Last night, I finished reading Eat Pray Love...FINALLY! I absolutely LOVED it.
It had been on "the list" for quite a while after hearing nothing but rave reviews and finally last year, one of my friends lent me her copy so I started reading it. I was hooked from the beginning, but had to return it to her when she moved before I could finish it. I had since bought my own copy, but didn't pick it up again until just a couple weeks ago. I now realize that I wasn't meant to finish it last year when I had started it.
The book actually resonated with me a lot more with where I'm currently at in my ongoing journey of self-discovery (which is very different from where I was a year ago), so finishing it at this time in my life was all the more meaningful.
I'm reminded of the Buddhist proverb, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear"--the teacher, in this case, being the beautifully told story of Elizabeth Gilbert and her journey across the world to find spiritual healing...and the student, me.
After getting a third of the way into the book, I decided to keep track of some of my favorite quotes so I could refer back to them in the future and also share them with you. [Bold font added by me for emphasis.] So without further ado...
"I was in a bathtub back in New York, reading Italian words aloud from a dictionary, that I first started mending my soul. My life had gone to bits and I was so unrecognizable to myself that I probably couldn't have picked me out of a police lineup. But I felt a glimmer of happiness when I started studying Italian, and when you sense a faint potentiality for happiness after such dark times you must grab onto the ankles of that happiness and not let go until it drags you face-first out of the dirt -- this is not selfishness, but obligation. You were given life; it is your duty (and also your entitlement as a human being) to find something beautiful within life, no matter how slight." [p. 115]
"Let your intention be freedom from useless suffering. Then, let go." [p. 185]
"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." [p. 261]
"Like most humanoids, I am burdened with what the Buddhists call the 'monkey mind' -- the thoughts that swing from limb to limb, stopping only to scratch themselves, spit and howl. From the distant past to the unknowable future, my mind swings wildly through time, touching on dozens of ideas a minute, unharnessed and undisciplined. This in itself is not necessarily a problem; the problem is the emotional attachment that goes along with the thinking. Happy thoughts makes me happy, but--whoop!--how the remembrance of an angry moment and I start to get hot and pissed off all over again; and then my mind decides it might be a good time to start feeling sorry for itself, and loneliness follows promptly. You are, after all, what you think. Your emotions are slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions." [p. 132]
"He said, 'Groceries, you need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select what clothes you're gonna wear 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. Drop everything else but that. Becauseif you can't learn to master your thinking, you're in deep trouble forever.'" [p. 178]
On Love and Relationships:
"'People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that's what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that's holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you'll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then they leave. And thank God for it.'" [p.149]
"'So miss him. Send him some love and light every time you think about him, and then drop it. You're just afraid to let go of the last bits of David because then you'll really be alone, and Liz Gilbert is scared to death of what will happen if she's really alone. But here's what you gotta understand, Groceries. If you clear out all the space in your mind that you're using right now to obsess about this guy, you'll have a vacuum there, an open spot--a door-way. And guess what the universe will do with that doorway? It will rush in--God will rush in--and fill you with more love than you ever dreamed. So stop using David to block that door. Let it go.'" [p. 150]
"'To lose balance sometimes for love is part of living a balanced life.'" [p. 298]
"'Imagine that the universe is a great spinning engine,' he said. 'You want to stay near the core of the thing--right in the hub of the wheel--not out at the edges where all the wild whirling takes place, where you get can frayed and crazy. The hub of calmness--that's your heart. That's where God lives within you. So stop looking for answers in the world. Just keep coming back to that center and you'll always find peace.'" [p. 207]
If you haven't read Eat Pray Love, I highly recommend it (and yes, it's about a hundred times better than the movie, just like everyone said it'd be). Author Elizabeth Gilbert is funny, refreshingly honest and easy to relate to.