How “Eat, Pray, Love” Taught Me To Sit With My Feelings

The past few months, I’ve been reading through the books we have on the bookshelf in our cottage. On the same day that I finished reading Eat, Pray, Love, I helped our oldest daughter, Mabel, sort through her drawings from preschool. The book is giving me strategies to help process some of the feelings I recognized as I looked through her depictions of everyday life, which has drastically changed for us since the pandemic.

Elizabeth Gilbert published her memoir in 2006. At the age of 34, she was a recently divorced woman who embarked on an adventure to examine three aspects of herself. In a sense, her goal was to “tidy up” her mental, spiritual, and relational self. I am also 34, and I am struggling to make sense of my own mental self.

Eat, Pray, Love

Quarantine & Loneliness

We have been quarantined in Pennsylvania since our third daughter, Margaret, was born. We purchased our cottage in Pennsylvania in October, intending to use the home on weekends and during school breaks. After three full months without any physical contact with family or friends, we allowed grandparents to begin visiting in June.

After months of loneliness, we were able to introduce our parents to Margaret, and enjoy adult conversations and babysitting help. We felt settled into our new normal at the cottage, and plan to spend the rest of the summer here.

Preschool Drawings

And then Mabel’s preschool drawings arrived. We were suddenly faced with a very vivid reminder of our life in NYC. The loneliness and deep feelings of sadness immediately resurfaced.

Mabel’s first day of canceled preschool was March 16th, which was the same day her youngest sister was born. Within 3 days we had been discharged from the hospital, visited the pediatrician, packed up our essentials, and traveled to Pennsylvania.

Mabel finished the rest of her preschool year remotely. She didn’t get to say goodbye to her classmates or teachers, experience an in-person “stepping up to Kindergarten” ceremony, or have any true sense of closure to her preschool experience. 

At the end of the school year, Mabel’s teachers collected all of her preschool drawings from the classroom and returned them to us. We sorted through the papers on the exact day that I read these lines from Eat, Pray, Love: “This is your chance. Show me everything that is causing you sorrow. Let me see all of it. Don’t hold anything back.”

As we looked through her preschool drawings one by one, the thoughts and memories raised their hands and stood up to identify themselves. I studied each one, every image depicting an experience that used to feel so normal, and now seems like a lifetime ago.

Each image brought up feelings of deep sadness for me. I tried to acknowledged the existence of my sadness, and truly feel the pain without trying to protect myself from it. I allowed myself to simply sit with my feelings.

“Walking Mabel”

preschool drawings

Walking outside was an everyday part of our life in NYC. I walked to my school every day. We walked to the park, playground, grocery store, library, post office, and bakery. The girls had the strong endurance of New Yorker legs and rarely complained about their legs being tired. Mabel was asked to draw a picture about how she gets to school, and drew this sweet depiction of Emily walking to her school each morning.

“House and Sun”

preschool drawings

This is the classic kid drawing of a house and a sun. Except Mabel’s home is a NYC apartment building, with 2 apartments on each floor. It’s the only home she’s ever known, until now.

“At the Park”

preschool drawings

In NYC, we used to walk to the playground every day. It was like our backyard. It was the place where the girls got their energy out, and formed their first friendships. I miss long afternoons at the playground. I miss seeing the girls playing with friends.

“Dancing at School”

preschool drawings

This photo captured Mabel dancing in her classroom, completely care free. She said, “I dance like a stream,” and drew a picture of a stream to match her dance moves. I don’t know when she will be able to be in a classroom again. She’s smiling, and looking straight into the camera. I know behind the camera is her teacher, smiling back.

“Sharing with Friends”

preschool drawings

Two of Mabel’s best friends permanently moved away from NYC last week. As we were looking through Mabel’s preschool drawings, we found many images of these two friends. I still don’t know what NYC will be like when we return, but I know it will be forever different because people who we love no longer live there. It’s hard to process the fact that those friends won’t be in NYC anymore when we finally return.

Sitting with Sorrow

In Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert allowed herself to sit with her sorrow. She took the time to heal, to reflect, and to sit with the complex feelings that had been causing her to feel broken. She is inspiring me to sit with my own feelings.

While in Italy, she learned the meaning of the word “attraversiamo.” The word literally means, “let’s cross over.” The book ends with her “crossing over” and allowing herself to love once again.

I’m learning that it’s okay to sit in the sorrow and allow time to pass before “crossing over”. I know that with time, I’ll be able to move from a place of sorrow when I look at Mabel’s preschool drawings, to a place of interest, appreciation, and even joy. But I’m not quite there yet. And that’s okay. 

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I'm Tyler Moore 

My wife and I live with our three young girls in a 700- square-foot apartment in New York City. I started Tidy Dad to help others tidy, simplify, and find joy in their lives. I firmly believe the tidying process can transform your life. I’d love for you to join me in exploring ways that tidying can make room for what’s important in life. 


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July 6, 2020

Preschool Drawings

How “Eat, Pray, Love” Taught Me To Sit With My Feelings

The past few months, I’ve been reading through the books we have on the bookshelf in our cottage. On the same day that I finished reading Eat, Pray, Love, I helped our oldest daughter, Mabel, sort through her drawings from preschool. The book is giving me strategies to help process some of the feelings I recognized as I looked through her depictions of everyday life, which has drastically changed for us since the pandemic.

Elizabeth Gilbert published her memoir in 2006. At the age of 34, she was a recently divorced woman who embarked on an adventure to examine three aspects of herself. In a sense, her goal was to “tidy up” her mental, spiritual, and relational self. I am also 34, and I am struggling to make sense of my own mental self.

Eat, Pray, Love

Quarantine & Loneliness

We have been quarantined in Pennsylvania since our third daughter, Margaret, was born. We purchased our cottage in Pennsylvania in October, intending to use the home on weekends and during school breaks. After three full months without any physical contact with family or friends, we allowed grandparents to begin visiting in June.

After months of loneliness, we were able to introduce our parents to Margaret, and enjoy adult conversations and babysitting help. We felt settled into our new normal at the cottage, and plan to spend the rest of the summer here.

Preschool Drawings

And then Mabel’s preschool drawings arrived. We were suddenly faced with a very vivid reminder of our life in NYC. The loneliness and deep feelings of sadness immediately resurfaced.

Mabel’s first day of canceled preschool was March 16th, which was the same day her youngest sister was born. Within 3 days we had been discharged from the hospital, visited the pediatrician, packed up our essentials, and traveled to Pennsylvania.

Mabel finished the rest of her preschool year remotely. She didn’t get to say goodbye to her classmates or teachers, experience an in-person “stepping up to Kindergarten” ceremony, or have any true sense of closure to her preschool experience. 

At the end of the school year, Mabel’s teachers collected all of her preschool drawings from the classroom and returned them to us. We sorted through the papers on the exact day that I read these lines from Eat, Pray, Love: “This is your chance. Show me everything that is causing you sorrow. Let me see all of it. Don’t hold anything back.”

As we looked through her preschool drawings one by one, the thoughts and memories raised their hands and stood up to identify themselves. I studied each one, every image depicting an experience that used to feel so normal, and now seems like a lifetime ago.

Each image brought up feelings of deep sadness for me. I tried to acknowledged the existence of my sadness, and truly feel the pain without trying to protect myself from it. I allowed myself to simply sit with my feelings.

“Walking Mabel”

preschool drawings

Walking outside was an everyday part of our life in NYC. I walked to my school every day. We walked to the park, playground, grocery store, library, post office, and bakery. The girls had the strong endurance of New Yorker legs and rarely complained about their legs being tired. Mabel was asked to draw a picture about how she gets to school, and drew this sweet depiction of Emily walking to her school each morning.

“House and Sun”

preschool drawings

This is the classic kid drawing of a house and a sun. Except Mabel’s home is a NYC apartment building, with 2 apartments on each floor. It’s the only home she’s ever known, until now.

“At the Park”

preschool drawings

In NYC, we used to walk to the playground every day. It was like our backyard. It was the place where the girls got their energy out, and formed their first friendships. I miss long afternoons at the playground. I miss seeing the girls playing with friends.

“Dancing at School”

preschool drawings

This photo captured Mabel dancing in her classroom, completely care free. She said, “I dance like a stream,” and drew a picture of a stream to match her dance moves. I don’t know when she will be able to be in a classroom again. She’s smiling, and looking straight into the camera. I know behind the camera is her teacher, smiling back.

“Sharing with Friends”

preschool drawings

Two of Mabel’s best friends permanently moved away from NYC last week. As we were looking through Mabel’s preschool drawings, we found many images of these two friends. I still don’t know what NYC will be like when we return, but I know it will be forever different because people who we love no longer live there. It’s hard to process the fact that those friends won’t be in NYC anymore when we finally return.

Sitting with Sorrow

In Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert allowed herself to sit with her sorrow. She took the time to heal, to reflect, and to sit with the complex feelings that had been causing her to feel broken. She is inspiring me to sit with my own feelings.

While in Italy, she learned the meaning of the word “attraversiamo.” The word literally means, “let’s cross over.” The book ends with her “crossing over” and allowing herself to love once again.

I’m learning that it’s okay to sit in the sorrow and allow time to pass before “crossing over”. I know that with time, I’ll be able to move from a place of sorrow when I look at Mabel’s preschool drawings, to a place of interest, appreciation, and even joy. But I’m not quite there yet. And that’s okay. 

More from thetidydad.com

Thanks for pinning!

July 6, 2020

Preschool Drawings

About me

Hi, my name is Tyler Moore. My wife and I live with our three young daughters in a 700- square-foot apartment in New York City. I began my tidying journey when an early-30’s crisis invited me to reflect upon, challenge, and change my patterns of daily living. I quit my job as a school administrator, returned to teaching, and started Tidy Dad to help others tidy, simplify, and find joy in their lives. I firmly believe the tidying process can transform your life. I’d love for you to join me in exploring ways that tidying can make room for what’s important in life. 


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