Lessons from "Eat, Pray, Love"If you’re brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting, which can be anything from your house to bitter, old resentments, and set out on a truth-seeking journey, either externally or internally, and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet as a teacher … and if you are prepared, most of all, to forgive some very difficult realities about yourself, then the truth will not be withheld from you. ~ Liz Gilbert

If I’m seeking an ‘emotional cleanse’ of sorts, I watch the film “Eat, Pray, Love.” Based on Elizabeth Gilbert’s best-selling memoir, the movie documents one woman’s quest to heal, find peace and restore balance in her life, as she travels through Rome, India and Bali. Her ventures bring forth painful lessons, self-discoveries and resonating truths.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the film (along with my interpretation) that may provide solace for you as well. (And yes, Richard from Texas doles out the gems.)

There is a wonderful old Italian joke about a poor man who goes to church every day, and prays before the statue of a great saint, begging: “Dear saint, please, please, please let me win the lottery.” Finally, the exasperated statue comes to life, looks down at the begging man and says: “My son, please, please, please buy a ticket.” – Liz Gilbert

My interpretation: Change can manifest once you actively participate in the process.

We all want things to stay the same, David … settle for living in misery, because we’re afraid of change, of things crumbling to ruins. Then I looked around in this place, at the chaos it’s endured, the way it’s been adapted, burned, pillaged … then found a way to build itself back up again, and I was reassured. Ruin is a gift, ruin is the road to transformation. – Liz Gilbert

My interpretation: There could be comfort found in familiar territory, in pain. Yet, even if it all falls apart, ruin could bring about beautiful growth opportunities.

Liz Gilbert: I just spent some time in Rome, and I came here feeling so great. And now here I am at the source, and I feel more disconnected than ever.

Richard from Texas: You wanna get to the castle … you got to swim the moat.

My interpretation: In order to get to where you want to go and progress forward, a sincere effort has to be put forth.

You have to learn to select your thoughts the way you select your clothes every day. That’s a power you can cultivate. You wanna come here and control your life so bad, work on the mind. That’s the only thing you should control. If you can’t master your thoughts, you’re in trouble … stop trying. Surrender. – Richard from Texas

My interpretation: You can’t control the uncontrollable and you cannot control others’ actions. What you can dictate, what you can choose, is your personal thought process.

Liz Gilbert: I thought I was over him, but I love him.
Richard from Texas: Big deal. So you fell in love with someone.
Liz: But I miss him.
Richard: So miss him. Send him some light and love every time you think of him, then drop it. You know, if you could clear out all that space in your mind that you’re using to obsess over this guy and your failed marriage, you’d have a vacuum with a doorway. And you know what the universe would do with that doorway? Rush in. God would rush in. Fill you with more love than you ever dreamed of.

My interpretation: I always thought this particular piece of dialogue was incredibly inspirational. It’s okay to love and miss someone who’s no longer a significant part of your life; it’s okay to simply feel. However, it doesn’t have to spiral into bouts of depression and negativity — additional love is bound to come your way.

Liz Gilbert: I’m waiting for him to forgive me, to release me.
Richard from Texas: Waiting for him to forgive you is a damn waste of time. Forgive yourself.

My interpretation: Forgiveness doesn’t come easily for everyone, but the kind of forgiveness that really matters is the forgiveness that resides in your own heart. Self-compassion is what will enable you to learn and grow and become the best version of yourself.

Hey. Believe in love again. – Richard from Texas

My interpretation: Heartbreak may knock you down for a bit, but once the broken pieces are mended, there’s still hope of finding that pertinent, meaningful connection once more.

Sometimes, to lose balance for love is part of living a balanced life. – Ketut, medicine man

My interpretation: Relationships (and all that’s involved within those dynamics) may shift your sense of balance, but in order to live an overall balanced life, take that leap of faith. Experience love. It’s worth it.

And so, there you have it. “Eat, Pray, Love” speaks to the inner truth-seeker in all of us.



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    Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 19 Jul 2014
    Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.

APA Reference
Suval, L. (2014). Lessons from ‘Eat, Pray, Love’. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 21, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2014/07/21/lessons-from-eat-pray-love/


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