This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Eat Pray Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.
Like this article? Sign up for a free trial here .
What happens in the Eat Pray Love ending? Does Elizabeth Gilbert find the happiness and meaning she’s searching for?
The Eat Pray Love ending wraps up with Elizabeth in Bali, deciding to be in a relationship with a man named Felipe. Though Elizabeth didn’t begin her journey searching for love, she was grateful for everything she’d found.
Read more about the Eat Pray Love ending below.
Eat Pray Love Ending: Growing Older and Wiser
Gilbert celebrated her 35th birthday in mid-July with a party thrown by Wayan. Balinese parties are not like American parties. Mostly, people get dressed in their finest clothes, then sit quietly admiring each other. Wayan wrapped Gilbert in a purple sarong, bustier, and a gold sheath. The children helped Wayan decorate and make a birthday cake. Wayan’s nieces and nephews were ceremony dancers and performed a ritual dance for Gilbert. The orphan girls gave her gold barrettes. There were also some of her international friends in attendance. It was the weirdest but happiest birthday party Gilbert had ever experienced, and ushers in the beginning of the Eat Pray Love ending.
As time continued to tick by, Gilbert became more anxious about Wayan and the house. She wanted everything to be secured for her own peace of mind and that of the expectant donors back home. But whenever she asked Wayan about it, Wayan brushed her off with excuses. It wasn’t easy to buy a house. It took time to find the right one. When Gilbert tried to dig deeper, Wayan merely shrugged.
As the weeks grew closer to September, when Gilbert would be leaving and Wayan would be evicted, she and Felipe threw themselves into locating potential properties. But Wayan dragged her feet. The right land needed to have good taksu, or “a positive spirit,” she said. She dismissed two potential properties because of their negative taksu.
Wayan also said she had to meet with a priest to find an auspicious day for making a purchase. But to meet with the priest, she had to decide she actually wanted a property. And to decide that, she had to have an auspicious dream. And to have that dream, she had to make an offering at a major temple. The situation seemed impossible to settle.
Despite these frustrations, Gilbert was having fun. The property search brought her and Felipe closer, and she was falling more in love with him. Felipe joked about enjoying his mundane life before he met Gilbert. But he threw himself into the mission of finding Wayan a house as though it was his own.
There were so many things about Felipe that Gilbert loved. He was a nurturer and had this way of making her feel like the center of his universe. She could tell he enjoyed having someone to care for, which was different than her previous relationships. He often recounted how as soon as he saw her that night at the dinner party, he knew he wanted to take care of her.
But Gilbert didn’t know if she could handle being the center of someone’s universe—or if she wanted to be. When she told him this, he reminded her that he’d never asked her to be his purpose for living. Gilbert felt ashamed of her arrogance, but then he said she wasn’t completely wrong.
At 52, Felipe felt no need to look at the world through rose-colored glasses. He knew she didn’t love him the way he loved her, but it didn’t matter. He would continue to love her even after she left because she had filled him with life again. He would love to be with her always, but their lives didn’t allow for that. He was in Bali, and she would soon be back in the States. He didn’t need to dwell on it.
Gilbert wondered about life in Bali full time. The other expats seemed to have run away from something in the “real” world. They were content to have no ambitions and live a life of leisure. But Gilbert still had ambitions. She didn’t want to turn away from a serious life, but she also didn’t want to turn away from Felipe. Then, she realized there was no need to worry. Worrying was part of her past. She could just be present in their love and watch the rest happen.
Love and Betrayal
The more Wayan refused the properties Gilbert and Felipe found, the more Gilbert started to wonder if she was receiving the full story from her friend. Again, she tried to infuse a sense of urgency about buying a house. She had less than two weeks left on the island. Again, Wayan said the process couldn’t be rushed. This begins one of the sadder parts of the Eat Pray Love ending.
However, a few days later, Wayan found a piece of land she liked. It had good taksu, was close to town, and was surrounded by rice fields. The owner was a friend of her father’s and needed money quickly. The land was the Balinese equivalent of 7 acres, and he was willing to sell her two of them. Gilbert told her to buy it immediately.
Another few days passed, and Wayan still hadn’t bought the land. Gilbert pressed her about it, and Wayan became evasive. She said the farmer’s wife wouldn’t let him sell part of the land. He had to sell the whole property. Wayan then said if she had a little more money, she could buy the whole thing, as a mystic had advised her to do. It was her destiny to own the land and start a healing center, and someday, maybe she could build a fancy hotel.
Gilbert couldn’t believe what she was hearing. She told Wayan she didn’t have more money to give. And after she heard the words “fancy hotel,” she suspected that she was getting played. Gilbert felt hurt and betrayed. She asked Felipe what he thought. Up to this point, Felipe had merely been a facilitator. He’d kept his opinions to himself. Now, he stated outright that Wayan was playing her.
Felipe told her not to be angry with Wayan. He’d lived on Bali long enough to realize that this type of behavior wasn’t intentional. It was a way of life. Everyone is so poor and tourists are so wealthy, it is second nature for the locals to try to squeeze every cent they can out of tourists before they leave. When Gilbert raised the $18,000, Wayan couldn’t help but become obsessed with the idea that more could be attained. It was her only understanding of how to survive. He said the best course of action would be to do something to snap Wayan’s thinking back to reality. It would be a great service to do so.
The next day, Gilbert told Wayan she was upset because her American friends were demanding answers. She said she was getting daily messages from angry friends who accused Wayan of stealing. Gilbert knew this would do the trick. The worst insult in Bali was to call someone a thief. They all hustled to make a living, but no one was ever called out for it.
Wayan grew emotional and apologized for putting Gilbert in a terrible position. Gilbert said she understood but would have to take the money back if Wayan didn’t find something that week. Of course, there was no legal way Gilbert could get the money back, but Wayan didn’t know that. It only took four hours for Wayan to call and say she bought the 2 acres from the farmer. The wife had apparently changed her mind.
The women exchanged affections, and Gilbert reassured her that all was well between them. After she hung up, she and Felipe opened a bottle of wine and celebrated. They could finally go on vacation.
Finding Her Voice
Toward the Eat Pray Love ending, Gilbert took Felipe to Gili Meno, a small island off the coast of Bali. The island was so small, you could walk the perimeter within an hour. Gilbert chose this island for their vacation because she’d been there before. When she visited Bali two years ago, she took a 10-day trip by herself to the island for a silent retreat.
Gilbert was in the middle of her divorce at the time. The years of suffering and guilt leading up to the separation, the trauma of separating, and the heartbreak from David had left her scraping the bottom of her life. She wanted to be alone and in complete silence so she could find a way to manage the demons that lived inside.
During those 10 days, she walked the island twice each day and sat on the beach with her thoughts. She knew enough about Yogic tradition to know that thoughts are what bring emotions, both good and bad. Her thoughts were all bad, so she always felt pain. She figured if she kept silent and let the thoughts run their course, she could reduce their power.
It took three days for her mind to quiet down enough for her to examine each thought separately. She invited the sorrowful thoughts to enter one at a time. She examined each one, blessed it, and let it settle peacefully in her heart. Then, she examined each angry thought. Finally, she examined all her shame. After she was done, her mind was empty of all the negativity, but her heart was not full. She realized she had more room in her heart than she thought. This meant her ability for love was never-ending. At that moment, she understood God.
Although that moment was life-changing, she knew it was temporary. There would be other thoughts to contend with. And she knew her journey to true healing was just beginning. So that night, Gilbert went to her cabin and opened a new notebook. She spoke for the first time on the island and wrote the words down. She wrote that she was loved, would never be alone, and would always be taken care of.
Those words became the mantra she heard whenever the voice showed up to help her. Over the next two years, that conversation continued in that same notebook. She knew it had saved her life so many times, and she finally understood who the voice belonged to. It was the voice of the balanced version of herself calling her forward to become who she now was.
Bringing Felipe to that island now was her way of acknowledging the origin of the person he loved. She had not been saved by a man. She had saved herself through self-love and spiritual devotion. She was happy and balanced because she fought for it. And she was ready to share her new life with someone else.
Before they landed on the island, Felipe suggested they build a specific brand of life that suited them. He had to be in Bali for business, Australia for his children, and Brazil for his family. She had to be in America for her work and family. Why didn’t they simply exist together among those four locations? The writer in Gilbert didn’t miss the AABB connection with poetry (Australia, America, Bali, Brazil). Of course, that was how they’d move through life together, in measured couplets of beauty. She looked at him and said, “Attraversiamo.” It was time to cross over.
The Eat Pray Love ending was not something Liz expected, but neither was the rest of her journey.
———End of Preview———
Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Elizabeth Gilbert's "Eat Pray Love" at Shortform .
Here's what you'll find in our full Eat Pray Love summary :
- Why Elizabeth Gilbert needed to divorce her husband
- How she was able to find joy again in Italy
- How Gilbert was able to find balance with Felipe