Eat, Pray, LOVE, Drink

Contest: Tell Us Your Eat, Pray, Love, Drink Story

The film version of the international bestseller Eat, Pray, Love will hit a theater near you this August. In reverence to the goddess also known as Elizabeth Gilbert, Andi from Misadventures with Andi suggested this neat contest. I’m honored to be a part of it. More on how it works in a few lines.

First, some background. Andi, a devout foodie, represents the “Eat” part of this trilogy. Julie Roads of Writing Roads is a yogini who once lived and worked at Kripalu Yoga Center. Thus, her post is a Pray Story.

If you haven’t already guessed, I’m love. Go figure.

And then we added this bonus “drink” post because we also have a friend named Anne Fitten, and we couldn’t leave her out. Plus she has this really cool site called Brewgasm that every woman ought to know about.

Today, the four of us bring you posts about what the words Eat, Pray, Love and Drink mean to us.

Now for the cool contest part. If you read and comment on all four posts, you will be entered in the contest. The prizes are four two-book sets of Eat Pray Love and Committed.

Leave a comment here about your Love Story. Then, travel over to Julie’s post and share your Pray Story. And then head over to Andi for an Eat Story. And finally to Anne Fitten for a drink story. Once you’ve left comments on all four posts, input your name, email address and URL (if applicable) into this form and you will be entered into the drawing to win.

We will use Random.org to select four winners.  The contest closes at midnight May 31 PST. We’ll announce the winners on June 1.

Good luck and enjoy the journey!

My Journey to Love

Elizabeth Gilbert discovered love by traveling to another country.

I discovered it by traveling through time.

Elizabeth Gilbert found love in Indonesia. Her love came in the form of a hot Brazilian guy.

I found love in a bar in Emmaus, PA. My love came in the form of a tall, blond guy. I dated that tall, blond guy for three years, and then I married him.

Those were our Las Vegas years. In Las Vegas, nothing is what it seems and everything is a copy of something else. During the Vegas years, I only displayed my best qualities, and I copied whatever the tall blond guy liked. Case in point: I vividly remember Tracy Chapman’s Give Me One Reason coming on the car radio. I said, “I like this song.” I didn’t like the song, mind you. I didn’t dislike it, either. But the songs I really liked then and to this day are songs that only seriously uncool dorks like me tend to like—songs like Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart.

So I feigned interest in artists like Tracy Chapman and Alanis Morissette.

My husband, then my boyfriend, said, “I like this song, too.”

In reality, he liked seriously loud and raucous music by groups like Korn and Limp Bizkit.

After the Vegas years came the Vegas and Philadelphia years. In Philadelphia, people are known for their authenticity. For instance, in this city, people generally do not hesitate to tell other people to have intercourse with themselves. During these years, my husband did not hesitate to be himself, but I still hesitated to be me. If he knew the real me, he’d surely be disappointed, right? So I pretended to be the perfect wife instead, even though he did not pretend to be the perfect husband.

In 2004 we had a baby and birthed a bike shop. That’s when we entered the Chechnya years. This journey spanned three years and it involved me giving the idea of being a perfect wife the big fat postpartum finger. It also involved me planning my husband’s funeral with exquisite detail.

After the Chechnya years came the Mount Everest months. Thankfully, we took some sherpas (also known as marital improvement books) with us for that journey.

We reached the summit, and we renewed our vows. It was on that day that I thought our marriage had reached its peak.

I was wrong. We traveled to a lot of places after that, some of them memorable, some of them not so much.

Lately, however, we’ve been in a Canary Islands phase. It was during this phase that my husband held me as I cried big snotty tears. I’d recently made a decision to end a toxic relationship. I was still feeling hurt and bruised over the incident that had brought me to my decisive moment. I was also mired with obsessive thoughts about all of the possible horrific consequences that might take place once I put my plan into effect. During our Las Vegas years I would have kept such obsessive thoughts to myself, for fear they would scare my husband away. During our Chechnya years, I would have found a way to blame those thoughts on him.

But, here, in the Canary Islands, I just cried and bared my soul—in all of its imperfect glory.

“I’m so sorry,” I told my husband over and over and over again. “Thank you,” I said over and over again.

He told me that I had nothing to be sorry about. He told me that I’d already thanked him. He said that everything was going to be okay, that we would get through this together.

He listened. He supported. He cared. He loved.

If one soul can ever merge with another, then it happened during that moment of crisis, when I turned myself inside out and my husband loved me anyway.

Will Tahiti Be Next?

After 11 years of marriage, we’ve experienced so much, and not all of it has been good. I’m sure, after 11 more years of marriage, we’ll have traveled to many more locations, and some of them might look and feel a lot like Chechnya.

I’ve heard that most couples experience the Chechnya years—as we did—after 7 years of marriage or around age 40, whichever comes first. It’s then that they compare their spouse to other available options, and it’s then when the other options seem a lot more interesting.

Yet, I’ve also heard that few couples question their marriages after 50 or 60 years. Even if they had a Chechnya phase, few golden years couples regret staying married. This might be because the Chechnya years kill off all of the truly horrific marriages. It might also be that, after 50 or 60 years of marriage, most of the other options either don’t look all that interesting any more or have simply keeled over and died.

Or, it might be that after journeying together for this long, couples share a common language and history that binds them together in a deep and meaningful way. They’ve learned how to listen, how to support one another, how to forgive, and how to love. And, heck, they’ve already seen the Chechnya years. After that, even a cornfield in Kansas seems like paradise.

What’s your Love Story? Comment here.

Visit Julie’s version of “Pray” at Writing Roads.

Visit Andi’s story of “Eat” at Misadventures with Andi.

Visit Anne Fitten’s version of Drink at Brewgasm.

45 comments… add one

  • aguyreader May 20, 2010, 6:49 am

    “After that, even a cornfield in Kansas seems like paradise.” hillariously awesome quote.

    Reply
  • The Napkin Dad May 20, 2010, 7:54 am

    Love is feeling directed towards the magnetic for the purpose of bliss.
    .-= The Napkin Dad´s last blog ..Sports Do Not Build Character, They Reveal It =-.

    Reply
  • Drummer Guy May 20, 2010, 9:01 am

    I think my current place is the state of confusion. It’s a nice place but the cost of living is really high :-)

    Reply
  • Siddhartha May 20, 2010, 9:14 am

    I’ve never been able to figure love out. Not that I haven’t felt it, or at least professed feeling it, on many occasions. But in reality I couldn’t tell you what it means.

    Because love means caring about someone else so deeply I want to give them everything that will make them happy even at the expense of my own happiness. And it also means being so filled up with joy in their presence I couldn’t imagine wanting anything else in life.

    It’s not really in my control though and sometimes I get one without the other. Sometimes I give everything and am miserable and empty inside. And sometimes I feel so full of joy but still can’t do whatever it is she needs me to do for her to be happy.

    I think, for me, love is understanding and acceptance. If I feel like someone understands me and still accepts me I feel loved. If I can see someone else’s flaws and still accept them I think I love them.

    But what “I love you” means? I still have no clue.
    .-= Siddhartha´s last blog ..Most Criticism is Unjustified; Different and Weird Are Okay =-.

    Reply
  • Tammi Kibler May 20, 2010, 9:26 am

    I am blissfully single. I have an abundance of love in my life – my sons, my extended family, my friends. I don’t miss the Chechnya years, nor the Chernobyl aftermath.
    .-= Tammi Kibler´s last blog ..Writing Career Goals – I’ll Show You Mine if You Show Me Yours =-.

    Reply
  • aguyreader May 20, 2010, 9:55 am

    @Siddhartha: Wow, very well put. I have never put it in those words before, but this makes alot of sense to me.
    Actually it describes pretty much any close relationship, not just marriage stuff.
    I even asked myself the other day, if I was in love or not, and had difficulty coming up with an answer. I think that when I notice myself giving something up that I otherwise wouldn’t (money, time, whatever) and that there is no immediate benefit to myself, this is love, maybe? I don’t mean that this is the only way to show it or notice it, but often, but it seems to be a definite identifier.

    Reply
  • Kathryn May 20, 2010, 9:55 am

    I think to love someone you must be totally vulnerable and open. I only managed that once, and the relationship ended.

    Hats off to you.

    Reply
  • Drummer Guy May 20, 2010, 10:24 am

    @ Sid & aguy. When you do figure out exactly what love is. Share it, write a book, something because I haven’t figured it out either. I guess that is what makes it so grand, the mystery lol :-)

    Reply
  • Kathy May 20, 2010, 10:37 am

    I was tired of not being the real, true me by the time I met my current husband. I really just didn’t give a damn anymore if some guy might like me. I was happy in my life. A man would just be a bonus.

    So, the first time hubby and I met in person (we’d met in person for about 5 minutes previously while I was engaged to another guy) I let it rip. No, not farts. Just my true self. Cussing, saying whatever came to my mouth (sometimes in social settings, my brain to mouth filter actually works, but I turned it off for our first meeting), just being ME!!!

    He was not shocked or scared. Brave man that he is. We were married eight months later. Life hit us hard once he moved in with me and the first four years of our marriage (we’ll be hitting 5 years in October). But we are now in a good place. Learning about our Myers-Briggs personality types really helped us. He’s a thinker and a judger. I’m feeling and perceptive. Kind of like mixing oil and water. But he’s read how to get along with me and I’ve read how to get along with him. It’s made a huge difference. He even understands the crazy things that come out of my mouth, most of the time.

    When I want complete understanding I call my gal pal that is an ENFP just like me. No explanations ever needed. And most the time we finish each others sentences.

    And hubby isn’t afraid to have the two of us in the same room at the same time. He’s really, really brave.

    Reply
  • Sabrina May 20, 2010, 11:13 am

    @Siddhartha, that is how i feel also. Since my marriage has ended, i sat down and asked myself, do I even know how to love and what exactly is love, and to this point, i still cant answer those questions.

    Reply
  • Joanne May 20, 2010, 12:47 pm

    Love is seeing other person; really seeing them for who they are and not just accepting the differences but embracing them and enjoying the discovery. Being slow to anger and quick to forgive. Two flawed people can make one whole couple and it is really wonderful when they complete each other.
    I rarely tell Ray I love you because it is an overused and abused statement. I have told him that I adore him, that loving him was accepting the fact that a piece of my heart would forever live outside of my body.
    Irregardless of what happens to us going forward my life was richer for having loved him.
    maybe that is love.

    Reply
  • Kaytee May 20, 2010, 1:39 pm

    I have to say, I’ve never commented before, and don’t plan on taking part in the contest, but this blog post was phenomenal. It’s such a precise portrayal of the phases our loves go through, and how travel in marriage (figurative though it may be) is an important part of the development and change we all go through. Stagnant marriages are just as scary as the ones that are in Chechnya. :-) Well done. I am wholly refreshed.

    Reply
  • Favor May 20, 2010, 3:04 pm

    I agree with Kaytee about the stagnant marriages being scary.

    Reply
  • Drummer Guy May 20, 2010, 3:39 pm

    There are some GREAT comments on this post that have really made me think. Is love an emotion? Is it an action? Is it an experience? I guess it is all of those & more. I also found the post along with the comments about a person trying to be somebody else to please the one they love. I have done it myself earlier in life. Problem with that is what happens when we don’t like the person we became to please them or discover the person we fell in love with doesn’t exist? I have had it happen on both sides. I discovered I couldn’t be that fake person I became for fear of loosing the person I love. I have also fell in love with somebody only to find out that person is completely different in real life. I guess you can only keep up the act for so long & soon start to hate who you have become. I would much rather see or be the real person I am dating or starting a relationship with from the start. It may mean we aren’t a match but that that is better than the heartbreak we could suffer once we had time to fall in love. Interesting thought.

    Reply
  • Julie Roads May 20, 2010, 7:36 pm

    One of my very favorite posts you’ve ever written. Honored to be ‘sharing’ blogosphere space with you today…
    .-= Julie Roads´s last blog ..Eat, PRAY, Love, Drink =-.

    Reply
  • Kim Tracy Prince May 20, 2010, 7:39 pm

    Holy shit, Alisa. That 7 years thing just happened to me. What is it about 7 years?
    .-= Kim Tracy Prince´s last blog ..I Will By Brandi Carlile =-.

    Reply
  • Jamie May 20, 2010, 9:43 pm

    My love story is still being written… Four years ago, after a devastating divorce, I met a man who I thought was my forever, lets just say that after nearly 3 years of marriage we are hanging out in Chechnya and it’s hard to see anywhere beyond it’s oppression. He is also creeping up on 40 which I think may be a big part of our stay here. With perseverance and a whole lot of hard work and forgiveness, we will see the white sand of Bali’s beaches (our Tahiti).

    I just picked up Eat Pray Love a couple weeks ago and am leisurely working my way through it (instead of the rampant devouring I normally exhibit with books). I’ve found it’s not a book to be devoured, but rather savored slowly. I’m drawn to Gilbert’s travels and self discovery, because they represent our life.

    I’ve pondered why it took me so long to read this book… I think it’s all about timing… I’m in the stage of my life when this story will have the most impact.
    .-= Jamie´s last blog ..“Protein” Bars, Gluten and Dairy Free! =-.

    Reply
  • Maureen May 21, 2010, 8:35 am

    First marriage: abusive disaster but three awesome
    kids who taught me about life. Then 10 lonely years
    later a girlfriend & I decided to live single & celibate for
    1 year just to prove to ourselves we would be just fine
    on our own. The last week of that year, over dinner I was
    telling my girlfriend about this cool on- line match making
    site. We laughed. What the heck. We both gave it a whirl.
    You were allowed 5 matches at a time. Like @Kathy I
    thought no more pretending, this is the real me.
    My hubby was the fifth man.
    We long distanced it for one year. He lived with me for
    year and then I sold my house, gave my teenage kids a choice
    of living with me or their dad, and moved back with him.
    That was 10 years ago. Last year he proposed to me and a week
    later we got married. I think it’s our daily 10 second kiss (a secret
    relationship technique) that keeps us real with each other.

    Reply
  • Andi May 21, 2010, 9:54 am

    My journey of love has not been a straight line, but then again, who’s is? There have been curves and bends and hills and mountains. I have been in two different cities, heck two different countries sometimes with my husband, but somehow we are pushing through. As I age I have more and more patience to work it out, something I did not have the strength or care to do when I was younger. I think my husband and I are back in the same place although we might be in different zip codes and for now that seems good enough.

    Reply
  • Joanne May 21, 2010, 10:21 am

    Dear Maureen; Who has to concentrate on the 10 second count I don’t think I could, I’d get lost in the kiss. Our therapist told my husband he had to kiss me good morning, kiss me goodbye, kiss me hello then kiss me goodnight every night we are together. Ergo my theory that kisses are like potato chips.

    Reply
  • Maureen May 21, 2010, 11:00 am

    @Joanne Getting lost in the kiss is the idea. My husband read something from a therapist blog, that a 10 second kiss guarantees you will have each other on your minds all day long. We’ve done it for the last four years. Once I was even able to convince him to call in sick LOL.
    .-= Maureen´s last blog .. =-.

    Reply
  • Karen May 21, 2010, 11:02 am

    I am in the midsts of working hard at my marriage and Project Happily Ever After is one of the tools I am using to get my marriage to a happier place. Alisa, because of your dedication, honesty and fabulous writing skills my marriage is in a better place.
    Thank you, Karen

    Reply
  • Joanne May 21, 2010, 12:31 pm

    @ Maureen – I was being tongue-in-cheek (I know, bad pun). I start to kiss Ray and I can’t think of anything else let alone count to ten. I remember the days when he would leave to go to work only to turn back around because he needed me one more time. I miss those days. Working hard just to keep the marriage I hope to get back there one day. At least once a day I try to text Ray with what I would love to do to him when we get home that night, even if we’ve had a fight I send the text anyhow. He is so shy it really makes him nuts.

    Reply
  • Laurie May 21, 2010, 12:40 pm

    I was married for 20 years to a narcissist who I am not married to anymore. In my love “experience” certain toxic relationships should be dumped, to be blunt. This is not to say that I didn’t agonize and grieve and lose a scary amount of weight and want to be that girl sobbing endlessly on the tiles in the bathroom Melissa describes in E,P,L. A bad marriage and extracting one’s-self from it is profoundly sad.

    But that’s because love is profoundly happy.

    After the divorce, I (kind of adorably I feel, oddly) proceeded to embark on the most textbook rebound imaginable. And, of course, realized a whole new set of red-flags & relationship problems. Although, this also flawed relationship was a happier one–crazy & nutty vs. achingly empty.

    I suppose healthy, enduring love is found somewhere in the middle?

    I don’t know yet. Yet even though I’m going to be 49 this Monday, I’m pretty sure I will one day.

    Btw Alisa, this post was awesome–in the original sense of the word.
    .-= Laurie´s last blog ..Chris Brogan =-.

    Reply
  • Joanne May 21, 2010, 12:58 pm

    @ Laurie; I agree that some marriages just need to be ended. The cycle of unhappiness can be really dibilitating. I didn’t grieve much at all when my first marriage ended after 11 years. I didn’t marry because I was in love (I really didn’t believe in love) so when we decided it was over it was just over. Now even though Ray and I have serious problems to work through I can’t seem to let it go and we keep trying again and again because I have found out what love feels like and just can’t imagine my life without it.
    I’m going to be 52 in a couple months and can’t believe I am this age and still not able to sit comfortable in having it all figured out and going right. I’m either very slow or this really is a lifetime adventure with no end.

    By the way Kathy, Drummer Guy, Alisa, Bren and the rest thanks for helping me get through last week. I couldn’t have stuck it out without you all. I really was overwhelmed but you all helped.

    Reply
  • Drummer Guy May 21, 2010, 2:04 pm

    @ Joanne. Your very welcome. Yourself & Ray have been in my thoughts. Oh & I LOVE the potato chips comment. That made me smile. Then I guess sex would be like ice cream? Hmm not sure which I crave more but since the bride is sick & asleep I hear a bowl of chocolate Ice Cream calling me….YUMMY.. lol, :-)

    Reply
  • Joanne May 21, 2010, 2:10 pm

    Drummer Guy- I’ve said it before but it bears repeating.
    Kissing Ray is like eating potato chips. Have one you want another, soon you realize some dip would go really well, then you need something to wash it down. Soon you realize how hungry you really are and go for the full meal. It has made him late for work more than once, so in the morning I just get a peck now.

    Reply
  • Drummer Guy May 21, 2010, 3:10 pm

    Joanne that’s precious. Yea I can see how his job security could be effected lol. I love the analagy mind if I borrow that? lol I may never look at a bag of Lays the same way again :-)

    Reply
  • Drummer Guy May 21, 2010, 3:11 pm

    Okay so Lays wasn’t the best compairason. Then again ;-)

    Reply
  • Kathy May 21, 2010, 3:20 pm

    Drummer Guy, Lays was the best comparison. You should have said “pun intended”.

    ; )

    Reply
  • Drummer Guy May 21, 2010, 3:23 pm

    Yup! I made myself blush lol

    Reply
  • Joanne May 21, 2010, 3:26 pm

    Its quiting time at work and you guys have made me hungry. time to go home.

    Reply
  • Kathy May 21, 2010, 3:28 pm

    @ Joanne, hungry for what???? ; )

    @ Drummer Guy, I didn’t know men blushed. That’s so awesome.

    Reply
  • Joanne May 21, 2010, 3:30 pm

    Kathy- I’m going to go kiss my husband hello and see what comes up. I know TMI.

    Reply
  • Kathy May 21, 2010, 3:33 pm

    @ Joanne, At our age, that is NEVER too much information. I smirked and thought “good on ya”. And you can take that with it’s double meaning if you’d like.

    Reply
  • Drummer Guy May 21, 2010, 4:26 pm

    @ Kathy. I am told I am 2 different people onstage & offstage. Offstage I am pretty quiet, shy, family guy type. Onstage it’s totally different. That’s what everybody who comes to my bands shows say anyway. I see video of us performing & even I am surprised. I guess it is my alter ego :-)

    Reply
  • Kathy May 21, 2010, 4:36 pm

    @ Drummer Guy, I used to date a drummer (back in the stone age). He was very quite off stage. But once he started drumming, totally different person, in a good way. His eyes sparkled. Drumming was his thing and it made him shine.

    So, I totally understand that you’re different on and off stage.

    I’m totally different around people that know me well. I tend to be a bit reserved and quite around new people.

    Reply
  • Maureen May 21, 2010, 6:18 pm

    @Joanne. You are too funny. Actually I don’t count. 10 seconds is whenever I’m done and it is probably more than 10 seconds. He kisses me different every time.
    .-= Maureen´s last blog .. =-.

    Reply
  • Molly May 22, 2010, 9:20 am

    Thanks for sharing your love story, Alisa. I love this Eat, Pray, Love collaboration. What fun.

    I believe my love story is still in it’s early stages. My hubby and I have been married for just 3 years. I gotta admit we’ve been in Chechnya for some of that time, but I’m happy to report we’re working our way out of that dump. I’m not naive enough to believe we’ll never visit again but I’m excited about the tools we’re gathering to make our trips there shorter and less painful.
    .-= Molly´s last blog ..The Home Stretch =-.

    Reply
  • Sage May 22, 2010, 2:39 pm

    For the last twenty years of my twenty eight year old relationship I thought about life on the other side. Everyone told me the grass wouldn’t be greener and they were right it isn’t greener but it is different grass, grass that seems to suit me better.

    I will be fifty towards the end of this year. I lived in big houses and drove big expensive cars. Now I live in a little house by the beach and drive a modest car. I was married to X and now I live with Z. I lived with my kids, now Z’s kids come to stay. I drank too much, now I don’t. I was over-weight, I still am (a bit). I worried about money, I still do. I wanted to write, now I am. Is life harder? Yes, in many ways it is. Am I happier? Yes most of the time. Did I make the right choice, I think so.

    But… if I had been able to learn all the stuff I’ve learned about relationships without leaving my marriage could I have also been happier? That is a definite maybe.

    Having a bright and shiny new relationship was like an amazing holiday in the sun. It gave me a wonderful break from reality, it fed my soul which had have been starving for a long time, but it didn’t fix everything. I quickly reached the point where I wanted to create a home with Z; take the new relationship and shape it into something of a life. Many of the challenges I faced in my old relationship are still there along with some brand new ones and if I’m not careful I can see myself making the same mistakes all over again.

    The love I feel for Z is still intense, satisfying and sustaining. I had glimpses of that with X but I was too young and ignorant to understand it, know what to do with it or hold on to it. It came and it went numerous times over the 28 years of the relationship like the office plant that lives a on the brink of death but is kept going by someone throwing a glass of water over it occasionally.

    So now I work very hard on my bright and shiny (relatively new) relationship with X. Now I know what that actually means. It will never be quite as shiny as those first few months but it is pretty damn good.

    Reply
  • Sage May 22, 2010, 3:31 pm

    oops, amendment to above post. The new relationship is of cause with Z not X. Maybe this should be Eat, Pray, Love, Drink EDIT!

    Reply
  • Kerri May 23, 2010, 2:18 pm

    This is love: When my husband and I got married, I was ill. We thought it was just stress from my job, but it turned out to be so much more. SIX WEEKS after we were married, I end up in the neurological ICU at the U of M, on a ventilator, not knowing if I would live or die. Over the next 3 months, I was in and out of the hospital, mostly in. The first time I was released, I had to have a hospital bed at home. I was in the living room, in the hospital bed (we’d been married a whole TEN weeks at this time), I had a trach, and needed medical care through the night. My brand new husband slept on the couch for six months, and got up during the night as much as I needed him to to suction out my trach. I also couldn’t speak for 4 months due to vocal cord injury. I had to write everything down. And he never THOUGHT about leaving. That’s love.

    Reply
  • Joanne May 24, 2010, 2:23 pm

    Kerri; you are so right , that is love.

    Reply
  • Werner May 27, 2010, 2:41 pm

    My marriage became a an eight-year long Chernobyl wasteland where nothing grew. It finally ended, and the both of us are the better for it.

    I’m in the process of trying to find the type of love of which you speak. I know it’s out there.

    For now, I figure I’d just share this – an expression of unbridled love:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Z1fbd4ejDQ

    Reply
  • OneHotTamale25 July 12, 2010, 5:11 pm

    Cool contest. I’m excited to see who won. :)

    My husband and I were in Siberia for a while and are now moving to Sydney. I hope Eden awaits us in the future. (Probably not the near future though… For the near future I’d settle for Hawaii.)

    Reply

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