Julie and Julia and the Mantra of Doing-ness

This weekend two things happened.

First, I was as having one of my "I have accomplished nothing in the past year, I am a loser," moments, which is not unusual as these unproductive thoughts occur almost daily, generally upon waking.

Second, I went to see a movie, in a theatre. This is unusual because a) I rarely go to movies, and b) I rarely leave the house (okay, not really: I do go to work every day;but kinda, yes: apart from work, bookstores, and groceries, I find home very appealing.)

My choice of film was related to two of my three passions (books, cooking, and religion): Julie and Julia, written and directed by Nora Ephron, based on the book and blog, of the same name, by Julie Powell, and memoir of Julia Child My Life in France. I loved the film. I'd read Julie and Julia when it first came out in hardback, driven by my love of all things Julia Child and a curiosity to learn just how one woman (Julie Powell) changed her life.

By the end of the film I found myself thrilled for both women portrayed in the film, inspired, and even tearful in a happy way. As I left the theatre I knew that I'd blog about the experience and even began composing an essay on how the film underscored the importance of perseverance: Julia Child's eight year odyssey to complete, revise, and publish Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and Julie Powell's in managing to cook all 524 recipes in 365 days.

Then I thought another way to look at its message was about success, how in the case of Julia Child it took years of unrequited toil, and in Julie Powell's life the success of her blog was quickly followed by a book contract and then a movie deal...lottery winning success by comparison.

And then this morning I read an excellent article by Nathan Schneider in the New York Times about St. Anselm's proof of the existence of God. (Also, check out the wonderful online religion magazine Killing the Buddah where Nathan is the editor.) which made me consider that the film's message was about the joyful pursuit of one's passion.

Of course, all of the above can be teased from the film as can observations on what makes a happy marriage, or how food satisfies the soul as well as the stomach. In the end, however, what it all really comes down to is this: Do Something! Whether you are unknowingly changing the face of American home cookery on the energy of your passion for French cooking, or changing your life by spending a year cooking from that book, or pondering a proof for the existence for God, the key to a successful life begins with the resolution to do something, and then to get up the next day, and every day after that and do something again and again and again. Yes, that something that you choose should be a source of joy and passion or else you won't have the energy to continue the pursuit when the days become years, and yes, there are no guarantees that they will someday make a film about your pursuit or make you a Saint. But from the look on Julia Child's face in Meryl Streep's portrayal and in every photo I've seen, doing something with passion brings its own rewards.


Keetha said…
Great advice. It came just in time!
Alison said…
Great post & great reminder.
Larramiefg said…
Both Julie and Julia thought they needed something to do but, in fact, they simply needed to restore passion in their lives. Passion = Life Force.
Madge said…
this is beautiful. thank you.

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