A Prayer For Peace And Pasta

I awoke this morning to see a mourning dove couple sunning themselves on the fence. It’s a sure sign of Spring! This particular change in season tends to bring on a quest for personal renewal. Many of us try to refresh our spirit and hurry the warm temperatures with tropical vacations. If you don’t have your passport in order, I can suggest escaping it all by delving into a book like Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.

In this nonfiction novel the New York based travel journalist writes a personal account of her year long spiritual journey to the three I’s, namely, Italy, India and Indonesia. The reader shouldn’t expect this read to be anything like a tourist guide or one of those self-help books either. The book reads much like a diary. That being said, it’s no surprise that the author managed to fund her travels with an advance on the novel yet to be written. Well, lucky her, just jealousy talking here!
Throughout the course of the book Elizabeth spends most of her time eating, meditating and contemplating life more so than taking in the sights. She is on a soul- searching mission with the main purpose of healing herself. Coming off a long drawn out divorce, a failed rebound romance and a suicidal depression the author decides she needs to find some sort of balance to her existence. In her self- deprecating style Liz describes her depression with humor, "my life had gone to bits and I was so unrecognizable to myself that I probably couldn’t have picked me out of a police lineup." She begins her year of travel with a four month stay in Italy. It is here that Liz wants " to explore the art of pleasure in Italy"and learn to speak Italian to boot. She eventually drops out of language class and decides instead to learn from the locals and tour several restaurants in search of the best pizza in the world. It turned out to be in Naples, but I digress. Liz manages to leave Italy feeling full and a little less empty inside.
After her carb overload in Italy the author heads off to immerse herself "in the art of devotion in India." She checks herself into a yoga Ashram where she enjoys a cleansing vegetarian diet and prepares herself to be enlightened. Her whole state of seclusion in India could be described as an emotional and spiritual rehab of sorts. After much struggle to quiet her mind Liz discovers her own mantra and learns to meditate to a point of pure bliss. To tell you the truth, this section of the book dragged a bit for me. I guess I had to be there to "get it". Anyway, moving on. The author’s final destination is Indonesia, Bali to be more specific. She views this culture to be the utopian answer to her "pursuit of balance." This is where Liz tries to blend her desires to enjoy the pleasures of life with her need to stay spiritually connected.
The author’s view is not so much religious but spiritual in her outlook. As a reader, an interesting idea came up when the author noted the many people of differing faiths joined together for the similar purpose of reaching divine grace. She suggests the concept that all religions could fit together like pieces of a grander puzzle forming the picture of God.

Something to think about...
Wanda Lynne Young
A Prayer For Peace And Pasta was published in the April '07 issue of Real Women Magazine in the Reader's Corner column.