Simplicty in Italy

I just got back from Italy, and loved every minute of my experience. Every step is so rich with history, and preserved with love.
I noticed quite a few things about the lifestyle in Italy, and how graciously the Italians live. It certainly is a lesson in simplicity, and relishing life.
The traffic. The cities are crowded with people, teeny tiny cars, mopeds and bikes…yet you will rarely hear a horn honking. If fact, I’m not so sure the cars even have horns in Italy. It was that quiet. People walk in the streets, and the cars and mopeds graciously wait for the pedestrians to move, when they feel like it. Patiently they wait, knowing that where ever they are going, it will be there when they arrive.
A reservation for dinner is merely as suggestion. If you arrive an hour late, they are happy to see you and fill your bellies with love. We’ll talk about the food later…In this very crowded area, no one is bothered or annoyed, they are just being. It reminds me of a quote I have above my kitchen sink that reads, “Peace. It doesn’t mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”
The food. Italy is known for it’s food, as it should be. Each dish is prepared simply with love for the purpose of nourishing the soul. What is amazing to me is that amongst all of this bread and pasta, live a society of healthy people. Rarely do you see someone who is over weight. Most are quite thin. They are not obsessed with exercise, they are not consumed with being thin, they just are. And my conclusion to this is two-fold. One being there is no junk food. People sit down to meals. There is no fast food (exception- the occasional Micky D’s). There are no ‘convenience stores’ where you can get a frozen or processed ‘on the go’ meal stuffed with preservatives. Their corner stores are filled with fresh fruit and vegetables, cheeses and freshly made dishes. The food is pure, un-harmed and meals are taken seriously. There is no need for fast food, no need for canned or frozen dinners. When you are filling yourself with pure, un altered nourishment, your body responds by saying thank you. And…people drink water! They do have sodas. but they cost a fortune, so most drink the good stuff that comes from mother earth. They eat good food that is pure, and a meal is an event, not a drive by. How refreshing!
The people are present. It is very rare to see a cell phone, or an electronic game. The people are with each other. They talk, communicate, and love. Even the kids after school kick balls around and laugh. They spend time with each other. They seem more connected, as they communicate face to face, not phone to phone. It is so refreshing to be in a place where cell phones and beeps and buzzers are not a priority. The Italians understand that there is no rush, life is here for us, and we have a choice how to live it. Being present is the key to happiness, and in my estimation, they do a pretty good job of being present!

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