My slightly anxious thought process often wondered, before our international trip with a then 14 month old, where will he nap, will he nap, what will he eat, will he be content doing what we do, will he adjust to our later than normal evenings, can our “nose” still dictate the route and can we enjoy the cuisine and company that we are accustomed to? Little did I know that my social butterfly child would do exactly what a curious child will do! He adjusted to each leg of our trip. He smiled at each new stranger that kissed him on the streets of Positano. He savored every last flavor we let him discover from pasta to pastries to seafood to meats and fresh fruits. He slept better on the beach, breathing in the fresh sea salt air, than a quiet darkened room. He went with the flow. He enjoyed discovering new smells, tastes, feels and his many new cousins that he quickly loved in an instant.
About a month prior to our Italy trip, I was at the Arboretum in Chaska, MN at my women’s leadership retreat. To start the day, the amazing leader let each of us pick a card from the pile of Zen Cards. I don’t remember what we had to report back to the group but my card clearly resonated with me much longer and much deeper than the safety of that circle time. My card read the following: “Experience all things with the enthusiasm of a child, as if you were seeing it for the FIRST time. This is the Zen Mind, always new, always aware, always that of a beginner.”
I kept this saying in the back of my mind as we boarded our international flight, as we went through customs, as we made the trip through the seaside towns and then lived it as we enjoyed our visit with family and friends in Italy. In Positano, our daily routine changed slightly because of traveling with Vincenzo (Vin-Chen-zo), as it gave us the opportunity to live the Zen Mind and to experience Edy’s home in a new way. We took the road more than the steps and said hello to the town folk. We stopped for our favorite pastries at La Zagara when normally our focus would’ve been getting to the beach. We stopped to touch and feel things, and literally smell the flowers as we walked by the jasmine. Just because our child may have dictated the route, the route was clearly more amazing than what my scheduled, focused, step-by-step itinerary minded thought process would have been. My child let me enjoy the sea, my favorite aperitivo cocktail, the best truffle risotto (Thank you da Vincenzo) and Edy’s wonderful family more than I could’ve imagined! I fell in love with his family in a way that I may not have if Enzo didn’t remind me of living the Zen Mind by experiencing things with the enthusiasm of a child.