Journey to Trieste: A Reboot of Kindness and Connection

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I was scanning through some old blogs and came across one I wrote in December 2014, when I was traveling throughout Italy and exploring the possibility of moving to Trieste. I am including it below, as I thought the sentiment was apropos for our current coronavirus situation. Attitude is everything. And so is our need for kindness and connection.

“We can anticipate what lies ahead or we can dread it. What we learn from each experience reflects our attitude.” – Karen Casey

I arrived in Trieste Thursday night after a long train ride from Bologna. What would have been a four and-one-half hour trip turned into nine, as there was a train strike by Italian workers from 9AM – 4:00 PM; something that seems to take place every month or two. 

While there were times I was tempted to get (and stay) angry as the hours rolled by, and the temperature dropped, I decided to take another track and look at the positive aspects the situation provided. For example, there were several wonderful connections made throughout the day, with both local and international travelers, including: 

Carmen, a lovely woman who owns a business in Manhasset, New York, (about a 30- minute drive from my home in Brooklyn), who I spent several hours talking with. I learned about her children and a bit about her health and business, and shared some of my experience with her. When our train from Ferrara to Mestre finally arrived, I decided to relax and read for a while. I came across a passage in It’s Your Time, a book written by Joel Osteen. He was talking about life’s challenges and how we can address them with a positive attitude. I shared a couple of paragraphs with Carmen that were applicable to our situation. She told me that she had serendipitously watched Osteen for the first time the previous Sunday and was wondering who he was.

Then, there was the Italian pharmacist who lives in Parma (the home of great Parmesan and prosciutto), who got a good deal on a car he purchased in Udine and was on his way to pick it up. He spoke little English (and I little Italian), but we managed to communicate. 

Next came the history and philosophy teacher from Rome who was now working in Treviso. He spoke perfect English, and we talked for quite some time. I shared a few coaching tips, as he was anxious about missing his parent meetings scheduled for later that evening. We then went on to talk about our families and our respective government systems. 

I was delighted when my next train connection arrived a couple of hours later, and happily boarded the train from Mestre to Trieste. I was attempting to contact the woman who owned the Airbnb apartment I was renting for my three-week stay to let her know my arrival time. Unexpectedly, my phone ran out of credit and I was unable to text or call. Alas, the woman sitting across the aisle saw I was struggling and offered me the use of her cell phone. 

In all honesty, I was tired and a bit cranky by the time I arrived in Trieste. To top it off, the directions to my Airbnb apartment were inaccurate, and I had to lug my suitcases and backpack (all 50 lbs.!) for a good 20-minutes. Not long under usual circumstances, but it felt like an eternity that evening.

But, as I walked in the cool night air, I kept reminding myself that I had a choice for how I perceived and responded to the day’s events. Did I want to feel angry and focus on the negative? Or see the situation from a higher vantage point, which allowed me the chance to connect with people I would have never met or spoken to otherwise? 

Life is a journey. When challenges occur, we can choose to become bitter or see them as opportunities that allow us to grow and expand. I am so grateful I choose the later. 

Postscript

As we, and many parts of the world, are currently under lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus, let’s explore how we can work together and maintain a positive attitude. 

Strategies, such as the ones listed below, help to strengthen our immune systems and keep us mentally and emotionally healthy.  Here are six tips to get you started. Add your own in the comments section below – your suggestions may serve to help another:

  • Notice the beauty outside your window or from your balcony. Spring has sprung, and nature continues to thrive and provides us with magic and wonder! 

Take a few breaths and open to the good feelings that arise as you look at the trees and the flowers. Notice the variety of colors and textures that nature so freely supplies us. Let the good feelings grow within you, and fill you with a sense of ease, as they soak down into your body. If you like, make it a daily practice. When done consistently, over time, you may experience a more positive mood or attitude.

  • Stay in Touch: Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been hearing from friends I haven’t been in touch with for quite some time, as well as those with whom I maintain regular contact, to check in and ask how I am. Their calls and texts have enveloped me in a field of love and caring. Something we all need to thrive.

Break isolation and spread kindness and caring by connecting with friends you haven’t written or spoken to in the two weeks or so. It will lift both of your spirits, and strengthen your relationships.  We are all in this together.

  • Join a group: If you’re reading this, it means you likely have online access.  Find a Facebook, Messenger, expats or other group you can subscribe and contribute to, such as our very own Expats in Trieste.  It will provide a sense of connection, and give you a sense of meaning.
  • Maintain your sense of humor: Find humor in everyday situations, and learn to laugh at your own idiosyncrasies. For instance, what’s one thing about yourself you can appreciate and laugh about? For example, I am forever getting lost, including in my own neighborhood!  Getting lost used to bug me (and sometimes still does!) but I now laugh at myself when I turn the wrong corner and give thanks for my GPS!
  • Get creative: Tap into your talents! Start a project you’ve been postponing, like that book you’ve been wanting to write. The canvas you’ve been meaning to paint. Writing the song you’ve been hearing in your head. Practicing the dance you’ve always wanted to learn.

Feel Resistance? Here’s a Tip:

If you feel resistance, acknowledge it and choose to start anyway. Begin by taking small steps, like spending 20-minutes three times a week on your project. Then, at the end of each session, take a few moments to acknowledge your commitment and accomplishment. And who knows? Once you start, you may find it hard to stop! 

Doing something you enjoy will get your energy flowing and increase your positive emotions.

  • Hug yourself! Close your eyes, hug yourself, and imagine a pair of loving arms enfolding you. If you like you can visualize someone you care about holding you. The person can be a friend, a family member, a spiritual being, or even a pet extending love to you. 

Although it might seem silly, give it a try and see how it works for you. 

As always, I’d love to hear your comments.

Wishing you good health and happiness!

With love,

Theresa

© Article and Photo Theresa Conti 2020

Special Offer:  If you would like support to better manage your stress during the current health crisis, I am happy to offer a 25% savings on individual coaching appointments and remote energy healing sessions until the crisis has subsided. Available internationally via Skype, Facetime, Messenger or telephone.  

Bio

Theresa Conti is a Certified Life Coach, Energy Healing Practitioner, Workshop Facilitator and Author with more than 25 years’ experience. She specializes in helping her clients manage their stress, and develop inner resources, like confidence, courage and resilience, so they can live with greater ease, realize their goals and dreams and better meet life’s challenges. She can be reached at Theresa@reconnecting2you.com.

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Theresa Conti
Theresa Conti was born and raised in New York. She is a Certified Life Coach, Energy Healing Practitioner, Workshop Facilitator and Author with more than 25 years’ experience. Her books include Alphabet Affirmations: Transform Your Life and Love Yourself, and I Am the Treasure. Theresa specializes in helping her clients manage their stress, and develop inner resources, like confidence, courage and resilience, so they can live with greater ease, realize their goals and dreams and better meet life's challenges. She is also a qualified English teacher and editor and often brings her coaching skills into her teaching to facilitate her clients’ learning. She offers a complimentary consultation to get acquainted, discuss your goals and see how you might work together. She can be reached at Theresa@reconnecting2you.com.

3 COMMENTS

  1. I have some memory of your relating this in your communication from that transformative time in your life. In no small way was I impressed with your dedication and commitment to that transformation. Especially because you were doing it largely independently.

    Your suggestions are like a roadmap for balance and proactive actions that will fortify you in challenging situations.

  2. Dear Randy and Steffen,

    Thanks so much for taking the time to read this week’s blog and sharing your comments.
    Truly appreciated.

    Wishing you good heath and happiness,
    Theresa

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