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Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Eat, Pray, Love

Eat, Pray, Love is a well-known title of a 2006 book by Elizabeth Gilbert and a 2010 movie with Julia Roberts. The full book title is: Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia. It is about a married woman who realises how unhappy her marriage really is, and that her life needs to go in a different direction. After a painful divorce, she takes off on a round-the-world journey to "find herself" (source: IMDB).

To me this title has a different connotation. To me the 3 words symbolise the different stages one needs to go through after a dramatic - life altering - event (e.g., divorce). In my view Eat stands for the basic needs of life in order to stay alive, Pray is the spiritual stage in which one pleads for hope and direction, and Love is the final - emotional - stage in which one can open up one's heart again.

This topic has been on my blog topic list for a while now. I didn't really know how to approach it but never ever considered deleting it from my list of pending topics. To be honest I think I am still in phase 2 and I have no idea if - or when - phase 3 will arrive. Like in the movie (indeed as I didn't read the book), my defence mechanisms are still fully operational and have reached a remarkably sophisticated level. Few are able to come - and stay - close to me.

Love is a remarkable thing. Despite a marriage of many years and a subsequent 5 year relationship, I never knew the feeling of love until 52. I was lucky to experience it but it also set the threshold for the future. Today I fully realise that I prefer being alone rather than entering again into a new relationship with someone whom I merely like. Liking is just not enough anymore. Loving allows forgiving someone. Liking just doesn't do that trick. It just builds up irritation and frustration.

Ms Gilbert went to Italy (Eat), India (Pray) and to Bali, Indonesia (Love). I have been thinking about a similar kind of journey albeit only for stage 3. Stage 1 and 2 took place at my home although there is some discussion about the extent of my stage 1. I do enjoy food again although I still don't cook. However, eating is no longer a tool to survive.

I am not sure what is withholding me from moving towards stage 3 (Love). Perhaps stage 2 is not yet fully completed although I think it is. Moreover, I don't believe these stages are as sequential as the book and movie suggest. I am quite sure that stages 1 and 2 have been parallel for a while in my case. Therefore, there should be no restriction in my moving towards stage 3. Yet there is.

Something is keeping me "grounded" from embarking on my own journey. It has been bugging me for a while now. I feel I need to stay "here". One could of course argue that if stages 1 and 2 were "here" then stage 3 could also be "here". Yet I feel there is more reason to it.

The last time I ignored my feelings and left on a journey against my better judgement, I fell in love and got heartbroken for many, many months. On top of all other issues in my life at that point. Yes I did find love for the first time in my life at 52 though the price was high, very high, but not too high.

This time I will follow my inner feelings, stay "here", and see where it will lead to. The wind of change is blowing and will soon be arriving. So much is clear to me.

I am not in love but I'm open to persuasion....... (Joan Armatrading, Love and Affection, 1976)