A simple phrase- Bella Figura, but what a concept it entails! Bella Figura is a way of being and living embraced by the Italian culture that we would all be wise to incorporate into our lives. It means finding the beauty in all things- and creating it in all you do. Whether you dine with friends and set a beautiful table, or are dining alone- you still set a beautiful table for yourself, because you are living the Bella Figura way, which means that you seek to make each experience and place a beautiful one, for yourself and others. You will look for beauty wherever you go, in whatever you do.
This lifestyle includes the way you shop for your food, the choices you make to buy fresh everyday instead of frozen. It includes making real connections with the people around you, face-to-face connections that mean learning the names and personalities of those you encounter in your daily round. It means really engaging with and in the world around you.
This concept has been a reoccurring theme in some of the reading I have been doing. People who travel to Italy from all parts of the world are taken by this wonderful concept. It has helped them slow down to the speed of living in the moment, of allowing one to experience all of the senses more exquisitely. Food and the procuring of it takes more time than they were accustomed to each day, and the flavors are so very fresh and alive! Simple pleasures become important and special moments become worth creating.
Each of the authors talked about what it was like going to a foreign country and having to learn everything without knowing the language, customs, or people. They talked about their frustrations, yet these became fewer as time went on. Each learned so much about healthy cooking and eating. They learned about connections with others in real relationships. Some of this was due to very sketchy Internet service, and yet it changed their lives for the better. Cultures merging in this beautiful country created understanding and acceptance where before there was none. We really are all still people. We all love our families and are trying to find our way in the world. Love can be found between people who come from very different backgrounds even with somewhat of a language barrier. Like music, love knows a way around what may seem like a barrier.
Perhaps we could create a better world through travel, through the opening of our eyes to new and exciting cultures and experiences. Maybe we could find that we are more alike than we are different. We might be able to find the beauty in all things no matter where we travel. If you look for it, there truly is Bella Figura.
I invite you to find, and also to create a little Bella Figura in your own life! Try it for a month. See if you like the way it makes you feel. Maybe if we share the concept it will catch on in other countries, and it seems to me that the world would be a better place if we all looked for the beauty around us, within us, and in others.
Have a Bella Figura kind of day!
*To read more about this, you might be interested in the book review here.