NAME: Eve Eliot
OCCUPATION[S]: writer, therapist, meditation teacher, yoga teacher in training.
FAVORITE SNACK: green olives and grapes.
SPIRITUAL CREDO: Don't try to change anything.
ON RELATIONSHIPS: "Imagine you are both terminal, and then reconsider your next thought, your next word, your next choice."
Words do little to express my affection for this pixie sage a.k.a. Eve Eliot. She's one of those rare diamonds, one completely self contained, and yet so infectiously open and alive, one can't help but be magnetically attracted to her realm. Her opinions are deeply insightful, her advice can only be described as brilliant. When she talks you listen.
Eve lives on the bay, in a cottage tucked away on a winding wandering road in Springs, Long Island with her husband, painter James DelGrosso. The interior of their cottage is adorned with James' vibrant photo realistic canvases, arranged artfully alongside Eve's carefully curated collections of curiosities. Virgin Mary statuettes arranged in ascending height stand sentinel along the bathroom counter. Over 100 vintage bride and groom figures greet visitors in the front hall. An explosion of tapered candles decorate the living room coffee table and hearth. It's clear there's a unifying theme running throughout, these collections represent more than mere fanciful gatherings. Upon questioning, Eve explains her preoccupation with these things as having to do with a deep fascination with the concept of devotion. How our culture uses these objects to iconify the profundity of this concept holds much to contemplate and revere.
At the moment Eve is working on a series of meditations with Emmy award winning recording and sound engineer Cynthia Daniels, the first of which is named 1st Aid Meditations for Troubled Times (stay tuned for sound bites from her forthcoming CD's). In addition to her writings for psychology trade magazines, Eve has written several books, including one entitled Attention Shoppers: the woman's guide to enlightenment through shopping. She explains that "shopping is crucial to healthy identity searching" that anything done with awareness and focus is the practice of yoga, of knowing oneself. "Why can't being in the mall be sacred ?" she asks indignantly. As usual, Eve's musings delve into life's juiciest corners with enough zeal, frankness, and intellectual voraciousness to keep us bowing low.
SR: So Eve, what's inspiring you lately?
EE: Yoga.... yoga.... and yoga
SR: And why, why yoga yoga yoga?
EE: Well... when you have the experience of yoga, which is the quieting of the fluctuations of the mind, you realize that every wisdom teaching you have striven to internalize, and every wisdom teaching you are buying self help books to learn about, is really in there anyway. You don't have to buy any of these books if you just get quiet enough. So it's the most direct, aesthetic, economic- in an aesthetic sense, way to find what we really all want anyway.
If you ask yourself "what do I really want?" And you answer, "I want to be a fashion photographer", or "I want to have financial security." And then you ask yourself why again - "well then I wouldn't have to worry about money"or "then I would feel fulfilled in my job." And then you ask yourself again- so what would that give me? ... If you keep asking the question, (and there's a hundred and twelve answers in between) the final one is always- because then I would have inner peace. Then I could feel calm and happy.
So why not just feel calm and happy in the next ten minutes instead of depending on the outside circumstances?
What I've discovered is that you can if you do yoga, any form of yoga. Any form of focused observation of the mind. It's about simplifying. We're always wanting to add things, but actually it's subtraction. We're always wanting to add things to our lifestyle, to our mind's agenda, to our table of contents. What we really need to do is to take things away and put just one thing there. One thing. And that's why yoga works for me, physical yoga, because it focuses and quiets the mind... and that's really the most inspiring helpful thing that I can recommend to anyone.