italy: its simple lessons (3). opening doors

Italy is full of amazing doors.

They give old buildings a mysterious aura.  People always comment on them, because there is something enticing about Italian doors.  They open onto busy streets, or sometimes cobblestone walkways.  Sometimes, they're humble, sometimes elegant, often peeling, telling of generations that have pushed, pulled, slammed, and snuck through (trying not to wake the watchful eye of Mama upstairs).  What lies behind is sometimes mundane, sometimes unexplainable, sometimes breathtaking.  But the allure of Italian doors keep people coming back, hoping to get a glimpse of what life is like on the inside.

Italy is one of the places in the world that opens people's imagination - about food, about color, about the coexistence of creativity with tradition.  Everything  about Italy involves a paradox - things that should be ugly are beautiful, things that function do not, and things that would never work anywhere else manage to happen here.

People want to know why and how it can be that way.  The doors are a clue.  They are the great defenders of hearth and home.  They hold out unwanted intrusion, hold in what is precious, and are a curiosity to all who pass.   Italian doors are the sentries of history.

It takes a lot of work to open doors in Italy.

They're heavy, and the hinges are rusty.  Sometimes the years of patina have taken their toll, and stubborn door handles stick.  But you simply have to get a glimpse of what's going on behind.  You just have to.  It's irresistible.

Because behind the door there might be a sculpture, or someone welding iron, or someone stripping down an old dresser.  There might be three old men, sitting in a courtyard, playing cards and laughing.  Or two women making ravioli by hand and talking about their grandchildren.  You might meet the most amazing person you ever met before behind a door in Italy. Opening a door in Italy can change your life. Speaking of which.

What about opening some new doors for yourself?

They don't have to be beautiful, or mysterious, and they sure don't have to be in Italy.  But you might want to think about the possibilities that will come your way if you deviate from your path a bit and open a new door.  Peek through.  See things that maybe would not have been part of your world if you had stayed on the straight and narrow.  Meet a new person. Stop in a cafe and have a cup of tea and write in your journal.   Read a new blog or book.  Try a new craft that brings you in contact with new people and materials.  Maybe try a new behavior, like worrying less and not second guessing yourself- that could lead to all kinds of possibilities. You would be surprised what doors might fly open if you relaxed.

There is nothing like discovering something new about yourself.

Clearing your clutter, making space for new ideas, and giving yourself a window of time to open some new doors in life can do you a world of good.  This is one of Italy's biggest lessons to me.  Doors as barriers, doors as metaphor, doors as possibilities yet undiscovered.  I've been here for almost eight years, and I still can't resist peeking behind closed doors!

Come on. You know you want to.  Go ahead. Open it.