The true meaning behind cultivating la Dolce Vita….
It was a few days ago that I sent an email to my partner Mirko asking him if he thought Italians still lived la dolce vita…I had a specific reason for asking..He sent me an email back, and in the subject line wrote "La Dolce Vita my ass"…
"Italy is the last country where people savor the joy of living. It makes us believe it even when Italy herself has ceased to believe…"
This got me thinking. After 6 weeks back in the states visiting family and friends, and continually working on my current visa issues, and witnessing the elevated stress levels of Americans that I had only read about…I realized some things I would like to share, and as usual there is a common theme…LOVE.
Through all my obstacles, heartache and frustration with Italy, it wasn't until recently that I decided to surrender and let go of the past to move forward.I was searching on line and came across a few blogs…some of them were writing about how they wanted American products in Italy, some were about missing comforts of home…all things that I feel people realize when they leave or live in a country that they haven't truly made there own.I myself while being in the States have thought to my life in Italy, and wondered…where will I find the products I love so dearly? While packing up my home in the States I thought to myself things like…how could I live without this trinket, now that I have found it again. However, the core of that thought goes deeper…I can live without the product or trinket, but will I be able to move on from the attachment?
Over the 3 months I lived in Italy, I was very ill.The illness followed me to the States, as I went to a few different doctors to find out the true underlying cause. Not to my surprise, I found out that most of my "illness" was in my head. I am not ashamed to share this with all of you, as everything I do is a learning experience, and my hope always is for even just one person to learn from it all.When I found out that I was part of my cause for itching and getting rashy due to nerves and stress, I decided to take action and go back to the core of where it was all coming from.
For me, contemplation and a regular yoga practice help me to uncover those deep answers to the questions I need the most help with.What I found through contemplation was certain principles for living what I believe still exists inside all of us…La Dolce Vita---The sweetness of life.
1.Keep family ties alive and positive
2.Make "LOVE" a part of everything you say and do in life
3.Take care of your money, but remember what true wealth is…
4.Always put your best foot forward
5.Cultivate a positive attitude, it will change your life
6.Keep the mealtimes focused on good nutrition and good relationships
Instead of concentrating on what Italy does not have for me, I started thinking to what it has taught me, and does have…In the Italian culture, loving relationships start at home. Family is the focal point of Italian life and Italians approach family in much the same way they approach survival: with passion, perseverance and respect.
My partner Mirko taught me this about Italy. He has taught me what a family really is and what it means to stay together, even during the tough times.Mirko and I grew up very differently. Not one better then the other, just differently. I have touched on this before. He had two parents that defined the true meaning behind love, a love so strong, that it could shake your core. I on the other hand am a product of 1 divorce and a current separation. What I learned from my upbringing was that I do have the power to create the type of family I want and dream about and will continue to pursue this everyday courageously. I learned life does not have to follow similar patterns, and it is possible to open, and reopen your heart with courage.
I'm under the impression home is where your heart is…and if you feel lost and do not know where home is….go back to where you feel a sense of purpose and belonging. However, never expect someone else to create this for you…in any country. You must create this for yourself, wherever you are.
Love is just love. Or is it?Love in its absolute form, knows no boundaries or limitations. Love can heal any wound, problem or relationship. Nothing we confront in our lives or in our relationships is more powerful then absolute LOVE.There is a different type of love out there though…one in which too many of us are familiar with..and that is relative love. What does this mean? It means that love is experienced only through our beliefs, judgments and experiences. If that is the case, it means that this specific love could be tainted or clouded by fear. This can hit all aspects of our lives…food, relationships, work, and home…if relative love is the only love we know…are we ever really loving at all? And most importantly are we loving OURSELVES, the way we deserve?....
I cannot answer these questions for you, but you can. In your heart you know love in its absolute form. You also know when you can no longer hear yourself.
The morning I left Italy and boarded the plane for the States, I went for a run in the beautiful park next to our house in Prato. As I looked over and saw the mountains covered by villas, I stopped as my breath was taken away. Tears formed in my eyes…I remember feeling a sense of total completion. A sense of oneness, and belonging. In that moment I only thought of how lucky I was. I made a silent promise that morning in the hills of Tuscany, that I would embrace the LOVE in my life and only let that guide me, not the fear. I would return to Italy start my business in which I am passionate about, and create a family and a life with a partner who by every sense of the word fills my heart with happiness.
I returned to Italy 2 weeks ago. My "illness" is gone; the house is beautiful and slowly coming together. Mirko and I juice fresh vegetables every day, we run in the park next to our house in the morning, and most of all we continue to take those 5 minutes every night, no matter how crazy the day was to laugh.
La Dolce Vita is more then fashion, and sipping cappuccinos on a sidewalk café…La Dolce vita is embracing and harnessing that inner voice that screams to you everyday to dream courageously, love yourself, and be happy for what you do have, not to think about what you do not.The sweetness of life is to create, and recreate you. Whether you have chosen to do that in Italy, Hong Kong, America or wherever…embrace the principles of La Dolce Vita and cultivate the happiness you deserve.