Eat, Pray, Love – Real Living or Privileged Giving?
I had the pleasure of speaking to a couple of companions about the New York Times bestselling book, an inspirational centerpiece on the bookshelves of millions of women. (We have Oprah to thank for this.)
The tale of the author who traveled around the world on a journey of self-discovery has been turned into a movie, starring an A-list actor. So now women can not only receive their dose of motivation in a literary form, but now on the big screen.
In case you haven’t caught on yet, I’m talking about Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir Eat, Pray, Love. (And my apologies for the delayed commentary, I’ve been a little busy dealing with some health issues.)
Now before I go on to give you the details of my conversation, I will preface this blog post with the following: Gilbert is a great writer and kudos to any writer who has been very successful. Now to the conversation…
I shared with them I have long took issue with this memoir, not because I thought there was something fundamentally wrong with it, but that it was simply not relatable. Sure, I’d love to travel to India, Italy and Indonesia to marvel at something, but finances, personal obligations, and now physical restrictions means I will be making no such journey. But I am not alone.
Many women wish they could travel the world to get in touch with themselves. But could you even afford it? Well, what if your bank account–or book publisher sponsorship– would allow this sort of trip, would your many responsibilities–home, mate, children, pets, job–allow for an elaborate adventure?
The point: not everyone can pull a Gilbert. And because I could not pull a Gilbert, because her life was so inaccessible to me, I might as well have been reading Gulliver’s Travels, pure and utter fiction.
After I explained my qualms, my companion brought up a point I never considered. She said she could not get behind a book in which the author hates her perfect life and then decides to go on an expensive, exotic vacation. Should this really even be a book?
So simple, so thought provoking. Let’s examine this, shall we?
She was very successful 32-year-old magazine writer (and authored a few published books) who decides to divorce her husband, sacrificing her Manhattan apartment, country home, and small fortune. All the while getting heartbroken by her illicit lover (yes, she was still married).
Half of the people who get married get divorced–and pay dearly for it. Many adults have had a torrid, tumultuous, addictive, and exquisitely painful love affair. But most people cannot pick and choose destinations for a year-long tour like selecting desserts at a local bakery. My life is far from perfect and I am stuck here in Downers Grove, Illinois to deal with it. I do not have the option of escaping my life to build a new one.
Eat. Pray. Love. I eat every day. I want to pray every day. I love every day. We all do. And we do not have to do each in a different worldly background. But what is this book really about? It’s all about healing.
She takes her readers on her healing journey. But her readers are going along for the ride the same way they fantasize about the perfect romance in a Danielle Steele novel. I, too, am on a healing journey. But I am not simply taking you on my journey; I will offer you small, practical tidbits to aide your healing journey. (Besides I have been struggling with the inherent vanity of writing about me all the time.)
Not on a healing journey? Bullshit. No one is leaving life unscathed and we are all dealing with something, or should be.
One major difference is that this blog will not be about “Eat, Pray, Love,” it will focus on honoring our bodies, honoring our spirit, and honoring our crafts.
Honoring Your Body
Granted, my poor diet or lack of exercise had nothing to do with my brain surgery and stroke. But I contend if I were in better shape, my physical healing would be faster and smoother. Also, I have gained 15 pounds in my two-month ordeal. The doctors have blamed it on the steroids; I blame it on the king-sized Snickers I used to replace the cigarettes I wasn’t smoking.
My goal: eat better and light exercise (this has more to do with my physical restrictions). So, I will be sharing new recipes I stumble upon and easy exercises that can be done at home.
Honoring Your Spirit
Anyone who knows me well knows very well I am not religious. At the same time, I don’t knock anyone who is, regardless of the faith. My belief is that your faith should bring you relief. Oh, and just because I am not religious does not mean I do not believe in God. I do. And I believe that God is love. This love should extend not only from yourself, but through your loved ones and into your community.
My goal: pray/meditate more and creatively express my love to myself, my family, friends and community. So, I will be sharing meditations, emotional wellness philosophies, and ways to better our relationships to loved ones and our communities.
Honoring Your Craft
Obviously, I’m a writer. It’s a passion I have tried to shake over the years, but couldn’t. It completes me. And everyone has something that completes them. Have it painting, dancing, running, something. Since, I am a writer and this started as a writing blog, I will be posting techniques I have used to become a better writer. Now I realize that not everyone is a writer, but I can’t please everyone, and I’m not trying to. But I still encourage you to pursue your craft.
My goal: become a better writer, read more and publish more work. So I will be sharing exercises, books I am reading, and more of my literature.
Just a few more things: First, I am lazy, which means most of these “tips” will be very quick and simple. Second, I will not share anything that I have not personally tried or trying at the time. Third, I am physically restricted not only in what I can do, but where I can go, so all offered here can be done at home.
My point is to offer a little piece of life, which can offer you a little peace in your life.