Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
(Please please please go read this book for yourself. My summary here won’t do it justice, and I sincerely hope I do not insult the author by losing the magic of her writing by sharing my thoughts and her words here)
*****start of section in book*****
On chronicling the time elapsed between divorce, falling apart, losing everything, finding everything, and now, being free and alive…
“My unhappy mind was a battlefield of conflicted demons… I told all my warring and confused parts the same thing: we’re all here together, guys, all alone. And we’re going to have to work out some kind of deal for how to get along, or else everybody is going to die together, sooner or later….”
…All emotions and pain is caused by words. Find true silence to strip away the power of (negative) words… Then everything started coming up. In that state of silence, there was room now for everything hateful, everything fearful, to run across my empty mind. I felt like a junkie in detox, convulsing with the poison of what emerged. I cried alot. I prayed alot. It was difficult and it was terrifying. But this much I knew- I never didn’t want to be there…
and then healing… “This is it” I said to my mind. “This is your chance. Show me everything that is causing you sorrow. Let me see all of it. Don’t hold anything back.” One by one, the thoughts and memories of sadness raised their hands, stood up to identify themselves. I looked at each thought, at each unit of sorrow, “It’s ok. I love you. I accept you. Come into my heart now. It’s over.”
I would actually feel the sorrow (as if it were a living thing) enter my heart (as if it were an actual room). Then I would say, “next?” and the next bit of grief would surface. I would regard it, experience it, bless it, and invite it into my heart to. I did this will every sorrowful thought I’d ever had- reaching back into years of memory- until nothing was left.
Then I said to my mind, “show me your anger now.” One by one, my life’s every incident of anger rose and made itself known. Every injustice, every betrayal, every loss, every rage, I saw them all, one by one, and I acknowledged their existence. I felt each piece of anger completely, as if it were happening for the first time, and then I would say, “come into my heart now. You can rest there. It’s safe now. It’s over. I love you.” This went on for hours… and I swung between these mighty poles of opposite feelings, experiencing anger thoroughly for one bone rattling moment, and then experiencing total coolness, as the anger entered my heart as if through a door, laid itself down, curled up against its brothers, and gave up fighting.
Then came the most difficult part. “Show me your shame.” I asked my mind. Dear God, the horrors that I saw then. A pitiful parade of all my failures, my lies, my selfishness, jealousy, arrogance. “Show me your worst,” I said. When I tried to invite these units of shame into my heart, they each hesitated at the door, saying, “No, you don’t want me in there… don’t know you know what I did?” And I would say, “I do want you. Even you. I do. Even you are welcome here. It’s ok. You are forgiven. You are part of me. You can rest now. It’s over.”
When all this was finished, I was empty. Nothing was fighting in my mind anymore. I looked into my heart, at my own goodness, and saw its capacity. I saw that my heart was not even nearly full, not even after having taken in and tended to all those calamitous urchins of sorrow and anger and shame; my heart could have easily received and forgive even more, its love was infinite.
I knew then that this is how God loves us all, receives us all… Because if even one broken and limited human being could experience even one such episode of absolute forgiveness and acceptance of her own self, then imagine– just imagine!– what God, in all his eternal compassion, can forgive and accept.
My heart said to my mind, “I love you. I will never leave you. I will always take care of you.” I think about the woman I have become lately, about the life that I am now living, and about how much I always wanted to be this person and live this life, liberated from the farce of pretending to be anyone other than myself. I think of everything I have endured before getting here and wonder if it was me, I mean, this happy and balanced me–who pulled the other, younger, more confused and struggling me forward during all those years. The younger me was the acorn full of potential, but it was the older me, the already-existent oak, who was saying the whole time, “yes- grow! change! evolve! Come and meet me here, where I already exist in wholeness and maturity! I need you to grow into me!”
Right here, right to this moment. Where I was always waiting in peace and contentment, always waiting for here to arrive and join me.
***** end of section in book ********
I love this. It rings truth, right into my soul. I would like to be as wise and beautiful and eloquent and witty as the author. I also would like her insight and wisdom, and I am getting there, slowly, each day, little by little.
I also love the idea of protecting myself, inviting all my flaws into my heart, and keeping them safe. I had always wished for parents would would take care of me like that… who would love me, nurture me, tend me, keep me safe. Somehow I felt ‘not good enough’ since I never had that. But that was their inadequacies, not mine, really. So now the older me can nurture the younger me, and I shall treat me the way I wish to be treated. How lovely 🙂