Why Everyone Should Read "Eat, Pray, Love"

I gave this book a chance two summers ago and it affects me to this day. Elizabeth Gilbert was in ruin when she embarked on a yearlong journey to self-discovery. She indulged in the sweetest things life has to offer (AKA pasta). She nurtured her spirituality with meditation and prayer. Then on the last leg of her trip she fell in love with a man who she is still married to today. People talk about all of these things that we go through in life (depression, spirituality, forgiveness, and love) but it’s a completely different thing to be an active witness to someone going through it all. Her journey is relatable on so many levels and I think that is why I loved it. On top of that, her wit and honesty keep you turning the page. This book came at the perfect time in my life—college. A time where I felt a little lost trying to navigate an adult life that included bills, working hard, and still trying to do what I love. As Liz Gilbert fell back in love with herself it encouraged me to also focus on my personal happiness.

Eat in Italy

"Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation"

Liz went to Italy to indulge in a delicious language and delectable carbs. This was her place to take in the beauty surrounding her and to treat herself. Treating herself didn’t only include pasta and pizza, but also learning the Italian language. She was selfish and alone. Her brutal honesty about this experience left me feeling a little depressed along with her. This part of Liz’s journey taught me that it’s OK to acknowledge how you truly feel and to not be ashamed for being in a rut. It taught me to reach out when I need to, and always keep yourself open to new people. Putting yourself out there is one of the only ways to make friends with people you never thought would come into your life. Always be open to taking chances, and eat that last piece of pizza your friends are too ashamed to pick up.

Pray in India

"You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad. Work on the mind. That's the only thing you should be trying to control."

After Liz was done stuffing her face, she went to focus on her spirituality. She spent her time in an ashram where she submerged herself in meditation, prayer, hard work and only the bare necessities. Liz spent her time in India forgiving herself for all of her past mistakes, and letting go of the people she needed to let go. She was bitter on this leg of her trip because she was holding onto a lot of resentment toward her ex-husband. This is the part of the story where Liz Gilbert taught me that you are a product of your thoughts. Being constantly negative and holding onto the past is only going to affect your present and future in a negative way. It was its own experience to read how Liz forgave herself, and it really made me assess all of the little things I was holding onto as well. Liz’s spiritual journey also inspired me to take that aspect of my life more seriously. Overall, her time in India taught me about forgiveness, attitude, and spirituality.

Love in Bali

"A soul mate's purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life."

Liz Gilbert was falling back in love with herself during her whole trip and it took her awhile to get to that point. In Bali she focused all of her energy and time into love and finding a balance. She had a mentor, named Ketut, who took her under his wing to try to guide her in the right direction. She taught him things about New York, helped copy his handwritten books, and in return, he taught her how to find a balance in her life that will make her happy. She loved this quirky, old “spiritual mentor” and their relationship was funny! Then Liz met a man who threw off that balance that she had worked so hard to achieve. It freaked her out and she ended things with him. Only then did old Ketut remind her to trust herself and that love is supposed to throw off her balance. It’s supposed to challenge you. This was relatable for me, and I know a lot of people out there will relate to this too. There is always a person who comes into your life unexpectedly, throws your life off a little bit, and ultimately challenges you in a way no one else can. That’s what happened to Liz. She was scared through it all, but ultimately decided to take a leap on love. This leap turned out to be great in the long run because she is still with this man after all this time.

People universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you are fortunate enough. But that’s not how happiness works. 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…

Liz’s journey was about falling into happiness with yourself. I needed this book at the time that I read it. It was truly an inspiration and I reflect on it often. It is the perfect model and reminder of the important things in life. It’s the perfect guide to getting you back to yourself. Sometimes people have to get away from their lives to discover themselves and sometimes all it takes is an amazing book. There is a reason “Eat, Pray, Love” became a best-seller and a successful movie. It illustrates an important lesson that readers can take with them for the rest of their lives.