When a person scales up a peak or dives from a great height, it is recognized, applauded and awarded for its gallantry. But when a person takes time off to break free from their own destructive tendencies, it is neither recognized, nor applauded or awarded; but perhaps that is the most laudable act of gallantry. Because all feats are first won on the inside before it is visible on the outside. Eat, Pray & Love is one such account of the author, Elizabeth Gilbert‘s self-healing journey.
The Story & Philosophy
Elizabeth had a seemingly perfect life in New York, before it started to make her feel unbearably unhappy and suffocating. To escape that she makes a bold decision, and decides to leave the country and travel for one year, dividing her time equally between Italy, India and Indonesia. With a slight financial glitch, she sets off for her year long journey.
Do you smell that? Yes me too! It is privilege! It is an act of privilege to travel for a year without needing to work. But who are we to judge someone else’s life? More importantly, since Contemporology is about learning, we will only focus on Elizabeth’s learnings from her one year travelling experience. And who said that a privileged person cannot have anything valuable to say or do?
The author, unapologetically documented how learning to enjoy food and the sound of Italian in Italy; and learning to surrender to the present in India, instead of trying to control it, gave her happiness; and all this whilst abstaining from another romantic relationship and sex for almost a year. In Elizabeth’s words –
The expansion of one person and the magnification of one’s life is indeed an act of worth in this world. Even if that life happens to be nobody’s but my own.Elizabeth Gilbert
What she did is very simple, but not at all easy. Because one can achieve so called great things in life with their physical and mental prowess, but what most people cannot do is sit with themselves alone. Because when you are alone with yourself your brain gets scared and spills out your deepest fears and at that time the task at hand is to deal with them yourself. That endeavour ain’t for the faint hearted. On a fundamental level, what Elizabeth did, is very inspiring.
It must also be noted that, to be able to sit with yourself, you have to start knowing yourself, like yourself, forgive yourself and enjoy your own company. Often we get busy with life and forget to acknowledge ourselves and thence seek to fill that gap from external sources, while all the love and strength for ourselves lies within us.
The premise of her whole journey is based on two principles. First, emotional self-reliance; second similarities attract. To best describe these two principles, here are two quotes from Eat Pray Love; emotional self-reliance –
Be lonely…learn your way around loneliness. Make a map of it. Sit with it, for once in your life…but never again use another person’s body or emotions as a scratching post for your own unfulfilled yearnings.
Beauty attracts beauty
Simply put, the point of her whole journey is to surrender to life and appreciate it as it is, even the problems, by being kind to yourself and gradually building your resilience, because by being <state of mind> you will only attract people and things with the same <state of mind>. It is such a simple and beautiful idea; easier said than done.
“Reading” this book was fun, because it was Elizabeth Gilbert herself read it out to me during my leisurely walks, haha! Yes, I purchased the audiobook with the author’s own voice. Although from my perspective, listening to an audio book is not as immersive an experience as reading is, yet I throughly enjoyed this one. Because the author and narrator are one and the same person, which means her literature and the sound of her voice, both are coming from a place of truth. Her gentle honest voice is bound to hypnotize you.
In four words, “DO NOT WATCH IT”. The thing with performance art, specially movies, is that whatever be the subject or narration style, it will only be enjoyable as long as it is simple and consistent. This adaptation is a mere imitation; it pretentious and so similar yet fundamentally different from the book, that I could not bear to watch it after an hour into it.
The sum up
Eat Pray Love, is a very uplifting piece of work. It is candid, amusing and can transport you through Elizabeth’s entire journey leaving feeling encouraged. It has the power to inspired you to start your own self-healing journey. It doesn’t mean you need to travel and eat, pray and love in same sequence. You can customize your own journey as per your own needs. You can do it at your own place and pace.
When you set out in the world to help yourself, you inevitably end up helping…everyone.Elizabeth Gilbert
I hope you enjoyed reading Contemporology’s latest post about Eat Pray Love. Please share this post with someone you think will enjoy it. Until the next post, happy learning! ❤
See you soon! À bientôt!
2 Replies to “When feeling lost and defeated – Eat Pray Love”
Though unconventional, but sounds interesting, I think we must once in lifetime set on this kind of journey, to help introspect ourselves. Thanks Dear Aditi. Welll penned.
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Thanks Shraddha! Pandemic makes it the prefect time for introspection!