The first half of Eat Pray Love follows Liz Gilbert in her struggle to find some meaning in her life. She includes a lot of history of her life and her experiences, she dwells upon the things that have wronged her and the people she wronged, and she tries to use this fixation to make it go away. In the second half, however, this focus switches. The past becomes less and less important as India teaches her to focus on the present, and living within the moment. High in the tower up which the plumber from New Zealand sends her, she meditates to join the past and the present, her ex-husband’s soul as she knew him and her own soul as it is now, and she lets go of the pain of the divorce, the two years that made her older and wiser than the thirty before, and she is refreshed. She is able to successfully meditate. She knows how to remain in the present, in the moment.
In Bali, Liz finds this much easier than she ever had before. She completely immerses herself in the culture of Bali. In Italy she had scraped the surface, trying to find herself among the passion and pleasure of the Eternal City. In India she had a hard time of learning to meditate. But in Bali she is past the spells of depression, free from the burden of her husband’s pain, and she allows herself to fully live there. It seems only appropriate that it is here she finds love. It is not the kind of love she had with her husband, built on a hope of her happiness to come, nor is it the passionate, fleeting infatuation that she experienced with David. With Felipe, she becomes truly happy, yet she is able to do this only after learning so much about herself. She spends (close to) a year without a male companion, longer, she admits, than she had since she was fifteen. Rather than being defined by her relationship, she allows herself to be defined as the strong and independent women she had claimed to be. She finds home within herself, in a far corner of the world thousands of miles away from New York. Once she discovers this, she is able to look not for someone to define herself by, but for someone with whom her clearly defined self is compatible. She knew before that home for her was not the typical suburban housewife, child-filled life. But it was the ability to come to terms with the fact that this desire is okay that allowed her life to once again spread out before her.