Do You Need to Travel to Find Happiness?
The book 'Eat, Pray, Love' showcases Elizabeth Gilbert's memoir of travelling the world; eating in Italy, praying in India and finding love and balance in Bali. Columbia Pictures have produced the film version, starring Julia Roberts.
Interview with Dr. Jonathan Ellerby
Dr. Jonathan Ellerby is a top notch media expert, appearing on Larry King Live, CNN's Campbell Brown, Better TV, ABC, Montel Williams Radio, Martha Stewart Radio and more! Dr. Jonathan Ellerby is also the author of 'Inspiration Deficit Disorder: The No Pill Prescription to End High Stress, Low Energy and Bad Habits'.
Spiritual Advisor, Jonathan Ellerby Ph.D., is the Program Director for the famous Canyon Ranch Health Resort, a destination retreat and spa that has welcomed some of the biggest celebrities including Oprah, Sting, Madonna and even the star of Eat, Pray, Love - Julia Roberts herself!
Dr. Ellerby has studied religion all over the world; India, Peru, Mexico, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Australia/New Zealand, China. He specialises in making spiritually simple and accessible - He believes that you don't have to travel to find yourself. www.jonathanellerby.com
How can Australians find peace within their life? Dr. Jonathan Ellerby
: The Beautiful thing about inner peace is that each person can find it according to what speaks to them most clearly. It might be time in nature, it might be a spiritual practice like spending time in church or at yoga, it could involve art, family, or a combination of things. While there are regional differences in how people tend to find inner strength, the core themes are universal: slow down, spend more time with people who are supportive and uplifting, help make the world a better place and do more of what you deeply, truly love. Trust yourself and don't let your old expectations and experiences hold you back.
What methods do you use to teach others to find a peaceful life? Dr. Jonathan Ellerby
: I focus on helping people to understand how their past hurts and disappointments cause them to live reactively, instead of intentionally. Helping people to become aware of how they get stuck, is a big part of helping people get "unstuck." There is no shame in talking about your past with a friend or in seeing a counselor for awhile. Take a serious look within and be honest with yourself. The next thing I help people to do is develop a daily and weekly commitment to activities that bring them back to the sense of balance they are looking for. It could be a daily time of prayer, breathing exercises, meditation or journaling - something simple and short. Then a person should have at least a few hours throughout the week that are more deeply invested in healthy hobbies or interests that interrupt the crazy patterns of life. Finally it's about learning to make choices from a sense of what is fulfilling and not what is rooted in a need for approval, control or avoiding.
'Eat, Pray Love' shows a woman travelling the world for inspiration on how to find joy, can we find joy in our lives, without travelling? Dr. Jonathan Ellerby
: The key to understanding the whole book and film is seeing that the travel was a reflection of her unique lifelong interest. It was necessary for her because she had a life and personality based on travel, after all she was a travel writer. So the message is: give yourself permission to do what you love. For others it could be gardening, it could be learning an instrument or playing a sport. It's about living free of old ideas and knowing you are empowered to choose what feels right - not in a selfish, shallow way. But in the deep, meaningful way that is really about becoming a better person. Not only can we find joy in our lives without travelling, we have to find joy in life without travelling. I lead trips to exotic places like Africa and India and I know the power of travel from my own journey, but I always stress again and again, travel isn't for everyone, but learning to love the life you have at home is a universal opportunity. And if you just can't love it no matter what you do - change it.
Why do people suddenly become unhappy with their life and wish to escape? Dr. Jonathan Ellerby
: It's rarely suddenly. It always seems suddenly, but for most of us, any sudden need to escape is just the crossing of a threshold - its coming to edge of something that was started a long, long time ago. It starts with simple compromises, or roles in life carried on too long. It often starts small and grow over time until we cannot handle the weight of our disconnection any more.
If someone becomes unhappy with their lives is it right to make a drastic change? Dr. Jonathan Ellerby
: Drastic change is not a bad thing, I often encourage it. There are many stories of healthy drastic change in Inspiration Deficit Disorder. But, it should always follow careful consideration, checking out your thoughts and feelings with an objective and sound support person, and being as sure as you can that your motives are meaning and truth - and not fear and an inability to cope. So, yes to drastic change, but a bigger yes to the work that leads up to it.
Is there a way to discover ourselves and what we want from life, by continuing our day-to-day activities? Dr. Jonathan Ellerby
: Certainly, it can start with a commitment to pay attention to the people, places and things that raise your energy and sense of joy and connection, and your awareness of those things that don't. Keep a journal or keep track of how your energy moves in your life and you'll soon see where your passions and your wounds are planted.
What makes us feel like we're missing out on something, even if to others we seem to have it all: house, husband and family? Dr. Jonathan Ellerby
: Fulfillment comes from living the mystery of who we were born to be. No one can explain how we developed our passions and interests; we all have a unique "nature" or "essence" we were born with. All the approval, power, and possessions on the outside will never fill the void we feel if our truest self is not fed. It's a complicated thing to explain in a sentence or two, but the bottom line is that if our lives don't reflect our inner truth, then everything we do will eventually feel false.
Can you explain what spiritual fulfillment is? Dr. Jonathan Ellerby
: At one level spiritual fulfillment is the peace and strength that comes from knowing that your life is authentic - that your life reflects who you really are. Furthermore, it's about accepting who you are and your place in the world. At a deeper level, it can also have everything to do with a sense of connection, personal knowing and faith in something greater: God, Nature, Life, Energy - whatever you want to call it - and knowing that you are also a part of it; it is a part of you. You, your life, this world and all its horrors and beauties, they are all sacred and enchanted in a very real way. That sort of spiritual fulfillment is really about an experience - not a belief or even a way of life.
What are some changes we can make in our life now to instantly be more peaceful? Dr. Jonathan Ellerby
: Well, I think we have already discussed some good ones, but if we could each learn to have a little more quiet time to simply sit and listen, to bring more compassion to ourselves and others, and to release ourselves from the constant drive toward business and perfection, we'd see just how wonderful life already is. Sadly, it's so simple we easily over look it: laugh more, play more, love more.
Do you hope that the movie, 'Eat, Pray Love', will encourage people to find a more peaceful life? Dr. Jonathan Ellerby
: I do think it will have that effect and I hope it will help people to find and appreciate all the goodness they have right at home.
Interview by Brooke Hunter