EAT PRAY LOVE & Soulmates Hot Conversation

I know this was discussed in December but I had not read the book yet.

Last Saturday I spent a delicious day reading Eat Pray Love. Elizabeth Gilbert has written a delightful memoir that is a must read. Author Gilbert finds herself anchorless after a divorce of a long term marriage and the sporatic ending of a relationship with her soulmate, David. In a way that can only be read to understand, Elizabeth finds herself through food, prayer, and love again in Italy, India, and Indonesia.

Having experienced a relationship with a soulmate personally, I found myself drawn to and agreeing with Author Gilbert’s definition. In chapter 48 she writes:

“People think a soulmate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soulmate 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 soulmate is probably the most important person that you will ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soulmate forever? Nah, Too painful. Soulmates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself and then they leave.”

I believe this definition to be correct. I just wish I had thought about it sooner. It would have saved me a lot of grieving. Maybe I need a three-country hiatus.

What is your opinion about soulmates? 

/s/ Doc

Posted in books & entertainment.

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44 Responses

  1. Alicia Alicia says

    It is someone who knows your song, and when you forget it…….they sing it back to you.

     

    This is an indirect quote…..

    2 like

  2. watermusic watermusic says

    A few years ago I would have said it was my one and only. I have changed my thinking on that for a number of reasons.  I think a soul mate can only smack you awake if you are willing to be smacked awake. People get smacked in the head by a 2×4 all the time and stay sound asleep.

     I have some concerns about the word soul mate and how it is used in popular culture. I think it sets people up for a metaphysical version of a fairy tale. There are no short cuts in relationships and it seems to me that many people expect that’s what they’ll get and don’t make the effort being in a relationship takes, any relationship.  

    I’ve had a  couple of men feel an intense connection to me and tell me that we were soul mates. I backed up, regrouped and ran like hell because they were not healthy people.  When I feel an intense connection that is a sure sign that the universe is trying to get my attention. I try not to inflict my lessons on other people.  It has happened though and it made me crazy and I am forever grateful to those men.

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  3. lovemylife lovemylife says

    That is a great quote.  I have not read the book although it sounds interesting and enlightening.  I haven’t read it because how many of us can take off and do what she did?  Good for her, but it’s not a remote possibility for most folks.  I think she says you can do what she did without traveling the world….perhaps.  But she didn’t.  Could she become enlightened and be where she is today by staying home?  Dunno.  I probably shouldn’t judge as I haven’t read the book, but I’ve seen her on Oprah I believe.  It just doesn’t seem realistic I guess.

    But the soulmate quote rings true.  I don’t think I’ve found mine yet. 

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  4. Generic Image Nana says

    I have truly come to respect the word partnership.   And I have learned this with my spouse.  Our relationship is not what either of us ever expected, and yet I have  felt like I was walking through my life, with a true partner.

    I trust him to be astute and shrewd when I ask him a specific question.  I admire him.  I respect him.  I can be myself with him, in fact I don’t think either of us could ever handle anyone beathing down our necks.  We often mention this to each other.  Sometimes because we live in a tight small space we retreat into silence and we’re both good with that.  I trust him to be where he says he is, when he says he is, I can almost tell time by him.

    We both like order in our lives.  Order and manageability.  And simple living. 

    Are these the things I looked for at age 33?  age 40?  age 46? age 48?  No. 

    I didn’t get what I wanted, I got exactly what I needed.  :)  

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    • Generic Image sadie says

      Nanacatherine, you just described my relationship with my husband.  This is my second marriage but feels like it was my only marriage because we too are truly partners and practice what marriage is all about.  We are in this for the good of both of us as individuals and also a couple. We work together to have the best that we can have together, always with the other in mind. I can’t imagine my life without him because i truly would be missing a part of myself. All of this would have been SO DULL in my 20s, and 30s, thought you needed drama to feel the love, but this was exactly what i needed.  We too are individuals, retreating to our own space but always knowing the other is not far off.  It can be predictable and simple, but i find that better than a see-saw anyday….been there, done that and i think i’ll keep what i got!!

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      • Generic Image Hope2 says

        I totally agree with you, as far as being with my husband in my 2nd marriage as well. Instead of calling ourselves soulmates, we say that we know we took the paths we did earlier in our lives to get to where we are today. We truly believe God had us picked out for each other from the beginning, we just did our “own thing”, but eventually found the right path. Our two families have blended well together, it has been amazing. We are individuals and a couple, free to do whatever we want & follow whatever dreams we have, as long as it doesn’t hurt each other. We have been blessed to be asked to stand up with our nephew and fiance at their wedding(who are much younger than us), as they said they want the kind of marriage and relationship that my husband and I have( we have been married 14 yrs. this Dec.). We have gone through some tragedies together and everyone has been able to see that with God and our love, they have brought us closer together.

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    • Living&LovingLIfe Living&LovingLIfe says

      This is beautiful. How long have you been married to each other? What attracted you to each other? Just curious?

      1 like

      • Generic Image Nana says

        Hi ymccoyedu:

          I knew my spouse for 2 years before I actually saw him.  He was just an old guy in a baseball cap that went to the same meetings I did.  This is why I often say the person we are looking for is often right under our nose.

         So it wasn’t instant attraction.  In fact he used to annoy me quite a lot with his outlandish and politically incorrect statements.

         He and I had a very volitile relationship the first years.  It’s strange  looking back that we fought so much and yet neither of us ever actually left.

         I think it could be said we “worked it out, a day at a time.”   And neither of us are great communicators either.  We have wonderful non verbal communication.  :)

         If he walks out the door and doesn’t say good bye, or see you later, I sort of get a hint that he’s pissed at something.  I wait, I watch, I listen,   sometimes it comes out and other times he obviously works it out himself. 

         I’m afraid we could never stand up to the scrutiny of any marriage counsellor or therapists.    We’ve been together for 15 years.  And it was only after our first date and within a couple of weeks, that he officially ask me to be his girlfriend:)

        So we’ve been “going steady” for 15 years.

         

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  5. Evie Evie says

    Hi Doc!

    I listened to Eat, Pray, Love, while driving around doing my errands and loved it!!! What a story, I was captivated and plan to listen to it again…one day! :)

    I’m not sure I believe in soul mates but boy did I ever marry the guy in this quote! “But a true soulmate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so that you can change your life. A true soulmate is probably the most important person that you will ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake”. 

    When you live with your opposite, a three-country trip sounds pretty appealing, at times! The living is furious and the loving is furious and there is NEVER a dull moment!!!

    I was never attracted to friendly, outgoing, cheerful guys…go figure?!! I wanted the intense, mysterious, dark eyed, Viggo Mortenson, workaholic, type!  After it all shakes out, we have taught one another a lot, not without some push/pull!

    I was bound and determined to marry this-kind-of-guy. I sought him out like a heat seeking missile! So, is this a “soul mate” or is it someone, a teacher (?), to grow from. I often wonder about that. Maybe a “soul mate” is more about someone to learn from, expand our horizons, round ourselves out? Someone who stretches us…grows our soul!

    We think of soul mate as an everlasting, perfect fit, lifetime lover, but maybe it’s more about fulfilling our potential, hopefully, the love will grow as we both mature in who we are. I love, my guy, more today than ever, but it is such a different kind of love. It’s a love with history!

    1 like

  6. Generic Image amethyst says

    I prefer to avoid using words and phrases that become over used and all too easily misunderstood, like “soul mate,” karma and spiritual. They become too easy to casually fling about in conversation and lose their meaning.

    For me what’s important in a relationship is partnership — being with a mensch who is learning, growing and doing his best to leave the world a better place, even if only by holding a door open for a stranger.

    I appreciate a man who gets who I am without my having to stop to translate every two minutes. Someone who appreciates who I am, despite my weird contradictions and idiosyncrasies. And obviously, my partner should be able to expect the same back.

    Over the years I’ve had some intense connections. Opportunities to be reawakened, but would I want to spend the rest of my life with these toxic people? NO WAY! I may be crazy and I might be stuck in remedial class for awhile longer, but I’m not a masochist. My favourite was the abusive narcissist who tried to convince me that he knew me better than I knew myself. Proved him wrong when I stopped taking him back.

    1 like

  7. Jackie Brown Jackie Brown says

    Are you necessarily your soul mate’s soul mate? Can soul mates be of different species than human? Can your soul mate be a nemesis? Does the soul need a mate?

    Be happy.

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  8. Dr.She Dr.She says

    Ladies…good comments and questions all.  I do believe in soulmates. But I also I believe that we sometimes try to make them fit into our limited understanding. I also believe one of my relationships was with a soulmate, however, because of choices we made this lifetime, we should not have been together. It was intense and painful, but those few moments of bliss were better than I’ve ever had. However, looking back on it, it was more like an addiction.

    Alicia. I love the quote you used. It is a quote from an African tribe. Each child is given a song at birth, at times of celebration and stress, the song is sung to the child to remind him/her who he/she is. I agree with you that true partners do the same thing.

    Watermusic, I agree with you. Be careful of men (or women) who use the word soulmate so easily. If you are soulmates, you’ll both know it.

    Lovemylife, I think you have a valid point as well. Sometimes we must remove ourselves from our current environment to find ourselves. Sometimes we get lost in our doing and our current relationships so that we must go somewhere else for awhile. This is why I always plan a retreat, once and sometimes twice a year. Jimmy Buffett has a great quote in his When the Coast is Clear song, it’s about how he goes to the same place every year “…The same time every year…I come down to talk to me, when the coast is clear.”

    NanaCatherine, I agree. We can have great relationships with partners who are not our soulmates. This is why we must be so careful to guard those partnerships if we come across a soulmate after we’ve chosen a partner.  The pull of the soulmate is mighty, but we must weigh it against the lives we’ve built with good, faith, loyal partners.

    Evie, you and I are attracted to the same kind of guy.  Goodness knows, they are never boring although sometimes we wish they were. :-)

    Dancingthedance, I love that you have a mate you admire and respect. If I ever have another relationship, I want that kind of guy. However, now I’m working on being that kind of woman.

    Yakkity, love the questions…I’ve heard the theory that the soul, when it was split billions and billions of years ago, was split into 4ths. So there are potentially 3 soulmates out there for every person.  So do those souls belong to other than humans? Why not? Do they grow into people who are no longer good for us? I would say the potential is yes.  Do you need a soulmate to thrive?  No, I believe we are capable of living a great life without one.  However, if we meet one, I believe it adds a depth to our life that you would not have before.

    What is the real answer? In my opinion, whatever is real for us at the time we ask the question.

     

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    • watermusic watermusic says

        I have met two people who were in my life for a moment. One was a man in  bar on  a Sunday afternoon. I was looking for something quick to eat and his brother had just had a wedding so he fed me leftovers. We talked like old friends and had an inexplicable connection that was satisfying and complete.  The other was one of my students grandmother from India and spoke little English. She had I had the same kind of connection.  We saw each other with love. I would say that both of this people shared a soul connection with me.  They added a depth of spirit to my life that I am profoundly grateful for without being able to explain it  in the least.

         I wrote a terrible novel about a woman who was looking for her soul mate. She thought it was the intense connection and missed the heart connection that was right in front of her.  If we think we know what it is we want and what it looks like we might miss the gift that our soul has in store for us. I think it’s best to see the world with open eyes and an open heart. (May my ears hear what my mouth just said.)

          I wonder how many women and not a few men miss out on good relationships because they are looking for their “soul mate” without really understanding what that is and fail to see  what is right in front of them.

         Do we really need our relationships to be ‘special’ for them to be important in our life? Can’t all of our relationships have the same depth and feeling of love that we look for in ‘soul mates’? Isn’t it possible for all relationships to have depth and a soulful connection?

         What if it were true that we are all part of God. Doesn’t that make us all soul mates?  What would our lives be like if we could approach all relationships like that?   

         All that said, I do think that when someone rubs us the wrong way or pushes our button, you know the one that says, ‘grow please.’ they are our soul mate and should be blessed instead of attacked. (I also needed to hear that.)

      1 like

      • Generic Image amethyst says

        I agree with what you’re saying and I needed those reminders. Funny, I will oftentimes during a walk bless people, as well as animals. It’s remembering to do that for the energy vampires in my life who are clearly doing a great job of “teaching” me and I keep forgetting that there is a better way to manage tense situations.

        I believe soul connections can last for a brief moment or much longer. I know from experience that it can be with family, friends, co-workers, the stranger you chat with on the bus or with animals.

        In a previous life I worked for a dating service. So many of the people I spoke to needed therapy, a time out to learn from their past so they wouldn’t bring so much toxic energy into the next encounter.

        Unfortunately, they were set on meeting Mr. or Ms. Perfect (women were oftentimes specific on things like height, education level or the guy had to be a firefighter or widowed… don’t get me started on what guys were looking for…). I sometimes felt like I worked for a fast food outlet and was tempted to ask if they would like fries with their order.

         

        1 like

      • Dr.She Dr.She says

        Love this. I do this with children I come into contact with, where I live there aren’t a lot, and the homeless I come into contact with, where I live there are alot, but I had not thought of adding the blessings to the animals…how very specist of me. Thanks for the reminder….

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      • Generic Image amethyst says

        You’re most welcome. I find when I visit the VN site I come away with sooooo many ideas. Makes my head spin… in a good way.

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      • Dr.She Dr.She says

        Love this and I agree with you.  Regarding what you say about disagreeable people in our lives, I call them sandpaper moments…that person is sanding down the rough edges I have.

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      • Ladyhawk Ladyhawk says

        Hi Watermusic:

        The two encounters you describe are the way, I believe, we should all try to approach and embrace all others we come into contact with. This is true love, from the heart and spirit, without pre-judgements, just “being” with people, anyone.

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    • Generic Image amethyst says

      You are so wise to be working on being that kind of woman while you have the chance between relationships. Much easier that way. I still have much to learn, as does my partner.

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      • Dr.She Dr.She says

        Thanks. I do hope my remaining age has me with a partner again. However, partner is the key word. I’m too set in my wants to accept a warm body. I also want a warm soul.

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      • Generic Image amethyst says

        A “warm soul” — I love that! Wish I had come up with that one.

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  9. enjoying new life enjoying new life says

    I am in the process of reading the same book.  There are parts of the book when I feel she is writing about my feelings (of course changing the circumstances)…. Soulmates?  I have been of late analyzing the people in my life.  I left a crazyx husband a year ago.  The friends and family that have become the most important to me are the ones that pull me out of myself.  they listen they support, but before I know it my X’s stunts seem so unimportant…these special people take me away to another place and time… sort of like her travels do to her in her book.  How these special people in my life do it?  I dont know, it’s like a healthy super natural connection.  I use a different phrase than souldmate, because I have theses special connections in a male friend, 3 female friends, and my sister.  I call in God’s grace.  Because I believe God is shining down through these people to me.  Are all of these people religious  NO.  In fact one is sooo against organized religion.   having a companion with this connections sounds incredible.  Maybe someday I will

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    • Dr.She Dr.She says

      Love this.  I agree with you about God’s grace of sending us friends we need. I believe in choosing the partners, we choose and sometimes forget to step back and let God/the Universe, etc, do the choosing for us.

       

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      • Generic Image amethyst says

        It’s that old “surrendering” thing. Works great… when we remember to do it… something else I’m working on.

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  10. Generic Image Sevres Blue says

    I know I’m in the complete minority but I really got angry over this book – what a sham!  All my women friends were mooning over it like it was the new bible or something, but as I read it all I saw was a childish, spoiled woman who ran through life banging into things because she was so thoughtless.  She wasn’t so committed to making her marriage work, since she moved right out of her marriage bed into her ‘soulmate’s’ bed – who – read between the lines – just gave her an escape hatch for a marriage she’d become bored with.  Shallow, shallow, shallow, all the way through.  I didn’t see any huge lessons learned from her extravagant and expensive world trip.  And truly, this woman had the book deal before she began her ‘journey’…. nice to have that extra financial cushion/incentive….

    I’m sorry for your loss, and wish you peace.  Let yourself feel bad.  Then look inside and see the wonders that are you, and and God/the Universe what you should DO with those wonders and you’ll meet more interesting and loving people… who knows, maybe another soulmate.  At the very lest, you’ll get everything she got and be more fully yourself.  Good luck…

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    • lovemylife lovemylife says

      Thanks for saying what I was dancing around.  I haven’t read the book because of exactly what you said.  Just seeing her on Oprah gave me this opinion. 

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    • Evie Evie says

      Ouch! You do sound angry. 

      Entertainment is part of our life experience and we look to the Elizabeth Gilbert personalities, with their flamboyant, devil may care, lifestyles to take us away from the mundane. 

      She piqued my imagination and took me across continents and into wild abandon…while sitting in my “easy chair”! ;) Would I ever do what she did, in the way she did it, no. But I thank her for the journey and intrigue she provided!

      Perhaps she needed exactly what ‘the universe’ moved her to do. Perhaps, she is still learning from the experience. Who are we to judge?

      She sure can tell a good story…and perhaps that was all it was! ;)

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      • Generic Image Sevres Blue says

        Oh, Evie, I’m just flabbergasted at how we all tend to take the easy way out and look to Gilbert like she was the Second Coming or something.  Even if this were a piece fiction I would be frustrated that so many women were taken in by her ‘enlightenment’ – which, actually, was all plotted and planned and took out some real people along the way.  I LOVE fiction, and happy endings, I’m a vociferous reader of fiction, and I love womens’ fiction in particular.  But maybe it’s the ex-Catholic in me, at every turn this character was thoughtless and selfish, and she never, ever came to terms with her part in the whole ‘breakdown’ of her life. And it’s not like the average woman could afford her luxurious exploration inward…  

        I hope for her that she IS still learning.  I think maybe she is, as we all are!  And I think we all have things we look back on in our lives that were selfishly motivated and/or hurtful to others.  But I just don’t like how she put this story out as a huge enlightenment, journey of self discovery, when it was a) pre-funded (and thus pre-destined) and b) absolutely falling short, in the end, of any acknowledgement of the part she played in the whole debacle.

        btw: I LOVE the IDEA of eating/praying/loving… and how they intermingle….

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      • Evie Evie says

        I know, Sevres Blue, many of us are like little children fascinated by the latest “toy”. The movies, books, plays, all of our entertainment, takes us away from the mundane and tweaks the imagination.

        There are so many violent, ugly…in living color, books/movies ‘out there’, to me, this was just fun entertainment. Her CD/book was read by her and provided hours of adventure! She is a born story teller! :)

        Listen, she is taking this all to the bank…even Hollywood (surprise) was pulled into her, very vividly embellished,  storyline. We are a sucker for a good story…me, I still love Peter Pan…I’m Wendy following Peter to Never, Never Land! Lol

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    • Liane Liane says

      I have a friend who is a book editor and she was the one who enlightened me to the reality lying behind this book. I was thinking of reading it and, like most people, was attracted to the idea that here was someone who went on a journey to find herself, struggled to do so, and then wrote a book about it. Turns out, as you say, that she was commissioned to write it, so yes, lucky her, the financial cushion was there all the time.

      My editor friend calls books like this: ‘Skinny White Women Seeking Their Bliss’ books. :-)

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      • Generic Image Sevres Blue says

        OMG, I was just thinking about this and the women who are so taken in by this book!  (MANY of my friends) – they are all upper middle class, professional women or women married to professional men – who never, ever gave a thought to the financial underpinnings that would be necessary to ‘find yourself’ like this!  Thanks for the ‘enlightenment’ – peace for YOUR journey!

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  11. enjoying new life enjoying new life says

    did you know this is going to be a movie coming out aug 15..julia roberts is the star

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  12. Liane Liane says

    Yes to the quote below:

    ” But a true soulmate 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 soulmate is probably the most important person that you will ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake.”

    In my case, my soul mate isn’t a  man, it’s a dearly beloved girlfriend. Deb and I go way back to the time before either of us were married or had children. She’s 46 to my 52, Indian to my Caucasian, married where I am single, a devout Christian where I am a mystical agnostic, and probably the only person who can make me feel tall and awkward – she’s 4″10 to my 5″2!! LOL! But to this day, we fulfil exactly this role in each other’s life. She is the one I can open my heart to on ANY subject under the sun, and know without fear that she will hold that mirror up to me and be the wake-up call I need, when I need it. I try to be the same for her, with love, honesty and the deepest respect.

    She is one of the greatest blessings in my life!

    1 like

    • lovemylife lovemylife says

      Best friends like this are such a treasure.  It’s been a very long time since I’ve had this kind of a friendship.  People seem too busy these days to get too involved.  And it’s hard for me to find like minded women.  Maybe I’m too picky.  But I’m done with petty, superficial people.  

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      • Liane Liane says

        I don’t think it’s pickiness.  Finding a true friend is possibly as difficult as finding ‘a true love’. There are very few people in the world that I can relate to in a really deep and meaningful way – I count myself fortunate to have met Deb all those years ago. We rarely spend time together physically, though, as I live in New Zealand and she commutes between South Africa and Dubai (where her husband works), so we depend on Skype every now and then … On another note, I arrived here 18 months ago and have not yet made any ‘real’ friends. Lots of good work colleagues and a few outside acquaintances, but still no one I can call up to go with me to movies or out for coffee. As a single woman over fifty, makig new close friends in a foreign country isn’t easy.

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      • Generic Image Sevres Blue says

        Happy for you that you have your friend – and that we have the technology for Yyou to keep instantly in touch!  I, too am in a ‘new’ (5 years!) area, and have not found ONE true, true girlfriend, whereas in my old area I had at least 3 women who I could call at 3 a.m. if I needed to, and they would happily be there for me.  No… I’m not a 3 a.m. caller, just sayin’.  

        I hope you find someone local, but also know you can’t ‘look for it’.  Good luck, and actually, to have the friend you DO have… that’s lucky!

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    • Dr.She Dr.She says

      I love this.  Thanks for sharing and congrats on finding a great friend and soulmate.

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    • Dr.She Dr.She says

      .

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  13. Generic Image kahlilgibran says

    a soul-mate to me is someone who really, really “gets you”…………my oldest grandchild is my soul-mate; he understands a part of me that no one else seems to…………and totally accepts me………..and, believe it or not, he is only 12! How blessed I am!

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  14. Dr.She Dr.She says

    Well ladies, in my opinion a good book creates dialogue and we definitely have that here. Thanks so much to everyone for your thoughts.

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  15. Generic Image Maria says

    I was looking for discussions about soulmates and my search brought me here. It is one of the amazing things in VN; the discussions never grows old.

    I think I found my soulmate; correction soulmates. I found them in two persons and each one revealed something new in me and definitely improved myself. And yes, they both left. So i guess Elizabeth is right. They come and reveal something about you then leave.  But then I’ve read that soulmates are eternally bound so why did the relationship ended? And why it seemed that there were two? What I’ve read about soulmates is that there is just one mate and you are eternally bounded to each other. It is so cruel to find one self a person you can totally be with; without so much complication; then lose that person.  I am struggling with the loss of who I think is a soulmate. My only consolation is that the circumstances about the separation seem to be not of our doing…

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