Love

The third section of Gilbert’s book might be the most challenging. Rather than discussing nebulous spiritual ideas, there’s quite a bit of mention of Hindu teaching and tradition. By now, Gilbert has moved to Bali, Indonesia and spends her time there helping a local medicine man practice his English speaking skills and make copies of his ancient, hand-written book of cures.

It’s also during this time that Gilbert finally makes peace with her very bitter divorce. I don’t understand those who feel that Eat, Pray, Love somehow glamorizes divorce, because Gilbert’s heartache over the her failed relationship shows up repeatedly. She doesn’t give a lot of details about the dynamics of her marriage, but I respect her for that. It isn’t my role or responsibility to figure out whether or not she should have gotten a divorce. The fact is that she did and her caused her great sorrow and grief.

Eventually, Gilbert falls in love with in love with her current husband, who is from Brazil. Their multi-cultural relationship creates as many questions as it does answers, but is only one example of the love that this section is named for.

Gilbert also meets a single Indonesian mom, Wayan, who is raising her daughter Tutti and also caring for two street orphans. However, Wayan does not own her home which means every few months she must pack up and move her entire household, which includes her healing business. In a culture where extended family + home = identity, being a single mom and moving often creates big problems, which Gilbert sets out to solve.
Taking advantage of electronic communication, Gilbert contacts everyone she knows and asks them to contribute to a fund which will allow Wayan to buy her own home. The response is beautiful and before Gilbert ends her time in Indonesia, Wayan, Tutti, and the girls have a new home.
This section left me with some questions that I’d like to share and ponder with you.
  • What is love? It’s easy to see Liz Gilbert falling in love with a Brazilian and say, “ah — l’amour! I wish I had that in my life!” How often do I use my resources to help someone who can’t afford to take care of their family?
  • Once again, I’m challenged by the amount of time Gilbert is able to spend in meditation and in exploring her spiritual life. I realize I have more responsibilities than Gilbert — I’m a wife, a mom of five, a librarian, a teacher, a social club sponsor, a daughter, a friend . . .but surely somewhere in there, I can carve out time for prayer and meditation if it’s really important to me. How do I do that? How do YOU do that?
  • If I could spend 4 months of life anywhere, doing anything, where would I do and what would I do? Where would you go and what would you do?
  • Branch it out even bigger: If you could design your own version of Eat, Pray, Love, where would you spend your pursuit of pleasure? Spirituality? Balance?
I’d really love to hear your answers. 🙂
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One thought on “Love

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  1. I recommended this book to an acquaintance after only reading sections Eat and Pray. The whole time I was reading Love, all I could think about was what she would think of me after reading this last section. Never again will I recommend a book until I've finished it. I'm not saying this because I was offended by the last section, but because I knew she would be.

    And you've posed some really good questions. I need to think about those.

    Like

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