by Sally Hess
Italy has challenged me to leave my habits at home, question my assumptions, and embrace the hazy uncertainty of my plans. It is startling and marvelous to open to the spontaneity of travel and the unknown. Italy has felt comfortable, safe, and inviting. I have wandered alone through the streets of Rome, Florence, and many small towns like Cagli, breathing in an Italian way of being. I am encouraging it to permeate my bones and settle into the foundation of my being and my behavior. Letting go of my modus operandi of total control has been delightful and freeing.
I head home in a few days and I am thinking about the things I have learned in Italy. One obvious yet easily ignored idea is that the attitude of going with the flow often allows for things to turn out just fine. Perhaps the bus won’t come on time, perhaps the store will have closed when we get there, perhaps challenges and obstacles will surface – it will all still turn out just fine.
Contemplating the tension between chaos and order, I can feel the pendulum swinging more toward the middle. As it settles into a still-swinging middle ground, I can sense the creativity that will flourish in this space. The polarity of chaos and order created stress and lacked the both/and qualities that this middle ground holds. As I plan for life at home, I know that I can have both rhythm and spontaneity; we will have regular bed-time stories but we can also have dessert before dinner.