I'm pretty exhausted, so this one may be shorter than I mean it to. We'll see.
Today's review (and number 8 on my 25 before 26 list!) is of "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert. And since it's Monday - I'm including some of my favorite road trip songs - to keep in the theme of trips!
From the author's WEBSITE: "This beautifully written, heartfelt memoir touched a nerve among both readers and reviewers. Elizabeth Gilbert tells how she made the difficult choice to leave behind all the trappings of modern American success (marriage, house in the country, career) and find, instead, what she truly wanted from life. Setting out for a year to study three different aspects of her nature amid three different cultures, Gilbert explored the art of pleasure in Italy and the art of devotion in India, and then a balance between the two on the Indonesian island of Bali. By turns rapturous and rueful, this wise and funny author (whom Booklist calls “Anne Lamott’s hip, yoga- practicing, footloose younger sister”) is poised to garner yet more adoring fans."
You know, I wanted to totally hate this book. It's been yielded and gushed about for so many years, and I wanted to dislike it out of protest..because I'm a brat like that. But I didn't hate it. I skipped over a few parts about her views on God and heaven, etc, because they didn't line up with what I believe - which is to say, she can believe whatever she wants..I just don't want it in my head and in my heart. That may be my only complaint, BUT - I also think her views say a lot about her heart. What she's searching for, what she learned, who she points to - it's all there, it's just..a little off.
Gilbert, after years in New York, with the perfect life and perfect job and perfect man, finds herself on the bathroom floor crying. And crying out. She didn't want to be where she was anymore. I think we've all been in that situation once or twice. She decides to take a trip to three different places: Italy (for pleasure aka EAT), India (for devotion aka PRAY) and Bali (for balance..which ultimately ends up being LOVE). She explores each country for three or four months, and learns a multitude in each place. Making a complete transformation between the dark, dark lows (of divorce, stress, anger, etc) to the light, light highs (love, pleasure, security, life).
Essentially it's her journey to find God. And hopefully find herself in the process. And wouldn't you know? She finds both.
Since the book is split up in three parts, I'm going to give quotes from each part separately from one another..hopefully giving you a bit of background of each stop on her journey - in her own words.
1// "But why must everything always have a practical application?..Is this lifetime supposed to be only about duty?"
Elizabeth wants to learn Italian because she finds it to be beautiful, but finds herself questioning whether or not it's important or useful. I think we all struggle with parts of ourselves that want to learn things and dream big dreams because they're not "practical"..but that's more of a reason to do something. This lifetime is NOT just about duty.
2// "But the very fact that the world is so challenging is exactly why you sometimes must reach out of it's jurisdiction for help, appealing to a higher authority in order to find your comfort."
See what I mean about her intentions? Change sometimes in that sentence to ALWAYS, and you've got it made, my friend. Always reach for God..even when it's difficult. Even when the world is challenging.
1// "Never did have much of a career path," he says, "Never could do anything but the hustle."
Never in my life have I heard a better description of me. Of my work habits or ethic. Of how I feel about working in general. I love the hustle. I don't know how to do much other than the hustle. The older I become, the less likely (in my mind) I am to have an actual career, and I'm okay with that. Thankfully I'm allowed that kind of thinking and who knows, maybe in that hustle I'll find something I truly enjoy..and stick around for it.
2// "If you clear out al that space in your mind that you're using right now to obsess about this guy, you'll have a vacuum there, an open spot - a doorway. And guess what the universe will do with that doorway? It will rush in - God will rush in - and fill you with more love than you ever dreamed...Let it go."
While I'm not personally hung up on any sort of man right now, someone reading is - this one is for you. Let them go. Let it go.
3// "There are only two questions that human beings have ever fought over, all through history. How much do you love me? And who's in charge? Everything else is somehow manageable. But these two questions of love and control undo us all, trip us up and cause war, grief and suffering."
I'll let that one soak in.
1// "Why they always look so serious in Yoga? You make serious face like this, you scare away good energy. To meditate, only you must smile. Smile with face, smile with mind, and good energy will come to you and clean away dirty energy. Even smile in your liver."
Now, I don't believe very much in energy and the like, but I think it's a good reminder here to be "glass half full". That phrase "look good, feel good" applies to your face, mannerisms and life outlook too. If you're at least attempting happiness, good things come. Make an effort..and remember to smile..even in your liver.
2// "And love is always complicated. But still humans must try to love each other, darling. We must get out hearts broken sometimes. This is a good sign, having a broke heart. It means we have tried for something."
Behind the ooey-gooeyness and cheese of this statement, there's a lining. It speaks volumes to trying. To walking up to someone and creating a relationship. It's not always easy, but that's not an excuse not to try. Trying is better than not participating. Always.
3// "To lose balance sometimes for love is part of living a balanced life."
Again, cheese..but..I can't help it. It's true.
If I had to give you one quote to get you to read this book, it would be this:
"I'm not interested in the insurance industry. I'm tired of being a skeptic. I'm irritated by spiritual prudence and I feel bored and parched by empirical debate. I don't want to hear it anymore. I couldn't care less about evidence and proof and assurances. I just want God. I want God inside me. I want God to play in my bloodstream the way sunlight amuses itself on water."
I think her sentiments on faith and God ring true. She's searching for what my heart aches for every single day. I'm not looking for skepticism and proof and a pastor to lead me places. Sure, I need to be led, that's good and dandy, but I just want God too. I want God because that's the only thing that is there when I can't see. You know that feeling? When you're so enveloped in grief or anger or darkness that you can't find a grip to grab? There's always a few moments there, and then light. Glorious light..amusing itself on water. Because that's who God is. He's sunlight and grace and truth.
If you're searching, I'd give this one a go. Not in the way that you should believe everything she says, but there are some things that I wanted to jump up and down for - and about. She has it right, I thought - and it's covered in travel logs, pizza and Asian countries. Give it a go, but don't forget the truth in the process.
AND - like I promised..
1// I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For by U2
This is my absolute favorite road trip song. You cannot go wrong with this song.
2// If It Makes You Happy by Sheryl Crow
I truly believe that you can't not turn this song up and sing it at the top of your lungs. Doesn't matter if you're male, female, old, young - it's got that power.
3// Son's Gonna Rise by Citizen Cope
This one makes me want to put one hand out the window and ride the wind with my hand..you know what I mean, don't pretend you don't.
4// Oops I Did It Again by Britney Spears
Oh you don't jam to the Princess of Pop when you're riding in the car? I don't believe you.
5// Hold My Hand by Hootie and the Blowfish
This one is specifically for the Bergren family. We love us some Hootie.
Hope your Monday was just fine!
And remember always..always smile from you liver,