Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love

Elizabeth Gilbert's first appearance on Oprah produced such an overwhelming response from viewers—she's back with even more life-changing lessons to share! Her book Eat, Pray, Love has sparked an inspirational movement and continues to touch lives with talk of Eat, Pray, Love hitting the big screen!

For those who think they can't go on the same journey, Liz says you don't need to jet set around the globe to capture an Eat, Pray, Love experience. Instead, your journey can start with an internal conversation. "I really feel the one non-negotiable thing you need is to find a tiny little corner of your life, of your day, of stillness where you can begin to ask yourself those burning essential questions of your life," she says. " Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going? What am I here for?"

Liz is the first to admit that finding time to meditate every day is difficult. "I live in New Jersey, you know? I don't live in an ashram," she says. Liz has made a rule to never feel that she isn't good enough. She says that even women with busy lives and children can begin a spiritual journey with just 10 minutes of silence a day. "You know, my friend Richard from Texas says if you're meditating more than 10 minutes, you're asleep anyway." Liz's biggest piece of advice? Learn to say no. "Be realistic about what you can and cannot do in one day and one life," she says.
Leslie was inspired to run a marathon after reading Eat, Pray, Love.

Leslie is one of the millions of Eat, Pray, Love readers who have felt inspired by Liz's journey. "Eat, Pray, Love was like a jolt for me, a call to action," she says. The 38-year-old mother of two says she was on the fence about running an upcoming marathon in Paris—but after finishing the book, she booked the ticket. "Once I read Eat, Pray, Love I just really resonated with what Liz said in the book about really taking time for yourself and honoring and celebrating yourself," Leslie says. After the marathon, Leslie was motivated to take up Bikram yoga again. "Now it's more than just a grueling physical workout for me. It's a time for me to meditate and pray."
Carrie has an Eat, Pray, Love birthday party.

Across the country, women are getting together to talk about Liz Gilbert's book by having Eat, Pray, Love parties. Carrie says she was panicking about turning 39 but decided to have an Eat, Pray, Love theme to celebrate her birthday. "Make it a book party, feast, celebration, life lesson, shared with some of my favorite women," she says. Carrie gathered her friends, ages 65 to 25, to talk about the book that has touched them all. "The one thing people kept on saying, it was almost like a book on tape but written, because we could hear [Liz's] voice throughout," Carrie says.

Liz says she attributes her voice to a piece of advice her sister gave her years ago. "She said never sit down and write anything unless you know exactly who you're telling your story to. Bring that person into the room with you and talk directly to that person, because if you try to talk to everybody, you're talking to nobody." Liz says she kept that in mind while writing Eat, Pray, Love. "It sounds like I'm talking to a friend, because I am," she says.
Andrea describes how she makes more time for herself.

Andrea says Eat, Pray, Love has changed her life. A busy mother with two sons, Andrea felt she was being pulled in too many different directions. After finishing the book, she found a way to make time for herself—without even leaving the house. "Now I'm taking time for myself," she says. "I have a small walk-in closet, and I go in there with a glass of wine and listen to music, read magazines or go through old photos. I sit back and am quiet. It gives me time to think and reflect." Andrea says that before she made time for herself, she would say yes to everyone, which is not the example she wanted to set for her children. "I'm teaching my boys to be independent thinkers, you know, go out into the world. I want you to do this, and do that. I wasn't doing any of that."
Richard from Texas

When Liz met Richard from Texas at an ashram in India, Richard had no idea of the role he would play in the book she was writing. Yet he became one of the most important characters, teaching Liz about life and love. One particularly eye-opening discussion for Liz was when Richard explained the misunderstanding of the term soul mate. "A soul mate sometimes enters our life as someone to stir us up," he says. "To hold up the mirror so that we can see ourselves more clearly and antagonize us and make us so uncomfortable that we have to change because we can't continue to look at the same thing because we're looking at it clearly now." Richard says this is the reason a soul mate may not last forever. "The encounter is so intense and so clarifying that we burn through those things quickly," he says.

After talking to Richard, Liz says she changed her perspective on the definition of a soul mate and now stays away from using the wordeven when describing her husband. "He's got a soul. I've got a soul. We are each other's mates and we're walking through earth, together side by side, looking outward—not sewn together in a really dysfunctional way."
Linda asks Liz if she needs to break down to move forward.

Linda, a mother of two, says she can relate to Liz's story. "I picked up the book right at the time I was going through a divorce," she says. Linda says that, unlike Liz, she never had a breakdown or a "bathroom floor moment."

Do you need a breakdown before you can move forward? "Some of us who are a little more evolved don't need to be broken in half before the light gets in," Liz says. "I needed to be made into scrambled eggs before the light got in." Because everyone is different, Liz says that a breakdown is not a part of the journey for every person. "I certainly wouldn't advise that you begin your path by trying to have a nervous breakdown," she says.
Audrey has a list of things she wants to accomplish.

After reading Eat, Pray, Love, Audrey asked herself one question—why am I not living with passion? She decided to make a list of all the things she wanted to do in her life. "I wrote down many things like see the northern lights, learn to surf, learn Spanish, take a cooking class, and do a standup comedy routine," she says.

Since then, Audrey went skydiving, volunteered after Hurricane Katrina, visited Ghana and rode a motorcycle. She's also training for a half-marathon and has taken tap dancing lessons. Audrey says these experiences have transformed her. "Now I have a greater sense of who I am and what I want," she says. "It's really been wonderful. I'm sort of reminded that when you discover the world around you, you also discover the world within you."

Still, Audrey wants to know how she can go through her list without becoming self-centered or selfish. "In Mandarin Chinese, they have two words for selfish," Liz says. "One means doing that which is beneficial to you. The other means hoarding, greedy and cruel."

Liz tells Audrey to look at the items on her list and ask herself if she is being greedy or if the activity is beneficial to her. "When you operate from a place of doing those things that help you step into your own worth, when you fill up your own skin with yourself, that alone becomes your offering," Elizabeth says. "Every single person that you meet, you transmit that to. Be a good example for how to live a happy, wonderful, blessed life."
Tamee lived without religion before reading 'Eat, Pray, Love.'

Before reading Eat, Pray, Love, Tamee was a 25-year-old law student who experienced anxiety attacks and lived without religion. After a friend recommended the book, Tamee says she embraced spirituality. "It just was a huge inspiration for me to find God and pray and think," Tamee says. "I made my bathroom my ashram. I don't really think I have the meditating down perfectly, but I found out that that's okay. I just kind of do my best, sit in there, think and pray."

While in India on her spiritual journey, Liz says she had an encounter with God while meditating. How does she define God now? "The perfection that absorbs," she says. "It is the perfectness of the universe which can bring you into that state where you are absorbed in that perfection, then you will know it. … I was absorbed in that perfection for a brief, glorious moment, and I knew something in that."

Meditation helped Liz realize everything is connected. "One of the amazing things about meditation is if you practice it long enough, and you watch your thoughts come and go, what you slowly realize is I am not made out of these thoughts. I am not composed of this. I am composed of something else that is watching this," she says.
Liz's new life in New Jersey

Today, Liz shares her life with her husband, Felipe, in an old Presbyterian church built in 1792 in West Central New Jersey. "I think it's great, the idea that I went from being on a spiritual journey to living in a church," she says.

Liz and Felipe's home is decorated with memories of their travels around the world, but Liz says her favorite part of the house is her reading area, which is in the church's old choir loft. "This answers a childhood dream of mine to have a tiny little cave-like spot that was only for reading," she says.

Liz says her next book is about what happened after Eat, Pray, Love, including her marriage. To help her write, Liz always fixes herself a cup of tea. "Celestial Seasons Bengal Spice, which is the tea that reminds me the most of the chai that they make in India," she says.

When she needs a break, Liz loves to walk to the Delaware River Canal bike path near her home. "It's awesome because you get to be in this really beautiful setting and it's just peaceful and a really nice place to walk. I didn't have time for stuff like this, and that was kind of the crisis of my life."

Liz says she loves her simple life. "Toward the end of my first marriage, I just kept saying, I want a bigger smaller life. What I meant by that was smaller materially. Bigger spiritually. Bigger emotionally. Bigger full of pleasure. Bigger full of family, friends, joy, time, space, books. I am my best person when I have less on my plate," she says.
Kristin journeyed to Bali to meet Ketut.

Thirty-seven-year-old Kristin says she used to struggle with pride before reading Liz's book. "I don't say the things that are bothering me or the things that I want because it can be embarrassing sometimes when you've got everything, but what you really want, you don't have," she says.

Liz's story inspired her to journey to Bali to find Ketut. After 32 hours of traveling, it took Kristin only seven minutes to find someone who knew where he lived, and another 15 minutes to actually meet him! Kristin says she doesn't usually like to travel alone. "But I did it and I loved it. It was pretty great because I was on a mission. I wanted to be there and I wanted to meet him," she says.

Kristin also got to meet another one of Liz's friends—Wayan, the holistic healer Liz helped buy a home. "It was just incredible, but really the best part was coming home and telling people I did it. They were so blown away that these people actually exist," she says.

The journey was eye-opening, Kristin says. "It just made me feel like you can do anything. Then when I got home, I realized I didn't need to go there. The work I need to do has to be done here. I need to say out loud what my problems are and what I want, because I don't do that."
Liz's mother, Carole

Liz's book touched millions of women, but her insight also hit very close to home! Her mom, Carole, says she learned a lot about her daughter when reading the book. "Her journey was our journey. My journey," she says. "I've learned so much about her…this girl had pride. She didn't share everything. We didn't know how painful it was for her. As she grew and got the courage to share, she shared it with us."

Carole says she's not surprised that Liz has become a guru of sorts. "This girl was the guru in fourth grade and ninth grade and twelfth grade. She has always touched people," Carole says.

"That's why I've never made a single mistake with my entire life," Liz jokes. "Even in fourth grade, I knew everything!"
Lisa says she also had a 'bathroom floor moment.'

When Lisa came into her 30s, she says she felt pressured to get married and have a family. "So I moved across the country to follow that path. When I got there, I realized I was in the wrong place with the wrong person, and I had many, many nights on the bathroom floor," she says. "So I made the decision to leave. I came back and have watched countless friends get married and have babies, and I've always wondered if I made the right decision."

That is, until she found Eat, Pray, Love. "I felt free," she says. "I felt free of that burden and I felt like I knew that I made the right decision. I felt inspired to live a better life."

In the book, Liz enrolls in Italian language classes. That inspired Lisa to also expand her horizons. "Before I even got all the way through Italy [in the book], I enrolled in a Spanish immersion program at Dartmouth for 10 days," Lisa says.
Elizabeth Gilbert

Liz says she's delighted, honored, humbled and amazed that her book has affected so many lives. "I wrote this book to kind of create a word ladder to pull myself out of a very deep hole," she says. "I don't need that ladder anymore, so it's just sitting there in book form. To think that other people are now using it to tip it up against their dreams and kind of climb on up there is just incredibly touching."

Find more pleasure in your life!
FROM: Why We Can't Stop Talking About Eat, Pray, Love!
Published on January 01, 2006


Next Story