Today I would like to share with you a story about the past. My past, when I was almost a teenager.
So we are talking about the 90s in Italy, when I attended the “Middle School” (it. scuola media, 10-13 years old). Since my parents were both working in the production and logistic of two multinational companies (Unilever and Artsana), they chose to send me to school in the afternoon by subscribing me to a particular new project.
The name of this project was “The Leonardo Project”. Yes Leonardo as that Leonardo. What was it about? – You may ask yourself.
It was a full day school project. When I was lucky, I was able to be at home at 14:15 and when I was even luckier, I got the chance to stay at school for lunch and come back home at 16:15. Saturday was also a mandatory school day.
Why am I grateful about it even now when I live in Germany and I’m 36?! This question has a simple answer: I learned a lot of things at that time. Since I was good in school, I got the chance to learn Latin and German. I had the opportunity to learn to swim and play real hockey with my school mates. I had the first mobbing experiences because I was too sporty and the other girls too jealous. I had the possibility to learn art and art history. I felt passionate about writing and learned my mother language Italian in its depth. I could take part to a group of theater and even write a screenplay.
Giving your children to school care is always a good decision: you should never regret it or think you are an absent parent. I hope my mother and my father didn’t even think like this for a second.
Today is Thanksgiving Day in the US and I’m grateful about that time, that project, those teachers and my middle school. I’m grateful about my parents who decided a very good thing for my education. I’m grateful about my sister which helped me out in dealing with mobbing with extreme class. I’m grateful about those boys and girls who shared with me that time.
Sometimes, when you feel that your energy is low, the solution might not be resting. What you may need could be some quality time doing things that make you feel good.
Seeing a friend, doing sport, going for a walk or practicing self-care can bring your energy back faster than being lazy on the couch.
In the last few months my energy level was low, I couldn’t find peace and regenerate. I felt out of balance and I couldn’t help myself. I needed to do something good for my soul. I came to the conclusion that I was feeling homesickness. So I booked a flight to Milan because I needed time with my dearest friends and my mother.
Two weeks ago the day arrived and I flew for the weekend to Milan. I saw most of my oldest friends and my mother, I had good talks and loud laughs with them. This trip was exactly what I needed. On my way home I felt more energetic and I was so grateful for this time in Milan with my people.
In order to recharge, sometimes taking action works better than pure and classical rest. So, the next time you feel out of balance, ask yourself: “What do I need most?” Maybe spending time with your dearest friends is a better alternative to laying down on the couch.
This week I had the possibility to spend three days in Maulburg, a small German city on the boarder with Switzerland and France. I was there on a business trip with the whole Technical Communication community at Endress+Hauser. They were three days full of conferences, reports and workshops that gave us the possibility to prepare ourselves for the next challenges in the technical documentation.
I felt so grateful to attend this event and to have the possibility to see my colleagues and our partners in person. When you start your day with such a breathtaking view, it can only be good.
The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.
It is when you start to focus on the small joys that you notice your life is full of them. In this process it’s important that you learn to accept your life as it is with all the challenges you are facing, seeing them as a possibility to grow.
Putting the light on the beautiful things in your life by naming and celebrating them will give you a sense of inner peace.
Happiness is love and you start to feel happy when you begin to love your life as it is without fighting against yourself. A positive mindset attracts positive things so that you will find yourself celebrating your life in every possible occasion. You will be able, for example, to notice and appreciate a small thing like a beautiful flower in your garden.
Recently I passed by this beautiful fountain which is on a street I often walk. I’ve never noticed it before and I got fascinated by the beauty of its architectural idea.
When we open our eyes to the beauty of the world it changes our perspective.
Everyday take a moment to reflect on what surprised you positively. By naming what makes your life beautiful you can train yourself to see the bright side of life also in difficult periods. If you do it regularly, you will be surprised how easy it gets to notice the beautiful things you encounter during your day.
I came across this picture shared by Hal Elrod on Instagram and reading his words made me think.
This sentence says a lot about Hal as a person, about his energetic and enthusiastic character but also about how he chose to be like this.
We can always choose who we want to be and how we want to feel. We can choose to complain and see the things in our life as bad or not enough. We can choose not to accept our current situation or to be constantly looking for a change, doing nothing in order to reach it. This is easy: it does not require any efforts.
But does it bring us further?!
Happiness, acceptance, confidence and productivity are better choices. They require engagement but they lead you to be the person you know you can be.
By accepting your life and being content about it, you will gain confidence and you will be more productive because you are more aware about what you can perform.
If you can imagine yourself doing something, this is the first step to reach that status. What follows are commitment and exercise. You will feel automatically happier in the moment you realize that you are doing your best every day. This is enough to be proud of yourself and to enjoy your life. Try it!
There is nothing I missed more during the COVID-19 restrictions than hanging out with friends.
Nothing enriches my soul more than an evening with friends, talking about everything, switching topics randomly, laughing and having a good meal together.
Maybe I felt the restrictions during the pandemic so difficult because I live far away from my original family and friends. The friends I have here in Germany are the people I can rely on immediately and not having the possibility to see them neither was really hard for me.
Therefore I especially enjoy weeks like this when I met twice with friends for dinner. I discovered a very nice World-Café in the city near Stuttgart where I work, I prepared for the first time pizza for four people and I even got a bunch of spring flowers.
It’s only when you share moments with others that you really feel that life is always worth living.
During the last period, in my daily gratitude practice, I’m reflecting a lot about how grateful I am for my functioning body.
We only tend to notice how good our body worked when something is wrong with it and we get, for example, injured or sick. Furthermore we are always too negative about our body shape and we wish we were thinner or fitter.
What we forget is that our body hosts us and gives us the possibility to do and reach whatever we want. We can walk, spring, drive, carry heavy things and exercise. Its health is not something we should take for granted.
So be grateful for your body, honor it and be gentle with it: after all it gives your mind a place to be without setting any condition.
On Tuesday I was on the train commuting back from Stuttgart as a young woman sat next to me. Without paying attention my eyes fell on the display of her smartphone. I noticed then that she was on a video-call with another woman, probably one of her friends. After a bit of time I saw they added another women in the call. This made me think about how important it is for us women to have a social network to which we feel we belong.
Having a group of friends is important at every age, relying on them can even save you in negative moments.
I always thought friendship is a mutual relationship but at the same time I think that if somebody is important for you, you should show it. In a friendship it doesn’t count who does more.
You can show yourself to your friends in any status you are feeling because they know you well and they are there to support you.
In these times when everything is virtual, it is crucial to keep in mind that having a real social network counts: people who genuinely care about us and are there for us in every situation.
During this holiday season, I invite you to make a gift to your friends being there for them and showing them how grateful you are for their friendships.
The act of love begins with the very definition of meaning. It begins by stepping outside of the self to connect with and contribute with something bigger. “Being human – Frankl wrote – always points or is directed to something or someone other than oneself – be it a meaning to fulfill or another human being to encounter. The more one forgets himself — by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love — the more human he is”. That’s the power of meaning. It’s not some great revelation. It’s pausing to say hi to a newspaper vendor and reaching out to someone at work who seems down. It’s helping people get in better shape and being a good parent or a good mentor to a child. It’s sitting in awe beneath a starry night sky and going to a medieval prayer service with friends. It’s opening a coffee shop for struggling veterans. It’s listening to a loved one’s story. It’s taking care of a plant. These may be humble acts on their own. But taken together, they light up the world.
The Power Of Meaning *Crafting a Life That Matters – Emily Esfahani Smith