How to Eat, Pray, Love ... From Home

"Not just any bike, a bike you can cruise through the wine country, without a care in the world," she said.

When she found the one, $300 later, she said, riding with the wind blowing her hair, made her forget her problems and feel "young, free and blissfully happy."

It's these stories of self-discovery that Gilbert herself enjoys hearing. "Getting divorced and moving to India is not everyone's answer,'' she said. "Go on your own scavenger hunt to find out where your spark is, where your joy is, what you're missing. It's not about eating the same pizza I ate."

Sharon Gilchrest O'Neill, a marriage and family therapist outside New York City, said she read the book when it first came out and within a few months, patients were coming into therapy inspired to make changes.

"Eat Pray Love," she said, can "show us how indoctrinated we are in our lives, we don't think we can sort of just spread our wings in different ways."

One of her patients had never gone away on her own and after reading the book, and after months of planning, she hopped a flight for her first solo beach vacation. Another, afraid of leaving her kids, finally took an overnight trip alone with her husband, their first in seven or eight years, Gilchrest O'Neill said.

The book has made many women realize they need to create more boundaries in their lives, and to demand time to be alone to reconnect with themselves and discover themselves for the first time.

One mother was moved to hang a sign up on the bathroom door, lock it and and insist on some private time to take a bath in peace.

The act of eating alone also became a flash point for many women.

"The whole idea about eating alone, even if you can't go out, even if you don't want to spend the money -- most women can find a way to just have a quiet peaceful meal," she said.

_For more literal ideas on the "Eat" theme, check out Chowhound for "Eat Pray Love" menus. _To enhance your experience, buy local ingredients at your farmer's market.

_Go the extra mile and make your own pasta.

_Consider hosting an "Eat Pray Love" night for some close friends. Feast on Italian food, have a yogini friend lead a meditation, and discuss the book and your own relationship challenges.


The middle portion of Gilbert's book, set on an ashram in India, focuses on the pursuit of devotion, and the author's struggle to immerse herself in meditation.

"When it comes to meditation,'' said Margaret Burns Vap, founder of Big Sky Yoga Retreats, "you don't have to sit there for an hour to make it happen. You can take two minutes of your day.

"You can incorporate it into your daily ways, so you can discover some of this peace and perspective,'' she said.

Find a space in your home to claim as your own. "Dedicate a small area to your well-being." Create an "altar," filled with inspiring objects, such as a photos, books, candles, a journal, flowers. Make it pleasing to your senses, she said. (HSN also has "Eat Pray Love" branded home fragrance diffuser set for $19.95, currently sold out).

A Space of Her Own

With time, family members and even pets, she said, will respect the space. Then the trick is to allow the time to use it and enjoy it, and focus on it. It's all too easy to be lying on your yoga mat, in your dedicated space, and zero in on the dust balls.

The demands of home, for some, though, may be too overpowering to ignore.

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