Lessons From Eat, Pray, Love”

I’d heard that life can be gut-wrenching. I never imagined I would experience living while feeling like I’m dying. I never questioned God’s mere existence till 2019 when I lost my daughter. I am still recovering and rediscovering how I fit into God’s perfect plan. I am still learning how to give myself grace.

So, how does the movie, “Eat, Pray. Love” fit in?

I woke up feeling “off” for lack of a better word. I flipped through Netflix and found the movie “Eat, Pray, Love.” I just discovered that this movie was based on a memoir. Insert facepalm here. I watched it years ago and remembered it being a movie of self-discovery, empowerment, taking chances, and living in the moment. It seemed like an excellent inspirational rewatch.


I WAS RIGHT!


It reminded me of a plan I made in my twenties; marry a wealthy man, have children, write a bestselling novel and become a high school teacher. Yet, I had a contingency plan. If by a certain age, I did not have what I wanted, I planned to move to another country and explore the world. Perhaps, I would be a missionary or take a teaching job abroad. Who knows. I think it was my way of saying if I could not have my original dream, I’d take control and be dramatic about it. I am high-fiving my twenty-something self for that.


In the movie “Eat, Pray, Love,” Julia Roberts’ character goes on a year-long sabbatical of self-discovery to three different countries. While in Italy, she vents to a group of Italians how she feels guilty because she is in Italy, and all she has done is eat and learn a few Italian words. The Italian man exclaims,

“you feel guilty because you are American and don’t know how to enjoy yourself….Americans know entertainment but don’t know pleasure.”

Eat.Pray.Love

That statement could not be more accurate! I stopped working during my last pregnancy, which was deemed high-risk. Despite always wanting to experience being a stay-at-home mom, I had difficulty adjusting to not working.

I realized I had been conditioned to believe that I was wasting time and money if I was not working a 9 to 5.


The Italian man continues his rant about how Americans will work themselves to breakdowns, have to be reminded to take breaks, and then feel guilty for taking those breaks. When did we become conditioned to believe that working a job or career is the only way to live? Now, I know we must make a living somehow.

Yet, how often do we live to work instead of work to live?

How often do we stay at mediocre jobs we hate because we think we have to? How many times have you pursued a job simply because of stability? If anything, living through a pandemic has taught us is nothing is guaranteed. So, why do we continually live in this bubble, believing it to be a safe zone? Another quote from the movie is,

“we settle for misery because we are afraid of change and ruin.”

Eat,Pray,Love

I have stayed at jobs, in toxic friendships and unhealthy relationships because it was familiar. And, I did not want to face the unknown aspect of change. I’m changing this. I wish to relinquish as much control as possible because

“Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation.”

How boring would a movie be if the character never went through any obstacles or lost something important? There would-be no catalyst for growth. That is what change, loss, and disappointment, and hard times give us. It tests our character and shows us grit and determination; it fuels hope. It also welcomes beauty for ashes. I refuse to leave this season of my life trapped in outdated thoughts. If I have to experience the lowest of lows in life, I want to reach the highest of highs too. I don’t want to limit myself to the false perceptions of stability and playing it safe. No, I want to experience life to the fullest. I owe that myself and the people around me. I owe that to my little girl.

What about you? Do you feel like you have a hard time adjusting to enjoying life without feeling guilty?

With Hope,

Ebby

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