June marks the first full month of summer; many families plan on vacations since their children are out of school. After I wrote last month’s letter to you, I booked a flight to check out a place I’d been wanting to go for years—Rome. I was drawn by art in school and took every art history class that was offered. I dreamed to see, firsthand, places like the Colosseum, the Sistine Chapel and the Fountains at Trevi.

I decided to stay in and near Rome. I explored the ancient city including Caesar’s Palace and the Palatine Hill area. Power was expressed, in part, through the construction of aqueducts and the Colosseum. The Renaissance period began in Florence, a mind-boggling show of strength through the arts, with buildings, paintings and sculptures. Saint Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel were constructed/painted during the end of that period (late 1400–early 1500).

The trip was extraordinary, the people were so friendly, the food fabulous and I especially loved refilling my metal water bottle with clean, fresh, cold water from the ever-present spigots that flowed 24/7—a very different water consciousness from here in the states.

One of the most delightful experiences was at the Trevi Fountain. Inset is a photo taken by my American friend, Jan. It represents being 100 percent present in the moment, creating laughable memories with total strangers that instantly became wonderful new friends. There were quite a few of these experiences while traveling about. If you’re interested, visit SusieQwood.com/blog to read my series of blogs from Rome.

I researched their approach to trash, recycling and litter. I won’t say it’s any worse than here in Broward as we’re not comparing apples to same. There’s room for improvement everywhere and, as we know, it’s an inside job—shifting our self-dialogue and focus toward enlightenment / self-awareness. Everything is a reflection of that. I did like Rome’s see-through trash bins that seemed quite easy to maintain.

Sometimes I feel pain or anger when I look at trash; I breathe, go inside to check on my own self. Other times, I see it as an opportunity to share the joy in taking care of our planet. I collected a good bit of both metal and plastic littered items and intend to create something fabulous to share my Roman TRASHformation experience. Of course, they’re all small pieces and couldn’t take up much room as I purposely took only my laptop case and a carry on. I was so glad I did as the hauling up and down of luggage on the multiple steps between me and the street were numerous. On the bright side of that…an opportunity to strengthen muscles.

Speaking of muscles, the article by Barnes on chronic pain is insightful. I appreciate Yass’s approach and have ordered that book to read. Mindful breathing (meditative time-in) coupled with body time (muscle strengthening) seems like a good approach to breaking the cycle of chronic pain. I concur that pain is our body’s way of asking for attention, like the oil light on the car or a leaky faucet.

Healing and wellness are integrated into everything we do, even down to how we hold ourselves and how we walk. I am delighted to bring to you this June issue and expect that you’ll find the next piece of information you are looking for on your journey.

May the summer months be memorable and may you enjoy creating love and light in your world to share with others; be it in Rome or home, experience love as who you are; plan on it.