Today I finished Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I read the book on the recommendation of a dear friend, Kathy. Actually, recommendation is not a strong enough term to describe what happened – she went out and bought me a copy of the book. I immediately started it and was in tears 35 pages in. It was on the strength of Kathy’s endorsement and my own emotional response that I kept reading despite the fact that women who have that Oprah devotee vibe about them ( the stewardess on the plane, a clerk in a grocery store and a certain Oprah-quoting woman who shall remain nameless were all reading the book at the same time I was) seem to respond strongly to this book. The snob in me runs screaming the other way at Oprah’s faux spirituality – fast food divinity served up in neat, tidy slogans – and makes me suspicious of anyone who fits into that niche.
Not so Elizabeth Gilbert. She is unabashedly raw, vulnerable, funny and incredibly moving as she bravely reveals her fears, faults, hopes and lofty aspirations ( like a desire to know god).
Now I have been less than a devoted yogi in the past months …and months, having injured myself twice and being that I’m going through a painful end to a long marriage, not unlike Gilbert herself. My spiritual path is deeply connected to my yoga practice and although I have tried to practice yoga in different ways besides asana, ultimately, the poses ground me and bring me back to a sacred place. When I am on the mat, I am reminded about what really matters and I can put things into a context that makes sense to me.
So here I am, reading this remarkable book, miles from home in Roberts Creek, British Columbia on a retreat to work with Japanese healer Minoru Sumimoto when I find this yoga teacher who specializes in therapeutic yoga. I took class with Marni ever day while I was in Roberts Creek, then went to the café and had a soy chai latte and wheat free, dairy free cupcake ( called a Ramone cake) and wrote in my journal until it was time to see Minoru. At night I read Eat, Pray, love and found my way back to yoga, back to my spiritual center, back to an almost giddy place of love and happiness.
I strongly suggest that anyone who reads this blog goes out and buys this book. It is a beautiful, wrenching, powerful story of one woman’s desire to reconcile all the disparate elements that made her “Liz” into a whole and content human being.
I finished the book – now dog-eared and underlined – with a renewed purpose. I have good work to do on my heart and soul every day. How will I ever be bored again?