12 October 2010

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Photo from Elizabeth Gilbert's website.
“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 swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.”
 The above quote from Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, resonated with me so much that I pressed the skip-back button of my car's CD player simply to hear it again.

For anyone who doesn't yet know, Eat, Pray, Love is the true story of Elizabeth Gilbert's search for everything across Italy, India, and Indonesia, and that being the case, the book is quite properly subtitled.  Elizabeth Gilbert, an American author and journalist, having found herself unbearably unhappy in both her marriage and her life, fought her way through a devastating divorce (with a side order of an affair) and then traveled the world in search of...well...everything.  I want to sound well-versed and thoughtful here but honestly, there is no need to try to reword what Gilbert has already written so beautifully and succinctly.

The book is divided, conveniently into 108 chapters, reflecting the 180 beads of the Japa Mala used in a few different forms of meditation.  I was thrilled by this.  Not only in the everyday-Lauren-OCD way but also as I have been using my very own mala from Tibet in meditation for around a year now.  Anyway, it was just cool to read (hear) about Gilbert's personal experiences with various forms of meditation, both Indian and Balinese.  So, the 108 chapters were organized into 36 chapters for each country.

Gilbert uses her incredible skill as a writer to illuminate the characters that she met during her travels without overpowering them.  She successfully acts as a vessel for their individual personalities to come through.  It should be noted that the audiobook (the way that I have experienced this book) is read by the author.  I found that this gave the reading a nice touch.  No need to search for the correct interpretation when the words are one's own, right?

However...the chapter where Gilbert essentially tells Ketut Liyer's story (Liyer is the Balinese Medicine Man whose palm reading practically convinces Gilbert to go to Bali in the first place) is a little much.  I only say this because the author voices all of the individual characters in her book...and it was just kind of annoying when I was listening to her speak for this man for what seemed like forever.  It unfortunately got to the point where I stopped listening to the stories that Liyer was telling because of my personal aversion to the way that Gilbert was voicing them.  That's not to say that I literally stopped listening to the CD...I just kind of zoned out.

All in all this book is an absolutely fantastic read (or listen, as was my case).  I bought the book a couple of years ago for one of my parents for Christmas (I maintain that I bought it for my dad but he thinks that I got it for my mom).  Anyway, neither of them have read it yet.  I've told them both that they should do so.  It's simply a fascinating look at religion, spirituality, and life from the eyes of a woman who became confused, frustrated, and saddened by the whole rigamarole and then took it upon herself to search for the answers and meet God halfway.

If you have the time, check out the video below.  It's 20 minutes long but totally worth it.  It is Elizabeth Gilbert speaking about the creative process, the creative mind, and the cognitive rejection of that undying question that plagues artists once they have brought something really great to life..."What if everything else that I create never lives up to this?"

Alright guys, that's all for now.

Stay classy!

No comments:

Post a Comment