Tuesday, April 12, 2011

eat pray love

I love this book. I do. I really do. I've read it about 5 times now. I first read it when Perry and I were on an idyllic vacation in Mexico, where everything was beautiful but our relationship was falling apart and I was crying almost every day. Liz made me cry a bit more but she helped me so much get though that difficult time with as much kindness as possible to both myself and to Perry.

And then I read it again when I was in a happy place, and Liz made me laugh with her and her observations about life. After I saw the movie I read it again because I didn't really want Julia Roberts' voice in my head, I wanted to hear Liz. And now she feels like an old friend, or at least the voice in the book feels like my friend. So last night, on her second last speaking engagement to talk about this book and the one that came after, I went to hear Liz Gilbert speak. She is lovely, and funny, and smart, and wise, and silly, and so very human.

I appreciate all the more that after having "solved" all her problems in Eat, Pray, Love, she goes on to have a few more problems in her second book. And then while she was writing the second book she encountered a rather large crisis about the work she felt she was always meant to do and she had to figure out how to manage her way through that too. I take something new away from the book every time I read it. This is what's keeping me company this time - thanks Liz!

"So I’ve started being vigilant about watching my thoughts all day, monitoring them. I repeat this vow about 700 times a day: “I will not harbor unhealthy thoughts anymore.” Every time a diminishing thought arises, I repeat the vow. I will not harbor unhealthy thoughts anymore. The first time I heard myself say this, my inner ear perked up at the word “harbor”, which is a noun as well as a verb. A harbor, of course, is a place of refuge, a port of entry. I pictured the harbor of my mind – a little beat-up perhaps, a little storm-worn, but well situated and with a nice depth. The harbor of my mind is an open bay, the only access to the island of my Self (which is a young and volcanic island, yes, but fertile and promising). This island has been through some wars, it is true, but is now committed to peace, under a new leader (me) who has instituted new policies to protect the place. And now – let the word go out across the seven seas – there are much, much stricter laws on the books about who may enter this harbor.

You may not come here anymore with your hard and abusive thoughts, with your plague ships of thoughts, with your slave ships of thoughts, with your warships of thoughts – all these will be turned away. Likewise any thoughts that are filled with angry or starving exiles, with malcontents and pamphleteers, mutineers and violent assassins, desperate prostitutes, pimps and seditious stowaways – you may not come here anymore either. Cannibalistic thoughts, for obvious reasons, will no longer be received. Even missionaries will be carefully screened, for sincerity. This is a peaceful harbor, the entryway to a fine and proud island that is only now beginning to cultivate tranquility. If you can abide by these new laws, my dear thoughts, then you are welcome in my mind – otherwise I shall turn you back toward the sea from whence you came. That is my mission, and it will never end."

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