Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Finding Balance in the Imbalance in Bali

In Tuesday’s class Gina raised some very interesting questions pertaining to the first section of Eat, Pray, Love, and these are questions I tried to keep in mind as I finished Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir. The place to which I enjoyed traveling with Gilbert most was Bali, because I loved that she was finding balance between pleasure and devotion there. I also loved that she finally found true love in Bali, though this love did not precede her happiness. Instead, once she was already happy, she found love, though of course she put up a bit of a fight at first. She believed that she would lose her control and happiness if she allowed herself to become involved with a man. However, Wayan told her one of what I consider to be the smartest pieces of wisdom in the book: “To lose balance sometimes for love is part of living a balanced life” (298). One of the great balancing acts of life is figuring out how to find home within one’s self and in others, especially a significant other. Elizabeth spent the first two legs of her journey fighting thoughts of romance and sexual desire, determined to devote a year to herself alone. Funnily enough, Elizabeth allowed herself to love others as friends, including her guiding voice Richard at the Ashram in India. She embraced friends, but not a romantic partner. What she showed through her memoir is the added vulnerability one feels with a lover as opposed to a friend, and how that additional emotional attachment has the ability to throw one’s life out of balance. This is because of the realities of a sexual relationship, a relationship in which two people not only connect emotionally but also physically (294). As we talked about with Kisses in the Nederends, people can sometimes be ashamed of their bodies and want to hide all the natural functions of their bodies from others. This is much easier to do with friends because there can always be that distance; we don’t have to worry about the “mystery magnet” attracting us to our friends’ bodies (and if we did that might be a little odd). It is the complete and total surrender of one’s self to a lover that can make one feel like he/she is losing balance and control, and no amount of time spent meditating in India can lessen the effects of this vulnerability.

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