Friday, February 20, 2009

Eat, Pray, Love

I just finished reading Elizabeth Gilbert's book "Eat, Pray, Love: One woman's search for everything across Italy, India, and Indonesia" and am still trying to digest and dicerne my own beliefs within all the philosophical concepts and idiomisms she presented within its pages....So bare with me as I try to tell you all a little about why I loved the book and why it means as much to me as it does.


Eat, Pray, Love is a autobiographical account of the authors spiritual journey during her year long trip through Italy (eat), India (pray) and Indonesia (love) and how within each stage of her trip she explored herself, her struggles, her relationship with God and the universe as a whole. Before you get all freaked out or turned off by the pseudo-intellectual mumbo jumbo let me tell you that this book is written as if the author is speaking directly to you, casually, intimately- as if you were two woman snuggled up on opposite ends of a deep and comfy sofa, sipping tea and sharing your life's stories (except for the conversation is a little one sided). Liz (the author) also just happens to have a highly entertaining way of describing emotional struggles and always offers up a little comic relief..... just when you are starting to feel a little bogged down by the weight of the issues, she zaps you with a dose of good humor that suppressed that squirmy feeling that tells you this is getting a little too.... white robed zombies, give-me-the-contents-of-your-bank-account-and-I-will-introduce-you-to-God"....for my taste at least....in other words.... I laughed out loud many times during the book


One of my favorite parts of the book occurs within the first few chapters... all you need to know is that Liz is going through an emotional and spiritual melt down, set on a dizmel spiral of depression and self loathing, when she walks into her friends apartment and sees there on his dresser a picture of a "radiantly beautiful Indian woman" and asked.....


"...."Who's that?"
He said, "that is my spiritual teacher."
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: "I 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 my heart in astonishment and silently asked, "You DO?"
"Yes," replied my heart. "I do."
Then my mind asked my heart, a tad sarcastically: "Since WHEN?"...."


I dont know about you, but I've had conversations like this with myself.... as crazy as that might sound!


I love this book because it is well written, funny, deep, intellectual, spiritual, personal and totally unpretentious... and because it came to me at a time in my life when I most needed it.


You don't need to believe in her spiritual practices in order to enjoy her story or to allow it to strengthen or question the way you view faith, worship, and your relationship with God (no matter how you choose to define him/her/it/them) Eat, Pray, Love also examines the way that we as "Westerners" view the pleasures of life (like food, sex, love, fashion etc.) verses how and why Europeans embrace a lifestyle much different than our own....

Most importantly Liz details her search to define worship, the pleasures and pressures of life and how best to find the balance between the two.

11 comments:

  1. Ok, I read your post. I wasn't going to comment but it keeps pestering me. I love books. I love to talk about books. I also love to give IMHO. I read this book a few years ago. I didn't like it. Dont get me wrong. I think that she is a good writter, I laughed in a few places but...... I thought that she was spoiled. I almost think that when people have too much they get unhappy. She had plenty of money to do so. Enough to run off and live overseas for a year. Also I have been told that I'm very "grounded" (what ever that means!) so I dont understand why she had all that inner self searching going on. I don't get it. Get a job, pay your bills,be nice to people and animals and be happy.

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  2. I have wanted to read that book for a very long time and after reading your post I think I will give it a try. But I have to say that Aunt Krissy's comments were hilarious - I am kinda the same so there is a chance I won't like it - but I will give it a try anyway. I can excuse a weak plot if there is good writing involved.

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  3. Sounds like a thought-provoking book - and like Aunt Krissy above, I get impatient with people who have the money to go on the self-quest. DH is reading a book by a man who took a year long motorcycle trip and he keeps griping, "How can he AFFORD THIS??" But some quest is important.

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  4. Teeheehee...I just read Aunt Krissy's and Stephanie's comments, and I must add a tidbit of my own...

    You know the book "The Secret?" Well everyone (okay not everyone, but most people) who read it just fell absolutely in love with it, and acted like it was the best thing since sliced bread.

    I of course had to check it out, and I was like "This is it??? This is what all of the fuss is about??"
    I think it is because I am a fairly well grounded person, who already thought the way The Secret says we should. Don't get me wrong...it is a good book, but it was nothing new to me. I also realize that I felt/feel this way about it because I had already been "there" in my life, so obviously someone who hadn't/hasn't, will think it amazing. :)

    So....I do plan to read Eat, Pray and Love when I have time, because I have heard that it is wonderful. Will I get anything from it? Who knows, but YOU did and that is what is important, right???
    :)

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  5. I think everyone should have a book that just speaks to them.

    I'll be danged if I can remember the name of the "revelations" book I fell in love with and read and reread and then made Chris read. I still have it, but it's at the ranch...and I just can't quite spit out the title.

    It's about a very average New Jersey girl who ends up a stripper, goes to California to work in a higher class strip joint and then on the road as a feature. Along the way, she meets a Wyoming cowboy, who is a biker at heart(cowboys and bikers are sooo similar) and they fall in love. The trials and struggles she deals with to work in a strip club environment, yet maintain moral integrity, not become jaded and keep a relationship together is very honest. She doesn't try to glamorize being a stripper and is quite frank about the financial reason she got into it and then kept going back. Also the impact it has on her relationships with her lover and her family.

    Anyway, I found it poinant because it resembled how a lot of people start out in the horse world and it really can be a struggle to keep from becoming jaded and just falling into the same rut as a lot of less scrupulous people and the toll it can take on relationships.

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  6. I can’t wait to read the book Eat, Pray, Love my sister also read the book and found it very insightful. For me now that I am close to, almost, maybe slightly past 50 (but feel like 29 on a good day)I really am interested in different ways about how to think about life. Energies, positive thinking, having people in my life I really enjoy. I’m at the age where I am my own boss I question things more, want to spend more time with my family. My life has slowed down it’s given me more time to think. I truly believe that happiness comes from within. I like the idea of taking more control of my life and my mind. Maybe one day I will be able to visit these places I think it just depends where you are in your life.

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  7. I was going to ignore Aunt Krissy's post but I finally got to the point that I "just" had to respond.

    Elizabeth Gilbert grew up on a tree farm, no tv, no radio and her and her sister entertained themselves by writing short stories and plays. She ended up being able to survive in life by writing about the jobs that she took.

    She has a BA in Political Science so she certainly isn't just living by the seat of her pants and luck. She has "earned" her money and lost it and earned it again along with the "right" to take a year and travel and once again write about it and share in her findings. It is an incredible gift to be able to take your readers on a journey that you have experienced and be able to share with them all that you have learned. Good on her!

    I too am a very grounded person. But perhaps when we don't allow ourselves the opportunity to learn by others and open ourselves up to new revelations. Or we begin to think of ourselves as being to self reflective to allow another's view then we should look again at how we are living our lives. Or perhaps how we may have become intolerant of other people and the struggles that they have to deal with. Money or no money. Money only helps pay the bills it doesn't even come close to answering life's problems.

    So I apologize for the rant but as I read this book I find myself thinking about other ways of viewing things and looking into the depth of the character that she actually is and how she approaches lif from a different view then I may have. I am enjoying it immensely and if you get anything from it or not would depend on what you were willing to take from it.

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  8. Hi, I am a new fan of your blog. Hope you can join my free horse lovers club RiderMate.com. It is very active now.

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  9. Thank you anonymous, I have read this book and very much enjoyed it. It is funny how people think that if you have money you should be happy, happiness comes from within, not from a persons bank account. Her journey for finding what she did not have was entertaining and heart felt. I think that if people followed their heart more of what they really wanted out of life then a lot more people out there would be A LOT happier!

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  10. Thank you anonymous, I have read this book and very much enjoyed it. It is funny how people think that if you have money you should be happy, happiness comes from within, not from a persons bank account. Her journey for finding what she did not have was entertaining and heart felt. I think that if people followed their heart more of what they really wanted out of life then a lot more people out there would be A LOT happier!

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  11. I loved this book, but at the same time I thought "how indulgent."

    With two kids, dogs, a cat, mice, a hamster, a lizard, a husband and a horse, a mortgage and all the usual I can't imagine disappearing like she did.

    But it would be fantastic to spend that much focused time exploring your spiritual life.

    I can barely get an hour to ride.

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