.Espresso and Cannoli.

Life is not easy. Many times it is quite the opposite. And when I feel most comfortable I usually get an open-handed movie-cliche slap in the face which wakes me back up because another challenge is waiting around the corner. My motivation is to encourage myself that I am willing to consider this game I am immersed in from a different hilltop. I want to hike to the top of joy-mountain that is not obscured by dark clouds of stress, worrying and anxiety. When I have thoughts like this, these days Celia comes to my mind. I met her for the first time at a café in my neighborhood. She looks different and reminds me of Iris Apfel.

Over time, a friendship developed and I found out more about this 75-year-old woman who lives in a residence close to my apartment. Whenever I visit her, she usually serves espresso and fresh authentic Sicilian Cannoli from an Italian Delicatessen Store. She then shows me her artwork and “arrangements” which are crafts she glues together from mostly natural materials such as dried flowers, driftwood, small sparkly rocks and spends usually a sold five minutes describing all her different projects. She explains where she found the “treasures” and finishes the sentence by saying, “Well, honey, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Stop taking life so seriously! Go out and play! Go on a long walk and see what you can find!”

I love spending time with this woman. She is different and interesting. Whenever I am with her, I always bring my journal because 1) I am a writer and love to jot things down and 2) I want to remember things Celia says. I would like to share notes from our conversation from several afternoons and weeks of awesomeness that are quite inspirational:

“Daniela, stop taking life so seriously. You are going to die, you know that, right? Start living in the moment. Stop giving so many useless f**** to whatever drama encompasses your life. This too shall pass. Get over it. Focus and stay clear-headed. Ask yourself, why you live a certain way and if something bothers you figure out how you can change it. Then change it. These days, take some time noticing the cold on your face. Enjoy every tiny bit of sun. Soon, take some time noticing the wind in the leaves, the sound of the water in the rivers. Don’t get distracted by events, sounds, messages that only disturb and have nothing to do with where you are. Enjoy the search for your little treasures. Every day hold’s a new promise, a new opportunity, a new chance”.

“Don’t waste your time or be engaged in something you don’t want to do. If it feels bad, it usually is. Don’t think about your fear(s). Jump into the deep end now! The only time you will ever have is this very moment. You hate your job, quit! You don’t have a job, consider moving somewhere else or trying something else. Be open for change. Stop tapping the snooze alarm 10 times in the morning. If you do, you should probably consider making some fundamental changes to the way you navigate your reality. If you feel uncomfortable, change something. Stop worrying about what other people may think of you. Stop judging other people’s journeys. Do you want to impress someone? Impress yourself. Designer clothes have no bearing on self-worth. Honey, the contributions necessary to healing this sick world will never come with a “Made in China” label. A lot of what you hear in the news is manipulated, twisted, and skewed. Question everything. Do you know that you can shift your views and ideals of the world with a single thought? Some people’s ego is huge but is also just is a fiction they have created to provide a frame of reference to experience the world; they are usually very insecure. And those who present their entire life on Facebook usually have seats in the front row of the freak-show tent. Keep in mind that life is an amusement park that should be enjoyed, not wandered through in fear”.

I have this urge to add a conclusion to all this. Eventually, I will get to where I want to go, but only after throwing away my hiking shoes and accepting the eventuality that my feet will get full of mud. This is exactly why not too many people climb mount happiness because the path is not well equipped with safety lines and already well-worn. There are no neon signs flashing showing the way up. The adventure only awaits my willingness to embrace it with wonder and fascination knowing that there are no limits. With this in mind, I start walking in a different direction.

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