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* HOW ASTROLOGY WORKS *

METAPHYSICAL ANALYSIS of WORLD EVENTS:

* REFLECTIONS ON SEPTEMBER 11TH *

* RETROSPECTIVE ON FLORENCE, ITALY *

* PRAYERS FOR IRAQ *

* AMERICA'S KARMA *

* EIGHT YEARS OF SIGNIFICANT CHANGE AHEAD *

* CARDINAL CLIMAX OF 2010 *

* PLANETARY FORECAST 2011 *




RETROSPECTIVE ON FLORENCE, ITALY

December 1, 2001    

  Dear Ones,


I write to you on the eve of my departure from Italy with optimism as I reflect on the year past and the year ahead. I also am looking forward with anticipation to my return to California. Yet I leave Italy with my heart filled with so many beautiful stories of life among this immensely devotional, loyal group of people. The Italian way of life is so much slower – and less logical - than our American way of living. This opened my mind to a wider range of what is "acceptable" – and helped me learn what is truly important.

I learned that life goes on even if you have to buy your train ticket at the station’s Lost & Found, or face an hour wait at the ticket window. And that it’s okay when the only place you can buy a bus ticket is in a tobacco store. Forget about buying a stamp at the post office. Better get the stamp at the tobacco store too. And I learned that when all offices and stores close for the month of August so that progress as we know it comes to a virtual standstill, life goes on. And I found that nothing happens when the prices of common items in stores change daily based on the mood of the owner, the weather (literally) and whether the cashier likes you. Even with the apparent incongruities, life is fine just the same.

Yet despite the quirks, Italy is a place where it is practically impossible to go hungry or to be without a home. I will never forget the day I was sitting in a restaurant and an obviously penniless person walked in. She was ushered to a table, served in complete dignity and she was not expected to pay. This level of care is quite common. It also is not uncommon for companies to keep beds in empty offices for employees who need a place to sleep. And once a company hires a person, no matter what the person’s performance, the person will never be fired. Even if a person is ill and can never return to work, he or she will forever remain on the payroll.

Along with the sense of humanity, the sense of humility is quite strong too. For example, the word for "I" in Italian is "io," but it is never capitalized. In contrast, the formal way to say "you" is "Lei," and it is always upper case. Incidentally, when the Italians get to know you, you are reduced to "tu," which is back to lower case.

The Italian sense of history is also quite expanded. When we think of history, we think in terms of decades. We speak of the "60s" or the "70s". The Italians would never refer to a decade in the same shorthand we use. When the Italians abbreviate a period of time, they will say that a building was constructed or a statue was sculpted in the 500s or the 600s, meaning the 1500s or 1600s. When Italians speak of what we would consider the ancient past, they speak of it as if it is yesterday – and they speak proudly. The Italians have done an incredible job of physically preserving their history going back to Etruscan (pre-Roman), Roman and Renaissance times, in protecting the natural environment and in carrying on tradition. I think this may be the
only place I have ever routinely heard people in the streets whistling Vivaldi.

Aside from experiencing many incredibly beautiful, spiritual and well-preserved spaces in Tuscany and Umbria, I also had the opportunity to get to know the hearts and minds of many Italian people on a deeper level through my counseling practice. I know that many of their stories have touched me deeply and I hope in some way my work here in the last year has made even a small difference.

I also want to take this occasion to extend my personal prayers and wishes to all of you!

Blessings for love & light,
Laurie

 

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