Sometimes you read a book and when you turn that last page, this euphoria of good vibes settles in your stomach and chest and mixes with some overall satisfaction. Either this satisfaction is because the book was really good and enjoyable or its because you finished the book. Then other books you turn that last page, past the author biography (because you read it feverishly), and flip through the last little blank pages hoping that, "Oh, surely its not over! I want more!"
This could easily describe my experience with Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I am glad that I read most of the book in the privacy of my home, because I could feel the dopey smile on my face through the entire book. Elizabeth Gilbert is hysterically funny. There are few authors that can make me laugh out loud (example: David Sedaris) and Elizabeth Gilbert just signed her name to that list with gusto. It is an understatement to say this book is good, great... even fantastic. The best way to describe this book is cataclysmic. It changes the way you think about God, suffering, sacrifice, Yoga, pleasure and even... pizza.
I could probably spend an entire day going back through the book highlighting my favorite quotes, because Elizabeth Gilbert has an incredible insight on how as women we tend to react and think. I feel like often as women we are told by either the media or by Satan himself that we are alone, and that if we are alone, we are also worthless. Are we really that helpless? HELL NO!
There is a part in the book where Liz is waiting for her husband to sign the divorce papers. She is chatting with her friend on a road trip about prayer, and how she wishes she could just "petition" God for this thing to end. What is the response of her friend? "So why don't you?" Somehow, we get this idea that its stepping on God's toes for us to ask Him to answer our most deepest desires. Liz in turn writes a petition to God. Her friend and her think of all of the people who would sign it from her mom and her sister, to Katherine Hepburn.
I believe that as women we are petrified by the fear of being alone whether for the rest of our lives or when we are in a crisis. We never want to be the crazy old cat lady at the end of the street. We should realize that we have a multitude of people that would stand by our sides and fight like hell with us; family, friends, acquaintances, activists, living or dead. All that is required is to ask. (Which is an entirely different subject because asking for help ain't easy)
Another point that came to me as I was reading this book is this idea of pleasure. In my past I often used pleasure as a coping mechanism. "I'm lonely, I'll go shopping" or "I've had a bad day, I'm going to drink an entire bottle of champagne". First off, I want to say that using pleasure as a way to cope is not bad. So kick that thought out to the curb. But I do believe that you have to deal with your monsters and not run away from them. I realized something, how often do I do things just to do them. I'm realizing this is what this summer is about for me, Alyson. I will buy Ice Cream Snickers from the grocery store and eat one before I go to bed every night because I love Ice Cream Snickers. There is just something about the ice cream, and the cold caramel. It is heaven, wrapped in chocolate with peanuts. I will do yoga when I feel like because I enjoy yoga. I will spend an entire Saturday reading a book, because I want to finish a book in a day!
What are the things that you take pleasure in everyday? Because you should. Lately, mine has been instant coffee. French Vanilla Instant Coffee. Or, laying in bed in the morning with the cool blue light reflecting off my walls and my fan blowing cold air onto my exposed skin. I take immense pleasure in the feeling of the warm water of the shower cascading over my dry hair.
Read this book. I'll even let you borrow it from me, but I have told everyone I know to read it because as hokey as it seems, it will change your life.