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What’s Missing from “Eat, Pray, Love” and Why It Matters

September 24, 2010

What’s Missing from “Eat, Pray, Love” and Why It Matters:

The book Eat Pray Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert, is a memoir of self discovery that describes her journey to find her spirituality and create balance in her life. However, one thing seems to be missing from her story: discovering a sense of purpose and meaning that transcends who she is. To me, that is a gap that, when filled, truly elevates life to a new level.

The soon-to-be-published book, Find – Fulfill – Flourish: Discover Your Purpose With LifePath GPS, includes many stories about people who discovered themselves and what is truly important to them by pursuing a greater purpose. And most of them did it close to home; there was no need to travel to Italy, India, and Bali. These people were inspired by seeing unmet needs and following the personal values that compelled them to act. Much like Gilbert experienced during her voyage of self-discovery, their sense of self crystallized over time. They found their heart, strengthened their beliefs, and focused their efforts on helping to create a greater good. Their outer quests reflected their inner quests, each synergistically strengthening the other.

The search for self chronicled in Eat Pray Love describes one woman’s path to personal fulfillment. And while each of us must chart our own course, I believe the true capstone goes beyond simply discovering who you are. It also includes bringing your full self to life through your actions and impact. Your actions are a reflection of who you are, and who you are inside is expressed through your actions. One key to living as the person you want to be is to align the two – who you are and what you do – with a sense of purpose. That’s where you will find your own unique path to personal fulfillment and meaning.

I encourage you to reflect on who you are, who you want to be, and how to take the next step to move in that direction.

Steve Weitzenkorn

Steve Weitzenkorn, Ph.D., is a learning innovator, organizational advisor, experienced facilitator, and lead author of Find-Fulfill-Flourish: Discover Your Purpose with LifePath GPS – a book, tool kit, and workshop series focused on guiding people toward more meaningful and fulfilling lives.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. September 24, 2010 6:45 am

    Many people have difficulties with honest reflection. We have many constructs – false ideas of ourselves- that seem like honest reflection. The trick is learning how to cut through these tangles of implanted ideas and find our true nature.

  2. September 24, 2010 7:24 am

    This is brilliant. I like your perspective and the new insight on the power of actions.

  3. September 24, 2010 10:01 am

    Dear Steve,

    I empathize with your words. It is true that many find it difficult to even think what is the purpose of their life.

    Occasionally, I too have asked myself – why am I doing, what am I doing? This question seems important to live beyond our means and think of ourselves as a higher beings and to answer the purpose of our life. I would suggest you can glance through or read – “Who am I?” By Poul Bronton on Ramana Maharshi and “I am that” – Nisargadatta Maharaj. Both Indian philosophers.

  4. willowmoon permalink
    September 26, 2010 10:59 pm

    Service can be the path to self-discovery, and creates great openings for our guides and loved ones to teach us. Notably, many people who live below the poverty line are reduced to tracking Elizabeth Gilbert’s spiritual quest with a thirst that will never be quenched unless it is understood that one’s path, one’s purpose, is a journey of the heart and mind, not one of significant monetary expenditure and world travel. I bless Ms. Gilbert on her journey and bear her absolutely no malice. I’m just pointing out the gap that I see, one that’s just as far-reaching as poverty is.

    • September 27, 2010 4:10 am

      I could not agree with you more. Service is a very important element and requires us to focus on needs outside of our own. The journey is one of “heart and mind” as you so elegantly say, and anyone can do it. In fact, in our forthcoming book, “Find-Fulfill-Flourish,” we have a story of a homeless man who makes a big difference for youth in his blighted neighborhood. And in the process, he changed his life as well.

      Thanks for sharing your insights. I hope you share more in the future,



  1. From Volunteer to “Heartisan” « Find – Fulfill – Flourish
  2. How Do You Define WHO You Are? « Find – Fulfill – Flourish

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