Perhaps her name sounds familiar as co-author of the Diet Survivors Handbook, 60 Lessons in Eating, Acceptance and Self-Care. Or maybe you know her laugh-out-loud, Syd Arthur, a great novel about how women find identity. She’s acclaimed author and speaker, Ellen Frankel, and she will be headlining a two-day women’s lecture at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Washington Crossing on November 1 and 2. The program is entitled Navigating The Journey: Women and Spirituality in the Material World. Registration for the conference is open now.
So how does an acclaimed author and an expert in the field of eating disorders come to present a conference on women’s spirituality. The answer is in Ellen’s own journey. “At certain points, the quest to understand life more deeply and to see our place in the universe more clearly becomes front and center in our lives,” she says. “We yearn to know that we are part of something greater than ourselves, and strive to find meaning in our daily existence.”
Ellen’s quest to find meaning has had its challenges. The 4-foot, 81⁄2-inch tall dynamo has struggled with the simultaneous messages that her physical body should be bigger while her spiritual body should be smaller. It was through a spiritual pilgrimage to Nepal, where she climbed 15,000 feet up Mount Everest, that Ellen discovered her own strength and spirit. She will explore that journey, and many others, during Friday evening’s presentation.
On Saturday, Ellen, who embraces Buddhism and many Eastern paths in addition to Judaism, turns her focus to a woman’s quest for the spiritual in a world of material values. She will again draw from her own experiences and insights, while challenging us to consider a number of questions: How do we avoid getting caught in the spiritual trappings, and mistaking that for spirituality itself? How can we cultivate our spiritual selves?
Ellen explored these questions in her semi- autobiographical novel, Syd Arthur. The novel’s heroine, Syd, newly an empty-nester, finds that life is bland until she embarks on her own journey as a spiritual seeker. As Syd embarks on a quest to fill herself spiritually, she discovers important les-sons, whether it is about the unnecessary consumer- driven nature of some spiritual practices (Syd’s meditation room costs a small fortune) to the enduring spirit of connections, including family relationships and friends. “Syd discovers a richness that rivals a Godiva truffle, making for one delicious enlightenment,” Ellen says. Ellen lightens the heavy questions she asks with her own blend of humor. Afternoon breakout sessions allow everyone to explore these questions in a very personal way.
Registration is open now.
Navigating the Journey: Women and Spirituality in the Material World
November 1 and 2, 2013
Unitarian Universalist Church at Washington Crossing
268 Washington Crossing-Pennington Road, Titusville, NJ 08560
For further information, or to register, click here.