I find myself in Italy. I don't want to be an Eat Pray Love cliche, but here I am discovering and uncovering all that is famed about this foreign shore.
Dashing to get the train to Chinque Terre, a series of five toy towns rising from the sea on the Italian Coast line, I have an intimate moment with a cream-filled croissant. I wasn’t sure what it was when I ordered it, but lunch is still a few hours away and I'm slightly groggy from a local vineyard’s wine tasting yesterday.
Besides, I need something to accompany my double macchiato so I don’t get the jitters. It looks pretty, like lace.
I take a bite; teeth gently grazing sugar-dusted puff pastry. Breaking through the delicate exterior revealed an ocean of pillow-soft custard cream that explodes into my mouth and envelops my tongue in its magnificent sweet embrace.
The train station disappears, the people in it fade and I am lost, suspended in a world of wicked sensation. In that moment, I am undone. It makes my regular breakfast of millet porridge look decidedly unsexy.
Italy Is Like This – Sensual From The Start
With daylight comes delight, and darkness brings devilish and divine deliciousness. Sensuous pleasures are abound in a typical Tuscan vista; you’ll find grape vines and olive trees and twinkling towns, a plate of truffle pasta, the beauty of blossom, a morning croissant or in the appreciative smile of a stranger.
I can only conclude that everything in this country is here with the singular and soulful purpose of turning you on. So it is only right to set your intention to find pleasure in everything.
And that got me thinking…What if we resolved to find simple pleasures in everyday life? What if we allowed ourselves to take the time to tune into the series of sensual experiences that it is, always?
A Lesson We Could Learn From Italians
The Italians are on to something – and I think we could all benefit from adopting a little of 'la Dolce Vita' – an attitude of making life as sweet and enjoyable as possible, rather than passable.
Why shouldn't we allow ourselves to be seduced by the slow and torturous strip tease of our driving desires and become wanton and enraptured in a dance of courtship and merciless submission and acquisition?
Because the truth is, in the pursuit of what makes us feel alive, we come alive.
Here are a few ways to invite a taste of 'La dolce vita' into your life:
- Take your time over everything! – We live in such a fast paced world, we rarely afford ourselves the time to actually savour our actions so slow down.
- Do it once and do it well. – Whether it’s making a snack or purchasing a new car, invest in the best quality that is affordable for you, rather than something bargain basement, that you can have confidence in.
- Have a little of your fancy. - Indulge your senses from time to time. Please and pleasure yourself by giving in to your desires – whether that’s a delicious dessert, a decent wine, a bubble bath or an evening in with your lover. This will help you minimise over indulgence and habits of excess.
- Seek out beauty. – Surround yourself by pretty and inspiring things.
- Schedule a 'la dolce vita' day once in a while. – Every now and then dress extra nice, indulge in your favourite things, do things mindfully, purposefully, with presence.
- Have fun! – Remember to include things in your regular daily life that are just for fun, because you can.
- Appreciate the little things. – Turn your attention to the simple things and seek out the things that soothe and sing to your soul. Take a walk in the woods, enjoy the ritual of your morning coffee, stop and smell the roses.
- Only take what you need. – It can be easy to think the pursuit of pleasure can lead to excess. This is not the case.
When we take the time to sense and see all the mystery and wonder that is available and laid out before us, a banquet of beauty and experience, we cannot help develop a deep and profound appreciation for it and feel grateful and fulfilled.
We’ll realize that pleasure and passion can be discovered in the simplest of things. Everything becomes a bountiful and sacred dance with the divine.