Boy am I glad I discovered this book.
Seems the author and I have much in common, although sometimes in the opposites. Like her divorce that went all wrong. Every divorce is about pain but not every divorce gets really ugly. Although mine was the one the author would probably wish for, we seem to have gotten to the same point when one really doesn’t know any longer what life is about and how to live it. I am extremely glad E. Gilbert did not take the path a couple of Swedish female writers recently did – writing a book on the misery of their relationships with revealing details, real names and all, a desperate attempt to “pay back” in any way one can when one got enough strength to respond. (Cannot help but wonder if something like this really made them feel better.) Instead of wishing the ex to change or drowning in self hate and guilt, E. G. embarks on a fascinating journey to the three I’s – Italy, India and Indonesia (Bali) – and in the end, to the core of her heart.
Aside from the informative and very entertaining pieces of information on the cultures, languages and societies, the book turned out to be sort of a check list for me: when the main character is pondering over one metaphysical question after another and shares her findings and the choices she makes, I find myself trying to answer those exact questions which is very helpful when one is questioning one’s very way of looking at the world and relating to it and to oneself. Interestingly but probably not at all surprisingly, our answers often differ but the difference is in the forms, the tools.
A few of my favourite bits and pieces.
On letting go of someone who might just be one’s soul mate.
“… Your problem is you don’t understand what that word means. People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that’s holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then they leave… “.
Kinda offers a whole new perspective of looking at relationships that don’t work but we won’t let go because we truly believe we two, we are meant to be.
On chasing time and how life can drive one to death
“…I don’t know that I have much of a choice, though. I have searched frantically for contentment for so many years in so many ways, and all of these acquisitions and accomplishments – they run you down at the end. Life, if you keep chasing it so hard, will drive you to death. Time – when pursued like a bandit – will behave like one; always remaining one county or one room ahead of you… At some point you have to stop because it won’t. You have to admit that you can’t catch it. That you’re not supposed to catch it. At some point…you gotta let go and sit still and allow contentment to come to you…”
“Letting go, of course, is a scary enterprise for those of us who believe that the world revolves only because it has a handle on the top of it which we personally turn, and that if we were to drop this handle for even a moment, well – that would be the end of the universe. .. Sit quietly for now and cease your relentless participation…”