Elizabeth Gilbert: Eat, Pray, Love

My “Buddha Beads”

Elizabeth Gilbert is the quintessenial role model for leveraging a person’s talents to learn how to survive, thrive, and find joy.  When life handed her the lemons of a bitter divorce, she squeezed those lemons into the stratosphere of best-selling books.  Eat, Pray, Love:  One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India, and Indonesia was on the best seller lists for over a year.  She’s been on Oprah, and Julia Roberts will star in the movie.

Elizabeth Gilbert and Jose Nunes (Felipe)

Elizabeth Gilbert and Jose Nunes (Felipe)

In true Pretty Woman tradition, she rescued herself before she met the charming Brazilian “prince” Felipe:

I was not rescued by a prince;
I was the administrator of my own rescue.
– Elizabeth Gilbert

She gave herself a year to recover from Depression and Loneliness.  To fund her recovery adventure, she sold the rights to the book she planned to write during her journey.  It would have 108 chapters ~ each represented a bead on a japa mala prayer necklace (the precursor to rosary beads).

She planned to eat her way through Italy. . .pray her way through India. . .love her way through Indonesia.  Yes, those countries all beginning with the letter “I” was intentional.  As I read Eat, Pray, Love, I learned four powerful lessons that changed my life:

  • What do I really, really, really want?  I scribbled about this in my journal for a full month.  Did my answers shift?  Did they represent a “single-pointed focus?”  Did my top three dreams live in harmony in my heart?  Or, were they conflicting?  The Sufi poet and philosopher Rumi advised his students to write down three things they most want in life.  We are destined for unhappiness if our dreams clash.
  • What word sums up your life?  Cities and families can often be described by a single word.  New York’s word, for example is “achieve.”  In Los Angeles, it is “succeed.”  In Stockholm it is “conform,” while in Naples is is “fight.”  Does the word for Seattle fit who I am?  Can my word live in harmony with my friends and family?  My answers help me decide what and who to keep in my life and what and who to jettison.
  • What is my personal mantra?  A mantra transports us to a new place.  The typical mantra is three words which are spoken while a person fingers japa mala beads.  The trinity in many religions represents supreme balance.  I went to Bead World in Seattle, and the owner helped me design my “Buddha beads.”  They are strung on purple silk thread with tiny purple beads separating the larger green beads (jade and shells).  The pendant is a series of three jade beads.  I bought six gold disks ~ three for each side ~ with an affirmative word etched on each:  joy, hope, survivor and love, faith, courage.  The beads feel wonderful when I touch them.  And, I feel a powerful sense of spiritual connection when I wear them.
  • Smile with your liver.  I can be an exceedingly intense, serious person.  Yet, we scare away good energy when we’re too serious.  We can open the door to good energy by jettisoning the junk.  Elizabeth’s guru suggested she smile with her face ~ smile with her mind ~ smile with her liver.  I laughed out loud and wondered just exactly how a person smiles with our liver.  It takes practice, but it’s fun.  It’s true.  When we smile, we are beautiful.  It draws people to us and makes us powerful.  We find peace and happiness which is the purpose of meditation.

Elizabeth Gilbert through her charming, funny, insightful words allowed me to join her on her journey.  I am a better person because I read her book.

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5 responses to “Elizabeth Gilbert: Eat, Pray, Love

  1. Pingback: Committed: Elizabeth Gilbert’s Sequel to Eat, Pray, Love « Anne Caroline Drake·

  2. Ann-Marie,

    What a nice surprise! Thank you! Yes, it was great to see you, and I’m ever so grateful you were kind enough to visit my little site and leave me that link. I very much want to check it out, and I’m glad to now have your e-mail address.

    I hope you’ll come back for the “Oktoberfest” BBQ. It will be on 9/11. Kathy’s folks will be there, but I think Mike’s folks will be on their way back to AZ. I make sauerkraut and German potato salad to go with Mike’s sausages and beer.

    Sending hugs and thanks,
    Anne Caroline

  3. I visited a lot of website but I think this one has got something special in it. “Of all human ills, greatest is fortune’s wayward tyranny.” by Sophocles.

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