Sunday, July 31, 2011
My Last Day in Florence

I slept like a baby last night! I had been so tired, it was good to have a relaxing day yesterday followed by a great night of sleep.  I woke up at 4 a.m. and enjoyed a morning meditation. During my meditation, my dog, Zorro, visited me.  He came bounding through the woods to great me.  A pure delight since I’d been missing him.

I made my way to the breakfast nook and starting my morning ritual of writing in my journal.  Today, my writing started by recounting my dreams from last night.  I often process my life through my dreams.  I’ve been doing a lot of processing lately.  My life had changed dramatically in the last year and in my life, change was my norm.  Last night, I dreamt I was packing and moving – I did way too much of that in a year.  People from various stages of my life were present.  It was very noisy and all I wanted was silence. Everyone was making so much noise and they couldn’t understand my need for silence.  I was screaming and begging for silence and no one would quiet down.  Then, the dream shifted and I was driving my car.  Suddenly, the road simply ended over a vast ocean.  I vividly recall being in my car and seeing the jagged edge of torn asphalt as the road violently ended as my car screeched to a halt and all I can see is water in all directions.  I also experienced it from outside the car – seeing this major road heading up, up, up as if on a bridge and then simply ending over a large body of water.  I stopped in the nick of time to save myself from careening over the edge and was able to return and warn others of the disaster.   I went into problem solving mode to figure out what to do to get to my destination.   The dream was vivid when I woke up, but when I wrote about it hours later, it had dimmed.  I trusted I was working through it subconsciously.

Back to more important matters – it’s my last day in Italy!  It feels wonderful! The trip has been a divinely guided success since its inception. I wondered what today would hold.

I realized a couple of things.  First, I was thinking back on some of my writing during the Ebbio retreat, specifically about my drive for success in school.  What I realized was that desire for success stemmed from the fear of failure and looking bad in the process.  It did not come from the desire to excel or master the topics.  Therefore, my lessons from that timeframe were not well learned or even maintained because my purpose was not to learn; my purpose was to avoid failure.  While it may appear to be subtle in distinction, there’s a significant difference in outcome depending on the purpose or the goal of the endeavor.  I believe you lose so much of the life, or miss out on much of it, if the goal is derived from a disempowering fear, such as a fear of failure, rather than an empowering belief, such as a drive for success for the sake of mastery.  When you remove fear from the equation, it’s ok, and in fact desirable, to make mistakes because mistakes are how we learn and grow.

Great leaders will tell you to “Fail forward.”  If we are not allowed to fail or make mistakes, we learn not to  push ourselves to find our limits and our true greatness, because the more we push outside our comfort level, the more likely we’ll make a mistake since this is unknown territory.  Sadly, we more fear the results of failure than strive for full self expression – the cost is too great if you live in a fear-based world.  True success comes from learning from your failures and continuing to drive forward to powerfully create from the new knowledge gleaned from the mistakes.

I may have “succeeded” in school with my grades, but failed to truly learn, excel or master the lessons. I played it safe.  By my current standards of success, I failed.  But while I may be a slow learner, I have learned. I have grown. I’ve worked on releasing my perfection and embracing my imperfection and the lessons that ensue.   While it seems counterintuitive, we tend to hang on to perfection for the façade of having it all together when we don’t, and, from my experience, it’s letting go of the quest for perfection that leads to acceptance and the ultimate destination of authentic self expression where the messiness of imperfection only adds to our charm.

My next realization was that I will go home and immediately start the writing process.  I will start by creating a blog series about my travels and discoveries.  From there, I will create my book.  I will create an outline of the steps necessary to create it and begin the process.  And I’m very excited I have something to share about the magic of creating life.  Today was the first day that titles started to pop into my head.  The first day – I’ve been waiting for this day because I knew it would be a natural progression.  It was.  And here it is.

Since I would be leaving incredibly early tomorrow morning, this was my last breakfast in the hotel breakfast nook.  Marianna had taken great care of me all week and she was a pure delight – always smiling and in a good mood.  Today, I left a note of thanks to Marianna and a tip.  Then, I went downstairs to use the hotel computer.  Two patrons were being very rude to Marianna because they didn’t understand something.  After they left, she told me, in Italian, that she didn’t get any sleep last night because the room next to her played loud techno music all night and she was tired and had a headache.  I told her how sorry I was that it was a rough day and I shared with her how much I appreciated her smile and assistance during my stay.  It was nice to make a small difference where one was needed.  It made me smile to think that she will go upstairs and enjoy an unexpected treat when she receives my note of thanks.   The little things we choose to do can make a big difference in the lives of someone else.  Always remember that.