THREE THINGS I LEARNED ON MY ITALY RETREAT
The workshop I teach in Italy is the same workshop I have taught in the United States for over 19 years, based on The Option Method. As it is with teaching, the teacher often learns more than the students. Here are three things I learned during my Italy Retreat in September.
1.) Courage is unveiled in many colors. We all experience loss in our lives, and we kneel at different graves, but we dust off our knees, look around again, cry some, love a little more tenuously, feel the pain, and take another step beginning our journey again.
Repeatedly, I re-discover that women are the memory keepers, and when they tell their stories, and their stories are heard, life makes more sense and their lives are kept sacred.
I am humbled by the strength of the human spirit to succeed again and again even amidst betrayals and mistreatments by those we love or have loved.
2.) Love is the greatest force in the world. That force gives us the strength to get beyond the pain, or at best not to allow the loss of love to keep us under water. The courage and determination to love and to allow love into our lives again is a marvel to watch. Or as Rumi has written: “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
It is helpful to question and resolve our limiting beliefs that are barriers within ourselves. The purpose is to stop us from responding to events out of habit, unconsciously.
3.) Remember to enjoy each moment of our lives. The Italian culture naturally follows that philosophy. This is one of the reasons I teach in Italy, (besides the fact that I love Italy). If you saw the movie, Eat Pray Love, you may remember the gentleman in the barber shop explaining how Italians enjoy life–la dolce far niente–‘the sweetness of doing nothing.’
After the workshop, I was on the train in Italy traveling through many tunnels, and for some reason there were no lights on inside this particular train. After silently experiencing several pitch-black tunnels, a middle-aged Italian woman lit her cigarette lighter, and started singing happy birthday in Italian, with her friends laughing and singing along, tante auguri a te, tante auguri a te. All of us tourists around her began happily singing along.
I am grateful for all the courage, love and joy that people in the world share, but most especially for the women in my workshop who were an inspiration to me.
Here’s what one of the course participants said: “….Within two days a group of women with vastly different backgrounds, who were not familiar with each other–were able to share intimate secrets and be vulnerable–that is a testament to a facilitator who trusts in the environment and instructs from the heart–to foster a feeling of safety and trust. This could happen nowhere else but Italy and with no one else but Lenora.“
If you’d like to read more about George Clooney in Italy and about one of our hiking adventures during this year’s Italy Retreat, I wrote about it on my happiness blog, BeHappyLifeCoach.
How do you create courage, love and joy in YOUR life? Share your comments.