“Search for the moment when each person realizes: ‘My life doesn’t have to look like this anymore.’ Search for it in yourself, too. That’s generally the most interesting moment in anyone’s life. Because after that moment? Whatever happens next can quite literally be: ANYTHING.”
– Elizabeth Gilbert
Eat, Pray, Love has been my go-to inspiration book for years. I read it whenever I’m feeling down and the darkness is closing in. I read it whenever I’m dealing with a major life choice and need to remind myself of what’s important. I have read it again and again over the last few years and it has never failed to help me out of a tough spot or a bad day.
For those of you who haven’t read the book yet (get on that, ASAP), Eat, Pray, Love is memoir written by American author Elizabeth Gilbert. It chronicles her travels around Italy, India and Indonesia following a nasty divorce and, generally, a really low point in her life. It is subtitled: One woman’s search for everything. And that is exactly what it is.
In spite of my love for the book, I’m not sure that I ever really got it. I don’t think that I ever really understood why it is so powerful until now. It isn’t really about eating pasta in Italy or meditating in India or falling in love on a beach in Bali. Eat, Pray, Love, as Liz herself says in the introduction to Eat, Pray, Love Made Me Do It, is about the moment when an individual realized that their life didn’t have to look a certain way anymore and made the decision to change it.
Eat, Pray, Love Made Me Do It , a collection of essays written by readers, is what showed me what Eat, Pray, Love was always all about. Even more than that, it has provided me with dozens of equally inspiring stories of change and self-love.
Liz Gilbert didn’t just get lucky. She made a choice to change her life so that it would better represent herself and what she wanted, as did every contributor to Eat, Pray, Love Made Me Do It in their own way. I struggle to believe it sometimes but we all have that power. The only thing that holds us back is fear.
Ultimately, the message that I am taking away from Liz and the many that she has inspired is this: self love is everything. It is what gives us the strength to follow the path that is right for us, even if it is judged by others. It allows us to create our own life, to build where we want to build and to tear down what we need to tear down. We can take risks and listen to our hearts. Putting ourselves first rids us of the obligation to make our lives look like someones else’s ideal. It means that we can ignore what we should want in favour of what we do want. It frees us. It releases us. Most importantly, it is the only thing that can truly heal us.
I needed that message this week. I always need that inspiration. I highly recommend this book if you do too.