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A Perspective on Soul Mates

by jenny sansouci on January 12, 2013

Missing someone you can’t contact can be a pretty dead-end feeling. Maybe the person is an ex love, or someone who has passed away, or someone you were once close with who is no longer in your life. It can be really difficult to let go at times, especially when your heart and soul were deeply entangled in that relationship. Maybe, just maybe, you even felt like that person was a “soul mate.” Sometimes it can seem unfair or wrong that the person is no longer in your life.

AH – RELATIONSHIPS. Right? I know, sometimes I have to get a little emo on here. That’s just how it goes.

I know that when I start to miss someone so much that it hurts, I usually feel like I need to do something about it, like tell them how I feel immediately. Unfortunately, that’s not always possible or appropriate.

I recently came across this passage from Eat, Pray, Love that has helped me a lot. It’s long, but it’s worth a read, because by the time I get to the end I always feel a bit more peaceful, I feel more acceptance, and it transforms my perspective. I re-read it anytime I get that feeling again.

At this point in the book, the author, Elizabeth Gilbert, is at an ashram in India. She’s having a conversation with someone she met there, Richard. His nickname for her is “Groceries,” just for reference.


“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,” 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.”


WOW. I mean, come on! So good. I hope it helps you like it helps me.

I would love to hear your feelings about this passage. I think it’s really powerful.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

kaz January 12, 2013 at 12:47 pm

yep this is exactly the part in the whole film that really resonates.. such a lovely way of un-complicating emotions towards someone you love.. or have loved


Amanda January 12, 2013 at 3:54 pm

Thanks so much for sharing this…


Lindsay January 13, 2013 at 8:52 pm

WOW, this is exactly what I needed to read, literally RIGHT. NOW………..


jenna January 15, 2013 at 11:05 am

Eww, Eat Pray Love? Can you BE anymore cliched?


jenny sansouci January 15, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Ha. Eat Pray Love RULES.


HC January 18, 2013 at 1:20 pm

This was my favorite passage in the book as well (besides the part where she learns to really meditate with the blue light). It gives me chills everytime I read it because I went through almost the same thing in my life. This whole book was actually really weird to read because I felt like she was writing a lot of it about me. LOL


Sindhu January 20, 2013 at 5:58 am

I read this book a long time ago and it was interesting to me. I don’t remember any particular passages making a lasting impression on me, but now, when I’m rereading what you have written here, I’m just blown away. What powerful words. It’s the absolute truth!

Thank you for this article, and reminding me why I liked that book. 🙂


Gretchen January 28, 2013 at 1:42 pm

So powerful!!!!!


Kellie Sinnott February 6, 2013 at 8:40 am

OMG SO GOOD!!!!! I needed this so bad, it gave me chills. Thank you for posting, Jenny!!


Stephanee March 7, 2013 at 11:40 am

I have read this book before, and seen the movie, and I really enjoyed both experiences; however, I never really felt the passion behind this quote until now. I found your blog because of your juice-cleanse recap. I am currently going through a horrible break-up with someone I hoped to spend the rest of my life with. I just wanted to let you know that this post helped me. Thank you! 🙂


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