Category Archives: Eat Pray Love series

Love

Sorry for my brief hiatus. I was trying to get things wrapped up and turned in to finish up my summer classes (I’m officially 1/3 of the way done with grad school!), and then I was stumped about how to write this post. Ironically, this was the only post I had left in my “Eat, Pray, Love” series when my boyfriend and I ended our eleven-month relationship this weekend. I almost thought about just abandoning the series and not writing about love. I thought I had nothing positive to say, that I didn’t understand love after all, that it wasn’t even something I wanted to write about. I felt defeated and the self-imposed pressure to write this seemed like it would be too much. But in fact, I’ve learned a lot about love these past couple days.

For now, this is my working idea of love. I don’t claim to be wise or all-knowing. In fact, quite the contrary. I’m only 21 years old (I’ll be 22 in 22 days), and I’ve only ever been in one relationship that did not last. But this is what I’m working with right now.

Love is truly seeing the soul of a person and adoring that soul.

Love is wanting the absolute best for someone.

Love is unconditional.

Love is a verb. It’s the choice to look past your own selfishness and pour your compassion, understanding, and support into another.

Love is recognizing the flaws but appreciating that they are part of that soul you love.

I’m just beginning to learn to feel love for myself, to be bold enough and strong enough to pour all the goodness I have to give into myself instead of desperately seeking that assurance and support from others.

“Later that day I got to thinking about relationships. There are those that open you up to something new and exotic, those that are old and familiar, those that bring up lots of questions, those that bring you somewhere unexpected, those that bring you far from where you started, and those that bring you back. But the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the you you love, well, that’s just fabulous.” -Sex and the City

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,but have not love, it profits me nothing.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13

Pray

For the “Pray” portion of this series, I was going to write about my own spirituality and religious beliefs. I’ve decided instead to take a different approach because that is such a personal subject and often can be something that divides rather than connects. I’m open about my beliefs with those I love and am close to, but I don’t think the Internet is where I want to express them.

Instead, here is one of my favorite poems about prayer. I love that it takes prayer out of its polarizing religious contexts and instead looks at it as an attitude of thankfulness. Enjoy!

“Thanks” by W.S. Merwin

Listen
with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridge to bow from the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water looking out
in different directions

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you
in a culture up to its chin in shame
living in the stench it has chosen we are saying thank you

over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the back door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks that use us we are saying thank you
with the crooks in office with the rich and fashionable
unchanged we go one saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us
our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us like the earth
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving
dark though it is

Eat

Food. Oh, the depth of the love-hate relationship I have with food. Like countless other American women, I think I could write a book about my relationship with eating. At this point in my life, I’m at a much healthier place in regards to my attitudes toward food than I’ve ever had before. I look at food as something to be enjoyed, something to nourish my body, and something to share with others.

This is definitely a new thing though! Before this time last year, going all the way back to when I was about 16, I had a really strange and unhealthy relationship with food. I didn’t have an eating disorder, but my attitudes toward eating were pretty messed up. To me, foods were either “good” or “bad.” If I ate “good” foods, there was a possibility that I could lose weight, so I was good. If I ate “bad” foods, I would likely gain weight, so I was bad. I never really paid any attention to the portions of what I ate, and if I wanted to be bad, I was really bad, eating a giant ice cream sundae instead of just a scoop. I rarely felt like being good, and in turn talked down to myself in my head all the time about how awful and fat I was.

I finally got past all that when I worked at a camp last summer. I wanted to lose weight before I got to camp and had been trying for years, so to say it wasn’t a concern of mine at camp would be lying. But the busier I was with friends, campers, and having fun, the less I thought about my weight. The more I ran around because it was fun and ate cereal instead of cinnamon rolls in the morning because that choice made my body feel good. The “good/bad” food dichotomy and the judgment I put on myself in response to it melted away. As did a few pounds!

Not that I always have 100% healthy attitudes or eating habits now. There are days when I still view food as the enemy. BUT I have come A LONG way from the obsession and self-judgment I used to have in regards to food. Now, I listen to my body. For the most part, my body asks for healthy food, and a lot of water. When I eat sweets or junk food, my body asks that the portions are reasonable and not gluttonous. And when it’s someone’s birthday, my body always asks for cake.

I ran across this video this week, and encourage anyone who has either had unhealthy attitudes toward food or knows someone who has to watch it and take its message to heart.

Upcoming: Eat, Pray, Love series

Buzz for the upcoming movie version of Elizabeth Gilbert’s best seller Eat, Pray, Love is starting to build, and I am beyond excited. I LOVE the book so much that I’ve read it three times (a record for me, the most I’ve read any other book is twice), and the movie version looks fantastic. You can check out the trailer below:

In anticipation of the movie coming out, I’ve decided to do a series of Eat, Pray, Love themed posts. Each will reflect on either eating/food/body image, prayer/spirituality, or love/romance/for all mankind/as a verb.

I am SWAMPED with schoolwork right now (who said grad school would be easy?), but as soon as I can bite off a little piece of time I will start this series. I’m really looking forward to it and hope you stop back by to check it out, or subscribe via email (there’s a link to do this on your right!) to see when I’ve published something new.