If you live in America, Italy, India, Indonesia, or just about any part of the world, you have probably heard of the memoir, Eat Pray Love, written by Elizabeth Gilbert. A #1 New York Times Bestseller and soon-to-be released movie starring Julia Roberts, there is a reason why this novel has been so exponentially successful. Perhaps it is Gilbert’s subtle wit and unabashed honesty or the divine miracles that occur throughout her journey that are too perfect to just be coincidence. Or maybe it’s her heavenly descriptions of Italian food, her pure encounters with God in India, or how she found love in picturesque Indonesia. I think it is all of these factors that make Eat Pray Love what it is; a true treasure.
Gilbert writes like she is talking to a friend. I think everyone can see a piece of themselves in her story. A craving for deeper spirituality, a fear of being alone (and thus needing a constant lover to fill that empty space), or simply a love for traveling and meeting new people. Gilbert’s story is especially poignant for my generation because she offers the wisdom that only experience can bring; which is something that young people can lack compared to a 35 year old author and world traveler like Gilbert. If we are willing to listen, I think we can learn so much from the miseries of her past and the happiness of her present life.
5 Things Eat Pray Love Taught Me:
1. Love someone for who they are, not for who you hope they will be. You will be crying at 3 am every night on your bathroom floor if you marry a fantasy rather than a reality.
2. Have balance in your life. Enjoy the pleasures of life- food, romance, and festivity. But also enjoy the peacefulness of life through prayer, meditation, and self discovery.
3. There is more to life than ambition. As young people, I think we feel the need to prove ourselves. But what about actually proving to ourselves that we are loved, lovable, and capable of loving others?
4. Make friends wherever you go. We can learn more about ourselves and this world when we connect with other individuals. Friendship is one of life’s greatest blessings.
5. Take the time to invest in spirituality. So often we are consumed by the to-do lists, calendars, and blackberrys that we don’t take the time to connect with ourselves. I want to really let myself feel and be open to all emotions so that I can begin to understand and grow in my spirituality.
Elizabeth meditating with the Medicine Man, Ketut Liyer, in Indonesia.
I leave you with one of my favorite quotes by Gilbert’s Guru:
“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel the world looking for it. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever…”