A Traveler’s Terrene

You only live once. What are you going to remember the most?

Belief September 19, 2009

Filed under: Inspiration and Motivation — italicana kitchen @ 3:49 pm
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Do you ever feel like you are treading water through life? You are working as hard as you can just to stay afloat but in return you are just exhausting yourself? Instead of swimming for the exercise or towards a destination you go nowhere. Or, instead of lying on the surface of the water and letting yourself relax and float, you stay rigid, body half immersed in the water, head cocked up looking in each direction while just kicking your feet. Life becomes neither an adventure or a comfort, instead it becomes a constant struggle just to live and at some point it seems almost easier to just let go and let yourself sink.

After a few months of treading water where I was exhausting myself but going nowhere, I let myself sink. I stopped writing. I stopped studying. I stopped dreaming. I stopped pursuing. And, instead, I started analyzing. I started critiquing. I started doubting. I started diminishing my goals and choices. And instead of filling my mind with productive thoughts, using my mind for creative outlets…I questioned myself: what is the point? What is the point of writing a book? What is the point of learning a language? What is the point of constantly challenging myself when I could just relax and lead a life of indifference?

But, a life of indifference is a life without belief. And, a life without belief is a hollow existence. Belief gives meaning to the day’s otherwise trivial events–because when it comes down to it, life is just life. But, when you believe in life, when you believe that the things you are doing are important than life itself becomes a life of purpose, not just a life spent treading water.

If you believe in the choices you make, you will find satisfaction with your results.  And, if you aren’t sure about the choices you are making then change perspectives or alter your beliefs–just don’t lose your ability to believe in something because that takes away the happiness of living.  For example, look at children when they play, they seem to always be happy and it’s not  because of the toy they are holding in their hands that makes them laugh and smile, but rather the belief they have in that toy to be something they created with their imagination. The toy car becomes the get-away car for their JI Joe or the toy doll becomes a magical fairy that flies through the clouds.  The object it not significant, rather the belief in what that object can do makes it significant.  

Children make the world how they want it to find happiness. So can you. Get interested in something, and believe in what you are doing. Instead of spending your time living, why not spend your time creating?

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A Continual Quest February 19, 2009

It’s officially official…. in one week from today I am moving to Italy! Although, I already planned to be leaving, until I had my visa in hand nothing was certain. I flew to San Francisco last week, applied for my visa and a few days later walked out of the Italian Consulate’s white wooden doors with a huge smile spread wide across my face, my visa in hand, and the stripes of red, green and white from the Italian flag hung over the door frame waving behind me. Just over a year ago I was leaving Seattle for an around the world trip, now merely 12 months later, I am about to embark on a new adventure. What amazing moments are waiting for me in Italy? What new terrene can I explore?

The world offers endless possibilities if you continually strive for them. The key to accomplishing your goals and dreams is to not stop after completing one goal, but rather to keep challenging yourself to achieve all of your goals on your list. And, when that list is done–time to make a new one.

Never stop aspiring for your dreams after you complete your first round of goals. Of course, take some time to soak in the glory of your accomplishments, congratulations!  But, don’t think for a moment that you are done–your list of dreams should be constant, never ending. No matter how many goals you’ve accomplished or how much status or wealth you have obtained, you should never allow yourself to sit idle in life when you have the potential each day to fulfill a personal goal or to help others achieve theirs.

Obstacles are bound to cross your path stealing your motivation like two black masked men robbing piles of crisp green cash from the vault of a bank, leaving you empty and in disarray.  But, when all is lost, that is when your true strength perseveres. “Okay,” you should say. “What can I do right now to better my situation and what is out of my control?” Be relentless about identifying the things you can change, and let go of the things you can’t.

Life should be a challenge. Whether you create the challenge for yourself, or the challenge falls unexpectedly in your lap like Cancer or paralysis, you still have a reason to push yourself. Don’t give up. Strive for your dreams, and if your current dreams are too far away to grasp or have now become unrealistic given an unexpected situation, create a new list–keeping pushing yourself.

The true prize is your journey in persevering towards your goals, rather than the single moment when you actually achieve them. The gratification from holding a trophy is minuscule to the power of conquering the skills that allowed you to get there which were achieved from hours of practice, diligence to your goal and belief in yourself that–yes! my dreams are important, they are worth the effort.

 

The Paths We Take February 3, 2009

The journey through life is comprised of many paths. Hundreds of millions of separate paths that intertwine with one other to make up a massive navigation system, much like our transportation system we use to travel across countries.  These paths come in a variety of forms: black paved highways, old dusty country roads, small mountain streams or giant oceans between continents. There are many choices of how and where you can travel in life.  Would you rather walk, drive or boat? Do you enjoy the company of others or the seclusion of nature? Are you wanting to journey at length or in short distances? There is no right or wrong answer, but rather a choice of preference, with the underlining question enveloping each of these decisions is what makes you, the individual person who has to travel his path, happy?

Saturday evening I organized a girls reunion with three of my former high school friends, and this question impeded my thoughts throughout the night. Life has taken us in different directions, and over the course of our reunion we were able to catch up on the past eight years. It was truly remarkable to see the variety of stages we are living at the age of 25. Married seven years with two children, married three years with her first child, recently engaged and single. We were all across the spectrum and because of our choices were walking different paths, none of which were better than the other,  just different. Each path was being walked because that is what made each of us as individuals feel happy.

Whereas some high school reunions are spent discussing about who has or who hasn’t, putting competition into the conversation–the night with these friends was spent congratulating each other on the accomplishments each of us have made over the past eight years, and discussing the incredible road we’ve experienced along the way.

It is unfortunate that my paths with these friends only crosses every now and then as we live in different places, but I am content in knowing that each of us is being true to ourselves, and walking a path of happiness. That is all you can hope for a friend, and yourself in return.

Thank you :K:J:L: for such a fun night!

 

Daily Challenge: Express your Love January 6, 2009

This was the first New Years in two years that I didn’t have a kiss at the stroke of mid-night.  And, although I sometimes miss having a special person in my life to share these moments with, I was very content to wrap my arms around my friends in big hugs and watch as others couples shared a sparkling moment to express their love for one another.  

The whole kiss at midnight may be cliche’, but any moment you take to show someone you love him/her deserves some credit. After all, there are those individuals who don’t typically express themselves and a tradition like this which forces them to show emotion can mean the world to the recipient if emotion is a rarity.  

And, for those relationships where emotion is not a rarity, you still have the ability to sweep your partner off his/her feet. I had the sappiest grin on my face and made uncontrollable “cooing” sounds when my friend came up to me moments after her midnight kiss with her boyfriend of five years and told me it was one of the best kisses of her entire relationship.

“WOW!” I responded, while thinking to myself how incredible it is that after five years of kissing the same two lips there can still be a shock factor that stirs emotions you’ve never experienced, or long since forgotten, and which take your breath away leaving you stunned like a deer staring into a pair of shiny fluorescent headlights, unable to move and frozen mid-stride.

Love is an extraordinary gift and the best part it is a present you can give for free! It can be through a hug, a kiss, a special note or a simple smile. Although special occasions are good excuses to let a person know they are cared for, don’t rely on them as the only time you need to express yourself. When you happen to think of someone, let them know they were thought of; when you see someone, tell them they are cared about; and when you’re in love with someone, let them know with a touch…a kiss…or a magical moment that they will never want to forget.

 

Daily Challenge: Do something…Alone! November 25, 2008

During this last weekend, I have had a handful of people exclaim in a bewildered tone, “Alone!?!”  This is their response when they ask me who I am with and I tell them, “I am by myself.”

“Alone?” They repeat with a look of shock, like it is absolutely the most maddening news they have ever heard–like Brittany Spears marrying Bill Gates or something.

But, being alone can be absolutely amazing:

Friday night I stayed at home, wrote a few pages for my novel, cooked myself a yummy dinner and watched an old film that I had never seen before, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”–alone. (Which is quite fitting as Audrey Hepburn also plays the role of an independent socialite…)

Saturday night I drove to Reggio Emilia, alone, found a cute little restaurant where I enjoyed a nice dinner, alone, and then went to Sali and Tobacchi–a gorgeous bar, restaurant and discoteca, alone.

Monday I drove to Parma, alone, went to the Correggio art exhibition, alone, and ended the night with a glass of wine and an apperativo at a cute little restaurant in a piazza, alone.

It’s not to say that I want to do everything alone. Sunday night for instance, I met up with my new Italian friends for an apperitivo (happy hour) and later a fantastic dinner of homemade tortellini (made by my friend’s nonna (grandmother)…absolutely delish!). I one-hundred percent think that good friends are essential in life. There is nothing more special than sharing a similar connection with someone else.  I am a social butterfly by nature and wouldn’t be able to live without social interaction.

However, since travelling on my own, I have been forced to do things by myself. And, I have discovered that being able to do things independently has been an incredible characteristic to develop–one that is truly empowering.

Firstly, you don’t have to rely on someone else in order to do something you want, you are in charge–you’re the boss. Secondly, you build confidence in yourself as you conquer little obstacles on your own; if you want to drive somewhere but don’t know how to read a city map–by gosh you better figure it out.  And, thirdly, you feel comfortable with yourself, you become your own friend, your own sense of entertainment. You don’t have to rely on someone else to make you happy, you can find happiness from within. Like a child. And, how great are children?  I can sit for hours and just watch them in action, playing, laughing and making up imaginary games. They are happy even when they are by themselves, it’s a virtue we sometimes lose as we get older and begin to rely solely on other people to entertain us or make us happy.

So, my challenge to you is to do something completely by yourself that you normally would never do. Go to dinner, a movie, a weekend get-a-way…but do it alone. Learn to be decisive, learn to be confident in a crowded room of strangers, and learn to enjoy your own company!