There are times when we feel the overwhelming need to break out of our current circumstance. It's not about our circumstance; it's about ourselves and our place at the time. This leads to complications. If we are unhappy, we can change our circumstance. But more often than not, it won't make us any happier. The thing we have to change is ourselves, and to do that, we have to come to grips with who we really are. People ask me all the time about starting over and change. It's a topic that seems to capture everyone, as though change, in and of itself, was the means to an end. As though a goal that sits at the end of a long series of circumstantial changes will result in a burst of happiness and fulfillment.
I'm somewhat of an expert at circumstantial change, as I've lived in three countries and have moved thirteen times in thirty years. I used to say I was something of a nomad, but I think it goes further than that. The human energy required to reroot thirteen times explains a lot to me about who I am. There's been a great deal of searching going on. It wasn't, though, until I moved to Italy that I had the time to really process the whirlwind of my life. I've actually lived in this place longer than I've lived anywhere in my adult life. In December, we will be here nine years.
We came here with almost a maniacal need to put down roots, and to build something meaningful and somewhat permanent that we could lean on to let us breathe. We were willing to do whatever it took to make this project work. But what it would really take, in retrospect, to succeed at this lifestyle, was something that I wasn't ready to reckon with. I was willing to change my circumstance, my income level, the square footage of my residence, my car, my wardrobe, my diet. I was flexible to the point of being self-defeating. Whatever it takes, I thought, through the blurred tears and aching bones.
People who knew me couldn't really understand why I was so fragile, scared and defeated. After all I wanted all of this change. We brought it on ourselves. What was the problem?
The problem was that I hadn't yet reckoned with the greatest change to be made of all. I was ready to change this place with the goal of making it the most beautiful little inn on a hill ever, no matter what it took for me to get there. But I was blinded to the fact that even if that grand goal were to happen, I would still be fragile and hurt and unhappy with all that I had accomplished. Because the real problem was that I could not see, through all of this, my own goodness. I could not embrace the fact that everything I did, every day, was enough. Everything was good. In fact, everything was better than good. If you would have heard the guests speak of our place, you would say, Diana, what on earth are you talking about? The guests love your B&B. But all I could see, all I ever could see, was what wasn't done. And I viewed each and every one of those undone things as a momentous personal failure.
This was nothing new. Being satisfied with accomplishments has always escaped me. As I would tick off the things that I had managed to do or learn, I would immediately keep those things in check with the list of what I had left to learn, left to accomplish - a list that was always so much longer and more difficult. On the days of my biggest accomplishments - landing the best job ever, getting a raise, learning how to conjugate the past perfect in German, making the prettiest bowl I had ever made - I would crawl under the covers and cry because I would have to raise the stakes again. Nothing was ever enough.
Looking back, all the need for circumstantial change was just my pushing my aching self further. I created new yardsticks with which to judge my accomplishments. New languages, new professions, new creative ventures. When I'd master one thing, I'd move on to the next, and then the one after that. It's just now, now at this very critical time in my life, that I am becoming aware of something very important.
Whatever we put forth, however we do it, it's enough and it's good on its own. We don't have to take what we've done and pulverize it by creating another new goal out of it. we can just let the good be there. There is no need, none whatsoever, to take all the good we do and minimizing it by looking beyond it as soon as it's in the past. We can expand into ourselves and take in the goodness of all we do. We can enjoy and revel in our own amazingness. We can relax.
We can let go. Nothing bad is going to happen if we let go and allow ourselves the pleasure of just being.
I have had the most amazing week.
I communicated Amy Oscar about what's going on and just touching in the same vibration with her made me feel calmer. If you don't know who Amy is, then I urge you not only to visit her site, but to join Twitter on Sunday mornings at 10 am Eastern time under the hash tag #soulcall . It has become a regular stop of spiritual awareness for me. Also, you might want to download her book about angels.
I caught up with simplicity expert Courtney Carver about what's happening and about the wonderful new project she is working on with the amazing Tammy Strobel called Your Lovely Life , a chapter by chapter course for finding the beauty in our lives. I'll be talking more about this in the next weeks.
Through my friend Cristina Colli, author of the clean, lovely, and soothing lifestyle blog Positively Beauty, I learned of Anita Moorjani, an amazing woman who has written a book called Dying to be Me, a beautiful account of her near death experience at the final phase of Stage 4B Hodgkins Lymphoma and her choice to come back and live the life she was about to leave forever.
I went back and forth with my friend Gina DePalma, executive pastry chef at Mario Batali's Babbo Restaurant in Manhattan. She's in the throes of writing her next amazing cookbook after Dolce Italiano, and I am trying to see if I can possibly create a special plate in my kiln that can even begin to do her beautiful desserts justice. It's a real challenge, but one that I love, because creating plates for special people and events is a labor of love.
I feel blessed and reassured that everything is exactly as it should be as I go into myself, let go of the doing and embrace the being.
I wish you, my trusted readers, a week full of promise and light. Thank you for being there.