Recently, my mom and I traveled to NY for a family wedding. The bride was the daughter of my mom’s cousin Vinnie. We’re Sicilian so there are a lot of cousins named Vinnie in the family! I have not seen many of these relatives since I was a very young girl, and there were many others whom I had never met. What a wonderful time! So much conversation, laughing, reminiscing, hugging, and, of course, eating!
As I reflect on the weekend, a couple of thoughts come up that I want to share.
- Community. I realized how important it is to me to spend time with my larger family community. Knowing that I belong to a tribe is comforting. We share values, beliefs, traditions; and that creates a sense of being understood and valued at a pretty core level.
- Aliveness. Sicilians are often stereotyped as having a zest for life; a great sense of aliveness. I received a compliment once that really touched me: “You are the most alive person I know.” When I am living in an ALIVE way, I am grateful, authentic, accepting, practicing good self-care, spending time in nature and with the people who nourish my soul.
- Roots. Connecting with my family’s roots or origin continues to become more important to me as I age. Recently I’ve learned that there is an Italian village that bears my family name. And where some of our customs and traditions originated, along with their significance. Seeing myself as one brush stroke on a huge painting that also includes generation after generation of my ancestors, is a helpful perspective for me to consider when I become bogged down with or frustrated by realities of my daily life.
- People matter. When mom and I were leaving to head back home, I thanked my mom’s cousin, the mother of the bride. I thanked her for a wonderful visit, for her generous hospitality, and for the great food(!). Her reply was, “You’re welcome. This is what we do. You know that, you’re Italian. We gather, we feed, we embrace people.”
My new mantra to live into: I gather, I feed (nourish), I embrace people.
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