“You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That’s the only thing you should be trying to control.” – Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat Pray Love
In the journey of life, what all must one do to lead a balanced life? We live in a generation where we care for materialistic happiness more than the happiness that comes from within. Rather than focusing on what we want to do, we focus on how it would appear for others. And somewhere from keeping up to the expectations of others, we loose ourselves in the process. Even after having everything in life, at the end of the day you are unable to go to bed happy.
On January 1, 2007, all of us encountered with a nonfiction book by Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat Pray Love. The book describes the journey of a successful woman, whose life turned upside down. therefore she fell into depression. The book recalls her travel memoirs of her journey to self-discovery. How she left the materialistic world and went on a path to attain peace of mind, body and soul.
About the Author
“You are, after all, what you think. Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions.” – Elizabeth Gilbert
How could a life of a modern woman, who believes in the power of dreaming and possess the power to make them true, go south? Elizabeth Gilbert was born on July 18, 1969, in Waterbury, Connecticut. Before becoming an author, she worked several jobs after graduating. From working as a bartender to serving people dinner as a waitress. All of this, just to store experiences for her writing. After that she began working in the New York Times, where in the interview she said that Ernest Hemingway’s early lifestyle inspired her very much.
In 1993, her first short story, ‘Pilgrims’, published in a men’s magazine Esquire. After that, Her career as a journalist escalated pretty quickly and she began working for many magazines. Some other notable works of her comprises of, The Last American Man (2002), Pilgrims (1997) and Stern Men (2000). Then in 2006, she wrote a memoir of her travelling around the world overcoming her depression and divorce, Eat Pray Love. It marks her “spiritual and personal exploration”. The book instantly took off and sold over twelve million copies. The book also was translated into thirty different languages. Many women related to her writing and just four years later, the book got adapted into a movie starring Julia Roberts.
This nonfictional biographical drama of the author Elizabeth Gilbert marks her journey of self discovery and inner peace. Even after having everything, a house, a husband and successful career as a writer, Gilbert ends up lost. She divorces her husband. Now newly divorced and completely confused, she steps out of her comfort zone. She begins her journey around the world but that ends up becoming her pursuit for self discovery.
She divides her year into three parts, four months each. For the first four months she decides to indulge herself in bodily pleasure. Therefore, she chooses to visit Italy and take pleasure of all the food and drinks Italy has to offer her. She also befriends many people there from all over the world. She learns Italian and enjoys the best pizza ever!
“To lose balance sometimes for love is part of living a balanced life”. -Elizabeth Gilbert
After she spends her first four months in Italy, she arrives at her second destination- India. In all the time spent in Italy, she gained twenty three pounds, but she feels healthy and happy. In India, she reaches the ashram on a little outskirt of Mumbai. There she meditates and her daily chore becomes to scrub the temple floor for several hours each day. The ashram offers strict vegetarian food as it is easy to digest and helps with the meditation.
She meets Richard in the ashram who has come from Texas. They become very close friends. He sees her struggle with meditation and tells her to focus on the divine being and letting the energy flow freely, instead of forcing yourself to not to think. Gilbert’s initial days at the ashram becomes quite challenging. But later she tries to think about the happy things instead of obsessing over the past. Although she had decided to stay at the ashram for just few weeks but then she ends up staying there for all four months she was in India.
After she attains enlightenment in India, she proceeds to her next and last stop- Bali, Indonesia. There she learns about the traditional Balinese healing. She also develops a crush on Felipe. He has also been once wounded by love but he have not lost faith in it like Elizabeth. He helps her to regain trust on herself and fight her insecurities. Through-out their relationship, he was honest to her and wanted nothing but her permission to adore her for as long as she wants.
Elizabeth Gilbert- The protagonist of this memoir who sets off on this journey to discover herself. Suffering from depression and going through a hard divorce, he has become physically and emotionally broken. She leaves everything behind and sets out to seek inner peace and balance.
David- He does not appear in her memoir but he exists in her memories. After her hard divorce, she became very close to David. In the memoir, she has described David as a drug which she got addicted to post-divorce. Even though somewhere deep inside she still loves him, but at the same time she also knows that her love is not a healthy one.
Felipe- A grown-up man, who seems to be mature and emotionally stable. He takes care of Elizabeth during her time in Bali. He turns out to be a perfect lover as he helped restore her faith in herself one’s again.
Richard- A guy she become friends with while her visit to India. His cold exterior contrasts with his gold heart. He helped her during her stay at ashram advising her. He put up his opinion very strongly whether good or bad, and as Gilbert trusts him very much, it benefitted her very well.
Impact on the Audience
On a year-long journey, she seeks pleasure through food and language in Italy, peace through devotion in India, and balance in Indonesia, where she also finds love. The memoir, Eat Pray Love, gives hope to thousand men and women alike. It is one life and there are going to be ups and downs. All you need to do is find that balance. Instead on focusing on your past or obsessing over your future, you need to sit down for a minute and enjoy the present.
The story not only helped people suffering from depression or people who failed in love. But it gives you the deeper understanding of life. However, in order to inspire others, firstly you need to be inspired. Happy or sad, it’s all a part of life. But what actually matters the most? To maintain the balance. To maintain the inner peace. If you cannot be at peace with yourself, with your mind, body and soul, no matter how much materialistic things you have got, you will not feel content.
“Do not apologize for crying. Without this emotion, we are only robots.” – Elizabeth Gilbert
What worked for the protagonist in the story will not work exactly the same for you. You need to find your own path and do it your way. Find what puts you at peace and then work on it to achieve the balance in life. Discover your own Eat Pray Love, nurture it and protect it.