Sunday, October 12, 2008

Eat, Pray, Love

So I've just finished reading "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert. I found it to be quite good. I know it's a cliche "vagina book" as my friend called it the other day, but that doesn't mean it is bad. I have read plenty of non-vagina books and enjoyed them just as much. This book was recommended to me by my mom, who said it reminded her of me as she was reading it.

I've never been divorced nor have I ever lived in an ashram in India, but I do heart traveling. I would do exactly what she has done given the opportunity. I'm having trouble choosing the 3 countries I would pick to spend a year of life ... I loved Italy, but have never had any connection to it. Although, Cinque Terre was by far one of my top 5 places I saw in Western Europe. I also loved the Bavarian Alps (Home to Neuschwanstein Castle), but never had the desire to learn German. I loved living in Northern Ireland and my visit to the Aran Islands and could live there for a time, doing nothing but tending sheep and knitting woolen sweaters for tourists. Here the set back is that I DISPISE Guiness, with a passion. I could spend the first 4 months of my hypothetical year in Barcelona, Spain. I loved it there - mostly because of Gaudi, the famous architect from Catalan. I could hone up on my Spanish and just enjoy the relaxed culture, good food, and afternoon siestas. Italy is where Elizabeth spent 4 months studying Italian and searching for pleasure in food. Food isn't as important to me and I don't know if Barcelona is where I would find pleasure. I've always felt at home in the tropics, therefore my search for pleasure would have to start there somewhere. Isolated, but happy. Snorkeling.

Her next stop was for spiritual guidance at the Indian ashram. As someone of Jewish faith, I would take the next step in my religous education in Israel. I would enjoy spending some time living on a kibbutz with my family, studying the Hebrew language and some Jewish texts. To me, that is an obvious step. Gilbert does not hold back on the experience she has in India. I am impressed with how she presents her devotion. I thought I would hate reading that section of the book because it would be boring, but it wasn't at all.

Lastly, Gilbert goes to Indonesia to learn balance with a medicine man she had met years previously. I don't exactly know what the search for balance entails, even after reading her book. But the last stop on my tour - I would like to bike ride around the islands of Australia and New Zealand. I could find balance in my mind and health while balancing on 2 wheels. To me, this is one of the parts of my hypothetical year that I would very much like to see actually happen.

That didn't so much as review the book as talk about how my book "Snorkel, Pray, Bike" would pan out. But I was impressed with the book, and think the author did an excellent job of explaining the choices she made and the life she lived over that year. I'll end with my favorite quote from the book.

"There is much about my fate that I cannot control, but other things do fall under my jurisdiction. There are certain lottery tickets I can buy, thereby increasing my odds of finding contentment. I can decide how I spend my time, whom I interact with, whom I share my body and life and money and energy with. I can select what I eat and read and study. I can choose how I'm going to regard unfortunate circumstances in my life - whether I will see them as curses or opportunities (and the occasions when I can't rise to the most optimistic viewpoints, because I'm feeling too damn sorry for myself, I can choose to keep trying to change my outlook). I can choose my words and the tone of voice in which I speak to others. And most of all, I can choose my thoughts."