Life is filled with potential that is truly unfathomable. Finally people are coming to see the enormous power it possesses. At least in the environment I inhabit I can say that there has been a shift in awareness in the last few years. That is why I stop writing anyone off. In particular, I have chosen to stop putting boundaries on people's potential and, whenever I still do it with regard to myself, I consciously observe when it happens and then let it pass. Because it is not enough to simply encourage others, as encouraging ourselves is crucially linked to the ability to do that to everyone else. 

In most cases, our so-called limitations are nothing more than our own decision to limit ourselves (see part 2 of the video below). Embracing Nichiren Daishonin Buddhism was one of the earliest steps I took in the direction toward this kind of awareness, and that remains firm at the centre of my life like a lighthouse. But I am happy to observe that other disciplines embrace the same values and indeed NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) enables anyone, regardless of religious views, to uncover the inner dynamics of perceptions, and the nature of our mind. 

This combination has worked very well for me along the journey of my life. My spiritual practice gives me an unequivocal depth along this path of human revolution, the process of self-mastering whereby a positive change in the inner life of an individual is reflected in the external environment - and ultimately in society itself. At the same time, other disciplines such as NLP and personal development, provide me with a range of complementary concepts and tools to explore, grasp and use for an even sharper personal empowerment.   

In either disciplines, the Buddhist path or the more general personal development, faith is the bottom line for transformation. For faith involves taking action and see proof in every day life.  Education is the key because, beyond doubt, each person has the power to make a difference.
"Se una voce miracolosa non avesse interpretato nel 1967 La Canzone di Marinella, con tutta probabilita' avrei terminato gli studi in legge per dedicarmi all'avvocatura. Rigrazio Mina per aver truccato le carte a mio favore e soprattutto a vantaggio dei miei virtuali assistiti." 
Fabrizio DE ANDRÈ 

"If a miraculous voice hadn't interpreted in 1967 La Canzone di Marinella, in  all probability I would have completed my degree in Jurisprudence to dedicate my career to the bar. I thank Mina for having tricked destiny's cards in my favour and especially to the advantage of my virtual assisted ones." 
Fabrizio DE ANDRÈ 

Fabrizio De Andrè was, and still is, one of the most charismatic Italian singer-songwriters or, as I prefer to call him, our musical poet of the 20th century. I could define him as the Italian equivalent of Leonard Cohen, but that wouldn't be fair on him because he can't really be compared. He is a unique artist. Nonetheless, my anthology at school contained works by both artists, but that is by the by. We share the same native city and I grew up with his music even before I could understand the message behind some of his songs. Wisdom, poetry and beauty are timeless, I guess. If I were to get the final question "what's your last wish before you die?", my answer would be to listen to my favourite song from his repertoire, which comes from the "Anthology of Spoon River". 

When I read the quote by Fabrizio, which is reported above, I could not help thinking how crucial it is to be myself in life. At times we all struggle to actually be authentic when faced with outside pressures. We also try to do things that can be useful to others or we may feel powerless and too small to hope we can make a difference in the world. And yet, all the world requires from us is that we be ourselves and that we do the very thing that makes us come alive! 

This story is proof that we do have an impact and that it is important never to forget that! Which is what Mina, another huge musical talent from my country of origin, did. Mina is probably the greatest pop singer Italy has ever produced, and in the 60s she came across one of Fabrizio's songs when he was still trying to fulfil his family's expectations of becoming a barrister. The very act of just doing the most natural thing to her, singing, had caused an awakening into someone else's life. And I am glad to say that just by being herself she prevented a musical genius from being chewed up by conformity. And so Fabrizio De Andrè decided to honour his natural talents to the joy of millions of people and became a national heritage! I am moved by this because I am myself a casualty of circumstances with regards to my natural talents and have unwillingly fought most of my life to keep the artist in me repressed for the sake of heaven knows what! 

Reading and thinking of his struggles as lived in the NOW but with the benefit of hindsight, helps me keep my quirky way of life in perspective. I admit I still struggle with the internal "mind forged manacles" (to put it like Blake) that tends to judge my more authentic self at times - though I am conscious that it is not the real me that induces me to feel under scrutiny but the chatterbox of mental colonisation we all receive when growing up. And this, I guess, is the real reason why I am now serving a career in personal development, looking to share with others the things I have learned and applied in my life, in order to inspire others to live more authentically and in line with their own values.é

thank you Chris <3
As I start typing this it's nearly a quarter to midnight. In about 15 minutes it will be February 5th, a date very close to my heart. I wanted to publish a post on this date because it marks my father's birthday, which I still celebrate 25 years after his premature death. Perhaps I should say commemorate, but I prefer the word celebrate, since the act of celebrating is a form of gratitude towards life. And I am deeply grateful to my dad.

My father was a very reserved kind of guy who didn't talk much but spoke through concrete actions. When he was alive we didn't see eye to eye. His very quiet nature mixed with his rather traditional views (or so they seemed to me at the time) of how a woman should be, made our relationship rather clumsy to say the least. He was from the south of Italy and I grew up in the north part of the country so we had very different views about life. Adding to that, my mother was also a northerner and, with her family being much nearer to us, I ended up being "nurtured" under a cultural influence that was perhaps the opposite of what my father would have hoped for. In short, he was outnumbered and had little impact on my upbringing!

He was the 'alien' coming from afar, so to speak and, rather sadly, I ended up perceiving him as 
the outsider 
in my family life, ignoring the fact that I not only bore his name but also his very genes. I have to admit that, up until the last year of his life, respect from me was rather scarce. Well, I had my reasons for feeling let down by him and many of them were actually quite justified. The fact that he was hardly ever at home because of the demands of his highly risky job (undercover policeman) AND his apparent resignation to the undeniable growing barriers within the dynamics of our relationship, didn't help our bonding one bit. In short, he was a stranger to me who, now and again, popped up out of nowhere and tried to impose some rules and authority while the rest of the time I was left at home with responsibilities bigger than me and no emotional support. Fat chance!

But my dad, as I knew him then, was just one part of what I perceived him to be. There is another side to him, the most authentic and sincere, the most loving and resilient that, undercover and unpretentous-ly, has managed to nurture me in spite of all the barriers, the challenges, the misconceptions and the sheer tough karma that has pervaded our family history. It all started during the final months of his life, when he knew he had only a very short time to live. The sheer determination of wanting to reach my heart, no matter what, before it was too late made him overcome any obstacle that could prevent that from happening and he began to conquer my trust without being sentimental about the whole thing. 

Of course there is so much one can do in 6 months to melt the chill of 20 years or so, and yet my admiration for that struggle grows stronger every day even now, because I still discover daily where I get that same quality within me - and a lot more besides. Curiously, it was in those months that I learned from my dad that pomegranate was his favourite fruit!

At the funeral I was overwhelmed by the humongous number of people coming to pay their respect. I hadn't realise how many lives he had touched! And to this day, 25 years after his passing, I still get the odd neighbour or two who knew him, come up to me and say what a man of integrity my father was. "A rare breed your dad!" I hear them saying. "I know :)", I smile inside.

But that's just one part of the equation. The nurturing has gone on during the last two decades, well after his death, after my visits to his native town and the reconnection with that side of the family and history. What a wealth of information and discovery! It was as if a whole part of who I am had finally come to light and I could at last make all the connections that I just didn't have before. Connections that keep on forming as I retrace the memories of my childhood and suddenly I can begin to give full credit to all the things that my father actually did for me, without bragging about it. And what I realise is that he had supported me and nurtured my talents more than anyone else in the family and I can finally give credit where credit is sorely due!

This is the incredible legacy my father has managed to leave behind! Today I can recognise all the finest features of his short life and quirky personality and I feel proud to be his daughter. Thank you dad for all the things you did for me and for giving me life so many times over. I love you :)