Friday, January 7, 2011

My Journey with Love, Not Heartbreak: Final Reflection of Eat, Pray, Love

I tackled the eat and the pray this week, now for the love.  I struggle to find the words to describe my journey with love.  I meditated today in an effort to give you (my readers) the very best from my heart.

In Eat, Pray, Love we celebrate Gilbert finding love in the last chapters when she unites with Felipe.  However, more than the love story itself, I think the true love she discovers is love for herself—appreciating her whole self, her journey, embracing all that she is (the good, the bad and the ugly).

She practiced celibacy for most of the year and traveled alone.  Yet, it was the relationships she had before her travel (especially with her ex-husband) and the people she befriended during her travel that (in my humble opinion) were the crux for her personal growth.  By forgiving others and mostly herself, she opened the doorway to more experiences with each encounter until she found love with Felipe.

I suppose you have been following my blog review of this book because I gave you a very personal perspective from my journey.  This final portion, love, I admit to you is still a work in progress—I am still learning to love my whole self, forgive myself and accept myself for being just who I am, Maria.

With that in mind, here we go.  I come from a loving family but one that based most everything on “what other people will think” and I was always horribly stressed out about it. Rigidity is probably the word I would pick to describe us.   I was brought up and behaved to think about everyone else (but myself).

I didn’t even begin to understand the notion of a different way to be until a very special person came into my life.  He was the extreme opposite of me (habitually late--I mean hours late not minutes--and very selfish).  Like a whirlwind I went from mostly irritated about his behavior to completely falling in love with him.  Aside from his not-so-appealing traits, he was a joy to be around and steered life from his heart.  I was so uplifted when I was with him that it made it easy to accept the other side of him.  I saw a new world through his eyes and my rigid self was relaxed for the first time in my life.  He broke my heart.  No...more like shredded it.  I was left alone on a journey to pick up the pieces.

Photo by Ximena Brunette
I recall what Wayan (the healer in Bali) says to Gilbert about love, “To lose balance sometimes for love is part of living a balanced life.”  Words couldn’t ring more true.  The risk of heartbreak was worth every minute for my experience.  It absolutely brought me more balance.  My rigid self transformed to be more flexible and accepting of others.  My life is far better and I will be forever grateful for it.  Expanding from it paved the way to new love--with my husband.  It is true love--deep love in every sense.   It encompasses romance, friendship, partnership and support.   We continuously push each other for greater personal growth.  He forces me to think.  Sometimes, he even irritates me.

Here's the thing:  what irritates me is merely a reminder of something I don’t like about myself.   Ahhh--personal growth--it isn’t always fun but when I finally work through it and get to the other side…there is a brilliant light and we both bathe in its love and warmth.  Love is patient and thank God my husband is.

Eat, Pray, Love is a book I thoroughly enjoyed and it gave me so much to reflect upon.  I am humbled that my friends thought of me as they pushed me to read it.  Her journey was unraveled abroad while mine was in the comfort of my living room.  The most important thing I have gained overall is knowing that no matter how difficult life gets, there is always a reason for it–a bright light in the end.  Faith in that alone is enough.

If you would like to purchase the book Eat, Pray, Love you may do so with this link:

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