Elizabeth Gilbert & the Power of Goodbye

As somebody who, in my second marriage, insisted on a prenuptial agreement, I can also testify that sometimes it is an act of love to chart the exit strategy before you enter the union, in order to make sure that not only you, but your partner as well, knows that there will be no World War III should hearts and minds, for any sad reason, change ~ Elizabeth Gilbert

Currently, Angelina and I are on a Liz Gilbert obsession fest.  We’ve been listening to her new Podcast through iTunes and we’re eagerly anticipating her new book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.  We’ll also be blogging about our field trip to her book signing in either Pasadena or San Diego.  Ever since she wrote Eat, Pray, Love and Committed I’ve read and listened to everything she has to say.

Just recently I found out she’s going to follow up Eat, Pray, Love with a book entitled: Eat, Pray, Love Made Me Do it.  It’s a chance for fans of the book to write about their own Eat, Pray, Love experiences.

Angelina and I often find ourselves on the same spiritual frequency and we end up texting each other about things we are experiencing at the same time.  It was an early Saturday morning when I found out about the contest and decided to write about my own experience.  Once I finished the first draft  Angelina text me about the contest.  When a connection like that happens, I take it as a sign that I am where I’m supposed to be that particular moment.

Here’s my entry for the contest:

In September of 2000, at the age of twenty – eight, I made a decision to enter into a life long commitment.  After many years of discernment, courtship and love I entered a Roman Catholic seminary to pursue the priesthood.  My idealized version of a marriage to chastity, poverty and celibacy was soon replaced after I met a man who would help me understand why I wanted to escape in the first place.    

At the start of my second year I met Richard, a new seminarian who was handsome and shared the same interests as me.  One of those interests being a love and devotion for their overbearing Hispanic mothers who would love nothing more than to say they have a priest for a son.  That year, in the safety of a religious institution, Richard and I both discovered the one thing that we were trying to escape  – homosexuality.      

Before the second year ended I already knew the priesthood wasn’t in my future; I left the idealized version of myself behind and decided to pursue my education and live as an out and proud gay man.  The early part of my thirties was spent catching up with lost time by hitting the night club scene, dating as many men as possible all while working on my undergrad as well as graduate degree.  By October 2007, I had finished my first credential; I was well on my way in creating an intellectual and stimulating career – until I met Joe.

Joe was supposed to be the icing on the cake; the last piece to a perfect puzzle, but instead, he turned out to be the end of the second idealized version I had created of myself. 

What I didn’t know at the time was that I had spent so many years searching for an identity that I never cultivated who I truly was and what I really wanted.  I kept my ability to love hidden for so long that by the time I was ready to give it, I had no understanding of how to do it.  My ability to love was so raw, unshaped and so unmanageable it manifested itself as obsessive, compulsive and was too great to contain.  It was so great that I was too much for Joe to handle which ultimately scared him away.

By the end of 2007, I was on a career high but my heart was shattered into a million pieces. 

All of these events happened right around the time Eat, Pray, Love was published.  I was such an internal mess I quickly became a frequent visitor of the self – help isle of every bookstore.  I had been hearing a lot about A New Earth and decided to read it.  But it wasn’t until I read Eat, Pray, Love that I decided to take action. 

In 2008, my parents had retired, moved to Arizona and needed to rent out the 800 square foot house they owned in California.  It was the place of my birth and happened to be vacant while I was reading the book.  I decided to turn it into my own private sanctuary where I would visit the foreign places of my soul.  Instead of Italy, Bali and India, I would visit my past, my heart and God.

There were several rules I had for myself the year I rented out my parent’s home: no T.V, no bringing work home and no wild parties.  Instead, I’d come home, light many candles, burn incense, journal and pray.  It was a ritual I practiced for one year straight.  In this time I learned the art of meditation and reestablished my relationship with God based on my own experiences with life.  In my journal entries I deconstructed and healed the relationship I had with my parents; allowed myself to express the deep feelings and longing I had for Joe and made peace with God and homosexuality.

After reading Liz Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love I was inspired to give myself time to heal.  I connected with her when she wrote the lines: “I dated so many guys when I was young, I never gave myself the opportunity to find out who I was or what I wanted.”

I’ve been on a spiritual journey to find the truth about myself and life; one thing I’ve learned is that the more I search, the more I evolve. 






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