It was my first trip to Rome. Harriet and I had decided we needed to expand our horizons and did we ever, just not in the way we’d anticipated. Pasta, the best pizza in the world, handsome Italians …did I forget history…didn’t mean to put it at the bottom of the list, but really, pasta, pizza and handsome Italians rated pretty highly for the must eat, see and do gals that we were.
It was amazing. We ate pizza on the Spanish Steps, and had pasta near the Via Veneto with two very charming and very Italian young men.
“Isn’t it fantastic” I said.
Harriet said Rome was dirty.
We bought wonderful Italian sandals on our way to the Colosseum. I had to wear mine immediately.
“Isn’t Rome fantastic” I said.
Harriet said it was dirty.
We threw coins, over our shoulders, into the Trevi Fountain. I don’t think you can do that anymore. Too bad…it was fun following in the footsteps of Frank Sinatra.
We saw the Vatican Museum and St. Peter’s Basilica. We even joined the crowd in the square to see the Pope, although he was just a little dot in a huge window. The Sistine Chapel was awe inspiring.
“I love Rome” I said.
Harriet said it was dirty. This time it stopped me in my tracks.
“Dirty, what do you mean it’s dirty, it’s beautiful”.
“Look at the street” Harriet said.
I looked down, probably for the first time since we’d arrived and it’s true that there was some litter and the pavements probably could have used a little water.
“But Harriet, we’re in the Eternal City, and there’s a fountain or a statue or a piazza round every corner, and let’s not forget the gelato. She grudgingly conceded it was all true, especially the bit about the gelato since we had scoffed one every day…and oh my, were they ever delicious. Yet her focus kept returning to the state of what was at her feet.
No prizes for guessing which one of us had the better time.
Wow, I learned something huge on that trip and it wasn’t about history.
It’s a sad fact that we see what our attention is on. By focusing on things that are not joyful, or healthy or prosperous, or in this case beautiful, we let our chance to experience the best of things slip by. We may be so interested in seeing the lesser, either from habit or maybe just ignorance, that we miss the very things we desire. Harriet didn’t intend to be miserable, she didn’t have a clue as to what was in her consciousness and neither of us were aware enough to connect the dots.
The plain fact is our experiences reflect our consciousness. And its only by changing what goes on inside that we can change how we see life, which for some of us would mean a happier trip to Rome.
Encourage each other.