Eat, Pray, Love {part 1}

I finally read “Eat, Pray, Love” while I was on vacation last week. I enjoyed reading it, but I don’t think it warranted all the hype it received since its release. (Do you?)

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Don’t get me wrong — I definitely understand why many people (women, in particular) identify with Liz through the crisis of her divorce and her path to self-discovery. For the most part, I enjoyed her writing style and her sense of humor (though I was pretty bored through the first half of Book Two/India). And of course, I’ll see the movie with Julia Roberts when it comes out, simply because it’s a chick flick starring Julia Roberts. Duh.

There were a few parts of the book that stood out to me, though. When Liz was in Italy, she learned the expression il bel far niente, which means “the beauty of doing nothing.” In addition to traditionally being known as hard workers, the Italians certainly know how to practice il bel far neinte, and they practice it well. Gilbert writes of this “cherished Italian ideal”:

“The beauty of doing nothing is the goal of all your work, the final accomplishment for which you are most highly congratulated. The more exquisitely and delightfully you can do nothing, the higher your life’s achievement.”

Even though she is immersed in this Italian lifestyle, Gilbert at first has a difficult time letting go and embodying il bel far neinte as effortlessly as those around her do. She chalks it up to the American stereotype of being overstressed and feeling insecure about “whether we have earned our happiness.”

This struck a chord with me because — as anyone who knows me can attest — I constantly feel guilty if I’m not doing something. Instead of allowing myself to relax, I will often feel guilty for not being productive. I have to make a concerted effort to do nothing (isn’t that an oxymoron?). Even on days when I could probably work for a few hours and then relax for a while as a result of what I have accomplished, I will often continue sitting in front of my computer, looking for things to do, just because I feel like I should. There have been a few occasions recently when I have thought to myself, what are you doing? You work for yourself. You don’t “have” to sit at this computer from 9 to 5. If you’re finished what you needed to work on, take a break!

A prime example of my craziness: last month, I scheduled a massage after Nick gave me a gift card to a nearby salon. Earlier that week before my appointment, I tweeted, “Finally scheduled a massage! I can’t wait to relax.” One of my best friends responded, “hahaha — you’re anxious to relax.”

Spot. On.

Story of my life.

It’s something I really have to work on — allowing myself to do nothing without feeling guilty, or without worrying that my to-do list will blow up if I don’t tackle everysingleitem right this minute. If I don’t blog for a few days, I will not lose all of my readers. (Will I??) If I can’t check email for a few hours, my clients won’t think I have fallen off the face of the earth. If I watch tv without multi-tasking, my brain cells will not rot away.

Do you have an easy time relaxing? How do you forget all of your troubles/responsibilities and just… be?

{Part two to come!}


  1. About two years ago I picked up Eat, Pray, Love and was extremely excited to read it (because of the hype). I love books, so I didn’t even think twice about reading it…until I started to actually read it. I could barely get through the fist several chapters. The writing style just wasn’t one that I enjoyed and the book was just dragging along for me. I rarely don’t finish a book, but this one has been sitting on my bookshelf for years. I think I’m just going to watch the movie.

  2. I think we were separated at birth. Seriously. ;)

    Love the new blog design!

  3. I’ve been wanting to read this book (probably because of all the hype) but now I REALLY want to read this book (because of your insights).

    I can totally relate to the not being able to relax thing and feeling guilty if I’m not being productive. Are there any women that are really capable of this?? If so, I’d like to meet her!

    PS: I followed you over from weddingbee…love your new design!

  4. I totally agree – did not live up to the hype at all. There were a lot of parts I could relate to but overall I found the book kind of annoying because it was so whiny.

  5. I couldn’t agree more. I don’t think it lived up to the hype at all. I couldn’t even get through the last ‘section’ and there are very few books that I haven’t been able to finish.

    In answer to your question, though, I’m really similar. I have the hardest time not stressing/worrying/thinking even when I’m supposed to be doing something relaxing. It’s so hard to turn my mind off.

  6. @Kim – thanks for following me over from WB! I’m super excited about the new design and I hope it motivates me to come up with some more exciting posts :)

    @Laura – yes, it’s all about turning my mind off. I wish I could relax as easily (and fall asleep as quickly!) as my husband!

  7. I bet part of the reason we didn’t connect with the book is that we are happily married women…in stable relationships.

  8. Pingback: Eat, Pray, Love {part 2} | Claremont Road

  9. Mensajes de Rechazo o de Ausencia NO: Otra vez, ver respuestas aneoritres en esta misma pe1gina.Y aunque se pudiera, NUNCA se debe responder a un SPAM, De hecho es una de las razones por las que se desactivaron las respuestas autome1ticas: demasiados usuarios ponedan respuestas a los spammers y como los spammers utilizan pre1cticamente siempre direcciones de remite falso, eso provocaba que nos catalogaran a NOSOTROS como spammers.Tal como se explica en otras entradas de este blog: desde la interfaz avanzada NO SE VEN los filtros puestos en la interfaz cle1sica; para verlos hay que (re)definirlos desde la interfaz avanzada (y al hacerlo se MACHACAN los definidos con la interfaz cle1sica y no se vere1n desde la interfaz cle1sica, pero funcionare1n en ambas). Cabecera X-Spam-Level” contiene la cadena “xxxx”’ quiere decir que af1adas un filtro (en la interfaz avanzada) poniendo en los campos correspondientes: cumplen alguna de las reglas siguientes , Cabecera , X-Spam-Level (sed, escribie9ndolo tal cual, respetando mayfasculas y deme1s), contiene la cadena , xxxx , Archiva el mensaje , INBOX/SPAM .Tal como se explica en otros lugares de este blog, el Thundebird es el cliente nativo asociado al SOGo (la interfaz avanzada). Es pues un cliente perfectamente recomendable; de hecho, es el me1s recomendable. Lo que NO es recomendable es usar POP3: siempre que sea posible, usar IMAP.

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