Read “Eat, Pray, Love”

I read Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert this summer, and while I didn’t like everything about it, it did have some really great quotes that I wanted to share. The non-fiction book is broken into three parts, each spanning four months and taking place in a different country. The event that kicks off her year abroad is that she gets a divorce (one that she instigated, not because there was infidelity or abuse or anything horrible going on, but just because she didn’t want to be married anymore), and the problem I had with a lot of the first third of the book was her whining about the loneliness and depression she experienced afterward. Oh, and her ex-husband’s anger with her over her decision to end their marriage. I have no tolerance for things like that, and a lot of the spiritual growing she does in relation to that issue just made me roll my eyes.

BUT luckily there is more to the book than that, and there was less and less of it as the book (and she) progressed. The parts I wanted to share were mostly about food and spirituality – two of my favorite parts of life! If you can deal with the divorce whining, I highly recommend this book. Here are some of my favorite quotes.

*”Looking for truth is not some kind of spazzy free-for-all, not even during this, the great age of the spazzy free-for-all.”

*I have always responded with breathless excitement to anyone who has ever said that God does not live in a dogmatic scripture or in a distant throne in the sky, but instead abides very close to us indeed – much closer than we can imagine, breathing right through our own hearts. I respond with gratitude to anyone who has ever voyaged to the center of that heart with a report for the rest of us that God is an experience of supreme love.”

*”I wanted what the Greeks called ‘kalos kai agathos,’ the singular balance of the good and the beautiful.”

*”The accent in Naples is like a friendly cuff on the ear. It’s like walking through a city of short-order cooks, everybody hollering at the same time.”

*Of a policeman in a small Italian town: “He gives me one of the greatest things anyone can ever give me in life – a tiny piece of paper with the name of an obscure restaurant written on it, and a hand-drawn map of how to find the place.”

*”In a world of disorder and disaster and fraud, sometimes only beauty can be trusted.”

*She described her sweating and discomfort during long meditative chants at the ashram as “not like a person sweats, but rather like a cheese sweats.” (I love that!!)

*”I was doing something I’d never done before…And what will I be able to do tomorrow that I cannot yet do today?”

*”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 could feel all this old pain of lost love and past mistakes attenuating before my eyes, diminishing at last through the famous healing powers of time, patience and the grace of God.”

*”This is what rituals are for. We do spiritual ceremonies as human beings in order to create a safe resting place for our most complicated feelings of joy or trauma, so that we don’t have to haul those feelings around with us forever, weighing us down. We all need such places of ritual safekeeping. And I do believe that if your culture or tradition doesn’t have the specific ritual you’re craving, then you are absolutely permitted to make up a ceremony of your own devising, fixing your own broken-down emotional systems with all the do-it-yourself resourcefulness of a plumber/poet. If you bring the right earnestness to your homemade ceremony, God will provide the grace. And that is why we need God.”

*”At some point, you have to make peace with what you were given. Useful, then, might be to accept how I was made and embody myself fully therein.”

*”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.” – Ketut, Balinese medicine man

*Elizabeth: “What can we do about the craziness of the world?” Ketut: “Nothing. This is nature of world. This is destiny. Worry about your craziness only – make in you peace.”

*What Elizabeth calls “Diligent Joy”: “The search for contentment is, therefore, not merely a self-preserving and self-benefiting act, but a generous gift to the world. Clearing out all your misery gets you out of the way. You cease being an obstacle, not only to yourself but to anyone else. Only then are you free to serve and enjoy other people.”

*Elizabeth’s guru’s teachings about happiness: “Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep summoning upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. If you don’t, you will leak away your innate contentment. It’s easy enough to pray when you’re in distress, but continuing to pray when your crisis has passed is like a sealing process, helping your soul hold tight to its good attainments.”

*”Love is always complicated. But still humans must try to love each other, darling. We must get our hearts broken sometimes. This is a good sign, having a broken heart. It means we have tried for something.” – Elizabeth’s future husband, Felipe

*”I was not rescued by a prince. I was the administrator of my own rescue.”

*”Isn’t our individual longing for transcendence all just a part of this larger human search for divinity? Don’t we each have the right to not stop seeking until we get as close to the source of wonder as possible?”


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