FC: Eat Pray Love, and the Monomyth By: Gabrielle Beaudry
2: The Call For Liz, a seemingly content married American in her early thirties living in New York, the call is when she finds herself at 3:00 am on her bathroom floor, on her knees, sobbing. Liz has found herself to be ambivalent and anxious in her marriage. She doesn't know what she wants in life or in her relationships. She is contemplating divorce. She noticed that she had reached a state of hopelessness and despair and that sometimes people in this state approach God for help(Gilbert, 15). She has never been particularly religious, but in this moment of desperation, she starts to pray. In response to her call for help, a higher power's voice tells her to go back to bed. This religious conversation (Gilbert, 16) sparks her journey to bring herself closer to God.
4: Crossing the Threshold Liz is in the process of overcoming an ugly divorce and a dramatic "rebound" relationship with David (quickly followed by depression), and she decides to, in an effort to bring herself closer to God and find balance in her life, take a yearlong journey to three destinations. Each of the three places, Italy, India, and Indonesia, are traditionally known for either the art of pleasure (Italy), the art of devotion (India), or the art of balance (Indonesia). Liz is considered to "cross the threshold" when she sets foot in Italy to at the start of her journey. It is in Italy that she focuses on the kind of healing and peace that can only come from solitude.(Gilbert, 8)
7: Supernatural Aid During Liz and David's relationship, David introduced Liz to his spiritual teacher, an Indian Guru. The introduction of whom, sparked a new-found adventure of spiritual discipline (Gilbert, 24) for Liz. This Guru is considered her supernatural aid because of Liz's desire to have a spiritual teacher, a source of divinity in her life. The Indian Guru soon becomes this for Liz when Liz starts to attend her gatherings in New York. Growing attached to this Guru, she involves herself in meditating every morning on the ancient Sanskrit mantra (prayer): Om Namah Shivayah. This chant means : I honor the divinity that resides within me (Gilbert, 25). This Guru is also a contributing factor as to why Liz voyages to India; the Guru's Ashram is in India.
8: Road of Trials Throughout Liz's journey, she experiences many hardships and challenges that ultimately lead to her reaching her goal. Among some of these difficulties is letting go of David. She engaged in a dramatic and unhealthy relationship with him after her divorce (the trial that led to the journey), and while in Italy, writes him that she needs to be on her own for the coming months. Overcoming that relationship made her more self-aware and prepared for her journey. Another trial is her challenging devotion to meditation at the Ashram in India. She claims her mind cannot hold still, and that she is "not good" at meditating (Gilbert, 131). She is burdened with what the Buddhists call "monkey mind" (Gilbert, 132). After tiresome tries at this form of devotion, she wants to give in to feeling hopeless, but her Guru encourages her by saying," ...you should never give yourself a chance to fall apart because, when you do, it becomes a tendency and happens over and over again. You must practice staying strong instead." (Gilbert, 137) I think that this trial in particular helped guide her to her spiritual destination by the end of the book.
10: The Goddess Liz's last country in her journey was Bali. A few years prior to her divorce, she had traveled to Bali on business and met a healer named Ketut Liyer, who told her she would come back to Bali later in life to stay with him for a few months to improve his English. It was through Ketut that Liz (while indeed revisiting Bali and staying with him) met Wayan, another Balinese healer. During their first encounter, Wayan is healing an infected cut of Liz's, and they bond over the fact that they are both divorcées. Wayan escaped an abusive marriage, and with her daughter, Tutti, started over. They move often, and scrounge up their savings to make their new life function even if it is unstable. Even this unstable and humble life is better than the broken married life they experienced before, and because Wayan can be with Tutti, she finds happiness. Wayan can be considered a Goddess because of what she indirectly gave to Liz. Wayan's newfound happiness provokes Liz to recognize and be grateful for her own. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort..You must participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you've achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. (Gilbert, 260) This state of contentment and appreciation is a necessary part of accomplishing her overall goal.
11: Apotheosis During one of Liz and Wayan's lunches together, Liz sees Tutti perched on a blue tile. Wayan explains that Tutti found the tile and dreams of one day having a permanent home with a blue tile floor(Gilbert, 272). This explanation of hope and innocence evokes an immediate need for Liz to help. That day, she sends a mass e-mail to friends and family asking for help in her project: to raise enough money for Wayan, Tutti, and the two orphans Wayan has taken in, to build/buy their own house. By the end of that same week, Liz has collected $18,000. so at the near-end of her journey to find herself, she experiences her apotheosis. She induces a miracle of selflessness, an act of generosity that ultimately, her journey has lead up to. Her focuses on her self-development for almost a year prepare her for this miracle. She would not have been capable of this right after her divorce, or before she visited Bali to find balance and met Wayan.
12: Master of Two Worlds The despair of her divorce and lack of a divine faith had carried Liz to a place of panicking hopelessness, depression, and loneliness. After her journey through Italy, she had learned to indulge in pleasure and experience "the art of doing nothing". She regained her dignity through the idea that the appreciation of pleasure can be an anchor of one's humanity (Gilbert, 115). In India, she found divine grace through devotion to meditation and discipline. In Bali, she learned to balance her worldly enjoyment and her faith. The Balinese are known for their ability to balance customs, ceremonies ,and rituals. She practiced this balance with Ketut, who furthered her learning on meditation, and Wayan, who taught her a great deal about happiness. She even found herself accepting a new romance, Felippe. She learns to balance her new understandings and mastery of pleasure, happiness, devotion, and divinity and has finished her journey.
15: Works Cited (Gilbert,15,16) (Gilbert,8) (Gilbert,24,25) (Gilbert,131,132,137) (Gilbert,260) (Gilbert,272) (Gilbert,115)
16: Works Cited Anandamayi Ma. Suite 101. Web. 15 Nov. 2011.
17: Meditation. Miller-McCune.Web.15 Nov. 2011.