Eat Pray LOVE

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
~Marcel Proust
Hansel and I planned to go see Eat Pray Love together. But I couldn’t wait, and honestly–I felt like I needed to see this movie alone. So Saturday I purchased some expensive dark chocolate, a fancy bottled water, and I sat in the back of a semi-empty room to watch a movie I was sure was not going to be as good as the book–but was banking on it to be a delight for my eyes and heart.
A year ago I read the book…and I liked it. But that wasn’t why I needed to be alone during the viewing….it was Italy.
Going to see a movie where I know Italy will be a main character is like going to a party and knowing your ex-boyfriend that you are still in love with will be there.
It’s titillating and aching all at the same time.
I miss Italy, and lately, I have been missing it something fierce.
When I was 26 years old, I too had myself a little Eat Pray Love in Italy. I went for a month–by myself–backpacking from one hostel to the next. I had no real reason to go–other then it was my lifetime dream, the tickets were cheap, and my boss was nice enough to give me the time off. When I got there–I had no idea how to speak Italian and no plan on where to go except I knew I needed to be in Florence.
Awww Florence.
It was an adventure…a journey…and one that opened doors that I have ventured through and onto new journeys. It was a place I too got over a broken heart, and ate lots of food, and laughed, and met the most interesting people from all over the world. It was a place I took long naps in the ancient ruins. It was a place I wrote for hours and hours about a waiter named Carlo. It was a place that I felt close to God in a sparkly but comforting kind of way. It was a place that I left some things of my past written in tiny notes around the city—so I could give them a home (or maybe for safe keeping). It was a place where I decided that my life would always be a journey. That I would live from this core of trust from here on out.
Seeing Italy in Eat Pray Love made me yearn for that part of me. The part of me that loves to roam aimlessly—as if she was something foreign to the “me” I am now.
Seeing Italy–and watching Julia Robert’s interpretation of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Italy—was like standing under a waterfall. It felt exhilerating and painful all at the same time. My mind couldn’t just watch—it kept figuring out ways—it was listing all my belongings on Craig’s list–it was searching for airline tickets–and wondering who would watch my pets. My mind was creating a new life for me–because of course, it has to be better–to go back to Italy–and start a new journey again.
Thank goodness Elizabeth Gilbert leaves Italy and the movie progresses, I don’t know if I would have made it home or if I would have stayed in that theater wallowing in my own memories.
As a movie, it was sweet to watch Elizabeth Gilbert’s journey unfold with the actual beautiful scenery–instead of the one I saw in my head reading it. And honestly, I am not writing a movie review–I am not writing to share an opinion on if it was this or that.
I liked it–just for what it was–and it spoke to me.
Yes, yes…thank goodness Elizabeth Gilbert leaves Italy. I had to see her leave and keep moving to know that the journey has nothing to do with the moving landscape, the changing climate, the differences in food, or the hotness in men.
The journey has everything to do with the soul that is taking it. The eyes that are perceiving it.
Once that started to settle into my skin, I felt more at ease. I let go of all my romantic visions of a romp around a foreign country again.
I don’t need Italy to roam aimlessly and feel free. I don’t need an airline ticket as validation for transformation and excitement to manifest in my day to day life.
I just need to show up to my own life. {period}.
And get to fully know and discover me.
Ancient ruins, marigolds, and tropical wildlife are all just background—I can admire and yes–crave their presence…but they are only there as landmarks to mark the journey we each must make….if we really choose to, that is.
I’m glad I saw Eat Pray Love. I’m happy to know Elizabeth Gilbert–in this superficial kind of way–it’s comforting to know that there are others out there searching…for self acceptance…for LOVE…for the divinity in ourselves…for the excitement in life…and the passion in our souls.
I just needed a reminder that there is a time and place for each kind of journey. Italy is part of what shaped me into who I am today. And maybe Italy will be a part of a later part of me as well. But now, I embrace the journey I am on–one that is rich and romantic and full of beauty and great things to be in awe of.
One that many times feels like roaming aimlessly.
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