Tranquility Often is Just Around the Corner

Venice, tranquility, Italywise

A Venice canal in the Cannaregio at dusk.

Venice is my favorite city in Italy. I love how it is full of mystery, history and paradox. I love its organic, challenging terrain. I love allowing myself to get lost, and the adventure of finding my way and navigating this giant maze. Yet, what I love most is how tranquility always awaits, if you’re willing to venture off the main thoroughfares. And, this leads me to the featured photo for this post.

Just a few weeks ago, I made the short trek from Treviso to Venice by train. I gave myself permission, for the afternoon, to wander, without a fixed time schedule or agenda. Let the journey unfold. This seems to be a major lesson and opportunity for me, especially since moving to Italy. Set preconceived ideas aside, and trust that the universe will lead me. Trying to control my experience, and life’s outcomes has been a yoke that I took on years and years ago. But, that is changing. Scary to “let go”? Yes. But, it can be an incredible relief to step aside from trying to be chief commander and choreographer of one’s experience.

The first time I visited Venice, I was pretty much put off by the throngs of tourists owning the streets. The noise level, and the threshold of activity was just too much for me. Had I attached myself to this first experience, I would have deprived myself of the full dimensions and offerings of this spectacular city. Subsequent trips, purposefully planned to take me off the beaten-track and thoroughfares, yielded a bounty of experience that led me to fall deeply, irrevocably in love with Venice. I found beauty, quiet, and tranquility hidden away.

So, on this recent excursion, I first threw myself into the current of tourists until I found my exit to head to the Fondamente Nove vaporetto stop, and a trip to Burano. Within just minutes, and in a matter of just a few steps, the noise abated, and space opened up. I meandered my way to the boat stop, relishing the beauty of lonely canals and quiet comings and goings.

Upon my return from Burano, at dusk, I slowed my pace, hoping to prolong a meditative stroll, before abruptly finding myself amongst a sea of activity and noise. I stopped on a bridge, savoring the warm, evolving colors of dusk, and snapped this photo. Nothing can repeat the moment of being there, but this image does serve as a reminder and a beacon that tranquility is often close at hand.

The main streets of Venice, clogged with eager tourists, serve as a metaphor for my mind, and the often incessant stream of thoughts. When I am caught up in the grips of thinking, I really can’t see or experience anything, and I suffer a major case of misidentification. Life feels “flat” and I feel anything but present. When I am under the sway of incessant thinking I often completely forget that tranquility and quietude awaits. And, like this canal at dusk, with its still waters, and warm colors, peace can find me, or present itself, when I take the metaphorical journey away from engaging with or believing the stream of thoughts that stubbornly insist on my attention.

Often we distinguish between talking and thinking. Yet, I offer that thinking simply is talking to ourselves. Thinking can be a marvelous servant, but I believe it has taken over our lives, and obscured our true natures. Kahlil Gibran, often called a Christian mystic, beautifully expresses this in an excerpt from The Prophet:

 

There are those among you who seek the talkative through fear of being alone.
The silence of aloneness reveals to their eyes their naked selves and they would escape.
And there are those who talk, and without knowledge or forethought reveal a truth which they themselves do not understand.
And there are those who have the truth within them, but they tell it not in words.
In the bosom of such as these the spirit dwells in rhythmic silence.
– Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

 

 

 

About the Author:

I’m an American expat living in Italy!

6 Comments

  1. Elizabeth Wholey May 10, 2016 at 9:37 pm - Reply

    You’ve captured the richness of the light of Venice Jed, and how it imbues everything it touches with gold. So beautiful!

    • Jed May 11, 2016 at 11:06 am - Reply

      Ciao Elizabeth! I’m glad you like the image and how it represents Venice. Looking forward to walking the streets of Venice together one of these days! Baci!

  2. Rae May 10, 2016 at 4:03 pm - Reply

    Fantastic blog….and this photo? sigh…..so beautiful, so tranquil! I cannot wait to return to Venice and allow myself to just see where my feet take me. I tried this on my 1st trip last year, but was so overwhelmed by everything, in a good way of course, that I didn’t wander as much as I’d have liked to. I did try very hard to not have an agenda however, and vow to be even less organized upon my return to this beautiful and magical city.

    • Jed May 10, 2016 at 4:16 pm - Reply

      Grazie Rae for your encouraging words. Hopefully my post serves to beckon you to return for Venice to reveal further her vast treasures. I, too, was almost too overwhelmed on my first outing in Venice. I’ve returned many times now, and I’m continually struck by how much she has to offer! I just can’t get enough.

  3. Tammy May 10, 2016 at 2:59 pm - Reply

    Keep your posts coming. I thoroughly enjoy your blog, especially since it revolves around my “real home”. You’ve also inherited a new fan….my Mamma :o).

    • Jed May 10, 2016 at 3:35 pm - Reply

      Please give your mamma a big hug for me. She is a dear! More Venice posts coming! Baci, Jed

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