Monthly Archives: November 2010

Committed – Elizabeth Gilbert

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“To be fully seen by somebody, then, and be loved anyhow – this is a human offering that can border on miraculous.”

“People always fall in love with the most perfect aspects of each other’s personalities. Who wouldn’t? Anybody can love the most wonderful parts of another person. But that’s not the clever trick. The really clever trick is this: Can you accept the flaws? Can you look at your partner’s faults honestly and say, ‘I can work around that. I can make something out of it.’? Because the good stuff is always going to be there, and it’s always going to pretty and sparkly, but the crap underneath can ruin you.”

“You can measure the happiness of a marriage by the number of scars that each partner carries on their tongues, earned from years of biting back angry words.”

“Desiring another person is perhaps the most risky endeavor of all. As soon as you want somebody—really want him—it is as though you have taken a surgical needle and sutured your happiness to the skin of that person, so that any separation will now cause a lacerating injury.”

“Sometimes life is too hard to be alone, and sometimes life is too good to be alone.”

“The problem, simply put, is that we cannot choose everything simultaneously. So we live in danger of becoming paralyzed by indecision, terrified that every choice might be the wrong choice.”

“Real, sane, mature love—the kind that pays the mortgage year after year and picks up the kids after school—is not based on infatuation but on affection and respect.”

“A fish and a bird may indeed fall in love, but where shall they live?”

“When you have only two minutes to say good-bye to the person you love most in the world, and you don’t know when you’ll see each other again, you can become logjammed with the effort to say and do and settle everything at once.”

“Plant an expectation; reap a disappointment.” (Quoting an old adage)”

“Infatuation is not quite the same thing as love; it’s more like love’s shady second cousin who’s always borrowing money and can’t hold down a job.”

“My love affair with (him) had a wonderful element of romance to it, which I will always cherish. But it was not an infatuation, and here’s how I can tell: because I did not demand that he become my Great Emancipator or my Source of All Life, nor did I immediately vanish into that man’s chest cavity like a twisted, unrecognizable, parasitical homonculus. During our long period of courtship, I remained intact within my own personality, and I allowed myself to meet (him) for who he was.”

“There is no choice more intensely personal, after all, than whom you choose to marry; that choice tells us, to a large extent, who you are.”

“I’d learned enough from life’s experiences to understand that destiny’s interventions can sometimes be read as invitation for us to address and even surmount our biggest fears. It doesn’t take a great genius to recognize that when you are pushed by circumstance to do the one thing you have always most specifically loathed and feared, this can be, at the very least, an interesting growth opportunity.”

“Marriage is those two thousand indistinguishable conversations, chatted over two thousand indistuinguishable breakfasts, where intimacy turns like a slow wheel. How do you measure the worth of becoming that familiar to somebody—so utterly well known and so thoroughly ever-present that you become an almost invisible necessity, like air?”

“every healthy marriage is composed of walls and windows. The windows are the aspects of your relationship that are open to the world—that is, the necessary gaps through which you interact with family and friends; the walls are the barriers of trust behind which you guard the most intimatesecrets of your marriage.”

“With each reunion (we) had to learn each other all over again. There was always that nervous moment at the airport when I would stand there waiting for him to arrive, wondering, Will I still know him? Will he still know me?”

“By unnerving definition, anything that the heart has chosen for its own mysterious reasons it can always unchoose later—again, for its own mysterious reasons.”

“For if there is one thing I have learned over the years about men, it is that feelings of powerlessness do not usually bring forth their finest qualities.”

“The act of quiet nighttime talking, illustrates for me more than anything else the curious alchemy of companionship.”

“Marriage becomes hard work once you have poured the entirety of your life’s expectations for happiness into the hands of one mere person. Keeping that going is hard work.”

“Then again, you cannot stop the flood of desire as it moves through the world, inappropriate though it may sometimes be. It is the prerogative of all humans to make ludicrous choices, to fall in love with the most unlikely of partners, and to set themselves up for the most predicatable of calamities.”

“As I got older, I discovered that nothing within me cried out for a baby. My womb did not seem to have come equipped with that famously ticking clock. Unlike so many of my friends, I did not ache with longing whenever I saw an infant. (Though I did ache with longing, it is true, whenever I saw a good used-book shop)”

“Because I know something that you don’t know. I know that this is the worst experience of your life, but I also know that someday you’ll move past it and you’ll be fine. And helping somebody like you through the worst experience of her life is incredibly gratifying.”

“My restlessness makes me a far better day-to-day traveler than he will ever be. I am infinitely curious and almost infinitely patient with mishaps, discomforts, and minor disasters. So I can go anywhere on the planet—that’s not a problem. The problem is that I just can’t live anywhere on the planet.”

“I do forget sometimes how much it means for certain men—for certain people—to be able to provide their loved ones with material comforts and protection at all times. I forget how dangerously reduced some men can feel when that basic ability has been stripped from them. I forget how much that matters to men, what it represents.”

“Every intimacy carries secreted somewhere below its initial lovely surfaces, the ever-coiled makings of complete catastrophe.”

“In the end, it seems to me that forgiveness may be the only realistic antidote we are offered in love, to combat the inescapable disappointments of intimacy.”

“Women’s sense of integrity seems to be entwined with an ethic of care, so that to see themselves as women as to see themselves in a relationship of connection…I believe that many modern women, my mother included, carry within them a whole secret New England cemetery, wherein that have quietly buried in many neat rows– the personal dreams they have given up for their families…(Women) have a sort of talent for changing form, enabling them to dissolve and then flow around the needs of their partners, or the needs of their children, or the needs of mere quotidian reality. They adjust, adapt, glide, accept.”

“The cold ugly fact is that marriage does not benefit women as much as it benefits men. From studies, married men perform dazzingly better in life, live longer, accumulate more, excel at careers, report to be happier, less likely to die from a violent death, suffer less from alcoholism, drug abuse, and depression than single man…The reverse is not true. In fact, every fact is reverse, single women fare much better than married women. On average, married women take a 7% pay cut. All of this adds up to what Sociologists called the “Marriage Benefit Imbalance”…It is important to pause here and inspect why so women long for it (marriage) so deeply.”

“In the modern industrialized Western world, where I come from, the person whom you choose to marry is perhaps the single most vivid representation of your own personality. Your spouse becomes the most gleaming possible mirror through which your emotional individualism is reflected back to the world. There is no choice more intensely personal after all, than whom you choose to marry; that choice tells us, to a large extent, who you are.”

“What time has ever been a simple time for those who are living it?”

Eat Pray Love – Elizabeth Gilbert

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“Having a baby is like getting a tattoo on your face. You really need to be certain it’s what you want before you commit.”

“People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.

A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave.

A soul mates purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life, then introduce you to your spiritual master…”

“This is a good sign, having a broken heart. It means we have tried for something.”

“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 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’m here. I love you. I don’t care if you need to stay up crying all night long, I will stay with you. If you need the medication again, go ahead and take it—I will love you through that, as well. If you don’t need the medication, I will love you, too. There’s nothing you can ever do to lose my love. I will protect you until you die, and after your death I will still protect you. I am stronger than Depression and I am braver than Loneliness and nothing will ever exhaust me.”

“You’re wishin’ too much, baby. You gotta stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone oughtta be.”

“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.”

“You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That’s the only thing you should be trying to control.”

“When I get lonely these days, I think: So BE lonely, Liz. Learn your way around loneliness. Make a map of it. Sit with it, for once in your life. Welcome to the human experience. But never again use another person’s body or emotions as a scratching post for your own unfulfilled yearnings.”

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

“The Bhagavad Gita–that ancient Indian Yogic text–says that it is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life with perfection.”

“Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions.”

“I think I deserve something beautiful.”

“In desperate love, we always invent the characters of our partners, demanding they be what we need of them, and then feeling devastated when they refuse to perform the role we created in the first place.”

“There’s a crack (or cracks) in everyone…that’s how the light of God gets in.”

“Do not apologize for crying. Without this emotion, we are only robots.”

“The only thing more unthinkable than leaving was staying; the only thing more impossible than staying was leaving.”

“One thing I do know about intimacy is that there are certain natural laws which govern the sexual experience of two people, and that these laws cannot be budged any more than gravity can be negotiated with. To feel physically comfortable with someone else’s body is not a decision you can make. It has very little to do with how two people think or act or talk or even look. The mysterious magnet is either there, buried somewhere deep behind the sternum, or it is not. When it isn’t there (as I have learned in the past, with heartbreaking clarity) you can no more force it to exist than a surgeon can force a patient’s body to accept a kidney from the wrong donor. 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?”

“It all goes away. Eventually, everything goes away.”

“I’m choosing happiness over suffering, I know I am. I’m making space for the unknown future to fill up my life with yet-to-come surprises.”

“Having a baby is like getting a tattoo on your face. You really need to be certain it’s what you want before you commit.”

“Operation Self-Esteem–Day Fucking One.”

“I met an old lady once, almost a hundred years old, and she told me, ‘There are only two questions that human beings have ever fought over, all through history. How much do you love me? And Who’s in charge?”

“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.”

“I want God to play in my bloodstream the way sunlight amuses itself on the water.”

“I crossed the street to walk in the sunshine.”

“You are, after all, what you think. Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions.”

“We search for happiness everywhere, but we are like Tolstoy’s fabled beggar who spent his life sitting on a pot of gold, under him the whole time. Your treasure–your perfection–is within you already. But to claim it, you must leave the buy commotion of the mind and abandon the desires of the ego and enter into the silence of the heart.”

“Some days are meant to be counted, others are meant to be weighed.”

“It’s still two human beings trying to get along, so it’s going to be complicated. And love is always complicated. But humans must try to love each other, darling. We must get our hearts broken sometimes. This is a good sign, having a broken heart. It means we have tried for something.”

“The only thing more unthinkable than leaving was staying; the only thing more impossible than staying was leaving. I didn’t want to destroy anything or anybody. I just wanted to slip quietly out the back door, without causing any fuss or consequences, and then not stop running until I reached Greenland.”