My extraordinary artistic mother lit the fuse of my imagination.
My brilliant engineering father taught me how to construct a plan and a path towards making something happen.
I am indeed fortunate that such beautifully intertwined influences (and gene pools) came together to create this being called Jed Smith (and my two enormously talented sisters). Though Liz and Ed already have taken flight from this earthly realm, they remain the two brightest stars illuminating my path and the journey towards an endless world of possibility.
Last evening, a stroll through the magically lit streets and alleyways of Treviso prompted this realization. I was overcome with gratitude, and my subsequent meanderings through the city left me contemplating the following questions:
Just who and what are the numerous stars that illuminate your path?
And, guess what? I realized I am blessed to have a path full of stars urging me forward. I have the best spouse, family and friends a man could hope for. They love, accept and encourage me in spite of my many imperfections. They talk me off the ledge when I am anxious or discouraged.
And, Italy has scattered more stars at my feet – in the way of unexpected adventures, extraordinary art, stunning beauty, and a rich culture of complexity and constant surprises. Italy continues to gently slap my face to wake me up to the moment that is right in front of me. It reminds me to not to be lost in some future imagined ideal state, or obsessively looking over my shoulder at the past with regret.
What things are in your path that don’t illuminate your way? What things are eclipsing the world of possibility?
As we all head into another year, I believe this is an equally important question. It speaks to becoming aware of who and what isn’t working in your life and the importance of editing out those people and things. Taking this inquiry seriously for me means being like one of those people on the highway cleanup crew, going along and spearing and removing the things that are littering the road. If you’re like me, cleaning up trash can be a bother. And, we can feel guilty about jettisoning the people and things that aren’t feeding our souls. I, all too often, put it off, saying I’ll deal with it later. But, life is right here and right now, and who really knows how much of a “later” each of us has?
My dream and my path has been building a life in Italy. But, dreams are dreams, wherever they lead. I hope, by sharing my story and my journey I can, in some small measure, help fuel the passion of your own unique pursuits and vision. I believe the world plays tricks with our minds and tries to convince us that we are small, separate and alone – when, in fact, the universe is within each of us and we are connected in unimaginable ways. In closing, I leave you with this quote from the late, great Carl Sagan.
“The cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself.”
― Carl Sagan