I was a little behind the eight ball on seeing Eat Pray Love, but I finally got armed with a large bucket of popcorn and saw it. Sure, it was a little cliché here and there, but I thought Julia Roberts playing Liz was adorable and gorgeous, and the message about taking control of your destiny (like I wrote about in The Tightrope Walk of Negative Thinking) was spot on.
I suppose there are small subtle SPOILERS here, so if you haven’t seen the film yet, take heed. Here are my four favorite lessons:
1. Eating for your inside is more important than starving for your outside. I love love loved the scene in the pizza place in Naples where Liz and her friend Sofie are about to chow down on a pie. When Liz worries it’ll make her fatter, Liz goes on a rant about how sick she is of people holding back on the good things for fear of gaining weight. Then she says something like: Right now we’ll enjoy this, and tomorrow we’ll go buy bigger jeans. I feel like it’s a lesson that pertains to so much more than eating. It’s about taking in all good things, splurging with life a little. So what if the hot coffee barista who asked you out is ten years younger? If you’re single with no other commitments, live a little. Right now, enjoy the date and tomorrow you can get back on the serious relationship train. Eat all the pizzas and Napoleans and full-fat lattes of life!
2. Ashram statues don’t have all the answers. It took Richard from Texas to remind Liz that she’s not going to find all her answers in the meditation room in India; we have to find the answers within ourselves. Obvious? Yes. Worth repeating? Hells yeah. It’s like writing, too: People say that if they could only get away to some magical, inspiring place, then they’ll be able to start writing; but writing doesn’t come from the place, it comes from inside. So if you find yourself stalling instead of dealing with an issue that may be, say, holding you back from intimacy, stop looking everywhere else but at yourself. You are where change begins.
3. Bali is freaking beautiful. I don’t know about you, but I’ve put it on my list of Must-See places to visit.
4. Sometimes, it’s okay to pray. I say sometimes because many people don’t pray and for those people, I want to say; it’s okay. It doesn’t matter what God you choose—Catholic, Hindu, or an energy of the universe you want to call God—but sometimes life feels hard enough that it’s time to put your problems and your choices in someone or something else’s hands. This is why I was so moved by the scene before Liz ended her marriage, when she gave it up to God and asked for guidance. Marianne Williamson encourages doing this, and as uncomfortable as the idea might feel for you, if life seems heavy and hard and you cannot see an end to the pain or pressures, sit down, get quiet, and pray for an answer. Let guidance come to you.