Eat, Pray, Love (by Elizabeth Gilbert) – How to Let Go

I am reading this book on the T (subway) on my way to and from work (and from the T to the office, and back, and in bed before I go to sleep, and every time I have a spare moment), and I wish I could write my entries then and there. All I want to do is quote the book, and maybe add my own thoughts from time to time. But then I’d have to quote the whole book, because every single page is worth passing on to as many people. I guess that’s why mankind invented libraries and bookstores. In the mean time, I will quote a page that spoke to me more than others. I put my *one* thought in square parentheses.

The author is in an Ashram in India – a place where she went to meditate and find herself and God through Yoga, and is having a particularly difficult time that day. She has made a friend there, Richard from Texas, and right now they are at the dinner table together, talking.

“What’s got you all wadded up?” he drawls, toothpick in mouth, as usual.

“Don’t ask” I say, but then I start talking and tell him every bit of it, concluding with, “And worst of all, I can’t stop obsessing over David. I thought I was over him, but it’s all coming up again.”

He says, “Give it another six months, you’ll feel better.”

“I’ve already given it twelve months, Richard.”

“Then give it six more. Just keep throwin’ six months at it till it goes away. Stuff like this takes time.”

I exhale hotly though my nose, bull-like.

“Groceries [he calls her Groceries, how AWESOME is that?!],” Richard says, “listen to me. Someday you’re gonna look back on this moment of your life as such a sweet time of grieving. You’ll see that you were in mourning and your heart was broken, but your life was changing and you were in the best possible place in the world for it – in a beautiful place of worship, surrounded by grace. Take this time, every minute of it. Let things work themselves out here in India.”

“But I really loved him.”

“Big deal. So you fell in love with someone. Don’t you see what happened? This guy touched a place in your heart deeper than you thought you were capable of reaching. I mean you got zapped, kiddo. But that love you felt, that’s just the beginning. You just got a taste of love. That’s just limited little rinky-dink mortal love. Wait till you see how much more deeply you can love than that. Heck, Groceries – you have the capacity to someday love the whole world. It’s your destiny. Don’t laugh.”

“I’m not laughing.” I was actually crying. “And please don’t laugh at me now, but I think the reason it’s so hard for me to get over this guy is because I seriously believed David was my soul mate.”

“He probably was. Your problem is you don’t understand what that word means. 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’s 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 they leave. And thank God for it. Your problem is, you just can’t let this one go. It’s over, Groceries. David’s purpose was to shake you up, drive you out of your marriage that you needed to leave, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light could get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you had to transform your life, then introduce you to your spiritual master and beat it. That was his job, and he did great, but now it’s over. Problem is, you can’t accept that his relationship had a real short shelf life. You’re like a dog at the dump, baby – you’re just lickin’ at the empty tin can, trying to get more nutrition out of it. And if you’re not careful, that can’s gonna get stuck on your snout forever and make your life miserable. So drop it.”

“But I love him.”

“So love him.”

“But I miss him.”

“So miss him. Send him some love and light every time you think about him, then drop it. You’re just afraid to let go of the last bits of David because then you’ll be really alone, and Liz Gilbert is scared to death of what will happen if she’s really alone. But here’s what you gotta understand, Groceries. If you clear out all that space in your mind that you’re using right now to obsess about this guy, you’ll have a vacuum there, an open spot – a doorway. And guess what the universe will do with the doorway? It will rush in – God will rush in – and fill you with more love than you ever dreamed. So stop using David to block that door. Let it go.”

“But I wish me and David could —“

He cuts me off. “See, now that’s your problem. You’re wishin’ too much, baby. You gotta stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone oughtta be.”



28 responses to this post.

  1. […] too much, baby. You gotta stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone oughtta be.” (Thanks Dianisms for the […]


  2. Reblogged this on wanderlusting bittersweetly's Blog and commented:
    “You cannot save people, you can only love them.” This took me a while but I am so glad that I have learned this this year! Love is an infinite resource.. Plenty to go around. So don’t be stingy! 🙂 Love and light to all my beloved family, friends and animals ( my Poe that I miss dearly). I love the quite in Eat, Pray, Love that says


  3. Hello there, You have done an excellent job. I will certainly digg it and personally recommend
    to my friends. I am sure they’ll be benefited from this website.


  4. Posted by Melissa on January 17, 2013 at 22:56

    This really spoke to me. Thank for the post.


  5. Thanks for the post. I woke up in the middle of the night from a bad dream… leftovers from a break up and was totally thinking about this part of the book. I was searching and found your blog. Thanks again!


  6. I have also considered this problem before, but haven’t accessed the result, Sigh ~


  7. Posted by Stephen on February 14, 2012 at 09:07

    Thanks for this post. I really love this part in the movie. I haven’t had a chance to read the book though.


  8. Posted by Anonymous on November 6, 2011 at 03:12

    beautiful! thanks 🙂


  9. Posted by roro on November 2, 2011 at 18:46

    this movie, and exact quotes are what got me through 🙂


  10. Posted by Anonymous on October 10, 2011 at 13:45

    muchas gracias! por el post! me ayudo mucho


  11. Posted by AnonymousAngel on May 16, 2011 at 16:57

    SIMPLY LOVE THIS PART, no matter how many times I read it, never get bored, always awakening me ♥ thanks for sharing


  12. Thanks for this. Had heard about the book many times, but never read it. When a friend tweeted, “you gotta stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone oughtta be,” I Googled it to see what it was from, and found this post. Glad I did! Take care…


  13. I just found this by a quote left by a reader on my newest post. I’m so glad for it tonight. Thank you for this (even though I’m so late).




  14. […] For a more in-depth blog on this chapter and letting go, check out Dianisms […]


  15. Posted by jessica on February 18, 2011 at 10:24

    I think the more you resist a feeling the stronger it gets. So don’t resist…let it be


  16. Posted by Fernando Bezerra on February 14, 2011 at 17:19

    Discordo totalmente do “brasileiro” apresentado na versão para os cinemas. Javier Barden e seu ridículo “português” é o típico caso em que se mostra o Brasil de forma estereotipada e superficial. Seria o mesmo que mostrar em um filme um típico nova-yorquino com um sotaque australiano.


  17. Posted by cherryblossom on February 10, 2011 at 07:46

    this is simply the best part of the book that has enlighten me about my relationship with people.


  18. Beautiful thoughts, beautifully written.
    Glad to have stumbled on this one.
    Thank you and God bless.


  19. A review of the film: Was “Eat Pray Love” Culturally Relative About Women’s Rights, on Gender Bytes.


  20. Posted by Emily on November 1, 2010 at 12:01

    Nice to find this quote here 🙂

    It’s great that you type it all out when I need it deeply to get out from the hell. I try to let my love go but I can’t do so whatever I do.
    Time will tell and there will be an opened door, a simple basic rule.


  21. Brilliant blog, I hadn’t noticed earlier in my searches!
    Carry on the great work!


  22. Posted by Stephanie on September 27, 2010 at 16:07

    I love this part too! Thank you for typing it all out! I wanted to send it to a friend, and you made it so easy. ❤


    • Posted by MZ on November 14, 2010 at 11:06

      Totally agree with u. I wanted to do exact thing… so i google and here I am!.. Excellent! thanks so much.


  23. Posted by Life_Observer on August 19, 2010 at 22:38

    … i gotta say.. i have to read this book.. thanx for the introduction… ;.-)


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