I miei sentimenti--my feelings--are what propel me when I'm full of passion and determination, and what keep me stuck in the mud when I dwell on mountains too high and rivers too deep.
In Italian a sensitive person is called sensibile. I rather like that. It sounds a lot like the English "sensible." "Sensitive" can conjure up all sorts of negative connotations, such as weak, reactive, or even mental. "Sensibile" sounds chic and classy; confident without being cocky.
Underneath the sometimes frantic exterior, sensitive people are tender, aware, empathetic, and intuitive. Feelings are the guideposts of life that tell us keep going, or make a change. That makes us sensitive people, those who are uber aware of their feelings, the sensible ones because we are listening to life.
Today a student interviewed me for a class assignment and asked me where I saw myself in three years. I've done this before: in X amount of years, I will have a loving husband, 2+ kids, a house and a good paying job. At the moment I can check one of those off, but should I feel like I've failed if I haven't accomplished the others within my self-imposed time frame? And does my decent paying job even make me happy? No and no.
I finally figured it out. I shouldn't be checking off a husband and kids like they're some to-do list with some sort of self-determined due date. When I plan my future, I shouldn't focus on obtaining things. That is 100 % wrong! The sensible/sensibile thing to do is focus on feelings. How do I want to feel? Not only in the next three years, but how do I want to feel now and all the days of my life?
I want to feel...
energetic and enthusiastic
joyful and full of laughter
and most of all, connected to people and places, to nature and the earth, to God and myself in love.
I've always known when it's time for me to make a major change because I get a suffocated feeling like there's a burden on my heart. After nearly two years at my current job, that feeling has come on full force. At first I panicked as I do when I don't know how to make a change or even what to do next. The desired feelings need to come before the change or else we get more of the same.
Feelings before manifestation--it sort of sounds like being a life magician and pulling feelings out of a hat. I can assure that it is not entirely impossible. Whenever people ask me about my best memory this is the story I tell:
I was living in France at the time and I was en route to visit a friend in Sicily. Since there weren't any direct flights from southern France to Sicily, I decided to take a five hour train ride to my beloved Torino where I studied abroad in 2005. Not to mention the CioccolaTo festival was being held that same day. (This is the annual chocolate festival in Torino that fulfills the fantasies of every chocoholic). I was thrilled that I knew the city well enough to hop on the bus, get my chocolate fix, and then make it to the airport in time for my evening flight.
That was until I saw that my memories of the city had not changed in two years, but the recent Olympic games had installed futuristic looking digital monitors at the train station, and re-routed bus lines, among other undesirable changes. I felt a sense of betrayal that Torino had moved on, but I hadn't.
I scratched my CiocolaTo plans and decided to do the next best thing: gelato at Princess Ice, my favorite gelateria where I always got nocciola (hazelnut) and cioccolato. Instead of the flashing blue ice cream sign there was a red and green for a roasted chicken shop (what?!)! So not what I had a craving for!!!! My hopes were dashed yet again.
Things looked up as I walked down Via Madama Cristina and like a mirage I saw the black and white sign indicating a Sephora that had not been there before. My heart beat a little faster…Sephora is my happy place. I don't know what it is about that store…the perfume intoxication or endless rows of makeup…but it makes me giddy.
From Sephora I decided to go to my next favorite gelateria, Mastro Gelataio on Via Nizza. This place has literally hundreds of flavors, and the entire time I lived in Torino I only ate, you guessed it…nocciola and cioccolato. If I recall they were out of one of those flavors, so I decided to try mirtilli (blueberry) and crema (cream) instead.
As I walked down the street eating my ice cream, something extraordinary and magical happened, yet it was triggered by nothing of consequence. These new flavors tasted so unexpectedly good, and I was riding on the thrill of returning to my Italian city. The sky opened up and became brighter and bluer. I wasn't walking, I was floating. The sunlight sparkled. In my heart I felt total peace and pure joy.
Nothing had gone as I expected, but everything was right. From that unexpected moment of joy, a wave of coincidental and magical events ensued.
Was it the gelato? Was it Italy? Was it me, or was it divine inspiration? What it taught me was that feeling good doesn't need to come from anything profound, but is available to us at all times. I often think of this moment and strive to live from this place of peace mixed with excitement. Yet it has to come spontaneously and not be forced….
On another note, I have no idea what change I need to make in my life, but I know it will involve writing and Italy. In fact, I was talking to a colleague today who was married to an Italian and lived there for 28 years. She talked about how life is easier here in the States (for example they don't have clothes driers and parking/driving is difficult etc…..hello, has she seen San Antonio drivers and roads?) But she did say that she thinks I would do well in Italy. I don't know her very well, but I was so pleased she gave me what I consider the ultimate compliment!!!
Here's to feeling free, passionate, energetic and enthusiastic, joyful and full of laughter, relaxed, inspired, creative, connected to people and places, to nature and the earth, to God and myself in love for no reason at all, other than I want to feel this way all the days of my life!