“Enlightened”: It’s 11/11/11, and I’m coming out

I may not have had an affair with my boss that blew up in my face, resulting in my being demoted and a very public meltdown, but I definitely can relate to Amy Jellicoe.

Amy (played by likable Laura Dern) is the heart of “Enlightened,” a thoughtful (and sometimes humorous) new HBO show which airs at 9:30 p.m. Mondays. (Media sources have dubbed it the “best show nobody’s watching,” and they say some very nice things about it.) Me, on the other hand – after catching up with the first three episodes On Demand – I’ve made it required viewing… at 9:30 p.m. Mondays. (Not sure how Nielsen-obsessed HBO is, but it can’t hurt, right?)

And in the spirit of “Enlightened” – it is 11/11/11, after all – I’ve chosen to come out as someone on a similar path of spiritual awareness and awakening.

Like Amy, I choose to focus my energy and attention on positive things that make me happy. And believe me, “Enlightened” is not exaggerating how much of a struggle that can sometimes be. It is a constant work in progress – or a downright battle, leastwise when I get behind the wheel. Seriously, I might have to start chanting and/or praying. Help me out, fellow Jersey drivers, will ya?

Could Amy's (Laura Dern) facial expression and body language be any more different from Levi's (Luke Wilson)?/Photos by HBO

Day-to-day dealings with people can be just as challenging. Particularly if that person(s) is in a negative frame of mind. Remaining positive and not letting that permeate and negatively affect my mood can be downright difficult. So I definitely feel for Amy when her mother (Diane Ladd) doesn’t understand why Amy would pray for her, much less thank her for doing it; when her ex-husband Levi (Luke Wilson) doesn’t appreciate the beauty of nature because he’s too busy thinking about where his next high is coming from; and when her boss and co-workers (save for one, played by “Enlightened” creator Mike White) don’t comprehend why the plight of an illegal alien mother being threatened with deportation is so important.

Case in point: I originally wrote the above sentence as “when her mother can’t“; “when her ex-husband can’t” and “when her boss and co-workers can’t.” It’s not really that they can’t, because nothing is physically preventing them from doing these things. It’s simply that they’ve chosen (consciously or unconsciously) not to. You know, free will and all that.

You may feel as if you're walking on this path alone, but you're really not. I'm there, too.

Which, of course, is not to say that you will necessarily be happy if you choose to be happy. But by making a conscious choice to do so means that you acknowledge happiness and accept the possibility of being happy. And I  believe acknowledging and being aware of things is what enlightened really is all about.

My path of enlightenment began with a series of traumatic events (including, but not limited to): the deaths of my father and my cat, my mother’s serious illness, the end of romantic relationships, and the termination of my career. Loss, loss, and more loss, all within five years. It was a lot to bear. How did I – and do I – continue to deal?

      • I take a yoga class once a week at Onsen For All in Kingston, NJ. I find it both challenging, relaxing and refreshing, as it requires that I focus on the poses instead of my ever-rambling thoughts. Is it merely a coincidence that I drive by the largest and tallest Buddha statue in the United States on the way there? I think not. (Yes, folks, the Garden State does indeed have it all.)
      • I read a lot of books on a variety of subjects, including developing intuition, past-life regression, and communicating with spirits. I highly recommend Shakti Gawain’s entire series of books, but most especially “Living in the Light” and “Creative Visualization.”  I also enjoy reading Brian T. Weiss, John Edward, James Van Praagh, and Dick Sutphen.
      • I meditate every morning. As of today, 11/11/11, I’ve meditated a total of 147 days, or 17 hours and 29 minutes. I use an app on my phone called Insight Timer, which keeps track of my daily meditations.
      • I surround myself with like-minded people. Since June of 2010, I’ve attended spiritual, psychic, and mediumistic development classes at The Lippincott Center for Well-Being in Somerville, NJ. Through instruction by the center’s director, Trish Woods, and other guest teachers, I study and practice psychic and mediumistic readings. Trish’s classes have taught me the importance of meditation and the power of prayer (neither of which, until now, I had ever done). I have also learned to listen to my inner voice, talk with spirit, and trust my instincts.
      • I make a list every night of five things I’m grateful for that day. I keep track of them via Happy Rambles. I admit it, some days I struggle to think of five. But I do it, even if I can only think of the sun coming out or not getting stuck behind that slow driver. It’s all part of being A-W-A-R-E.

"Enlightened" stars (and creator) Mike White and Laura Dern.

As my yoga instructor, Brian, says at the end of each class:

May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you be at ease.

And really, isn’t that all any of us want?


  1. Anonymous said,

    November 5, 2013 at 12:55 am

    Nice article – youre a good writer Ava

  2. avagacser said,

    December 18, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    Thanks, Greg! If you haven’t checked out “Enlightened,” please do!

  3. Greg D said,

    December 18, 2011 at 8:58 am

    Ava, I found you blog on Insight Connect and I’m so glad I did. I look forward to your future writing. Namaste

  4. November 22, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    […] I know I wrote about “Enlightened” recently, but I just have to talk about last night’s episode […]

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