Today, I watched Eat, Pray, Love. I had watched it once, several years ago, I liked it, but didn’t love it. So, I was surprised at how much it resonated with me today. Watching Julia Roberts’ character, Liz, was like watching myself. Her circumstances were different, though similar. She was married, then divorced. The feelings of being lost, trapped in a life she didn’t belong in, her own identity so far buried that she no longer knew who she was. I know this soul-gripping feeling first-hand. Her love, for writing and for travel. Her determination to find, become and express her true self. Did the author of this book somehow see into my own future?
Her first stop was Italy (naturally). Her love of the language, the scenery, the food, and the instant affect it had on her happiness resonated with me. I also know this soul-changing experience first hand. At one point, in an Italian lesson, she tells her tutor, “Let me teach you a word” picks up a bottle of wine and says “Therapist”. This makes me laugh as it is something I would say… probably have… several times!
I found my own joy nearly re-incarnated watching her find happiness in her travels. There is a pleasure in a beautiful vista, in the warmth of the sun, a glass of wine, in having new experiences. There was one line in the movie where she was contemplating her life and said,
We all want things to stay the same. Settle for living in misery because we are afraid of change.
I believe this can be true. The familiar monster is scarier than the unknown. But is the unknown better? Sometimes the transition stage isn’t comfortable. Sometimes, when you strive for ‘more’, when you work towards your goals and dreams, it feels like an uphill battle. But yet, there is a sense of happiness in the pursuit. The character in the movie, Liz, looked around at the ruins in Rome. The stories they held and their ability to still stand. She likened them to her life:
Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation.
I don’t believe there is always one path. It doesn’t always have to be through hard times. But we all face difficult seasons at one point or another, and we have the capacity to view the moments or circumstance that cause us pain, or hurt, or hardship, as a catalyst to transformation.