Meditation is something on which I should rely. After all, I’m a neurotic Italian American mother. I worry about my family, health, money, work, and what we’re going to eat for dinner. My brain never shuts off.
Many people can relate, not just Italian Americans. However, when we say, “family,” it usually extends to grandparents, parents, cousins, aunts, uncles, your mother’s third cousin on her father’s side, who you call zio, and all the rest. The pressure to succeed, to have enough money to support the family (whoever needs your help), to work harder than everyone else, and to constantly feed each other literally and figuratively can be downright overwhelming.
As a child, my father insisted we take Tae Kwon Do classes as a means of learning self-defense. One of the first tasks we had to take on was “clearing our mind” and meditating. The master had us sit “criss-cross-applesauce” style on the floor of the gym. We had to put our hands palms up on our knees and breathe deeply. Then, we had to think of nothing at all.
Even back then, I could not grasp the concept. There was too much stuff taking up space in my mind back in elementary school. Things have only gotten more cluttered up there ever since. In fact, now that I’m 40, I’d need a big rig to haul out everything taking up space in my brain. I probably have one whole quarter of it focused on whether to make eggplant or zucchini for the side dish for lunch tomorrow at any given moment. Forget about all the space occupied with worry about affording a college education for my son.
In any event, Mother Nature can sometimes help me at least make a little room for peace up in there. This little video that I posted on Instagram is an example of one of those moments. It’s from summer 2018, and I suddenly realized that the sound of the waves in Ischia, which is off the coast of Naples in Italy, was calming. I recorded it, so I could have a slice of meditation, which always seemed impossible. Nowadays, whenever I need peace, I can let the waves wash over me, even if only in my mind.
Di Meglio is the author of Fun with the Family New Jersey (Globe Pequot Press, 2012). She also has written the Our Paesani column for ItaliansRus.com since 2003. You can follow the Italian Mamma on Facebook or Twitter @ItalianMamma10.