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This end felt like "The culmination of me", if there is a phrase that can capture the true space I was in at this point. What a roller coaster! I am ready now. As with the previous two parts, they are simply quotes from the book written in prose form. If you have not read this book as a grown woman coming into herself, I sincerely and highly recommend it. 


“Am I young and beautiful? I thought I was old and divorced.” 

So he will teach me an easy meditation. Which goes, essentially, like this: “sit in silence and smile.”

"Why they always look so serious in Yoga? You make serious face like this, you scare away good energy. To meditate, only you must smile. Smile with face, smile with mind, and good energy will come to you and clean away dirty energy. Even smile in your liver. Not to hurry, not to try too hard. Too serious, you make you sick. You can calling the good energy with a smile."

“Good. This smile will make you beautiful woman. This will give you power of to be very pretty. You can use this power—pretty power! —to get what you want in life.”

“Man is a demon, man is a god. Both true.” This is nature of world. This is destiny. Worry about your craziness only—make you in peace.

“I did everything I could,” she said. “I try everything before I got a divorce, praying every day. But I had to go away from him. "I never tell anybody these things before about my divorce,” she told me. “But my life is heavy, too much sad, too much hard. I don’t understand why life is so hard.” Then I did a strange thing. I took both the healer’s hands in mine and I said with the most powerful conviction, “The hardest part of your life is behind you now, Wayan.” 

I keep remembering one of my Guru’s teachings about happiness. She says that people universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you’re fortunate enough. But that’s not how happiness works.

Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. If you don’t, you will leak away your innate contentment. It’s easy enough to pray when you’re in distress but continuing to pray even when your crisis has passed is like a sealing process, helping your soul hold tight to its good attainments.

I asked. “Then how can you tell the difference between heaven and hell?” “Because of how you go. Heaven, you go up, through seven happy places. Hell, you go down, through seven sad places. This is why it better for you to go up, Liss.” He laughed. 

“That’s because you have bad memory problem. You don’t remember anymore how nice is sex. I used to have bad memory problem, too, when I was married. Every time I saw a handsome man walking down the street, I would forget I had a husband back home.” She nearly fell over laughing. Then she composed herself and concluded, “Everybody need sex, Liz.” 

Armenia laughed, but then seemed to consider the question seriously and answered, “Well, I always tried to look nice and be feminine even in the war zones and refugee camps of Central America. Even in the worst tragedies and crisis, there’s no reason to add to everyone’s misery by looking miserable yourself. That’s my philosophy. This is why I always wore makeup and jewelry into the jungle—nothing too extravagant, but maybe just a nice gold bracelet and some earrings, a little lipstick, good perfume. Just enough to show that I still had my self-respect.”

“Why does suffering never end?” Wayan asked. She wasn’t crying, merely posing a simple, unanswerable and weary question. “Why must everything be repeat and repeat, never finish, never resting? You work so hard one day, but the next day, you must only work again. You eat, but the next day, you are already hungry. You find love, then love go away. You are born with nothing—no watch, no T-shirt. You work hard, then you die with nothing—no watch, no T-shirt. You are young, then you are old. No matter how hard you work, you cannot stop getting old.”

Here are the facts: Single mom, precocious child, hand-to-mouth business, imminent poverty, virtual homelessness. Where will she go? This little group of people in Bali had become my family, and we must take care of our families wherever we find them.

“Should we have an affair together, Liz? What do you think?” I liked everything about the way this was happening. Not with an action—not with an attempted kiss or a daring move—but with a question. And the correct question, too. 

“For another thing, I think I know what you’re worried about. Some man is going to come into your life and take everything from you again. I won’t do that to you, darling. I’ve been alone for a long time, too, and I’ve lost a great deal in love, just like you have. I don’t want us to take anything from each other. It’s just that I’ve never enjoyed anyone’s company as much as I enjoy yours, and I’d like to be with you. And as for all those reasons you told me a few weeks ago that you didn’t want to take a lover . . . Well, think of it this way. I don’t care if you shave your legs every day, I already love your body, you’ve already told me your entire life story and you don’t have to worry about birth control—I’ve had a vasectomy.” 

I have a history of making decisions very quickly about men. I have always fallen in love fast and without measuring risks. I have a tendency not only to see the best in everyone, but to assume that everyone is emotionally capable of reaching his highest potential. I have fallen in love more times than I care to count with the highest potential of a man, rather than with the man himself, and then I have hung on to the relationship for a long time (sometimes far too long) waiting for the man to ascend to his own greatness. Many times in romance I have been a victim of my own optimism.

I have no nostalgia for the patriarchy, please believe me. But what I have come to realize is that, when that patriarchic system was (rightfully) dismantled, it was not necessarily replaced by another form of protection. What I mean is—I never thought to ask a suitor the same challenging questions my father might have asked him, in a different age. I have given myself away in love many times, merely for the sake of love. And I’ve given away the farm sometimes in that process. If I am to truly become an autonomous woman, then I must take over that role of being my own guardian. Famously, Gloria Steinem once advised women that they should strive to become like the men they had always wanted to marry. What I’ve only recently realized is that I not only have to become my own husband, but I need to be my own father, too.

My friend Annie says it all comes down to one simple question: “Do you want your belly pressed against this person’s belly forever—or not?”

“No, sex is funny,” she went on. “Make people do funny things. Everyone gets like this, at the beginning of love. Wanting too much happiness, too much pleasure, until you make yourself sick. Even to Wayan this happens at beginning of love story. Lose balance.”

“To lose balance sometimes for love is part of living a balanced life.”

Zen Buddhists say that an oak tree is brought into creation by two forces at the same time. Obviously, there is the acorn from which it all begins, the seed which holds all the promise and potential, which grows into the tree. Everybody can see that. But only a few can recognize that there is another force operating here as well—the future tree itself, which wants so badly to exist that it pulls the acorn into being, drawing the seedling forth with longing out of the void, guiding the evolution from nothingness to maturity. In this respect, say the Zens, it is the oak tree that creates the very acorn from which it was born.

In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.

Eat, Pray, Love 


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