Eat, Pray, Love…..another Review

17 11 2012

So, I have just recently finished reading the book Eat, Pray Love by Liz Gilbert.  For the like fifth time.  The more and more I read it, the more and more I see common elements and sometimes, people that are already in my life.  It’s such a wonderful read.  You take the journey with Liz, a divorcee who consistently throws herself headfirst into relationships, only to lose her identity of self, once she’s fully immersed into someone else.  Liz takes a journey, to find pleasure, devotion and balance.  In Italy, she finds pleasure in friendship, wine and especially good food.  She learns the beauty of doing nothing, and observes relationships as they should be lived out, partnerships of support and devotion.  In India, she goes to an ashram, a seclusion space, to where she practices the ancient art of meditating, and through that spiritual practice, learns to let go of her past.  It is only when she is able to let go of her past that she finds out who she is.  Then she ends the journey in Bali, the third I.  Bali is in Indonesia.  It is at this place that she tries to learn to balance the two, and seeks the help of an old medicine man, Ketut, who teaches her to smile, even in her liver.  There, she meets the man that she will eventuallly choose to spend time with, and to love.  She did not intend on falling in love in Bali, it just happens, because after all, everyone has a love affair in Bali.  That is basically the story of Liz, as she presents it in Eat Pray Love.

So what? 

What does Liz Gilbert’s story have to say to all of us?  Why is it such a popular book?  Why am I even mentioning this work?

I think the reason Liz Gilbert’s story is so popular is because it reflects something that we all need to learn.  I think the reason I admire her so much is that she was able to realize she had a need that she couldn’t fill with another person, but that she had to displace herself to find herself, to get back in touch with the innate person of who she is inside.  I think the reason I adore her work is because I can understand the desperation, to get back what was lost due to the passage of time. 

For the past year or two, or maybe a million, I have spent my time living a life of just going through the motions.  School drove me on.  My relationships continued or they didn’t.  But inspiration, hunger and thirst for an exciting life was gone.  Passion, non-existent.  Just rational.  Just going through the motions, and pretending to be still engaged and excited and passionate about whatever it was that I was doing.  I graduated high school and college.  And I’m just living life. 

Recently, it seems like some really significant people in my life have experienced some shifts in their lives.  And those shifts in their lives have really called them to question some pretty significant things.  It seems like relationships are ending and it seems like lives are re-beginning all over again.  It’s crazy, to be on the sidelines, watching this all go on.  Because in a sense, I have finally got to a place where my life isn’t falling apart every three months.  I’m Christmas shopping already!  I wash my dishes.  I mop my floors.

It wasn’t so dramatic as leaving the world and love that I knew to go find myself.  But i think it was in washing dishes, making a life for myself, living life with friends, learning how to cook…the basics, in order to find growth and contentment in me, and who I am.  Maybe not everyone needs a life-changing moment to redefine their lives.  But maybe it’s the learning to live life that teaches you how to have a life that is full. 

Liz Gilbert’s story tells us that we must find that serenity and peace in who we are before we ever start to figure out how to live in harmony with others. 

Part of Liz’s journey involves God.  Well, all of it does.  As a westerner, we pride ourselves on being able to fully label what is God’s doing and what is not.  Like Liz, I am hesitant to label myself as a Christian, because that label carries many connotations that don’t really communicate what I am.  There’s more to me than just the fact that I believe in God, but I am open to God moving in more ways that just in the “Christian” label.  She goes to a place where Hinduism is the chosen religion, into an ashram led by a Guru who is decidedly not Christian.  And the thing I really love here is that she doesn’t try to label something as evil or as not from God just because it doesn’t fit the Western criteria.  I remember there was one time where I was trying to volunteer with some friends, and there was a group of people who renounced our efforts because we refused to put it under the “Christian” title.  They said that anything that’s not done in the Lord’s name is futile and worthless.  But so is pooping.  I’m sorry, I don’t poop in the Lord’s name, that’s just not called for.  😉 

I like the fact that she’s open to whatever the universe or God has to say to her and teach her, that she doesn’t put these restrictions and ideas of what she thinks God has to do or be in order to teach her.  My way of communicating with God and myself is through journaling.  It’s an important spiritual practice.  There was a very important person in my life that claimed that because the spiritual being that I was communicating with wasn’t telling me that certain things were bad….this person claimed that I was overtaken with a demon or an evil spirit, and I should quit journaling.  All because this person is not open to God moving in unusual and peculiar ways.  That hurt really badly.  Because I have realized, that at the very moment you define God, you have made God into something that God is not.  Think on that.

This book puts me into a reflective spirit, and I am very grateful for that.  I recommend it to anyone. 

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