Have you ever read a book more than once? I have just finished reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert for the second time and I plan to read it AGAIN! Only next time I will underline the passages that really speak to my soul. Have you noticed that reading something at different times in your life can affect you in different ways? The first time I read Eat, Pray, Love I connected with the Liz who was contemplating divorce because I was going through a similar situation but I was jealous of her ability to travel the world and “discover” herself. I had two small children and no money to travel anywhere, let alone the world. At the time it felt like getting out of my situation and running away was the only way to find myself.
Flash forward several years and I am compelled to pick it up again. This time I am divorced, my kids are older, and I still have no money to travel but I am open to the deeper message of the book. I am not just reading it at face value. I’ve been on a journey of self-discovery for quite some time but at this point in my life, I feel an urgent need to find my true path in life. I am 35 years old and coming to terms with the fact that I get to decide what I am doing with my life. I went from being a child in my parent’s home to becoming a wife and then a mother without ever stopping to think about the bigger picture of my life. I floated along with the flow and did what I thought I was supposed to do next. I am learning to be conscious for probably the very first time in my life and while it is a scary place to be, it is also a very exciting place to be!
The spiritual journey Liz embarks on in the ‘Pray’ portion of the book, which I found most boring during my first read through, is actually what speaks to my soul the most this time around. I think it is because I am looking for something more profound this time, something to believe in, something groundbreaking. I feel we are the creators of our own reality but that God and the Universe resides within each of us. That is not to say I don’t believe in Fate. I do. I believe everything happens for a reason but it is up to us what we do with it. We could squander the World’s riches if we are not careful. If we are not grateful for what we have and strive to be better people each and every day then what is our purpose here on Earth? I am certainly NO expert on psychology, spirituality, or the subconscious but I am, however, someone who has always felt there is more to this life than just what we see on the outside. I’m not always sure exactly what that really entails and some days I have better clarity than others but I know there is something bigger than me at work in my life and I must honor that.
Though I have been on this road for a while, I am just beginning to put real effort into my journey of self-discovery. I’m making sure to put my seat belt on because based on what I have learned and been through so far, it WILL be a bumpy ride. Chances are I won’t like everything I see along the way and there will be detours, but in the end it will all be worth it. I will have lived a fuller, happier, more authentic life. What could be better than that?
So how can I fulfill the need to “find myself” if I can’t travel to far off and exotic locales? I’ve realized I can explore the depths of me and see what I am really made of each and every day. I can seek education at every possible chance and take better care of myself, both physically and mentally. I can do more of what makes me happy and build a solid foundation for the rest of my life. I’ve got a lot of years ahead of me and who knows, perhaps one day I will be able to search for everything across Italy, India, and Indonesia!
I encourage you to pick up a book that has inspired you in the past, reread it, and see how it applies to your life today. I can’t wait to see how Eat, Pray, Love reaches me when I read it again!