Eat, Pray, Love

April 23, 2011 § 4 Comments

Its time for another book review. I’ve quoted the book Eat, Pray, Love and the author, Elizabeth Gilbert, numerous times on here. Gilbert’s book “Committed” is next on my reading list (or close to next). And, as I work on my novel, I look to Gilbert’s life and writing style for inspiration.

After her marriage falls apart and a tumultuous relationship after her marriage ended, Gilbert took a year for self-discovery. I want to take a year like this. The first four months in Italy learning the beauty of doing nothing and and exploring the magical world of carbo-loading.

My take away from this part? We, Americans, do often get so caught up in the hustle of everyday life and the rat race that we forget to sit and be. This is necessary for joy. For us knowing what we’re feeling. When we shove our feelings aside by focusing on everything around us, we don’t ever really deal. We also get so caught up in life that we forget the beauty of sharing a good meal and a bottle of wine. And we don’t have to go all the way to Italy to get this. We can force ourselves to turn off the tv and constant bombardment of noise and just be. Just for a little while. Sunday Family Dinners have become the perfect way for me to enjoy good food (if I do say so myself), drink wine, and savor my friendships.

The next four months, Gilbert goes to India to live at an ashram and delve into the lifestyle of a true yogi. Its here that she really mourns the loss of her marriage and who she thought she was. She meets people who help guide her, and who, frankly, I find even more inspiring. I loved learning about the various pasts and histories of the people she met at the ashram and learning through the wisdom they bestowed on Gilbert.

Take away: Gilbert is taught that “God dwells within you, as you.” I think this is true in so many ways. The best parts of us, are God in us. I even once read a book that pointed out that the way a woman wants people to do things for them without asking, that’s God’s personality too. The way women often want quality time and conversation, God wants that too. And that whole thing about hell having no fury like a woman scorned? Just read the Old Testament. But we often don’t realize the ways that we can get in touch with God through our own personalities and feelings. Remember that whole thing about being created in His image? Its worth some contemplation.

Then Gilbert spends her last months in Indonesia with a medicine man. Here, she falls in love again. I love the man she falls in love with for his infinite wisdom; He tells her that a broken heart is a good thing because it means she tried for something. This was the culmination of her year of traveling and learning; the experiences she had prepared her to be open to love again, but in a way that she didn’t completely lose herself, rather she was made better by the man she met.

All in all, it was a good story of self-discovery. Although I find it sad that we often have to go to such lengths to figure ourselves out because we’re so out of tune with who we are on a day to day basis. I feel like Gilbert, and the people she meets, share wisdom that I can apply to my life and I appreciate the book for that.

But, I did have a hard time with Gilbert, simply because I felt like she often became bogged down for problems she created for herself; although, I was in a severely unsympathetic mood for the months before I read this, so maybe I’m not the best person to ask. So for a lot of the book I wanted to call her up, go “really?! REALLY!? I promise life can get a hell of a lot worse and if we could all have the year of funded excitement to heal, it’d be a completely different world.” (**Note: I didn’t call her, just in case you were wondering.)

She often says this herself though. She catches herself whining. Kind of apologizes. But then it seems like she goes right back to whining even though she’s trying to fight it. Ok….I do that too sometimes, so I can’t get to angry.

And really, wouldn’t we all learn a lot if we went and spent a year living abroad? I do, however, commend the bravery it takes to committing to live in a foreign country, entirely alone, for months; no guarantee you’ll meet people or that it will be comfortable. It is something I would love to do.

Anyone want to furnish that? I’ll write all about it. Hey…it was worth asking. : )

Sidenote: I hated the movie. I love Julia Roberts and I realize I included pics from the movie, but there was just too much to glean from reading the book that simply couldn’t have been conveyed in movie form. While I appreciated experiencing someone else’s vision of the book and putting more real images to my imaginary ones, the book was much better. But isn’t that always the case?

Some of my favorite quotes from the book:

“God is an experience of supreme love.”

“God dwells within you, as you.”

“Destiny, I feel, is also a relationship – a play between divine grace and willful self-effort.”

“Someday you’re gonna look back on this moment of your life as such a sweet time of grieving. You’ll see that you were in mourning and your heart was broken, but your life was changing…”

“I was full of a hot, powerful sadness and would have loved to burst into the comfort of tears, but tried hard not to, remembering something my Guru once said — that you should never give yourself a chance to fall apart because, when you do, it becomes a tendency and it happens over and over again. You must practice staying strong, instead.”

“The more exquisitely and delightfully you can do nothing, the higher your life’s achievement.”

“Om Namah Shivaya, meaning,
I honor the divinity that resides within me.”

“Do not apologize for crying. Without this emotion, we are only robots.”

“[My guru] says that people universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you are fortunate enough. But that’s not how happiness works. 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. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it…”

“You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestation of your own blessings.”

“Faith is walking face-first and full-speed into the dark. If we truly knew all the answers in advance as to the meaning of life and the nature of God and the destiny of our souls, our belief would not be a leap of faith and it would not be a courageous act of humanity; it would just be… a prudent insurance policy.”

“Prayer is a relationship; half the job is mine. If I want transformation, but can’t even be bothered to articulate what, exactly, I’m aiming for, how will it ever occur? Half the benefit of prayer is in the asking itself, in the offering of a clearly posed and well-considered intention. If you don’t have this, all your pleas and desires are boneless, floppy, inert; they swirl at your feet in a cold fog and never lift.”

“Look for God. Look for God like a man with his head on fire looks for water.”

“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.”

“This is a good sign, having a broken heart. It means we have tried for something. ”

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§ 4 Responses to Eat, Pray, Love

  • fr says:

    I haven’t read the book yet, but I will perhaps in my journey to new orleans. The title is catchy: eat, pray, love though I still prefer: fast, pray, give. Call me old fashion or just traditionalist.

    Does one really need to escape in order to discover self? Perhaps if we gave ourself silence each day discover would be real. For the one who travels abroad may change landscape but the sky above remains the same…

    • kelsib13 says:

      I agree. I think that’s part of what frustrated me so much. I feel like she should’ve been able to have more self-awareness before she left. But, through the book, she learns to meditate and how necessary that is for her to sit and be everyday and how important it is to pray. So, I feel like those are the two most important things she learned and something that she didn’t have to go anywhere to figure out.

      I like “Fast, Pray, Give: A Priest’s Reflection of the Lenten Season” Get to writing! : )

  • I love love love this book! It’s easily one of my top 5 favorites (it’s hard to choose 1). I love her casual/sarcastic yet brutally honest style of writing. I agree with your comment about sometimes being confused as to what her real problems really were (there is def worse) and she did create them herself. But I guess it’s a reality and true category of problems people deal with, the ones they unknowingly create for themselves.I also read Committed and it was okay, doesn’t compare to this one. It would get kind of boring at times, but it’s still decent, definitely makes you reevaluate marriage and how you want to approach it.

    • kelsib13 says:

      Yeah, I think it is also true that there are a lot of things that people don’t talk about before they get married and they should. And then dealing with that later is difficult.
      Committed is on my summer book list! But, it’ll be hard to beat this one. I agree, it is one of my faves!

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