I live on a state park in a rural area. I have two rambunctious, adventurous little boys that I homeschool. I have a husband I am madly in love with and adore. And, I have 256,421 things that I do in addition to those things - gardening, farmers’ market, community library, hanging with New York Times reporters, county fair board and on and on. So, I just got around to reading Eat, Pray, Love. The title hooked me, those are three things that describe my existence. I know many of you read it years ago. I just checked it out at our library where my librarian friend and I had to go find it tucked away on some obscure shelf where they put books after everyone has read them but The Park Wife. The movie comes out August 13 and I am eager to see it, but I recommend you read the book first.
There are books that draw you in and don't let you go until you've finished them. Then there are books that grab you through the stomach like a hook and drag you places that you would prefer not to go. These books are rare - I hardly ever stumble upon one of these. They are books that make me examine myself, my life, my past and future. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert was both for me. I'm far from the first person to write about it (since I am a few years behind, what’s new?). I believe that books that are going to make me think make their way to me when I'm ready to listen to them. It was time for Eat, Pray, Love to come into my life.
The first thing that hit me was “man, I wish someone would give me a cash advance to go find myself.” Next, I thought our family should start learning Italian and eating more pasta.
Some critics may argue the book is a self-absorbed memoir. So what? It is her story she is telling, her memoir. People criticize bloggers all the time about what we write, but if I want to be true to my authentic self, then I write what is true about me, about my life. So, are all bloggers self-absorbed? Maybe so. But, I believe we all have a story to tell and if yours enriches mine, then I welcome your words with open arms. If not, I will close the book or click off a blog.
I have Christian friends that will surely hate the book, and others that will no-doubt be seduced by it. In my view, the book is well-written as well as lush and beautiful in parts. It is honest and authentic. And there were many things that hit me right in the gut and many right in my heart. Of course there were many parts I did not relate to or particularly like. But, overall, it made me think, to take pause to evaluate my own life. Shouldn’t we all take pause at times in our life and do that? It is a much better use of our time than constantly judging others.
In the end, what I took away was that it isn’t about how we find our balance or even if we achieve it perfectly — it is that we try.
Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book.
My absolute favorite: “It is better to live your own life imperfectly than to imitate someone else's perfectly.”
"You are, after all, what you think. Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions."
"God never slams a door in your face without opening a box of Girl Scout cookies..."
"Imagine that the universe is a great spinning engine. You want to stay near the core of the thing - right in the hub of the wheel - not out at the edges where all the wild whirling takes place, where you can get frayed and crazy. The hub of calmness - that's your heart. That's where God lives within you. So stop looking for answers in the world. Just keep coming back to that center and you'll always find peace."
"you have the opposite of poker face. You have like...... miniature golf face."
“In the end, what I have come to believe about God is simple. It’s like this – I used to have this really great dog. She came from the pound. She was a mixture of about ten different breeds, but she seemed to have inherited the finest features of them all. She was brown. When people asked me, “What kind of dog is that?” I would always give the same answer: “She’s a brown dog.” Similarly, when the question is raised, “What kind of God do you believe in?” my answer is easy: “I believe in a magnificent God.”
So do I.
The Park Wife