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Eat, Pray, Love is an Odd and Enchanting Adventure of Personal Growth
Written By: Mark Smith


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Managing Abandonment  Issues Through Recovery
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I loved Elizabeth Gilbert’s book! It was a quirky and brilliant idea for a book and more importantly as a healing and recovery process for the author after a failed marriage and an even more painful shattered love affair. I love how open Elizabeth was in wrestling with her inner demons. People don’t want to be preached to from on high from experts with all the answers. They respond so much better to flawed, humble, broken human beings sharing their uneven journeys with humor and grace. Our style here has always been to share from our brokenness and our pain. Fortunately I’m screwed up in so many creative ways that I have a great deal of expertise on a lot of issues. Our heroine starts her pilgrimage in Italy. Her goal is to eat, eat, eat! Some of her descriptions of the food is pure, delightful poetry. She found the world’s best pizza after getting the following recommendation from a friend. ”Please go to this pizzeria. Order the margherita pizza with double mozzarella. If you do not eat this pizza when you are in Naples, please lie to me and tell me that you did. — ‘Giovanni’ in Eat, Pray, Love” I think that I gained a few pounds just from listening to this book on my IPod. The Italian leg of the journey was about having a healthy sense of entitlement. It was about celebrating life and friends and the many joys that are available to us. There was also a delicious focus on the love Elizabeth developed for learning the Italian language. She wrote…”Every word was a singing sparrow, a magic trick, a truffle for me. The words made me laugh in delight.” Her healing was well on its way due to the healing powers of both amazing food and amazing words.


The next step in Gilbert’s journey is an ashram in India. She spent four months cleaning floors, praying, meditating and seeking God. I imagine that she lost some weight too. I love how proactive Elizabeth is in the process of her own recovery work. She wrote…”Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.” That is basically what I tell all of my clients. You are responsible for your own happiness. Your unhappiness is NOT the fault of your spouse. Elizabeth wrote “Devotion is diligence without assurace…If faith were rational, it wouldn’t be by definition-faith…Faith is walking face-first and full speed into the dark.” This section of the book will push you to think about God and it will have you talking to Him as well.


The third and final stop is Bali where she mets an older Brazilian man. They begin a sizzling and tender affair that further stretches Elizabeth to balance, intimacy, taking risks, loving well and having a physical side. She writes…”A soul mates purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life, then introduce you to your spiritual master…” Yep! I wish that I could write it that well. Love shows up in your life to break you, to teach you, to heal you and to re-invent you. It is not easy. It is painful and it is hard work. Learn from your marriage, even if it is now long over.


The movie comes out on Friday starting Julia Roberts – I can’t wait. I’m going to catch the late show first night. Julia Roberts is perfect for the part. This isn’t just chick flick stuff guys. Guys needs to grow especially with words, intimacy, spirituality, sensuality, love, depth, connection and romance. The book and the movie will help you with that.



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This article was authored by Family Tree Counseling Associates, a marriage, individual and family counseling center serving the Indianapolis, Carmel, Fishers, Westfield and Noblesville communities in Indiana. If you would like to contact us, please fill out a contact us form or call us at 317-844-2442.
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