Eat Pray Love: A Life Lesson on Happiness


Image credit: François Duhamel, Columbia Pictures

After devouring author Elizabeth Gilbert's memoir, Eat Pray Love, I was psyched to see it live on the big screen. I fell in love with Gilbert's post-divorce life story, and her thirst for self-discovery that hurtled her to far-reaching points of the globe in search of awakening her hunger for life (in Italy), her spirit (in India) and trust of love (in Bali).

So what does this "chick flick" have to do with the green movement? For me, everything. The film explores the idea that genuine happiness often contradicts blind consumerism. Layered within the major story threads, the postcard-perfect locales, the food porn, and the eye-candy of Julia Roberts (playing Gilbert) and Javier Bardem (her Brazilian hottie), are subtle life messages that tie into the great green dialogue of living simply--and as a natural result of that, living happily.

Some of my favorite key lessons from the film:

1. Divorced like Gilbert, or not, we all deserve to search deep within ourselves to find out what it is that would make life more meaningful. If that means shedding an unfulfilling marriage, like it does for Gilbert, so be it. At my happiest times, I've found myself less likely to excessively shop, eat, drink, etc.--and I heard my body and planet silently thanking me.

2. Prepare yourself. Friends, family, and peers, even if with the best of intentions, can have the tendency to talk us out of finding--and owning--our happiness. Gilbert comes face to face with the weighed in opinions of friends and family when making the decision to take a year off to travel. She listens to them--but then rightfully trusts her inner calling.

3. Engagement, a shiny rock of a ring, marriage, babies and strollers are not prerequisites for happiness and fulfillment for Gilbert--nor for many of us--despite what society spoon feeds (i.e., "A diamond lasts forever.") Instead of persuading Gilbert to have a child of her own, her friend refreshingly reminds her that having a baby is like getting a tattoo on your forehead. "Make sure your committed." With overpopulation a serious reality, it was a breath of fresh air hearing women discusses babies as something other than an accessory.

Yes, as Gilbert's story suggests, finding out what brings us our bliss takes time - but learning how to sit quietly with ourselves aids in the journey to fulfillment. In the film, Gilbert learns how to incorporate daily meditation with the help of an ashram stay in India and a guru in Bali. But as she concludes in the end, the journey need not be external, self-transformation can happen internally, too. It need not take thousands of miles of travel to India or otherwise.

Just think of all the carbon emissions saved!

More on Happiness:
Happiness: No Purchase Necessary, Says Study
You CAN Shop For Happiness...But The Purchases Aren't "Stuff"
Relinquishment Can Be Fun! Redefining the Pursuit of Happiness to Create a Greener World

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