Ciao ciao

What a gift!

The speed of modern life leads to skimming over the miraculous along with the mundane. A habit develops of not seeing clearly the remarkable abundance of life. Dedicating time apart with people that I love makes me dig a little deeper into what matters most.

Last week I made time to travel to Lake Como, Italy, to celebrate a milestone with beloved family. A week of beauty, joy, revelation, talking, reflecting, dancing, thinking and singing. Eating gnocchi, drinking red wine and laughing.

OMG, laughing until I couldn't breathe!

Love, love, all of what I love, right there. Beauty, kindness, generosity, truth, light, laughter.

And right along with all that digging deeper? Intertwined with the warm fuzzy, cozy, baby talking, love you ciao ciao?

Loss, disappointment, hurt, suspicion, mistrust, darkness.

Excuse my Italian, but WTF?!

I am reminded of the saying "the deeper the shadow, the brighter the light". And in the case of loving family and friends, this remains true. The more we delve into the pure brilliance and lightness of being, the more we open to the shadow.

How do we fully embrace love if we don't acknowledge loss? How can we offer trust if we don't remember betrayal? How do we extend forgiveness if we cannot hold our own moments of selfishness and vanity?

And highlighting the brightest moment of our joys, what grounds us most firmly in this paradise of earthly delights?

The shadow of death.

It occurred to me this week that if we didn't have death to underscore and inform our passion for living, we'd have to invent it. And yet to celebrate the love and joy of our lives, we are always surprised when loss emerges from the shadows to remind us of life's roots.

Until we go on vacation and experience the immense light and dark of the world, stripped of its familiarity.

We jostle on crowded planes, sleep fitfully with ear plugs, drag our bags through passport control and customs, wait on taxi lines and decipher ferry schedules.

Then finally welcomed into the waiting arms of our beloved family and friends, we confess our secrets and our eternal love for them.

Then after the laughing has died down, we share our disappointments with each other, fight about the past, weep and then forgive each other our trespasses. As we reconnect our lives by taking time to honor our journeys, we experience the truth of temporality and the transient gifts of mortality.

This is the only time we are here in this moment. We will never stand exactly here again.

And it is possible that through the fate of our journeys, we may not return. This makes the joining and the parting deeper, richer and bittersweet.

The parting hugs a little tighter. Treasuring the deepening of the connection as the reward of our time together. Sharing pictures along the way to remember where we laughed and cried.

Reentering our lives a little more deeply aware of how love informs and shapes the world and how grounding ourselves in the shadow makes living possible.

Finche non ci incontriamo ancora. (Until we meet again.)

Ciao ciao.

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