“When in Rome ...

do as the Romans do.”

Funny, my Italian friends have never heard that expression and when I casually busted it out the other night over contemplating which Pizza to order, I just gave in and selected what they so easily decided on and then said aloud, “when in Rome.”  They just gave me a blank stare. Having to explain the meaning, I later discovered with my own research, that back in the 300’s St. Augustine asked St. Ambrose to go to Rome on a mission. St. Ambrose became concerned about this mission and which holy day to follow while being away because the Romans fasted on a different day than they did. St. Augustine advised wisely by saying, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”

So when visiting a foreign country this advice is still used today as a reminder to do your best to follow the culture and customs of the people inhabiting the county.  Currently being in Rome I find myself silently repeating this phrase around meal time when big decisions need to be made on countless possibilities: “which type of pasta, which ingredients on my pizza?”

“When in Rome” has not made applying “yoga” easy as I try to refrain myself from the passing impulses of the unnecessary consumption of delicious baked goods, wine and endless carbohydrates and refined sugar goodies, not to mention elegant designer clothing that would make one look like a princess. I’ve been wearing bikinis and spandex for far too long!

The other day my friend took me shopping and later we went to meet some other friends for a drink and he told his girl friend where we went and she smacked him on the arm and said, “Why did you take her there, she is a simple girl!” At first, I didn’t know if I should be offended but then her words were a true compliment to my current lifestyle and yoga practice. Living in Nicaragua for two years has really “simplified” my life.  My once a major problem shopping-addiction has slowly fizzled out but I found myself the other day looking around the crowd wondering if I stood out, feeling a bit out-of-place being under dressed at a Rugby match in the hills of only God knows where. Mama mia!  When I received the invitation to the game, I must have been “Lost in translation” because I didn’t dress in Prada and Gucci.  Sometimes it is quite difficult to “do as the Romans do” or “keep up with the Joneses” for my Westernized readers.

But here I am, back in Italy two years later to retrieve my heart that I carelessly left behind the first time. On my first visit I fell in love with the food, the culture and the history of this beautiful country and made several friends worth coming back for and when this invitation came it didn’t even cross my mind what I was going to wear.

So I packed and came seeking once again, to experience the customs and culture to take in the historical sites but I know that sometimes seeking doesn’t always lead you to happiness or to the love you thought it might. Several times in Rome I have paused in a moment of thought and asked myself, “Why am I here again? What am I trying to learn? What do I desire that will bring me closer to my truth?”

Pause. Here. In this moment if ever you have a similar one... pause in this space and look at the lesson or the path the universe is trying to reveal to you and/or why this law of attraction and your archetype pattern has brought you here, seeking.

What do you truly need?

Each time I seek. I pause.

Each time I seek. I listen.

Each time I seek, I sit in silence. In meditation. I breathe deeply. Listen.

Each time I seek. I learn.

Each time I seek, I ask myself... “What am I seeking?”

Normally in my seeking I find that I have learned something significant about myself, my needs, my desires and in this seeking of truth bring me steps closer to myself. And knowing myself is actually what I was seeking in the first place. Seeking can put you in different, challenging and difficult situations. When staying far far away at my jungle home in Nicaragua living mainly in solitude, I must seek because this type of living won’t otherwise provide me new chances to learn. So I seek adventure to apply my yoga practice off the mat.

So now, here I am in Rome with walls and buildings crumbling down around me and many citizens not giving a dam if the city tries to save them. The scaffolding is like a thick cast trying to heal an old wound and once removed the new bricks reveal themselves, the wounds appear fresh as a significant reminder that no matter how much we try to save something, the spirit and the history of it will still live on in all its glory but the effort bring comfort.

“Can you still see the beauty when the walls are tumbling down in your life wherever you are?”

This transformation is necessary to save the structures and even though it changes them a bit you still get the idea that the history has not changed. These structures still house the stories, spirit and the consciousness of great men and women that once were.

Every time we drive to the center of Rome to have an evening out, my Italian friend complains about the lack of parking and if they just “tore down” these structures there would be parking!” Those comments break my heart but what is even more heart-wrenching is that civilization has evolved so much that we need these historical structures to most importantly remind us of what once was a different way of life. A more simplistic way of life. Leonardo da Vinci said it himself, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

Our consciousness and ego has evolved above and beyond simplicity and we are producing and consuming at a rate that has left us divided by time. And you know how I feel about time. Time is an illusion.

No matter what country we are in, we are all the same. Human nature is exactly the same. Over pizza, burgers or beans and rice, discussing and listening to my friends speak of problems or thoughts whether it be in Italy, Canada, Nicaragua or Asia, we all speak about the same hot topics- love, infidelity, food, sex, money, history  - the conversation remains the same. We are all the same no matter what part of the world we live in. We all have the same heart breaks. We all share the same worries. We are all one. We are all connected. I exist because you exist. I exist because we exist. As soon as we can embrace this knowledge and turn the pages of the history books we will see that once upon a time the human race was more in tune with nature and connected with the consciousness between one another and with animals, stars, sky, trees, rivers, and the great oceans and this energy and spirit at a time somehow belonged to us all.

In this world you can still find and seek so much beauty if you chose to see it.

“All roads lead to Rome” is a brilliant expression meaning there are several paths that lead to a common goal. You see, in Rome, there is an actual center of this city that dates back to even before 70 AD and all of the outer roads led to the heart/center of Rome and they still do. Eventually consciousness will evolve and we will all end up in the same place as the universe intended. Go ahead, get lost, find your own unique way,  following your truest desires. Truth will eventually lead you back to the center, to oneness, to the divine, to the light and everyone else will be there too, waiting for you, with open arms.

The inner light in me, recognizes the inner light in you to be the same. In oneness. One love. Namaste

Pizza, pasta, gelato repeat!

Next stop, Paris! Ciao Italy - Bonjour France.

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