Alan Watts (1966) lamented that we don’t learn to be in the present; that our entire education is focused on preparing us for the future, instead of showing us how to live in the now.
I figure going out in Italy is one way to learn.
Italian and Kiwi friends and I were laughing about the cultural difference of going out, and what was an adjustment, and still is, of what it is to socialise in Italy.
In NZ, Australia, UK or US, going out is about going to a particular location. You have a destination, find a place and settle in. And probably stay in the same spot all night.
In Italy though, going out is just that: you go out. It’s what is happening in this moment that counts; not some past or future state or location.
The essence is, I think, captured in the title of one of my favourite mindfulness books. From the wonderful Jon Kabat-Zinn, “Wherever you go, there you are”.
It is no use asking “where are we going?”
If you are out, you are out. It’s already happening. You are already there. It’s simple.
It might involve walking around, or going from place to place. It might involve being in a bar, without a drink, just being there. Or may involve standing in the middle of the street talking for hours or more…
Si, che sarà, sarà. Yes, what will be, will be.
- Watts, A. (1966) The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are, Pantheon Books, US
- Kabat-Zinn, J. (1994) Wherever you go there you are: Mindfulness meditation in everyday life. New York: Hyperion
- Dedicated to the arrival of the very special Kiwi-Italian, Alessandro, into our lives.
- My own photo..of a place you can no longer find in Roma.