Verona’s La Dolce Vita

In taking time to chill and write before I head to a silent retreat, I opt for Verona.  I’ve only been here once, but there’s something so relaxing about this town. It’s a smaller city, full of tourists- yes but every alley you turn through has beauty.  It’s the backdrop for Romeo and Juliet.  Shakespeare couldn’t choose a more romantic town.  Last year when I visited it rained the entire time, and today a surprisingly mid 70s Sunday afternoon in late October.


On the train from Vicenza to Verona, an Argentinian woman began speaks Italian to me after she used the bathroom.  Since my Italian is non-existent, she began speaking Spanish.  She was complaining of the lack of air conditioning in Italy on public transit.  The African immigrant next to me was laughing as he agreed. She flowed between Italian, Spanish, and English as I vacillated my Spanish and English.  Although she was connecting with us through commiserating, she offered how beautiful it was that someone from North America, South America, and Africa were momentarily intertwined on a train in Europe.  Bellisima.  Those tiny bursts of unexpected connection with strangers serve as a reminder of how small the world can be, and how similar we are at heart.



It’s easy to get sucked in to the fashion of the people, the beauty of the piazzas, and savoury cusine.  All your senses are overstimulated, and therefore it’s easy to be distracted.  So after the busy-ness and new-ness settles, I will slow down and write. Buzzed off enough from my second cappacino, post gelato, vino, and pasta, I can’t help but want to be further immersed and simply observe this typical Italian world.  I am trying to be productive in a café, but I can’t help just wanting to gaze and linger. Isn’t that the point of travelling to a place in the Mediterranean? Being productive is not La Dolce Vita.


My Sunday dichotomy endures…American drive versus la dolce vita.  Productivity in writing chapter summaries for my next book or the rich life of wandering and wondering.. And today La Dolce Vita wins.

Airport Time Affluence Versus Time Poverty

It’s become so common place when people ask us how we are doing to say “busy.”  It’s the norm that seems to be replacing “fine”, and actually is looked at with respect in our Western culture.  To be busy is to be productive.  Our wait time should be minimized or filled with entertainment. Never do we see this more than at an airport.


Today I am at the airport flying to Italy for a silent retreat in several days (picture above is from Mandali retreat center last year). I allowed myself the luxury to take a later flight and not rush with bare minimum time to get to the gate. When we provide little space to arrive, everything is prone to irritate us.  Drivers on the freeway, checking in at the front desk, people cutting in front of line at security, loud children crying in their strollers.  All are occurrences that are bound to happen and push our buttons.  Our trip that “should” be an escape begins with irritability and stress.


It’s a different experience to know you can stroll in an airport versus rush. When I ate my lunch, I didn’t opt to look at a magazine or my phone.  I tasted all the ingredients in my spicy noodle chicken soup.  I looked at the people around me and wondered who here was happy.  The two cashiers were smiling and laughing jovially at an inside joke.  But everyone around me seemed miserable and disengaged. There was the married couple with two children, where nobody seemed to speak to each other or smile.  There was the man scrolling through his smart phone or a girl watching a television episode on here phone.  Were they hopeful for their trips?  Were they rushed?  Were they trying to let go of the nightmare of arriving at the airport?


There is a positive psychology concept of time affluence and time poverty.   Time poverty is where many of us seem to reside.   We are starved for time, and never satiated. Even if we have an evening or day off, we fill it with activities or binge watching television series.  This hardly leaves us feeling refreshed, reversely we may feel deprived.  But having the wealth of time can work wonders.  Time affluence.  It’s something many of us, with intentional work, can have the potential to be rich in.


Although we cannot control the events that will occur in our day.  We can provide space for everything to unfold. We can opt to be time affluent by arriving early to meetings, events, or airports and allow ourselves to arrive and be present versus be filled with worry and stress during the entire journey.  Explore where on the time economy you reside and how you can make a tiny shift towards affluence.

Let’s take a Yale Psychology Class Together

On listening to a Jay Shetty podcast recently, he interviewed Yale Professor Laura Santos.  She created a psychology class with 1200 people enrolled every semester.  It’s called Psychology and The Good Life.  It’s gone viral and almost half a million people have taken a version of it online for free.

It’s amazing to see so many people that are interested in creating a better version of themselves.  All of us want to be happy, but have been guided to paths that led to false starts.  We believe that happiness will be found with the amount of degrees we have, money made, items purchased,  or countries travelled to.


Psychological research has shown that happiness is in the daily habits we practice versus the journey. It’s interesting as a psychologist myself, I have found the path toward living a disciplined life which is inclusive of meditation, gratitude, and presence more through my spiritual and yogic training than through the doctorate I attained in psychology.  But now the fields are converging are pointing both towards the same thing.

As I look at the past several weeks of who is logging on and reading this blog it’s people from all over the world: UK, USA, France, Mexico, Germany, Jordan, Philippines.  And this is in the past weeks.

So many times we want to start a revolution to change the world, but perhaps being part of an ongoing global conversation can be enough.  Happiness has the capacity to be contagious.  We cannot demand a change from others, but we cans start to alter how we live and interact in the world.  If you are intrigued, take a peak into the free Yale class or podcast to dip your feet into living the good life.


To sign up follow this link

or to catch a peak of the interview check out