I just spent the last weekend with some of my favorite people in the whole entire world: a family I lived with for a week in Italy 4 years ago. I was teaching summer camp (with ACLE, the same organization I’m teaching with this summer), and was blessed with the fortune of staying with this beautiful host family in the small town of Castrezzato, where everyone knows everyone (and no one speaks English!)
Despite not speaking much Italian 4 years ago, I felt a special kind of soul connection with this beautiful family, and we’ve stayed in touch since then – this was actually my second visit since staying with them back in 2012.
I can’t explain how my heart burst with joy and gratitude to see the whole family meet me at the train station, with such open hearts to welcome me into their fold for a few days. We spent our days playing cards, doing yoga and gymnastics, playing ukulele and guitar, learning Italian songs and playing volleyball while visiting their family friends on their farm.
And, of course, speaking Italian! We joked around that we spoke “Italian-glese”, a hybrid of Italian and English… In truth, I had been listening to my Italian audio program quite obsessively for the past 3 months in large part so I could communicate with these amazing people in their language.
(Side note: if I thought that would prepare me to actually speak and understand fluently…. that was a bit ambitious!)
I spent the weekend immersing in this amazing feeling of connection with people whose hearts are so vast, who inspire me so much with their pure love and openness.
At one point during the weekend, I was speaking with Laura about the connection between mind, body, and spirit… she was telling me how our society is so focused on fear produced by mass media, separation, commercialism, and hatred of those we don’t understand. We spoke about moving from our head to our hearts, to our soul… to living from this soul place… to consuming foods and products from nature, produced in a loving and sustainable way… we spoke about love, heartache, fear, and overcoming obstacles.
Though we don’t speak each other’s languages fluently by any means, we understood each other perfectly. Yes, it was a great stretch for me learning new Italian words and phrases, but at a certain point our conversation transcended words and became understood on a level of emotion. I was overcome by the beauty of this feeling, this ability to understand another beautiful human being on a level of feelings rather than words alone.
What I learned from this is that the spiritual quality of humanity has no language barrier. The desire to connect to ourselves and others in a holistic way, through mind, body, and spirit, is a universal drive and something that we can passionately connect on no matter what our native language. It was such a blessing and honor to spend a few days with these people who live an entirely different life from myself, yet share such similar values, passions and beliefs about life which we could share in a new language made up of English, Italian, and love.