A Villa in Tuscany

Yesterday morning, before I started with my gazillion errands for the day, i chanced upon the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun” on tv.  I remember watching — and liking – the movie the first time i saw it, so i thought of sitting down to watch it again a bit.  An hour and a half later, i was still glued in front of the tv… dreaming of having my own villa in Tuscany at the same time.

Diane Lane’s character went to Italy at the time when her world seemed to have just crashed and she was at that point where the life she knew pretty much disintegrated.  She came to Italy to take a break… ended up staying there to find herself and start anew.  In a foreign land, with strangers… stranger in a strange land.

Sometimes life throws things or situations at us that we never expected, leaving us dazed and at a loss.  It could be divorce… separation… illness… break-ups… financial challenges… It could be anything that we never saw coming.  The once seemingly peaceful and normal existence that we had– gone in a few seconds.  It happens to the best of us.  Sometimes, despite the planning and the mapping out of things that we want to happen, well, we still get thrown off the track. 

And so we look for refuge.  Sometimes, when the present life just seems unbearable, we want to just pack our bags and leave everything behind, forget about the life that we have and start fresh.  Find our Tuscany.  

Finding Tuscany doesn’t prove to be easy.  Sometimes it is much easier to stay in one’s comfort zone… no matter how miserable it has become.  Starting from scratch seems scary…. difficult… could be lonely, too.  Starting anew can prove to be the loneliest time in one’s life.  Loneliest because despite what friends or family member say, you are still on your own as you face the world… as you rebuild your world.

And yet it is also at this point when you are at your lonesome, that you get to know yourself best.  It is when you are listening to the inner you that you find out what you value most in your life… what you can let go of, and what you can bear.  Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to find yourself.  And once you have hit rock bottom, there is no other way but up.  The loneliest time can turn out to be the most exciting time, as well.

There was a point in my life when I really wanted to find my Tuscany.  But because of the turn of events, I never did get that far.  I was young, i was scared, and i didn’t know if choosing myself was the best option or was just plain selfish.  At that time I thought choosing myself was just selfish.  Sometimes i still do wonder what could have happened if i didn’t turn back.  I guess I will never know. 

What I do know is I am no longer the naive girl who stayed.  I stayed for a reason, and I don’t really regret the decision. 

But if need be, I am no longer afraid of finding my Tuscany.  Throw in a villa and an Italian lover, I’ll hop on a plane to Italy anytime.

(photocredit: fineartamerica.com, painting by Deborah Bertola)



I haven’t blogged in a while.  I have been quite busy counselling some people that i never got to sit in front of the computer.

 Don’t get me wrong, I am not doctor nor therapist… not even a guidance counsellor.  Nor am i a pastor or a church elderly.  I believe i am just a good listener.  And sometimes, people just need someone who will listen. 

Sometimes we get so busy –engrossed — with our own issues that we tend to take other things for granted.  It feels so good to vent, whine, complain… Yackety yackety yak… feel sorry about ourselves… force someone to listen to our woes so we can feel sorrier for ourselves.  We get to be so wrapped up in our worlds that we fail to see that there are other people hurting, grieving… or just plain alone and in need. 

I spent the past week listening to my dad as he shared his thoughts… i listened to my mom as she shared the exciting (as well as non-exciting) parts of her week i listened to my brother and all his woes… i listened to my helper and all her woes… i listened to the drivers and all their woes… I listened to a friend as he kept quiet about what he’s going through.  Sometimes  you don’t have to hear words in order to understand. 

The whole exercise of listening is pretty exhausting, really.  It somehow feels better (and more fun) when you’re the one doing the talking– specially when you’re dumping on someone else the baggage that you are carrying.  And if you’re the type who loves to hear the sound of your own voice, then yackety yak away.  

But when you listen, and i mean REALLY listen (astral projection during the conversation is not considered) you are not just sharing your ear, but you are sharing your time, your presence, your whole self.  

A good listener is someone who suspends judgment, avoids criticism and keeps himself from interjecting his thoughts just so the other party will think he is so smart and knows a lot of things.  Listening entails patience.  Sometimes you are so itching to say something, but then maybe you are not expected to solve whatever problem the person you are talking to has.  Maybe your listening ear is just what the person needs, not your wise solutions to his or her problems.

It’s true, we do learn more when we listen.  We get fresh insights, we acquire different perspectives, we build — or rebuild — relationships. 

We listen not because we want to impress others.  Talking can do that.  We listen because we care. 

 And most of the time, that’s all that really matters… knowing that someone cares.



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photo credit: weheartit.com