Me at 9.30am, looking at my schedule for the day:
English lesson at 12pm, coffee meeting at 2.30pm, walking coaching session at 4pm and an aperitivo with a friend at 8.30pm.
Phone lights up:
“Sorry my English teacher, I cannot do my lesson today, I have a meeting. I contact you. Good day.”
Alright, I guess no lesson at 12 then.
Facebook message: “Ciao bella, I just heard that I’m doing an interview at 3pm. Could we meet earlier, at like 12.30 and have lunch instead of coffee? I really wanna see you! Let me know.”
My reply: “No problem, see you there for lunch at 12.30!”
Phone call from friend:
“How are you? I’m so sorry, but I’m super tired and can’t do our aperitivo tonight, can we reschedule?”
“I’m sorry to hear that, get some proper rest. Let’s meet next week!”
Me looking at yoga schedule:
Yin yoga at 7.30pm. Perfect.
And in 5 minutes my whole schedule for the day changed. Had I still been in Holland I’d have been admitted to intensive care for resistance, frustration and other inflexibility-related issues. Here I’ve learnt to go with the flow. I’ve had to in order to survive.
Why can’t Italians make plans?
They don’t like it. It’s not their way of life. They thrive on meeting casually, spending timeless time together, being in the moment and generating quality time with their intense presence. And when they’re not there, they’re not there. They dedicate their time and attention to the here and now, to the person in front of them and they’re fully present. It’s quite a beautiful thing to witness.
Even though I really don’t like stereotyping and saying “Italians are like this…”, because we’re talking about people here and all people are different individuals, they do however have the same cultural background. Generally speaking Italian culture is more about letting go, going with the flow and seeing what life brings instead of being super proactive, planning every minute of the day and using time as efficiently as possible. In other words, it’s the complete opposite of what I was used to in my home country Holland.
So how did you adapt?
I had to. There was no other way. You can sit in resistance, moan and groan all you like, but you only get yourself worked up and get frustrated about something you can’t change anyway. It’s been a true surrender to a new pace of life. I’ve had to adapt how fast I walk, how many appointments I plan in a day and how much time I leave between meetings. You’re forced to let go and trust that everything will be fine in the end. Whether you go left or right, if it happens now or domani, it doesn’t matter. Life happens, you don’t have to force it into happening or keep it under control for it to work out.
This surrender to fate, to the flow of life has opened up loads of doors to me. Because of casual chats at the company I teach English at I’ve had other job opportunities, because of being more open-minded and leaning into possibilities I’ve been offered all kinds of collaborations, because of just saying yes to life and trusting that it’s all happening for a greater good, I’ve been able to create a life that is really fulfilling.
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I don’t question how, why or when anymore. I’ve stopped thinking “what if?” all the time a new opportunity comes my way. I’ve opened up my arms and simply said yes. And life has given me a big fat yes in return. I’ve developed trust, a spiritual connection with the Universe and a close bond with Florence knowing that she will always be there for me, whatever comes my way. It might sound silly, but it’s what’s allowed me to surrender to my truth, to fully flourish in Florence and to be who I really am: a beautiful, positive, proactive, passionate, loving, generous woman, instead of the somewhat masculine, slightly overweight, doubtful, stressed, anxious, cautious, calculating girl I used to be in Holland.
The changes I’ve been through are significant and I feel this is very telling. If you put yourself in a place that suits you, you’ll grow into the fullest version of yourself. If you stay in a situation that isn’t in alignment with your true self, you’ll stay stagnant. Life is about growth, always. And so you need to create the most fertile ground possible for your own growth. That is your responsibility. The rest is already lined up, waiting for you to finally open up, to say yes and receive it.
Surrender to life and what it wants to give you. It’s all there; you just need to believe you deserve it and make your happiness yours.
Love & courage,
If you’re in Florence, or another beautiful place in Italy, and you feel you could need some help in the flourishing area, then check out my programme Flourish in Florence and see if it suits your needs. Besides helping you deal with life in Italy, it will also help you get into alignment with your true self, to get clarity around what you truly desire and what needs to change so you can become the best version of yourself. Let’s go from resistance to flow and have you surrender to you best life possible!