Eat Pray Love – Love Hurts – Love Heals

Elizabeth Gilbert, Author of ‘Eat Pray Love’

AESTHETICS AND INSTINCT: Julia Roberts in 'Eat Pray Love'. Photo: Special Arrangement

Julia Roberts

My friend and I finally got around to seeing the movie Eat Pray Love last week. We didn’t know what to expect as the critics had not been very forthcoming in their praises and we both admitted that although we had found  the content of the book interesting there was something about the style of the writing that made is hard going for both of us. When Elizabeth first appeared on Oprah a couple of years ago I was very inspired by her. She had charisma and was very articulate.


We really enjoyed the movie and found that its truth really hit home of how painful relationships can be and what a journey it can be to be to be healed. We could both relate to the pain of having to let go of a relationship and of the guilt that we may carry after leaving a marriage or a relationship. My friend said it took her four years to forgive herself after walking out on her marriage for another man. This comment was provoked when Elizabeth played by Julia Roberts was visited on a soul level by her ex husband in India when they danced to their tune at their wedding.  Symbolically this beautiful image of love and harmony meant that her ex husband was letting her go and she simultaneously was forgiving herself. While my friend was resonating with the film over her self forgiveness I was remembering how after much suffering and resentment, I chose to let go of the resentment of my de facto partner Michael and forgive him.

Anne & Michael

The Blame Game
It is much easier to blame the other party rather than take responsibility for one’s actions. It all happened around the time of my first Saturn Return when we were going to get married. We had even gone so far as to send out the wedding invitations. The relationship had always been turbulent – he was a very temperamental Hungarian and I found it difficult living up to his expectations. He had 4 planets in Virgo and a Cancer Moon and Scorpio rising so could be very critical and suddenly lash out when he felt hurt. it was like walking on egg shells. I was a very sensitive Cancerian with 3 planets in Cancer.

Love Hurts

Michael was carrying a lot of baggage – guilt over leaving his wife and young son in Hungary. I thought I was ready for a commitment marriage and children while he was afraid that he would have another failed marriage on his hands – a recipe for disaster! We set the wedding date but we couldn’t even agree on what kind of wedding we wanted and were arguing about the guest list as there were certain friends of mine that he didn’t like. We had even gone so far as to send out the wedding invitations. I didn’t realise that I wasn’t being authentic at the time.
As the time drew closer to the wedding his moods became darker and darker which my family commented on. As he became more and more critical of me I became more deeply hurt, withdrawing further into my shell.  One night when he was going to his colleagues’ place for dinner and to play the violin while his colleague accompanied him on the piano I rebelled and decided to have dinner with some girl friends at the All Nations Club. I had gone along with these weekly dinners with his colleague and his wife for two years. They were pleasant enough people but I felt I had very little in common with them.

When he returned home and I told him where I had been he flew into such a jealous rage that we called the wedding off and broke up the relationship. Although I was very sad, at the same time I felt a tremendous sense of relief, feeling like a bird let out of a cage. I had done my best to make the relationship work but I had to face reality and know when to quit. My witty Capricorn sister, Sue who watched her freedom loving sister with Sagittarius rising becoming domesticated and turning out meals such as Hungarian ghoulash and chicken paprikas used to jokingly say I had turned into a crockpot cretin!

On the day we were supposed to be married I put on a brave face and defiantly had a freedom from matrimony party. My friends and family rallied round me and told me that they were relieved that I wasn’t going through with it as they thought he was too difficult and would have had a miserable life. I remember the words of my dear late Auntie Florence who said, “Anne, you will always be young at heart!”

Anne & Bert

Our Butterfly

Love Heals – Setting the Butterfly free

In my previous blog entitled My Butterfly I shared my poem I wrote to my dear friend Bert. The writing of this poem marked a qualitative change in my perception of what love is. It bears repeating here in the context of my soul’s growth. Fast forward six years after I broke up with Michael and started a relationship with Bert which acted as catalyst for me to learn the meaning of unconditional love. After I wrote this poem  After I wrote this poem I had a numinous experience when a butterfly flew down and rested on my knee. The Greek word for butterfly and soul is one and the same – ‘psyche’ so in a very real way I was setting my soul free by transcending my ego desires to possess someone whom I loved. This experience brought tears of gratitude and I felt truly blessed. – I saw it as the Universe’s way through one of Mother Nature’s visitations of affirming my experience. It was a real turning point in my life and soul’s growth. I have Venus square Neptune natally. Neptune which represents losses and sacrifice (make holy) is the higher octave of Venus so has pushed me through painful experiences in love and relationships to aspire toward Universal love. It hasn’t been an easy journey but its rewards for persevering on this path have been manifold.
My Butterfly
For Bert
I set you free my butterfly
To me you don’t belong
But to the forest far away
I held you in my hands a while
But not for very long
And wondered at your wings so bright
And loved your beauteous song
I set you free my butterfly
For love’s true test
To creatures free
Is let them fly away
I’ll miss your lovely span of wings
 But I’ll not forget our song
Copyright Anne Robertson 27/8/1985
Dr Robert Assagioli
Psychosynthesis – Integrating and Healing the Psyche
In 1987 I did two years training in Psychosynthesis founded by Dr Roberto Assagioli, an Italian psychiatrist who lived from 1888 to 1974. He was a contemporary of  Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, both of whom influenced his work but there were many other systems of thought that also had a profound influence on Assagioli. Both Assagioli’s mother and his wife were Theosophists so Assagioli also embraced Eastern philosophy as well as western traditions. Like Jung, he was aware that he was on the one hand a scientist but also had a strong mystical side.
The two years of Psychosynthesis training proved to be one of the most important steps that I took toward understanding and healing the self. Working in such close proximity with the other trainees with compulsory counselling sessions, lectures and weekend workshops we soon forged a deep bond with each other. The topics we covered in those two years included such things as subpersonality work and the concept of the will, disidentification exercises to effect the integration of the personality self, discovering life purpose, and unconditional love and forgiveness.

Edith Stauffer

Forgiving Michael – Healing the Wounds of the Past
It was the workshop on Unconditional Love and Forgiveness based on the book of the same name by Dr Edith Stauffer, head of Psychosynthesis International which had a the profound effect on me. Edith’s teachings had such an impact on me that it acted as a catalyst for me to write a letter to M. just sharing my views on how I saw our relationship in a completely different light than when we had parted ten years ago when I had written an acrimonious letter just pointing the finger at him rather than looking at my own patterns of relating. I shared with him my views on karma and reincarnation and how I saw our relationship as a process toward self awareness and opportunity to heal past wounds.
The very day I decided to write the letter I narrowly escaped serious injury while on the way to work when a maniac on a motor bike careered into me on the footpath of Oxford Street Darlinghurst. Fortunately for me, being mid winter, I was quite well padded with winter clothes so I escaped with shock and a few bruises. As soon as I arrived at work I wrote my letter to Michael feeling that the near miss was a warning to complete my karma with him while I was still alive! I didn’t receive a reply straight away but as Edith Stauffer explains unconditional love is about loving without expectations and forgiveness was about cancelling the expectations of how Michael should have acted toward me.

Releasing Past Pain and Resentment – A response from Michael

 A year later when I was going through a very stressful time caring for my invalid mother I was invited out the front of a healing circle to release any blocked emotions. The healer asked me to release any resentment so I tuned into two men who had caused my suffering, first my father and then Michael. It was a complete catharsis as I felt a very heavy energy leave my body. This happened on a Wednesday evening and on the Sunday, four days later when I answered the phone it was Michael finally responding to my letter. He said, “Are you sitting down? This is Michael speaking finally getting around to replying to your letter.” He apologised for not replying sooner but he was going through a very stressful time in his marriage at the time which had subsequently ended. I was amazed at the synchronicity of the two events of my releasing my resentment toward him and his phone call. We agreed to meet up and have dinner together.
"Healing Heart" by CJ Morgan
Love Heals
Meeting with Michael – Releasing the Pain of the Past – Setting the Soul Free
 It was a very emotional reunion. We had not seen each other for thirteen years since our very acrimonious break up. He expressed gratitude for my giving him the opportunity to meet and heal the past. I shared with him honestly what qualities in him had made the relationship so difficult for me but this time I also shared my insights on my own patterns of relating that stemmed from my childhood conditioning. He admitted that he had been nervous about crossing my threshold  again for fear of hurting me again but he soon realised that we were now on a different level of relating. When I returned to the healing circle the following month my friends could not believe the difference in my appearance. They said I looked years younger. It was as Edith Stauffer had described it in her book that when we are able to express unconditional love and forgiveness we experience it on all levels – physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual as a lightness, a feeling of joy, compassion and freedom, a capacity to accept people without judgment.

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