Can It Be? Have I Found My Soul Mate?

The other morning I woke up and immediately went on an Elizabeth Gilbert binge. I read some of her quotes, googled pictures, but mostly watched youtube interview snippets. One of my favorite ones was a brief discussion with Oprah where Gilbert shares her perspective on soul mates: 

"A true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is 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...

A soul mates purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in..."

Elizabeth Gilbert

In reflecting on the soul mates in my life, I see how one followed the exact pattern that Gilbert experienced. I am ever grateful for what he opened me up to, however painful and confusing the process was. Others, though, remain in my life and we continue in healthy, rich relationships. This dynamic among soul mates more closely resembles the type that Austen generally wrote of. Her characters were often ‘smacked awake’ by the same person who was compatible as a partner through life’s journey.

A few of my favorite moments when Austen’s heroines are helped in seeing themselves are: 

Pride and Prejudice

Elizabeth has just read Mr. Darcy’s letter and realizes the blindness she has had in her understanding of things. 

"I, who have prided myself on my discernment! I, who have valued myself on my abilities! … How humiliating is this discovery!…Had I been in love, I could not have been more wretchedly blind. But vanity, not love, has been my folly. …Till this moment I never knew myself.”

Pride and Prejudice Ch. 36

 

Northanger Abbey

Catherine’s fanciful mind concerning General Tilney and his wife has just been put to correction by Mr. Tilney:

“Catherine was completely awakened. Henry’s address, short as it had been, had more thoroughly opened her eyes to the extravagance of her late fancies than all their several disappointments had done. Most grievously was she humbled. Most bitterly did she cry.”

Northanger Abbey Ch. 25

 

Emma

Emma has just been reprimanded by Mr. Knightley on her behaviour towards Miss Bates: 

“She was vexed beyond what could have been expressed -- almost beyond what she could conceal. Never had she felt so agitated, mortified, grieved, at any circumstance in her life. She was most forcibly struck. The truth of his representation there was no denying. She felt it at her heart.” 

Emma Ch. 43

 

In William Deresiewicz’s book "A Jane Austen Education: how six novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship and the Things That Really Matter" (which, by the way, is a wonderful read), he shares his experience in reading Emma. First, he starts out bored by the book, annoyed by the pointless prattle. Soon he finds resonance with Emma, for she is just as bored and annoyed as he is. Though the heroine agreed with him, he becomes aggravated by her arrogance, naiveté, noisiness, and meddling. And then it hits him, he understood what Austen had done, 

“Emma’s cruelty, which I was so quick to criticize, was nothing, I saw, but the mirror image of my own….By creating a heroine who felt exactly as I did, and who behaved precisely as I would have in her situation, [Austen] was showing me by own ugly face.” Ch. 1

 

Ouch. But isn’t that one thing soul mates are designed to make us say? Yes, I suppose so and Austen managed to create soul mates not only for her characters, but for us too. Her characters teach us about our own ego and distasteful parts of our personalities. . . I hate it when I catch myself being a Miss Bates or a Miss Crawford! Luckily, any of the pain is greatly compensated by Jane’s writing and stories. Thank you, Jane Austen, for giving me a world of soul mates to learn and grow from. 

Debut Party

The Jane Game had her debut into society on the 21st of February earlier this year. She graced her guests with laughter, wit, and delight.

Here are some of the party’s diversions: 

 
 

The guest of honor and her creator.

Thank you Andrea Flynn for hosting the game’s party, Aspen for the organization, and Rhonda and Leslie for all the last minute help!

 
 

My mum and me, co-creators of The Jane Game.

Starting out as one of Jane Austen’s heroines, each guest continued on through the party gathering her (or his) societal tokens of a trip, a ball, and connexions by answering trivia from Austen’s novels. She ended at the church answering questions to marry her hero…if her trivia knowledge lacked, she possibly ended as an old maid!

A little regency dancing in the racquet-ball court. 

Thank you Kimberli Grant for teaching and calling!

Ample amounts of tea and “food for a rambling fancy”  were all labeled with the Austen quotes that inspired their creation.

~Mansfield Park Ch. 22.

Thank you Aspen, Rhonda, Lynnette, Jill, Leslie, RaeLynn, Rebecca, Jenny, Jessica, Emmy, Kris, Kathy and Katie for making the delectable dishes!

"My idea of good company…is the company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company.”

~Persuasion Ch. 16

 

We had a wonderful time stepping into Jane Austen's world for a few hours. Thank you to all who came and celebrated The Jane Game's debut!

A Blog...Soon

I hear Fanny Price's words when the thought of doing a blog graces my mind, 

"Oh! write, write. Finish it at once. Let there be an end of this suspense."

~Mansfield Park, Ch.44

This is nice encouragement until I hear the words that rode on the same breath, had she been speaking, of course...but we know that certainly wasn't the case for Miss Price, 

"Fix, commit, condemn yourself.”

Writing is scary...but I will try, soon. I ask for you to "want nothing but patience" (Sense and Sensibility, Ch 19).