Four Lessons from the Eternal City

There's something about the beautiful architecture, the delicious food and appreciation for the fabric of life that Italians have that makes you pause a bit to contemplate life. This is what I'm learning thus far:

  • Slow down and pause. wait. Before you buy, take on another client, create a new project to feed your ego, go into debt… wait. If you don't know the answer and you've been actively searching, try waiting. Yelling at the seed you planted just yesterday doesn't make it grow any faster, does it?
  • Ask yourself, "Do you really want this?" Is it a must have in your life? The European way is to have fewer things but of higher quality. Less is more.
  • Space. Create it. Don't wait for it to come. Mental, physical, spiritual, find it, love it, nurture it, guard it. From cleaning your room to donating what you don't need to eliminating negative people from your life… it all creates space. Do what's necessary to make it happen.
  • Go into your pleasure when stressed. People think that when you're really stressed out that you should muscle your way through it. Sometimes that's the case, but so many other instances actually require or invite you to do things that you enjoy. Are you in the midst of tough negotiations for a business deal? Why wait in angst? Go grab a delicious lunch or get a massage. There's absolutely no reason to suffer. So why do it? Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.
  • Love your life- life is beautiful. Art, beautiful women/men, delicious food, intellectual or mundane conversations, all of it. The negotiations at the market, the meals you whip up in the kitchen (good or bad), the connections you make, music, a beautiful painting. First learn to see the beauty and then once acknowledged, love her. Embrace her. Dance with her and see how she feeds your in return.
  • Laugh at misfortune. My Italian roommates like to make fun of me because I bought a blush wine and even worse, it was frizzante (with bubbles, like seltzer water). I swore it was a mistake (it was), but this is an absolute offense to all things wine in Italy. I couldn't stop laughing as they told me never, ever again to make such a mistake. Or the economic crisis here in Rome they keep referencing-- it's worth poking fun at. We are, for better or worse, human. If we're on a burning ship that's sinking fast, as I learned in Cuba, why not have a brindi on the way out?

What do you think?