Eat Pray Love (or how I stopped judging Liz Gilbert and myself).

After trying unsuccessfully to read Eat, Pray, Love five or six times, I finally downloaded it from audible and listened to it.  And oh, let me tell you what a difference it made to have Elizabeth Gilbert READ the book.  I don’t know why, but hearing her describe her pain, her suffering, and her absolute need to find a way to make her self whole felt more like having a close friend (my pal Liz) tell me her troubles than what I once viewed as an escapist, self-indulgent woman who was lucky enough to check out of her life when she needed a break.

Eat, Pray, Love

I loved her Indian adventures, because it speaks most closely to where I am right now, but each adventure, set in 108 separate tales (like the beads on a japa mala, which is, for the unfamiliar, a rosary for hindu meditation), had me rapt.

One goodreads friend says:

How do you review this book? It’s not just a memoir–it’s a way of life. It’s a way of seeing things, of relating to the universe. And because the author is fearlessly transparent, she’s bound to tick some readers off.

“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.”

Really? We’re entitled to seek out the beautiful in life? Whatever happened to bloom where you were planted? Whatever happened to working hard to make something beautiful out of what you’ve been given?

But I digress. You’re either going to find this writer selfish and whiny, or you’re going to let go of your judgement and enjoy the ride. Her ride. Because it is her journey. And who am I to speak to someone else’s journey?

I’m very glad that I read Eat Pray Love. I thought the author was funny, brave, intelligent and relentless on her trek around the world, seeking out the fun and the interesting. I found it difficult to criticize her for being honest about her feelings, because I believe if we truly write about what we know, we are forced to write about ourselves.

I couldn’t agree more.  It’s her brave honesty and the understanding that, for her, it was this or total and complete suicidal breakdown that makes the journey the most compelling.  But it is also this sense that we each ARE entitled to look for joy, peace, balance, love, and devotion in our lives.  Hearing her story, I discovered that my judgments of Liz were judgments of myself.

So no, I don’t think spending 2 hours a day practicing yoga, and another hour reading and writing about yoga, self-indulgent.  I find it’s my basic human right to feel strong, healthy, sane, and brave.  Thanks, Liz.

PS:  The book is 50,000 times better than the movie.

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