They say that there’s a time and season for every thing.
Senior year of high school was not the right time or season for reading Eat, Pray, Love. At least not in my life.
It was an enormous struggle for me to move through the beaded chapters of the book. I just couldn’t connect to the author, to her struggles, her emotions—any of it.
I gave up on finishing the book before Liz even got to Bali. And if I’m totally honest with myself, I’m pretty sure that I had mentally checked out before she even got to India, actually.
And for someone like me, who absolutely adores reading—the getting lost in a whole other world, learning about myself through the author’s adventures—it was just so very weird and unusual.
But flash forward 2 years—through 2 years of college, 2 years of memories, experiences and adventures.
I’d like to think that over the course of the 2 years, that I’m in a different place in my life. That I’ve grown and changed and progressed along my journey, the journey along which I find myself—a journey that will undoubtedly last my entire lifetime.
And in this life progression that has occurred over the past 2 years, it seems that my life has brought me back to Eat, Pray, Love.
And this book was so very ready to have its time and season with me.
But how exactly did this all come about?
Because I most certainly did not wake up one morning with a grand revelation that my life would be better, richer, fuller, more beautiful even, if I simply re-read this book.
No, no I did not.
It was kind of two-part journey back to Eat, Pray, Love.
Because I’m a stubborn person and refuse to fail at something, I had placed the book back on my summer reading list. I was determined to get through it this time—and by gosh, I was going to learn something, too.
Then one morning, about 2 weeks after I had gotten home from college, I woke up, not feeling the best. So I rolled over and flipped my TV on and low and behold, Eat, Pray, Love was on. Now because of my absolute disdain for the book, I had never watched the movie—I was sure I was going to hate it, too. (Can we all see the general trend of stubbornness here?)
But because I already felt terrible, what more did I have to lose?
Turns out a soaking-pillow’s-worth of tears.
But there was also laughter. I smiled and laughed and happy-cried enough that I actually started to feel better.
So it just seemed like destiny when I finished the second book on my summer reading list and visited the bookshelf in search of the third when the first book that caught my eye was Eat, Pray, Love.
I might have been going a little bit out of my list’s order, but who was going to tell on me?
Best decision I ever made. Well…at least the best decision of the day.
And then, kind of like Liz dove into her relationship with David, I dove into a relationship with the book.
I fell hard and I fell fast.
I read about Liz’s adventures through Italy in a single night.
My heart swelled as she talked about the places that she visited, remembering my own trip and adventures there. The sights, the sounds. Mmmm…and the food she ate, I can still taste the pizza in Florence, the wine in Rome, as if it was yesterday.
One just becomes so enamored with the Italian lifestyle—living solely for pleasure, for happiness.
It’s a strange concept for me, a college-aged girl, who is so focused on merely getting to that all elusive “next step” in my life…whatever and wherever that may be. So now it means trying to find moments every day to just do nothing and to begin learning to live my life in the present, for the pleasure and the happiness that each day may bring to me.
“In desperate love, we always invent the characters of our partners, demanding they be what we need of them, and then feeling devastated when they refuse to perform the role we created in the first place.”
“I love you, I will never leave you, I will always take care of you.”
And then it was her trip to India—the first night I fell asleep reciting the Hamsa meditation chant. Let me tell you, I slept better that night then I had found myself sleeping in a long while.
As much as Italy had connected with my memories of Europe and learning to live for pleasure, India connected to a place deep inside of me.
It hit me in the soft spot, as some would say, hard and fast.
I felt Liz’s pain like I felt my own, I understood her control issues because they’re the same ones I have, everything about Liz…I just got it, I guess.
It was like I was Liz and this was my story about finding strength within me, about making peace with the past, about letting go.
About finding God within myself.
Just thinking about this part of the story makes me want to cry. It was so, so good.
And if you couldn’t already tell, now that you see all these quotes, it’s safe to say that this part of Liz’s journey was my favorite…
(Or maybe I just really liked Richard from Texas seeing as he said most of this ;)
“You have no idea how strong my love is.”
“People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that’s holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so that you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then they leave. And thank God for it.”
“So miss him. Send him some love and light every time you think about him, and then drop it.”
“See, now that’s your problem. You’re wishin’ too much, baby. You gotta stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone oughta be.”
“Life didn’t go your way for once. And nothing pisses off a control freak more than life not goin’ her way.”
And then there was Bali.
And for someone who is typically all romance, all the time, you would think that I would have loved Bali. Loved Liz falling in love again.
But I actually struggled with getting through this part of the book. Almost as much as I had in high school.
And maybe that’s saying something. Maybe I’ve got the eat and the pray down.
Maybe I’m just not ready for the love quite yet.
But I did it, I finished.
And I found two beautiful quotes that completely tied up everything that I learned from Liz Gilbert’s journey…
“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 must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. If you don’t, you will leak away your innate contentment.”
“It’s easy enough to pray when you’re in distress but continuing to pray even when your crisis has passed is like a sealing process, helping your soul hold tight to its good attainments.”
I read somewhere that when you read a book at the right age, the story will stick with you forever. You might not remember the characters or every plot detail, but you will remember the way the book made you feel, carrying what you learned with you in life.
I wasn’t the right age for Eat, Pray, Love when I tried reading it the first time.
But this…this was totally the right time and season in my life for Eat, Pray, Love.
I was the right age. I was in the right mindset. I had the right prior experiences.
I was ready for change.
Man am I glad I was too stubborn to let this book slip through the cracks…
Because Liz Gilbert, she gets me and I’m so glad that someone does.
And as she would say, I guess I knew all along that I was going to end up here.
Happy and okay.
Sometimes we just need a trip around the world, or even something as simple as a reading a memoir to make us realize that.
“And maybe it was this present and actualized me who was hovering four years ago over that young married sobbing girl on the bathroom floor, and maybe it was me who whispered lovingly into that desperate girl’s ear…Knowing already that everything would be OK, that everything would bring us together here. Right here, right to this moment. Where I was always waiting in peace and contentment, always waiting for her to arrive and join me.”