Musings on Eat, Pray, Love

Today, I excitedly, and quite spontaneously, accompanied a friend to one of the first showings of Eat, Pray, Love.

This is one of those rare books that has spoken to me on many different levels, and I have read and re-read it every year since it's publication - even before it became the wildly popular memoir it now is - and before anyone really knew anything about it. I was divinely led to pick it up off a shelf, enthralled by its cover and title, encompassing three of the most significant interests in my life! But today, I just as easily lost myself in the exquisite adaptation of this work, and the film did not disappoint on any level. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment!

The movie was lush, visually stunning, filled with wonderful gems of wisdom and insight, and it contained beautiful portrayals of some of the most poignant moments in the book. Just a week ago, I had students participating in my "Yoga of Forgiveness" class read a section of the book, where the author, Elizabeth Gilbert, finally makes the decision to let go of her past and forgive herself, on the rooftop of her Indian guru's ashram.

I re-read this section over and over again, a couple of years ago, when I was held captive by the clutches of deep depression. Liz forgives herself with a ritual, suggested to her, and appropriately titled, "Instructions for Freedom." Because this section of the book had been so helpful and beneficial to me, I asked my students to consider their situations in life, and write their own instructions for forgiveness.

The movie is very faithful to the book - it's themes and messages - and invites deeper reflection on so many levels. We are asked to consider that every person and experience we encounter in life - offers us a lesson - so there are truly no accidents that occur to us.

The movie also invites us to live fully and to indulge in the wonderful Italian practice of "dolce far niente" - the sheer enjoyment of those special moments when we are simply doing nothing! It enabled me to recall how years ago, I would occasionally encounter a student totally resistant to learning how to meditate. The concept of not doing anything - even for a few moments - was so foreign to some of them. I used to tell these students that meditating was simply the art of learning to waste time gracefully...

Several times in the last couple of months, I have used the metaphor of being at a crossroads of sorts in my life - so it was such a pleasure to once more hear the delicious Italian word - "traversiamo" - for it not only encourages me to consider where I have been thus far - but it gently nudges me go forward - and cross over to the other side - and all that awaits there - with courage.

The book, like the movie, is really a celebration of the heart, finding our own path, living life to the fullest, and connecting with the Divine. We are reminded by Elizabeth Gilbert, that the Divine always dwells within us - as us - and thus is never far.

If you loved the book, treat yourself to the movie. It is a feast for the senses and the spirit!

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