Can true fulfillment come if a woman leaves her husband to hopscotch around the world tromping on pasta, dudes and eastern meditation? In a word: yes!
I read Eat Pray Love as soon as it came out WAY back in 2006 and like most women, I gobbled it up and devoured every page. I identified with Elizabeth Gilbert's journey and I found her story enlightening, brave and romantic.
I, too was (and still am) a thirty-something year old women, who had been divorced because I felt trapped in a going nowhere marriage and wanted to run off in search of myself and wondered if I could ever forgive and be open to love again someday. Gilbert shares her experiences so vividly and had me nodding along the whole entire way.
Whether her publisher paid her to travel to Italy, India and Indonesia and write about her journey or not, I still loved this book and gave several copies to friends as gifts because I knew they'd love it too.
I haven't a clue where my own copy of the book disappeared too, but thankfully I did write down some key passages that spoke right to my heart:
My heart skipped a beat and then flat-out tripped over itself and fell on its face. Then my heart stood up, brushed itself off, took a deep breath and announced: "l want a spiritual teacher." I literally mean that it was my heart who said this, speaking through my mouth. I felt this weird division in myself, and my mind stepped out of my body for a moment, spun around to face me heart in astonishment and silently asked, "You DO?"
...traveling is the great true love of my life. I have always felt, ever since I was sixteen years old and first went to Russia with my saved-up babysitting money, that to travel is worth and cost or sacrifice. I am loyal and constant in my love for travel, as I have not always been loyal and constant in my other loves. I feel about travel the way a happy new mother feels about her impossible colicky, restless newborn baby--I just don't care what it puts me through. Because I adore it. Because it's mine. Because it looks exactly like me. It can barf all over me if it wants to - I just don't care.
Bel far niente - the beauty of doing nothing. The more exquisitely and delightfully you can do nothing, the higher your life's achievement.
When I get lonely these days, I think: So be lonely, Liz. Learn your way around loneliness. Make a map of it. Sit with it, for once in your life. Welcome to the human experience. But never again use another person's body or emotions as a scratching post for your own unfulfilled yearnings.
The Bhagavad Gita--the ancient Indian Yogic text--says that it is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else's life with perfection.
I felt a glimmer of happiness when I started studying Italian, and when you sense a faint potentiality for happiness after such dark times you must grab onto the ankles of that happiness and not let go until it drags you face-first out of the dirt--this is not selfishness, but obligation. You were given life; it is your duty (and also your entitlement as a human being) to find something beautiful within life, no matter how slight.
Yoga is the effort to experience one's divinity personally and then to hold on to that experience forever. Yoga is about self-mastery and the dedicated effort to haul your attention away from your endless brooding over the past and your nonstop worrying about the future so that you can seek, instead, a place of eternal presence from which you may regard yourself and the true nature of the world (and yourself) to be revealed to you.
A true soul mate is probably the most important you'll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then they leave. And thank God for it....
Letting go, of course, is a scary enterprise for those of us who believe that the world revolves only because it has a handle on the top of it which we personally turn, and that if we were to drop this handle for even a moment, well--that would be the end of the universe.
Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings.
In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it's wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.
I was greatly anticipating the screen adaptation of Eat Pray Love and when I found out one of my favorite actresses was going to be the lead, I was even more excited.
I saw the movie over the weekend and it did not disappoint. Love her or hate her, Julia Roberts is larger than life and truly shines in the role of Elizabeth Gilbert, and spending a little time with Javier Bardem is always a nice treat too. The scenery is gorgeous, and if nothing else, maybe you'll leave the theater with daydreams of taking a fantastic voyage to a distance land.
I enjoy reading about people's self discoveries because it helps me with my own journey. I don't believe you have to go to around the world to find yourself, for most of us, it's not even a possibility. For real inner change to occur, I think you just need to be open to it. You have to learn to be still with yourself and be very patient. Transformation can happen at any time and any where.
You can meditate in the comfort of your own home, take a painting class, or learn a new language. Get lost in a good book, movie or bottle of wine. Talk, listen, write, feel, touch, taste and cry. Surround yourself with people and things that make you feel good about yourself and your place in this world. And never take any of this life for granted or too seriously.
I think we are all always transforming and growing into the person we wish to be.
The best is yet to be.