we’ll have to become less self-centered and more concerned with society as a whole — states of being that some consider a spiritual awakening. if we’re going to get there in time, then consciousness just may be the next green.