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2020 Journal

JANUARAY 29, 2020

I’m seeing a lot of “energetic themes” running around out there. One is that people are becoming aware of their inability to let go of things that are not in their highest and best. Whether it’s a relationship, your past, a house, a job, something you regret, someone that hurt you....You can never see it clearly and heal from it unless you let go from your attachment to it. Sometimes we don’t even know we are holding onto to things that are dragging us. How much thought are you giving something? How much importance are you giving either to a person, a situation, an object or an outcome? and how is that serving you? There is no use in trying to dissect past problems and look for answers; you do not really need answers. Holding on to pain doesn’t fix anything. Replaying the past over and over again doesn’t change it, and wishing things were different doesn’t help anything...and neither does going back to a relationship that has stopped evolving or serving you. The beauty is that I've found that releasing who or what no longer serves our highest and best, brings about manifestation. Things we've desired to manifest start showing up for us as we release who and what has been blocking the way. It is precisely the things our ego holds on to that block the things we want the most. The comfort that comes after releasing and then seeing the benefits of it is priceless.

MARCH 3, 2020

It’s not the virus itself that is causing issues, it’s the panic and fear that are deeply effecting our bella Italia. Travel bans, restaurant/hotel closures, empty streets, loss of revenue... all these things are causing distress and fears. She needs a little love and healing. Our group is so powerful with a shared, focused intention. Let’s do this tonight. 10pm Italan and most of Europe, 9pm London, 4pm NYC, 1pm PST, 8am Wednesday morning Sydney. Set your alarm now!!!

MARCH 7, 2020

Can you feel the change coming? Let’s hurry it along by changing the conversation and looking at things differently.

MARCH 9, 2020

Every morning I wake up to messages from people all over the world asking how our family is doing. Thank you all. I always see that the worst of times often brings out the best in people. First of all, I am in Florence, which is in a “yellow zone” that is located just south of the “red zone” – and that means that the people here are not quarantined and free to come and go as we please. Schools all across the country have been closed since Thursday and we are told they will reopen on March 15th, but the persistent rumor says that they will remain closed until after Easter. Even though Dean is super interesting and one of my favorite people in the world, I may kill him – but wait – all funerals and weddings are cancelled, so maybe I'll wait. In fact, so many things are cancelled or closed - like theaters, museums and churches. And if something is open or there is some kind of gathering, you must remain one meter away from each other. I still need to convert from feet and inches to figure that out.

The vibe here is NOT one of panic or fear – it’s just eerie. I mean I have lived here for 6 glorious years so far and feel so incredibly blessed to be living la dolce vita, but one of the things I hate about living here is the amount of tourists that fill the city. Now I actually miss them. As you walk the streets of Florence, you notice how many of the shops, restaurants and hotels that are closed. All the piazzas are empty. As a city (country) that makes most of its income through tourism, the repercussions of this ring very loudly in the air. I even miss the loud voices of the American college kids, who were forced to go back home during their semester abroad. So many dreams crushed. Yes, the vibe is eerie.

But we are making the best of it. Dean is leaving for college in September (we are still unsure where, as we are still waiting for decisions) so I’m getting to spend more time with him and teaching him how to cook, which has been so much fun. We get to snuggle more with our poochies (Junior is starting Chemotherapy today, so keep him in your prayers). We are reading more and catching up with all those movies and shows we’ve been meaning to watch. We go for long walks and breathe in the beauty of the landscape and of spring starting to show herself. I often escape to Esselunga (my supermarket) which is still stocked with everything. See, Italy really is a self-sufficient country, supplying itself with its own delicious foods and products. As such, we are cooking and eating too much – of course Seth Bogner and Dean have not gained any weight… We are supposed to respect the new rules and be responsible citizens and not gather, but we are social creatures and have been getting together with some friends and family over the past few days. Eating and drinking wine; being normal.

I follow the lead of the Italians, who are so incredibly resilient. Italy’s history is long and they have endured much, but somehow, they always survive and come out looking fabulous and drinking wine and eating pasta. Seth and I admire the Italians and have a great deal of respect on how they are dealing with this crisis. Understand something very important – Italy has one of the best healthcare systems in the world, which is one of the main reasons they are so on top of the situation. Perhaps that is why we know of so many cases of the virus here – everyone goes to the doctor if they aren’t feeling well, because they can. They don’t have to fear if they can’t afford it or don’t have insurance. The other thing to keep in mind is that Italy has a huge population of elderly people (because of the great healthcare system) therefore, it is a reason that people are dying of the virus – it is mostly the elderly. The virus doesn’t really effect the young and healthy.

Want to do something for us here in Italy? Go out and buy something “made in Italy” today. Whether it’s some olive oil, wine, leather goods or an article of clothing. Just anything. We need it. You may not realize it, but so much of our lives have been influenced by the Italians – beyond the food you eat and the clothes you wear. So, please, support Italy. And when this is over, please come visit!! Oh, and please keep the prayers and love coming.

MARCH 11, 2020

A few hours after I wrote my first post, we had received notification from the government that indeed schools would be closed until April 5th. We spent the rest of the day wondering if maybe we could find an International School where Dean might be able to go to finish his IB program and senior year outside of Italy. It could be an adventure! Or maybe we would just go back to NYC for bit and see old friends or maybe to Florida to surprise Miles Bogner. Or maybe, we would all pile in the car and go south to Puglia or Calabria and wait this out on a beach. Or catch a short, plane ride to Spain or France or Portugal and see some cities we’ve been wanting to tour. Ahh, the possibilities seemed endless. We should absolutely take advantage of this time. That evening, I went to bed only to wake up a few hours later to Seth Bogner saying, “All of Italy is on lockdown. The whole country is quarantined.” It wasn’t necessarily a surprise; a few people had mentioned the possibility (to which, of course, I had rolled my eyes at them). I immediately thought of 2 friends who had to leave in the morning to be with their kids and wondered if they would be able to get out…and suddenly I realized that all those possibilities I’d considered only a few hours before, were gone. It was the first time I was feeling a bit of panic. Honestly, I had no idea what was meant by being in a quarantined country, but it wasn’t good.

I woke in the morning to find that one of my friends that was supposed to leave in the morning, had heard the news the night before and got into her car and drove to Austria and is keeping herself quarantined at her home there. My other friend was lucky enough to have booked what would be the last flight out of Italy. The last flight. That sounded like a heavy door closing.

I grabbed Dean and at 8:30am we went food shopping at Esselunga. It turns out that this was a major error on my part; the new “Decreto Ministeriale” (Government decree) says that while the supermarkets will remain open and you are free to go, it must be only one family member allowed to go. Breaking rules was never less fun. It also turns out that some Italians already knew what was coming and had shopped the day before, leaving the shelves not as full as I would have like to see them, but there was still plenty. There was also a guard at the entrance of the supermarket who was monitoring the amount of people entering and making sure they were staying a healthy distance apart from each other (this is also part of the new decree). By the time I left the guard had his work cut out for him as the crowds rushed in.

There were a lot of people wearing masks and many people took advantage of the free plastic gloves Esselunga was supplying. But the vibe was chill. In fact, people were actually kind of nice. I am not saying that Florentine people are not normally nice, but don’t ever expect easy smiles or any kind of warmth…let’s say that they are a very reserved people. But they were being courteous and making eye contact, which felt good. Making my way to the pasta aisle, I chuckled a bit to myself when I saw all the pasta picked over, except for the whole grain section, which seemed perfectly untouched. You gotta love the Italians; they’d rather starve than eat that shit. I was curious to make my way over to the toilet paper section, for I have been hearing from so many of my American friends of the TP shortage. Yesterday, I spoke to a friend in Sydney, Australia who said the same thing, but added that the Chinese were buying cases of it to send back to quarantined China, where I suppose lots of people are waiting to wipe their tushes. When I turned the corner and saw loads of TP, I just smiled. Another reason you gotta love Italy…we’ve got bidets.…we don’t need to hoard TP…BTW, why doesn’t everyone have bidets?

So, the next order of business was understanding exactly WTF was in this new decree, which is being referred to as #iorestoacasa (I will remain home)…and, basically, like the name suggests, we are expected to stay at home until April 3rd, which is 23 days from today. Italy is divided into 20 regions and each region is divided into provinces. So, I live in the Tuscan region and in the province of Florence and the city of Florence. Basically, you are only allowed to stay in your province if you leave the house and you are only allowed to leave the house for 3 reasons… the first is if you must go to work (assuming that your job hasn’t figured out how to get you to work from home), #2 to buy food and #3 for a medical reason. There will be police check points that will stop you and ask you why you aren’t home…you need to carry around proof or sort of an affidavit saying that you need to travel for work or medical reason. better have one of those 3 reasons and proof of that, otherwise your ass is getting a 200 euro fine. If you are stopped, you can make a verbal declaration that the police will transcribe, but they will check to see if your ass is lying on subsequent checks. Supermarkets are to stay open, but not past 6pm and will be closed on the weekends. Coffee shops and restaurants can be open, as long as they are able to maintain a “distanza di sicurezza” between guests (a secure distance, which is a meter space between people or 3’2”) and they must also close by 6pm. Museums, gyms, theaters…all closed. No gatherings of any kind allowed – that includes weddings and funerals. You can go out for walks/runs/bike rides as long as it’s not in a group.

People keep asking us “So what do you think about the virus?” Well, I honestly don’t know, but I need to have faith in the Italian government. They have sacrificed the economy of the entire country to protect the lives of its citizens. That's pretty intense and we need to respect that. If you would have asked me a few weeks ago, I would have been screaming like so many, “big deal! it’s the fucking flu! Every year thousands of people die of the flu. If you’re young and healthy, you’ve got nothing to worry about!” Looking back, I can say that was grossly ignorant and selfish. Sure, if I got the virus, I probably would heal quickly, but that’s not the problem. The problem is that many people don’t have the virus, but they are carriers, who end up infecting the elderly and the sick. There are only a few thousand respirators in Italy, which means that hospitals will start having to make decisions on who lives and who dies. So, no, it’s not like the regular flu in that sense. Last week, when all of Northern Italy was told they would be quarantined, thousands flocked to the trains and their cars and tried to escape to the south. At the time, I really didn’t understand the ramifications of this, but now I do...the whole country is understanding the consequences. Even tho these people thought they weren’t sick, many were carriers and brought the virus with them and infected people who may have never gotten sick. I had been planning the same; I wanted to wait this out at some beach in Southern Italy. Did I realize I was being incredibly selfish? Of course not, but now I do. As someone who lived in Manhattan during 9/11 and the blackout of 2003, I thought I understood the rules, but this is a whole different ballgame that I am learning more about every day.

I think that everything that happens can serve as a lesson and an opportunity for growth. Your growth depends on your reaction. I know a lot of people are still busy blaming “them” (and it seems there are plenty of “thems” to choose from) and there are a lot of conspiracy theories. Maybe they’re right…but what difference does it make? It’s here now and how are we going to react to it? I think that this virus is here to help us realize that we’re all ONE and we are all in this together. What affects one person anywhere affects everyone everywhere, since we are part of this system called Nature. And maybe it’s also a time to sit still. To reflect. To look within. To slow down. A time to test how long you can be confined in a house with your husband and your son without killing them. We’ve made it to day 2…only 23 to go. #prayforitaly #buymadeinitaly

MARCH 13, 2020

Greetings from Florence, Italy on day 4 of the lockdown.... and it sounds like the rest of Europe and the US are not far behind us. Mother Earth needs a little love and healing. Our group is so powerful with a shared, focused intention. Let’s do this tonight. 8pm Italy and most of Europe, 7pm London, 3pm NYC, 12pm PST, 6am tomorrow morning Sydney. Set your alarm now!!!

MARCH 15, 2020

My gorgeous nephews Alessandro and Mattia with the Italian slogan that is helping us all get thru this - "Andra Tutto Bene" - everything is going to be alright

MARCH 15, 2020

Day 5 of the Lockdown… Welcome to a New World.

So, a few hours after I wrote my second update, the Italian government decided that its citizens weren’t taking the rules seriously enough, and made them even stricter. Basically, the message is “just stay the fuck home.” They have now closed most cafes, restaurants, stores and parks. The Italians took away everything but the essentials; supermarkets are open, pharmacies are open and the tobacco shops are open (they usually sell coffee as well). Ya gotta love the Italians. Eat. Drink. Smoke. Stay home with your family. WTF is the problem? And they are being really strict about the “distanza di sicurezza” and as such there are these crazy lines waiting to get into the supermarkets and pharmacies. The lines were long, because everyone is respecting the space and keeping meter of distance between each person waiting. Ya gotta love the Italians.

They even got into the nitty gritties – so only one person in your family can do the food shopping. In fact, the limit on the number of people that can be in a car is 2; one person driving and the other person in the back seat. Got 3 people in the car? Your ass is getting a fine. And are you in your car for any other reason than getting food, medical assistance or you perform some type of important work? Yes, a fine for you too. I tried to convince my cleaning lady that she really does perform a vital service, but she still refuses to come.

And they even set rules for walking your dog…Yes, you’re free to walk your poochies, but you have to do it alone and it should not be longer than “necessary.” I wonder what my Zelda and Junior would say to that? Seth Bogner and I have enjoyed our walks with the dogs more than usual. And even if you’re just walking your dog or taking a stroll (which is frowned upon) you must carry around a signed affidavit from the “Ministero dell’Interno” stating what you’re doing, in case you are stopped. Italians love their paperwork. So, no one is afraid of the virus anymore, now everyone is afraid of getting stopped for a “controllo” (check) and getting fined. You better have your documents and paperwork ready.

At about 4pm yesterday, our bell rang and I jumped up with so much excitement! I mean normally if my bell rings, I turn into the Grinch and scream “Who the f is here?” But yesterday, I buzzed the gate open and ran outside to greet my visitor as he came up the hill to my house. It was the Amazon delivery guy (home deliveries are not only acceptable, but encouraged so you can stay home). This poor delivery guy was not expecting this woman in funky pajamas and gray roots (note to self, don’t be lazy, when it’s time, go get your roots touched up) running up to his truck with a crazed smile. I was telling him how happy I was to see him and he was kind of looking around like who is this girl talking to? While I do speak fluent-ish Italian, it’s not exactly that Sofia Loren sexy Italian; I have a peculiar American/Calabrese accent that makes me seem a little “special” to the Italians, but especially to the Florentines, who are the gatekeepers to speaking proper Italian. So, this guy was not exactly sure WTF my intentions were. He thought I was just excited to receive my package and didn’t catch on to my attempts at starting conversation. I even offered him a coffee, but he wanted nothing to do with me LOL

I’ve continued giving Dean cooking lessons – he now can make a Bolognese sauce, pasta e fazool, chicken curry, rice, butter cake, French toast... Dean is supposed to be doing school work, but for some reason no one can concentrate. I’ve been in discussions with people here and we all seem to be suffering from “fog brain”….I am not sure exactly why, but it seems to have affected nearly everyone here. Maybe it’s some kind of defense mechanism that clicked into place to deal with this trauma and uncertainty? Listen, we are all interconnected and we are all ONE, so we all feel each other – and right now, the intense emotions that are going on in the collective consciousness are making us retreat into this fog. And you know what else is funny? You would think that sitting home all day you would want to reach out and talk to people, but there’s something more powerful at work here – it’s nature working through us. The government has told us to isolate, but intuitively, I believe we all know to do it. It is the time of the metamorphosis. We are in our cocoons waiting for the new world to emerge.

I tell you, one of the most difficult part of this has been hearing from my friends in the USA telling me about the chaos going on in our country. There is that part of me that feels so incredibly lucky to be here in Italy, but then I feel an ache in me that I am not with my fellow New Yorkers. I wish everyone would look at Italy and take notes. Did you all watch the videos of the Italians all throughout the country singing together with their neighbors from their windows and balconies? I mean, if you haven’t, please look it up or check out the amazing compilation Girl in Florence put up. And look at the profile picture I posted today of my 2 young nephews with their sign… “Andra tutto bene” – everything is going to be all right. All the kids are making these signs and hanging them all over. It’s the words of the faith that runs deep here. Music, kind words, respecting space…You gotta love the Italians…and I have a feeling that this New World emerging can be a kinder place if we follow the lead of the Italians. Maybe we can all envision the world as a kinder place, so we can all manifest it together? I know that there are not many great leaders in the world, but let’s push this reset button together and start behaving how we want our New World to look.

Maybe humanity is already in the middle of manifesting something special… How many of us have been so tired and wished we could just take a break lately? How many times have we complained that life is going too fast and everything is too hectic? My baby is supposed to go to college in September and I’ve been so stressed that I have so precious little time with him and can I just get a little more…and so here it is. Maybe the whole world needs a break. Did you know that in just this short period of time in China where the factories have been shut down, the levels of the air pollutant nitrogen dioxide are already down by 30%?!? Maybe this virus is a blessing to the whole Earth?

It’s a beautiful day here in Italy and we’re taking it slow and enjoying life. I wish the same for you and your family.

MARCH 17, 2020

Greetings from Florence where we are in our 8th day of the lockdown. Today is also the anniversary of the Lightworkers of Florence. 6 years ago, I held the first class in my living room and today we are over 200 strong 💪 We are the frontline people in this metamorphosis that will give way to a new world and we need to shine our light brighter to manifest a better world. Do not despair; this is an opportunity. Be the light that beckons people. Be the love that quells the fears. Be the Lightworker in all your thoughts and behaviors.

MARCH 23, 2020

Greetings From Florence Italy on lockdown day 14. One day, you will be asked, “Where were you during the Corona lockdown of 2020?” because this is an unprecedented period in history. What will you say about this time? What will others say about you during this time? We are shaping history right now. Many of us in this group have children that will forever be molded by these events. Your energy and your behavior and your reactions will shape our children and therefore, the future. How would you like to be remembered during this time? How will your actions now have a ripple effect into the future? Is your behavior part of the problem or part of the solution? This is not only a time to talk, but to listen…with not only your ears, but with your energetic senses. Reach out to people. Let them know you’re thinking about them. Send kind and comforting notes and listen to people.

MARCH 25, 2020

Lockdown Day 16…or is it 17? What day is it? I keep getting messages from people saying, “hey, where’s the next update…are you ok?” Ahhh, I remember when I was able to communicate. It’s been less than 2 weeks since my last update, yet it feels like ages. You would think that being such a social person, I would want to reach out, but no. I was never a phone person, but now, I see that facetime shit ringing on my phone and I am like, dude, are you kidding me? It seems like every day there was such heavy news.…more cases, more new deaths and now my hometown of NYC is in lockdown. And with all that, the fog brain has become more intense. I have moments of clarity followed by stretches of fog. Living in a country that’s in survival mode puts a lot of stress on the collective consciousness, so the fog brain is keeping us all sane I guess…well, as sane as we all can be. But the fog is also the heaviness of the collective grief we are feeling. The loss of lives, the loss of our normal way of being and the loss of any kind of certainty. This field of grief, fear and uncertainty is the fog. I am, however, still convinced that it has been ages I’ve been locked in here, because I look like I have aged 10 years in the past 3 weeks. It’s not just the 3 inches of gray roots sticking out. You know how sometimes you catch reflections of yourself? I swear I am like who the fuck is that woman?

Oh, but my husband Seth Bogner looks fabulous. I fucking hate him. And then the fog rolls in.

Sometimes if I have the right music playing in the background, I can almost have a groovy flash back. The NYC rave scene of the 90s; the gift that keeps on giving.

So, the Italian government is freaking out, because they think that people aren’t respecting the “io resto a casa” rules, so every few days, they keep making the rules stricter. The supermarkets, pharmacies and tobacco stores are still open, but yesterday I went to my Esselunga to do my weekly shopping. Stood on a line for 45 minutes wearing my mask - I said I would not wear one, but there I was wearing a mask (note to Apple; please change face recognition on my iphone to recognize me with mask on). I mean the lines getting into the supermarket are very civilized in one sense, because everyone waits their turn patiently; in another sense, they’re fucking creepy. Everyone is silent and no one will look at you. I tried to strike up a conversation with the woman in front of me and she just turned her back to me.

I got into the supermarket and was pleased to see that the shelves were still pretty fully stocked, but then I started to notice that certain aisles and sections were roped off with a sign saying you couldn’t buy those items. I got up enough courage to ask one of the workers what that was about and she looked at me like I was crazy and said, “those are unessential items.” So, you could buy any kind of food, cleaning products, beverages, pet supplies – but you cannot buy gardening supplies, toys, office supplies, pots/pans or any cooking utensils, paper plates/cups, candles, socks, underwear… Now, I don’t want to say that the Italian government has not been doing a great job, but seriously? I wanna meet the fucking sadistic bastard who walked around our only lifeline and made the decision about what was essential and what wasn’t. How do you know what’s essential for me? Who was that asshole that said toys aren’t essential right now? Let me tell you something, I am so grateful my kid is 17 and keeps himself entertained, but if this were 10 years ago, you bet your ass I would have had a shitfit in the aisle if I couldn’t buy a Lego set. I had planned on doing a little gardening during this time, but no seeds and soil for me. Unessential. You gotta love the Italians.

Did you all see the videos of the various Italian mayors losing their shit on people, screaming at them to say home?? If you haven’t, please search it. It’s hysterical. You gotta love the Italians and their passionate nature. I grew up with an Italian father who lost his shit like that quite often, so I actually found it comforting. And yeah, it reminded me why I married a nice Jewish boy. A lot of them were screaming about people excessively walking dogs as an excuse to go outside. And in fact, at one point, our dogs were looking at us like WTF, I just peed? As such, the new rule is that you cannot walk your dog further than 200 meters from your house. In fact, no one can go out for a stroll, but if you must, you need to be all by yourself and within 200 meters of your home, which for my NY friends, is about a city block.

I didn’t realize how lucky I was having a roomy house and lots of property to roam on. Some people are in little apartments with no outdoor space and little kids to entertain and make sure they do their homework. It seems that Dean is not doing all the work he’s supposed to do, but I don’t care that much. What am I going to do? Punish him? This is his senior year, so isn’t this punishment enough? Dean was born in June 2002. He is what you call a “9/11 baby” conceived in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, when we all sat home in shock for months glued to the TV. It was a self-imposed isolation in response to another time we sat in this collective fear and grief. But this was supposed to be the special year for our 9/11 babies, high school seniors ready to celebrate their hard work. Graduation ceremonies, prom, senior trips…all but officially cancelled. These babies, who were our beacons of hope in dark times – they were proof that we would not allow the fear to overtake us and they represented our hope for the future – they’re being screwed again…a lifetime of uncertainty for them. But you know that I think everything has a higher purpose. These 9/11 babies and all the “Gen Z” kids have a job to do. It’s a heavy job, but they’re equipped to do it. They will be the change, because they think differently. Burdened with all the problems of the generations before them, is it any wonder so many of these kids suffer from “unexplained” anxiety? And it’s interesting that so many of these Gen Z kids were born “different” with ADD, ADHD, on the autism spectrum, crazy allergies, cognitive and processing issues, social and behavioral issues… and a plethora of diagnoses that have kept parents running from one doctor to another…maybe they were born evolved and ready for what’s to come. Maybe they have this new hard drive that we’ve been trying to fix with our prehistoric thinking, schools and beliefs. We’ve been trying to fit these kids into boxes that will soon be obsolete. It’s us old bastards who are trying to run these old programs on their new, evolved hard drives. Maybe our social norms are of the past and they’re the ones to show us how to move into the future with a deeper understanding of how things should work. Maybe it’s not so much about the physical touch and niceties, but a new understanding of the connection between things, like Nature moves - respecting everyone’s role and the natural relationship between things. Things that maybe we don’t necessarily feel or see, but somehow, they intuitively understand it. Yes, I believe these Gen Zers will help us change. They will be the great leaders we are looking for. I know that my Dean is so into politics and wants to bring great change to the world (no idea how he came out of my vagina), but he is not in that crazed, stuck political way that so many people are that I find so disturbing. He observes politics, politicians and leaders in such a different way – he learns from and understands them all and doesn’t ever get nuts if someone doesn’t agree with his position. And I see a lot of kids his age being similar. They’re not about what separates us; but finding what can bring us together. In the meanwhile, we are still waiting for university acceptance letters…and when those rejections come in, I am going to be really pissed off.

As I watch my fellow New Yorkers and Americans starting to realize that this shit is real, I ask you all to just stay the fuck home. I am not sure if we are doing the “right thing” because this is unprecedented shit and everyone is just taking a guess, but I can tell you that this shit needs to stop and this is the only solution that we have right now. This whole experience is definitely a battle against your ego and selfishness. I mean, you don’t ever think you’re being selfish, right? You’re living your little life and you perceive your own little reality based on your environment and the limiting beliefs that you were either taught or just accepted. And life is so full of distractions now – information being sent to you whether you like it or not. A constant flow of input. Do we really ever get to be the gentle observer of our actions and behaviors? No, because we are always looking outside ourselves for the answer. Something sucks, well it’s someone else’s fault. Everyone sucks. Everyone’s at fault. It’s the media’s fault. My point is that we are so inundated with all these judgments that define who we are that we have stopped taking personal responsibility for the realty that we create. That’s the selfishness I am talking about. The selfishness that we don’t even realize is controlling us. Yes, I am aware of the things that maybe are being handled wrong and all the possible conspiracy theories and the lack of faith we have in our leaders, but if we all are simply responsible for our own actions, reactions and behavior and most importantly, the connection between us, we will be ok. You know, one of the greatest movements in history was the Italian renaissance. It was a time that people came out of the “dark ages” and the plague and there was a rebirth. How did this happen? New thinking. The collective consciousness was able to change the conversation through art, literature and discoveries in the sciences and other fields. The idea that we, as a species, had the ability to evolve just by seeing things in a new way. Every day when you wake up and choose how to perceive things, maybe elevate it a little bit. Whenever you do or say anything, ask yourself if you’re being part of the problem or the solution? This is an unprecedented period in history and we will all remember the people who lifted us. How will you be remembered during this time?

MARCH 29, 2020

Greetings from Florence on Lockdown Day 20… as we hear the rumors that they will extend this lockdown for another month, we’ve taken on my husband Seth’s motto for this time, “We own this lockdown.” While the thought of extending this lockdown sucks to think about, I wonder if everyone is just complaining and rushing for this to be over, without ever really understanding the lessons and taking the opportunity for inner growth right now? What if people miss the point? I fear the lack of inner and social growth far more than I fear the lockdown being extended. If you can’t go outside; go inside. What will you find? Will you be able to find who you really are and who you want to be when this is over? I wish you an amazing inner journey.

MARCH 30, 2020

Lockdown Day 21. So, I went to take my poochies for a walk the other day on our property and I suddenly heard this loud, whirring noise. Like a machine of some kind or maybe a small plane. I looked up and saw nothing and I looked down the hill overlooking Florence and saw nothing. I called Seth Bogner and a few neighbors and they just dismissed me and the noise, but I tell you, there was something about that sound that gave me the heebeegeebees. It lasted about a half hour and then it was gone. The next day, I was told that “they” now have implemented the use of drones here in Italy to check if people are out on the streets. I am so creeped out by that. Italy has become a police state. The cops are everywhere. And in case you didn’t know this, Italy many different types of cops – The Carabinieri, who are the military police force that wear very tight, dark blue uniforms (which can be quite nice depending on the dude), The Polizia di Stato, who are the principal police force here and they wear lighter blue uniforms and cars to match - and then there are the local cops - The Polizia Municipale, who give tickets and they wear silly hats and carry around white, cross-body bags that match their white belts (in fine, Italian leather of course) so you can recognize that they’re assholes waiting to put a ticket on your car. Anyway, so these various cops are out on the streets ready to stop you and check that you have your documents and your signed “autocertificazione” (self-certification) on which you declare where live, where you’re going and that you’re not ill. If you’re stopped and the cops determine you’ve left your house for a reason besides getting food, getting medicine or you’re an essential worker, your ass will get a fine anywhere from 400 to 4000 euros…and prison time is also possible. I just heard that a friend was riding his bike too far from his house and got a 400 euro fine, plus they took his bike and he can’t have it back until April 3rd. These Italians are not fucking around. I’ve heard rumors that it’s much worse in the north of Italy (where most of the cases are) and they are thinking of tracking its citizens via their smartphones to see who came into contact with someone infected with the coronavirus. I am starting to hear what really went on in China from several Chinese friends here – they had a variety of tracking methods…so, don’t tell me that China didn’t have more than 3,000 deaths...

It’s mind-blowing how quickly your rights can disappear. But that’s the moment you have to go within and figure out who you really are. When your position, your way of life and your story are no longer relevant, who are you?

In our house, we don’t watch the news, but every night at 6pm, we listen to the government release the numbers of how many dead and how many more cases. The number of deaths have been so heavy. Italy has over 10,000 deaths now in just a couple of months. But the truth is that every year, Italy has always had the highest flu mortality rate in Europe. I have my theories about why this is… First of all, for those of you who’ve spent any time here in Italy, you will notice that Italians have absolutely no concept of personal space. It was something that took a lot of getting used to. People touch you, bump into you, and stand on top of you even if there’s plenty of space. This Brooklyn girl has given many Italians my infamous death glare while waiting in line and someone behind me stands right on top of me. Back up, bitch. The second thing is the way we all greet here is everyone kisses each other on both cheeks – even the men - which I love, but that’s double the chances. The third thing is, Italians live longer than most other Europeans and so we have a huge elderly population here. Think about the stories of Italians of the early 20th century giving birth to at least 5 kids per family. I mean my mom, who was born in 1928 Calabria, was one of like 9 kids. Now, over the last few decades, the birth rate has dropped dramatically and Italians average less than 2 kids. I suck at math, but that tells you we have a lot of old people.

The other reason, which I know is not based on anything you can really research, is the Italian phenomena of “colpo d’aria”. Literally translated, it means a “hit of air” and let me tell you, this shit is incredibly dangerous for Italians. The Italians believe that if you get hit with air – like a breeze or some kind draft – you will get sick and maybe even die. So, if you come down with a cold, a virus, the flu or some other illness, an Italian will say, “maybe you got un colpo di’aria”. This never ceases to enrage me and I have lost my shit on Italians who say this. But they believe it with every fiber of their being! When we first moved here, Dean was about 12 years old and your average American boy. The temperature would be in the 50s (like 12 C) and the Italian kids at his school would be dressed in down coats, scarves, gloves and God knows how many layers underneath, protecting them against any evil air trying to have contact with skin. And then there would be Dean and the other international kids all dressed in t-shirts. Oh, the glares I would get from these Italian mothers, judging me as the stupid, negligent, American mother. So, when you add this limiting belief to the mix, of course they get sick more! Yet, they live longer. That, I attribute to just living la dolce vita, which, gratefully, is more powerful than any colpo di’aria.

The rumors are heavy that we are going to be in quarantine until at least May, but and soon as the numbers go down, I think we need to get out of the house and start educating people on social and personal responsibility. They should have new autocertificazione that make you certify that you now understand the concept of personal space, the implementation of air kissing and that a colpo di’aria is total bullshit.

While the thought of extending this lockdown sucks to think about, I wonder if everyone is just complaining and rushing for this to be over, without ever really understanding the lessons and taking the opportunity for inner growth right now? What if people miss the point? I fear the lack of inner and social growth far more than I fear the lockdown being extended.

My husband’s new motto in the house is “we own this lockdown” (let us not forget that he’s a bit antisocial). As such, we’ve been faring pretty well, playing cards, having great conversations, watching the wisteria bloom and I’ve been continuing my cooking lessons with Dean. Suddenly he’s Gorden fucking Ramsey. I’ve been cooking longer than I can remember and he’s yelling at me on how to chop onions, how much spice to use and how to hold a knife. He doesn’t understand that I will stab him and make it look like an accident.

The hardest part right now is watching America – and specifically my home town of NYC. Everyone is so frightened and the media there is this enormous, narcissistic, energy vampire that sucks the life out of everyone. Shut that shit off! You know what you have to do right now - and it’s all about personal and social responsibility. The fear is something we’re conditioned to believe when we start thinking we’re the victims. They cannot take away your choice to be personally responsible. They cannot take away your faith. They cannot take away the choice to “own this lockdown”. The other day, I started my book club with my group via WhatsApp. Actually, many others outside my group have joined as well…almost 90 participants from New Zealand to Hawaii! We’re reading “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle. I am humbled by the amount of people who are prepared to change their perspective and choose faith over fear.

If you can’t go outside; go inside. What will you find? Will you be able to find who you really are and who you want to be when this is over? I wish you an amazing inner journey.

Love, Ali

APRIL 4, 2020

Lockdown Day 26. While still in the midst of our continued lockdown here in Italy, my thoughts are constantly moving to my hometown of NYC. In terms of this pandemic, NY is where Italy was a few weeks ago. Here, we hope that we are seeing an end in sight, while they are starting to feel the dreaded curve. Did you all see those pictures of the medical ship coming into NY harbor, passing the Statue of Liberty? That was a powerful image for me that made me quite emotional. NY’s got this!! Ships coming into NY harbor and passing our beautiful Lady Liberty has been a symbol of hope and opportunity for millions of people, including my mother who arrived by ship in the early 60’s from Italy. In my last post, a few people thought that I was criticizing Italy for how it’s handling this crisis. I mean I am not exactly comfortable with what’s going on, but I do think the Italians are doing the best they can and I am incredibly grateful to the Italians, who have endured much in their long history. Also, somehow, it’s a source of comfort for me to be quarantined in Italy. You see, history has a funny way of repeating itself to show you what you need to see. In fact, you might say that my story here today started way before I was conceived. It started when my mother spent over 3 years of her life in quarantine in Italy.

My mother grew up in a tiny, but beautiful town in Calabria, called San Lucido. The town is perched on top of a hill on the Tyrrhenian Sea. She was one of 9 kids. My grandfather was a professor of music and an orchestra leader. When WWII hit, no one needed a musician, so they were poor as shit. Calabria was ravaged by the war. My mother used to tell me stories of these holes that were dug into the ground so their skinny little bodies could jump into one when the planes started bombing. I wonder the effectiveness of this strategy? No fucking way would I jump in that hole. But, then again, no one ever knows what they’ll do until they’re faced with survival.

My mother and her family would survive the war and start getting on their feet again when my mother contracted tuberculosis in 1949. TB is a nasty disease that is highly contagious and attacks your lungs and it was an epidemic in Italy for a long time. But, during the fascist era, the Italian government created a medical task force to deal with the problem, which led to many great things like the Italian medical insurance system, some worthy drugs and the implementation of the sanitarium hospital. These sanitariums were medical facilities created to treat long-term illnesses and quarantine the infected. They were usually located in the mountains, as they believed that the clean air and isolation would help cure patients. Basically, you were sent to a sanitarium in hopes that you would be cured, if not, you would die there without the risk of infecting others. So, my 20-year-old mother, who had a very severe case of TB, had to leave her family and was sent to one of these sanitariums somewhere in Salerno; a few hours north of her home town. Shall we say #italyquarantine1949?

I grew up hearing my mother tell the horror stories of poverty, hunger, death, and war, but actually, my mother spoke quite fondly of her time in quarantine. Some of my happiest memories are sitting next to my mother as she taught me how to crochet, which is a skill that she learned at the sanitarium. She’d also tell me dirty jokes that would make me blush and then add the name of the person who had told her the joke in the sanitarium. I would wonder how all this would go on, but again, no one knows what they will do when faced with survival. She also learned how to give injections, which would be how she would earn money when she would finally return to San Lucido in mid 1952.

Those were the stories my mom would tell me, but I wouldn’t hear the rest of her story until the summer of 1989 when I was 20 years old and my father had died a few months earlier in May. You see, my mother had met my father in New York in 1964, only a few months after she had arrived in her new country at the age of 34. For my father, (who was also originally from Calabria, but had spent nearly 20 years in Florence before leaving for New York), it was love at first sight. He was 38 and had arrived a year before my mother, but was planning on going back to Italy, because he wasn’t happy in NY, but then he met my mother and was mesmerized by her. My mother says she wasn’t so convinced of him. She made many comments of noticing his hands that were quite beautiful, but a little too small and that worried her. I heard that story as a little girl and didn’t get that joke for many years, and when I did, I was mortified. How was my mother - the virgin - capable of making such jokes? Ahhh, the ignorance of youth. Anyway, my parents met in June of 1964 and were married by September. They had my sister Daniela Scornaienchi Salvatore in 1966 and I followed in 1969, when my mother was 41 years old, which for 1969 was fucking old to be having babies. I was very lucky to grow up with parents who were really in love. This love was evident in what they endured together, starting with the disabling illness of my father in 1976 and my mother’s leukemia that was diagnosed in 1981. Neither one of my parents were able to work, so there wasn’t much money. I grew up watching my parents take care of each other – and us – with an incredible amount of love, patience (well, not my father, but my mother had plenty for both of them) and so much good food. See, abundance is not about how much money you have, but something you align yourself with. As such, you can ask any of my neighbors growing up on our Brooklyn street and they will remember only kindness and really kick-ass pizza my mother would make for any gathering.

When my father finally succumbed to all his illnesses in ‘89, my mother was left completely broken-hearted. She fell into a depression a grieved in her all-black clothing. Obviously, I was grief-stricken too losing my father, but at 20 years old, I was not able to understand the true grief of losing the love of your life. I wish I had. I would try in my own pathetic way to support my mother, but her grief grew every passing day. I had been trying to convince her that we should take a trip to Italy to visit all her brothers and sister, who lived in San Lucido and Napoli, but she kept saying NO, she didn’t want to. I was convinced if I could just get my mother to Italy, she would be able to heal surrounded by her family, which she hadn’t seen since leaving Italy. So, one day, I really became insistent with her and said, “I’m working now, I can afford it and I will buy us 2 tickets to Italy!” and she yelled back at me in a moment of anger and frustration, “I can’t go back to Italy!! I have a son there!”

Now, I’m not entirely sure what happened to my psyche at that moment, but that’s irrelevant to the story, so I’ll just tell you what she told me.

While she was at this sanitarium, she had surrendered to the fact that she would probably die there. The medications available at the time had no effect on her and she lived as if every day were her last. So, when she met one of the staff at the sanitarium, she really didn’t give a flying fuck that he was already married with a son. Survival is a very funny thing, isn’t it? So, she has this affair with this dude and ends up pregnant. Now we are talking 1951 in Southern Italy. If you don’t know what that means, I suggest you read the Elena Ferrante novels to get a better picture of the attitudes and culture towards women of that time. Not fucking cool. Somehow, the news reached her younger brother Franco in San Lucido, who proceeded to make the trip north to see his disgraced sister. He beat the shit out of my sick, pregnant mother and told her “get rid of the kid, or I will.” Asshole is too nice of a name for him. To make matters worse, my mother’s lover was killed in an accident, leaving my pregnant mother bruised, broken-hearted, alone and scared. If you’re looking for a shred of good news, it was that the pregnancy was curing my mother of the TB. Call it a miracle.

My mother soon received a visitor – get this – it was the mother-in-law of her deceased lover. Let’s call her Anna. She had come to see the woman who was pregnant by her daughter’s husband. How’s that for a twisted story? I am not sure what Anna’s original intention had been, but she ended up becoming like a second mother to my mother. I grew up wishing to be Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman, but Anna, was a real super hero. So, Anna would spend countless days by my mother’s side offering her the comfort and love that no one else would. She introduced her to her daughter – yes, the wife of my mother’s lover – and tried to convince my mother to let her daughter adopt her unborn child. It seemed like the perfect solution to a fucked-up situation. Anna and her daughter promised to care for the child like their own. The child could grow up with a brother in a loving home and my mother could go back to Calabria and keep her past a secret. My mother refused. But when the baby boy was born in March of 1952 and her attempts to soften her brother’s heart by naming the child Franco failed, she finally gave in. But not fully. She agreed to give Little Frank to Anna and her daughter (talk about superheroes) but she refused to have her legally adopt him, so he kept his name. Perhaps she thought that one day she could go back and scoop him up into her arms. But that was not to be.

For the next 10 years, my mother would secretly travel to Salerno and watch her little son grow up from a distance. I am not sure what she must’ve felt, but one can imagine the weight she carried in her heart. My mother spent her days in San Lucido giving injections to the sick and bringing laughter to everyone. The greatest gift my mother gave me was her sense of humor, which was her superpower in difficult times. And now it’s mine. She said she had a few boyfriends, but well, none of them really turned her on. Virgin my ass.

In 1962, my mother’s brother Mario, who was already living in Brooklyn with his wife and 2 kids, found out about what had happened to my mother (Italians know how to keep a secret; until they don’t) and he knew that his little sister needed to leave Italy. He did all he could to get her to America, the land of hope and new opportunities. And he succeeded. She arrived by ship into NY harbor, passing Lady Liberty, on a cold day in February 1964. A few months later, when my father asked her for her hand in marriage, she went to her brother Mario and his wife and told them that from that day on, she wanted to start new life and that her future husband was to never know of her past. They promised her to never speak of it again and my mother married my father, burying her past deep within her heart. My father never knew. She never spoke of it again until that summer day in 1989 after my father had been buried. On the 7-month anniversary of my father’s death, my mother died also. If you read the medical report, it will say that she died because the leukemia came back, but we all know that she really died of a broken heart, leaving me to sort out the lessons that were hers, but now passed down to me.

Eventually, in my grief, I told my sister the secret our mother had told me. While I kept her story close to my heart, my sister is more tenacious than I will ever be. She became obsessed with finding our brother. Don’t fuck with my sister when she becomes obsessed. It wasn’t until the arrival of the internet many years later that my sister tracked down our brother. Frank lives in England with his wife and two kids (and now a granddaughter!) Frank didn’t know much about how he came into this world, but he was raised by 2 superwomen, so he had a happy childhood and became a musician, like his maternal grandfather he never knew about. Blood is indeed thicker than water. I am super grateful to say that I have an amazing brother. Frank looks just like my mother and is always smiling like her too.

When I tell this story, so many people ask me about my mother’s brother Franco and how angry I must be with him. You know, forgiveness is an amazing super power. It took me a while, but I forgave him, as my mother did. Not forgiving him and holding on to the resentment would make me his victim, and I gotta tell you...fuck that. Besides, the fates were at work; Franco was just a pawn. Linda and Davide needed to meet in 1964 in New York, Frank, Daniela and I needed to be born and I needed my mother to send me the love of my life Seth Bogner…and I needed to be here right now to tell this story of all the beauty that came from another quarantine in Italy when things seemed really dark.

So, at almost a month into the lockdown, I can tell you we are doing well. War, death, poverty, sickness and 3 years of quarantine, yeah, we're good. And when I ask how will you be remembered during this time in history, think about the stories that will be told of you long after this is over. What role will you play in someone else’s story? What is your super power? How will you share it? While these days may seem bleak and sad, rest assured that the fates are doing their thing and much love will come of this as long as we allow for good humor and space for miracles to happen. And what is a miracle, but a shift in perception from fear to love. We got this.


My mother Linda after WWII

And because so many people asked for a picture of my wisteria…

APRIL 6, 2020

Greetings from Florence Italy on Lockdown day 28. These are unprecedented times that are very heavy, but also give us an opportunity to evolve. Adversity forces us to go deeper to know who you are -beyond your ego and those pesky voices in your head. No one awakens in their comfort zone. You are in the cocoon now…who do you want to be when you emerge? What aspects of your personality have served you and what parts of you do you wish to leave behind? What has this crisis taught you? How will this crisis make you grow? What habits will you leave behind? How will you elevate the collective consciousness? If you asked your 7, 9, 12, 15 year old self – would they be proud of the person you are today? What changes would your younger self make? Everything we are doing is to create this “reset button”. Let us not dream for the old world, let us manifest the world you want to see. Don’t go back to the person you used to be; not that s/he was bad, but you know more now; you’re more aware. What parts of you will be doing the driving when this crisis is over?

APRIL 11, 2020

Tuscany passed a law that you must wear a mask out in public. So today, these guys from Misericordia delivered 2 masks per registered resident to our house.

APRIL 13, 2020

APRIL 17, 2020

Greetings from Florence lockdown day 39. People are talking about all the amazing things they’ve accomplished during this out closets, reorganizing their house, cooking gourmet meals, planting a vegetable garden, sticking to an intense workout regime, writing a fucking book...good for them!! And then there are those who have fleeting moments of energy and focus or people who are struggling with financial, relationship or health issues. Some people are dealing with the grief that this has brought. Whatever state of being you’re in, just be kind to yourself. Please don’t feel guilty because you think you should be more productive. Comparing yourself to others is an act of betrayal towards yourself. The collective consciousness is full of fear and uncertainty right now so the greatest thing you can do is be a badass beam of Light...and that starts with being kind to yourself.

APRIL 19, 2020

Lockdown Day 40. In the Bible, the number 40 generally symbolizes a period of testing, trial or probation. Moses was on Mount Sinai for 40 days and nights. Jesus fasted in the desert for 40 days, as did Elijah. The Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years. Ezekiel laid on his right side for 40 days for Judea’s sins. Goliath taunted Israel for 40 days before David defeated him. God flooded the earth for 40 days. And did you know that the practice of quarantine, began during the 14th century in an effort to protect coastal cities from plague epidemics. Ships arriving in ports like Venice or Genoa from infected ports, were required to sit at anchor for - you guessed it - 40 days before they could land on the shores. This practice, called quarantine, was derived from the Venetian words “quarantena” which mean 40 days.

And on my 40th day of testing, trial and probation, I dyed my hair.

You see, my husband Seth Bogner is what some might call a metrosexual (the best definition I’ve heard is ‘a man who likes pussy and Prada’). So, every day, he comes down smelling all fresh from the oils he puts on his skin after his shower and he is wearing matching loungewear made of fine, brushed cotton. And let’s not forget the matching slippers. His light hair with the silver mixed in, simply adds a bit of light and sparkle to his lush hair and beard that he keeps perfectly trimmed. He looks like he should be on the cover of GQ – Gentleman’s Quarantine. Or maybe, going with the Bible theme, he looks a little like Charlton Heston in the Ten Commandments. My own king of the Jews. And then there’s me, sitting in my ripped pajamas that I bought on sale at Kohl’s 8 years ago with this gray hair that dulls the pallor and makes me look 10 years older. I look at my handsome husband and I try not to hate him, I really do. But I fucking hate him. He keeps telling me he loves me more than ever, but I have a feeling he knows I hate him and he’s trying to make me feel guilty; a trait passed down from Moses himself. I figured the least I could do is dye my hair.

We were scheduled to be let out of lockdown on Easter, but as predicted, the Italian government said NFW, and extended the strict lockdown until May 3rd. I think I dropped into a bit of depression after that. Of course, the news wasn’t a surprise, but the confirmation hit hard. The next day, I went to the supermarket, (passing 3 different police check-points) where I waited an hour to get in, then they checked my temperature before going in, then spending 2 hours in there walking in circles trying to plan the next 25 meals all while wearing a mask and gloves that were making my hands sweat. I finally made it home and collapsed on the couch where I remained for 4 days. In that moment, it had all just gotten to me. The feeling of being trapped. All the sickness and deaths. All the uncertainty. I hardly moved or talked. Ok, I’m being dramatic, because you know I was still cooking and cleaning and doing what I do, but I didn’t want to do any of those things. When you don’t do things with heart, everything feels like a burden. To lessen the blow of the extended lockdown, the government announced that they’d be opening up some businesses. To be specific: laundromats, bookstores, stationery shops…and clothing stores for children and infants. Hmmm. How about plus sized stores? Am I the only one who’s is becoming more rotund with each passing day? People who’ve lost weight and/or gotten into “better shape” during this time? I think we differ on such a fundamental level, it will be difficult to move forward as friends.

So, I’m lying on the couch, trying to just let it go…let all the sadness, grief, fear and frustration go and get past the heaviness…I know I should just let myself relax…but then those voices start saying shit like, “oh, get off your ass, you should be using this time to do all the things you’ve been wanting to do…" or ”you are one of the lucky ones, so stop your moaning..." You know those voices in your head that pretend to be you? There are quite a few of them. Like the 7 Fucking Dwarfs living in your head…Guilty, Hungry, Sleepy, Pissy, Weepy…who have been bullying Love, Light, Laughter. We get pissed at our kids and partners for saying stupid shit, yet for some reason, we keep listening to the insanity that goes on in our own heads.

While on the couch, I kept reading posts and getting messages from people who felt the need to share all their lockdown accomplishments. Re-organizing closets, painting their house, organizing all their online photos, cooking gourmet meals, creating work-out regimes, training their dog to do tricks…and one friend was even teaching herself how to speak Spanish. I am truly in awe of some people during this pandemic...Doctors, nurses, delivery people, grocery clerks, city workers…and people who get their shit together every day. And here I was a sloth on the couch. I know that comparing yourself to others is futile and, actually, an act of betrayal toward yourself, but when Guilty, Pissy and Weepy get together, betrayal is one of the potential manifestations to be expected…as is misery…and we all know that’s the bitch that loves company. So, then I watched the news and the pity party on the couch continued. But it wasn’t all doom and gloom. My poochies flanked me, never leaving my side. What’s it like to have the courage to love and accept someone so unconditionally every minute of the day? Maybe dogs don’t have those pesky voices. And I also watched countless episodes of Star Trek with my son, trying to envision myself boldly going anywhere.

And on the fourth day, I woke up and decided that I was done. I looked over at my Charlton in his spry little lounge outfit and it made me so happy that he was being kind to himself. We have such a way of beating ourselves up, because we are not where we think we should be. We beat ourselves up for what we did, what we didn’t do, and what we think we should do. We hold on to the regrets and things we didn’t accomplish, yet never see that we were all are exactly where we need to be right now. We were meant to feel this moment in time and instead, we fill it with our old judgments and beliefs that don’t fit into the new world. And it’s not about being one of those annoying positive bitches, but also honoring the shitty days. Whatever state of being you’re in, just be kind to yourself. Don’t feel guilty because you think you should be more productive, more focused or more anything. I mean WTF are we “supposed to” accomplish right now if we’ve never been through this before? People are scared, sick, dying and angry. The collective consciousness is full of fear and uncertainty and since we’re all connected, we’re all feeling each other. So, right now the greatest thing we can do right now is tell the negative committee going on in our heads to shut the fuck up and be a badass beam of Light...and that starts with being kind to yourself.


Ps… Ok, I lied. I didn’t dye my hair. I bought the dye days ago and the boxes have been sitting on my kitchen table just waiting for one of those waves of focus and inspiration. When I started writing this morning, I said I would dye my hair by the end of the night, but that shit is not happening. Maybe on day 41.

APRIL 23, 2020

Lockdown day 45. Some relationships might be more of a challenge right now but this is our opportunity to vibrate higher. Our reactions are sometimes simply habitual. Especially after so much time together. 😱 Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. Instead of reacting, choose to respond differently. These are challenging times are it’s easy to feel trapped and not in control but there is much you can control.

APRIL 24, 2020

APRIL 26, 2020

I miss Brooklyn.

I admit that since I left nearly 7 years ago, I’ve had moments of missing things about Brooklyn, but I was very present in my new life in Florence, Italy and loved living here…until now. Today we are on day 48 of our lockdown in Italy. My people back in NYC think they’re on lockdown, but trust me, they’re not. The Coronavirus made it to Italy in early February and by March 9th, the entire country was shut down. It happened so fast. I mean Italy is not exactly a place that you would ever call “efficient” so the way it went down was shocking. Since the lockdown, Italy has become what I call a “police state” and that means I can’t do shit without risking a serious fine. I can’t go by myself for a walk or a drive – unless I am going to the pharmacy, the supermarket or a doctor. Before leaving the house, you need to prepare yourself to be stopped by any of the 3 police forces and have your signed documents declaring you’re not sick, where you live and where you’re going. And if not on “an essential mission” your ass is getting a fine anywhere between 400 and 4000 euros. God forbid you’re 2 people together, you’re totally screwed. If 2 people are in the car, one has to be in the back seat (one of the many rules that make absolutely no sense to me). Basically, I have to stay the fuck home or stay within 200 meters of my house or risk a fine. This is lockdown. Actually, this is a war of sorts and this Brooklyn girl is pissed that I didn’t have the foresight to choose my comrades correctly.

Before the lockdown was official and we really had no idea what we were in for, we talked about going back to NY, but decided we would stay put. Our son Dean was supposed to graduate from high school and we couldn’t risk missing that. Hindsight can be a very cruel thing. I mean the first couple of weeks were fine. At first, I felt as if I’d almost manifested time slowing down and getting to spend quality time with my son who’s supposed to go to college in the fall. We are lucky enough to live in a roomy house with lots of property to move around with our 2 poochies. We were cooking, eating, laughing, playing cards. Sure, we could do this for a couple of weeks…ahhh, the innocence. We were happy and grateful fools. I was even impressed with how swiftly the Italian government went into action…and I still am. Very fucking impressed. But, again, that hindsight is a bitch. The Brooklyn girl in me doesn’t feel comfortable being locked down and afraid to go anywhere. I understand the gravity of the situation, and I would have locked myself down regardless of the police presence, but they made this shit feel like a war and I have no idea who to call the enemy. While I am sure the sentiments might be the same everywhere during this global pandemic, I long for my people of Brooklyn.

My parents immigrated to the US from Italy in the 60’s, settled in Brooklyn and I was born and raised in Sheepshead Bay during the 70’s and 80’s. This means that I am a tough chick, with lots of heart and humor and I am guided by this inner force of community and connection. As dangerous as NYC was during that time, for some reason we felt safe, because we were in Brooklyn. Everyone watched out for each other, and when we had beef with someone, we dealt with it face on. No whining and complaining (perhaps a lot of screaming), but Brooklynites are no one’s victim. Did we lose our shit from time to time? Of course we did. Brooklynites are passionate about their shit. But you came together and handled your problems. No one ever snitched, because that was the lowest thing you could do (got that, Mr. de Blasio?). We grew up in a time before people got offended at everything and lost their sense of humor. In fact, the Brooklyn I grew up in was quite fond of offending each other just to get a laugh. We should all be watching out and taking care of each other, especially right now. I mean isn’t that why everyone has a crush on Governor Cuomo? I hear there’s even a new phrase going around called Cuomosexual? Love it. We’ve never been here before and Cuomo doesn’t pretend to know the answers, but he’s like an old Brooklyn neighborhood watching out for you. He loses his shit sometimes, but never loses his humor. And when he sees an asshole, he calls him out. He’s not perfect; but he’s old school and we need a little of that right now to remind us of who we are and what we can overcome together. I wish that the US was taking better care of us and that we didn’t have to worry about basic needs like healthcare and toilet paper. But they’re not. It’s up to us to make each other feel safe.

When the terrorists attacked NYC on that morning of September 11, 2001, despite the fear and uncertainty, our other superpowers -connection and resilience - kicked into gear. I have never felt a connection to every single person like I did during that time. The city survived on that feeling of oneness and connection and we rose above the fear and uncertainty together. No one had to tell us what to do; we were guided by that inner force with our feet planted firmly on top of our New York roots. I go into town here in Florence and if God forbid I catch someone’s eyes to make a connection, they turn their head. As we say in Brooklyn, get the fuck outta here. I mean, do you really think you’re going to catch the virus through eye contact? But I don’t get offended, because their actions speak of who they are; not who I am. Fear is what this virus feeds on; it makes us feel separate and vulnerable. Just like we did during the terrorism scare, we will heal in community.

I don’t really listen to the news, but I see videos of my NYC brothers and sisters clapping out their windows for health care workers. I even watched a video of a friend who placed his speakers outside his window and blasted Brooklyn-boy-Jay Z’s “Empire State of Mind” for the whole block to hear. And what about the other night when the fire trucks lined up in front of Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital and one of NYs bravest belted out the Jimi Hendrix version of the National Anthem on his guitar? I cried like a baby from my expat home. I wanna go back to Brooklyn and be in the bosom of my people. It’s not that I don’t like the Florentines – that’s not it at all, because they too are a resilient people and I am incredibly grateful to the Italians and my life here. The supermarkets are still filled with food and all the essentials and I have my bidet, but they don’t have that Brooklyn blood that bonds us.

So, for 48 days the only stores that have been open are pharmacies, fresh food markets and tobacco stores (the Italian “essential services”). That means that every other business has been shut down, leaving many people facing financial ruin in one fell swoop. Anyway, the other day I got the most amazing news – a friend was opening his restaurant and they were going to deliver pizza! I felt as if I’d won the lottery! My son is lactose intolerant, but fuck it, he’ll have the leftovers in the fridge. I immediately contacted the people on our property with the good news. See, I live in a 15th century villa that sits on a hill right outside the city center and this villa was cut up into apartments about 20 years ago, so there are about 8 of us that live on this property. I was so incredibly disappointed to get their responses that they will make their own pizzas. Now, of course I was excited at the prospect of not cooking for the first time in 6 weeks, but I was more excited about the sense of rebuilding community and being able to help these small businesses. The opportunity of helping a family and a business get back on their feet gives me an incredible amount of joy and hope. Call it the New York in me.

This is the second time I’ve left Brooklyn. The first time was in 1992 when I crossed the bridge into Manhattan, because I needed to do the whole sex, city and career thing of the 90’s and noughties. In 2007, I crossed the bridge back into Brooklyn, but chose Park Slope for its community feel, good schools and bagels. Park Slope was a very different place than the Brooklyn where I grew up. My son attended PS 39 and sometimes I felt like I was the only native Brooklynite amongst a field of transplants. But Mother Earth Brooklyn is a powerful bitch where transplants thrive. A few years later, we bought our house in Fiske Terrace, which I thought would be my final resting place. I guess we’ve all figured out by now that man makes plans and God laughs. In 2013, my family moved to Florence, where I became the transplant, except here, we call ourselves the expats. Life seemed a little easier here, as the Italians really do understand la dolce vita. So, within this new environment, my Brooklyn superpowers helped me thrive and I created an incredible community here. But then the lockdown happened and suddenly I found myself crying for Mother Brooklyn. It’s been the hardest part of this lockdown - missing New York. Well, maybe the hardest part of the lockdown was yesterday when I lost my internet (and lost my shit). They can get a whole country sitting home in a matter of days, but these fuckers still cannot understand how to improve their internet.

I don’t know when I will be able to get back to NY, as I don’t think easy air travel will be possible for a while in and out of Europe. But I just want to scream across the ocean to my people, “You got this!” NYC is an army of power prepared for any war and capable of rebuilding a better, more evolved community. It’s time to be old school and to not let the assholes get you down. That which offends you, weakens you. Every day when you wake up, put on your cape and decide what type of person you’re going to be and how you’d like to be remembered during this time. Will you have brought people up or will you have bitched and complained? You can choose to sit in the kryptonite of fear and offense, or look within and find your superpower.

APRIL 30, 2020

Greetings from Florence lockdown day 52. It’s really easy to have a pity party and feel like you’re a victim, but what you look at as a curse can be your blessings with just a shift in perception. Find a way to be kind to yourself without blaming others and accept this moment like you chose it and there you will find freedom.

MAY 2, 2020

LOCKDOWN DAY #54 – Is that a light I see at the end of this tunnel? A few nights ago, the Italian government released its long-awaited plan for "Fase Due" (phase 2) of the restriction. (Yes, I know that my people in NY think they’re on some kind of lockdown, but I assure you, you have no fucking idea). But, before I go into phase 2, I would love if someone explained to me why the Italians always release information at night? Italians eat their dinner later than Americans normally do, so, I envision the Prime Minister and his people start their dinner at 8:30, drink a glass of wine (or 2), followed by a little dolce and an espresso (I love that the Italians drink espresso at night and it doesn’t affect their sleep). And so, by 10pm, with full bellies, they’re ready to make a proper announcement. I guess if we look at it that way, it all seems quite civilized and more aligned with how Italians behave, which is a welcome relief.

In his after-dinner announcement, Prime Minister Conte said that as of May 4th, we must learn to co-exist with the virus and as such, we can now visit our "congiunti" - which is a word that confused many. I admit when my American mind heard the word, I immediately thought the government was sanctioning conjugal visits and urging its citizens to have sex, which seemed quite lovely of them. While the word congiunti literally translates to “kin”, it’s not as clear as say the word "parenti" which means relatives. You cannot mess around with the affections of the passionate Italians, who then demanded further clarification on exactly who they could legally visit. We were then told, "The 'congiunti' are the people with whom we have stable emotional relationships, including boyfriends." Just as I was about to ask for a definition of “stable” they added, "such a wide wording requires individual responsibility.” But that still leaves a lot of room for interpretation. When I first arrived in Italy, I was often annoyed at all the ambiguous and deviating nature of Italian rules, but after 54 days of strict regulations, I find the return of confusion quite comforting. I am lucky to have family here in Italy, but I am also part of a very diverse expat community, who don’t have relatives and were discouraged by the news. I suggest my expat friends just learn the word congiunti and smile when the police stop them. What are they going to do, check your fucking DNA?

So, we can visit our congiunti as long as they are in our region (for me, that means Tuscany). But one must remember that during these visits, you must wear a mask (which now will be price-fixed at 50 cents) and maintain the social-distancing rule (which definitely puts a damper on the conjugal visits). We can now walk or exercise outside (running, biking, etc.) and we can now go further than the restricted 200 meters – but for this, we must be 2 meters apart (6.5 feet). Restaurants can now open for take-away (thank goodness), some more businesses can open, but unfortunately, salons won’t open for at least another month (not sure I can handle the self-dying again) and schools will remain closed until September (I wonder who’s going to watch the kids when parents have to go back to work?) And you must still carry around your signed 'autocertificazione'. Annoying, but again, comforting, because we know the Italians love their paperwork. In my opinion, the best thing that Conte said was, “We can get angry and look for a scapegoat – the government, the press - or we can try to resolve the situation together, working as a team."

Now that the rules have “eased up” a little bit and we can go out more, what’s going to happen when you see someone you know? I am sure there will be that very awkward moment of wondering what to do with yourselves as you come face to face. Since handshaking and kissing will most certainly be a thing of the past (at least for now), what will be our new greeting? Air kissing? I think that’s still too dangerous, as you can still spray some shit (don’t lie; you know exactly those people who can’t seem to keep their spit to themselves). Or shall we give that nifty, little bow like the Japanese do with their hands to their sides? As an Italian chick who has issues keeping her hands under control, I think I prefer the Thai or Indian bow with hands in prayer position, as it gives my hands something to do. Or you can just put your hand on your heart as they do in Malaysia. Tibet has an interesting greeting where they stick their tongue out, but since this world is full of assholes who get easily offended, I have a feeling that might not work out. There’s a custom in parts of Africa where you greet people by clapping. I don’t know about you, but that would make me a little paranoid that people were clapping in astonishment at how I was able to gain so much weight. Me? I vote for the Vulcan hand greeting, because isn’t that what we wish for people right now? Live long and prosper.

People keep asking me, “So, what’s the first thing you’re going to do when you get out?” I imagine this is a conversation that happens often in prison cells and I gotta tell you, the question stresses me out a little. In fact, I think the quickest route to an anxiety attack right now is trying to plan anything. When the Universe goes out of its way to make everyone PAUSE, it’s hard to press that play button again. You might think I’m totally fucking nuts, but I had a moment of sadness at the thought of coming out of this. Sure, there were moments of feeling like a rat in a cage, but for the most part, I feel like this experience was a blessing…maybe something I helped manifest. Time slowing down and the ability to just be present with my own family is precious. In the confines of your own prison, one can find a great deal of freedom from all those roles we are often forced to play. I have felt an incredible amount of connection not only to my family, but to everyone. Every night before bed, I write down at least 5 things I am grateful for that happened that day. Granted, some days I was grateful that I don’t own a shotgun or for throwing away the duct tape, but for the most part, my daily list was very long and included the sweet and stupid little things I noticed about my husband, my son, our dogs, nature and myself. But the list also includes the acts of kindness I would see posted on Facebook, a fun zoom call, the sweet message I got from someone I haven’t seen in ages, or simply “the guy who delivered my package.” Choosing gratitude brings freedom, no matter how big or small you prison cell might be. So now that we are approaching “government-condoned freedom” what does that really mean? If you couldn’t find freedom within, how can you expect to find your freedom out there?

I think that the whole “coming out” will be an exercise in patience to overcome the awkwardness and fear. Our reaction to the world will be based upon our experience these past few months and we have to figure out a way to be kind and accepting of everyone…including the assholes. I am sure that there will be people who are not ready to come out of quarantine, because they’re too scared or too bitchy or actually prefer the isolation. There will be people who have dealt with their own private trauma during this time and will have a little PTSD. Then there are the people who are going to come out of this pissed off. You know those people who spent the whole quarantine bitching and complaining about the government, the schools, teachers, their neighbors, and the unfairness of it all. Yes, we must be kind to them too, because they need it the most. We will heal in community; not in isolation. The best part of this coming out is that if we aware enough, we can create the community that we want to be a part of by leading the way - by becoming the change we want to see in our new world. The rebirth. We will always have those assholes who take no responsibility for the energy they put out there, but don’t get offended by them, as that speaks of who they are; not who you are. Remember, they’re assholes. Coming out of the isolation, I think we will find that we are all essential workers being called to serve each other.

Last week, the mom of one of my closest friends in Brooklyn died of the virus. When the virus made its way to the US, I was in shock at how many people I knew who had contracted it and of the deaths of friends of friends. In fact, the “funny” thing is that here in Italy, I don’t know anyone who’s had the virus, let alone died from it, so when her mom died, I stepped into another level of confusion. I not only felt bad for my friend, who couldn’t even visit her mom in the hospital or have a funeral, I felt bad for myself, because I didn’t know how to express my sympathies. I couldn’t perform the unconscious traditions of a now distant past, like automatically sending flowers for the wake or sending food to the shiva call. We have to find new rituals and traditions. So, I send her messages every day and a bottle of my favorite wine from my friend’s vineyard, Le Ragnaie (support 2 friends and Italy at the same time). That night, my gratitude list included every person who helped get that wine into the bottle and to my friend’s house in Brooklyn. I mean, did you ever consider the chain of people it takes to get one product to you? Starting with the its creator, all the way to the person who delivers it to you. We just kind of take everything for granted, until it’s not so easy to get (think toilet paper). My 82-year-old mother-in-law lives out on Long Island and it has been an exercise in perseverance getting food and groceries to her. But with a mix of the essential work of friends (especially you Robin!) all helping each other, we got her fully stocked. The top of my gratitude list on several occasions has been my new friend Sal, a butcher in Oceanside, who I never met in person, but he delivered fresh foods to my MIL when no one else would. When I call him now, I just say, “It’s Ali from Italy” and he responds, “Oh, I’ve missed you” and we hang up telling each other “I love you” and we both mean it. Poor Sal has no idea that one day, when I get back to NY, I am going to storm into his shop and squish him with one my big-boobed-hugs. Gratitude and kindness is the most amazing healer to all of life’s troubles. My husband Seth Bogner says that my big-boobed hugs are a source of healing on their own, but he loves me too much.

So, I try to have some idea of what the world is going to look like when we get out of this tunnel, but really no one knows. But I really think it’s up to us. Personal responsibility, unity, respect, kindness and gratitude. Sometimes I watch the videos of New Yorkers performing their new ritual of honoring hospital workers at 7pm. That shit chokes me up every single time! And then if someone plays 'New York, New York' or The National Anthem, I’m a fucking mess. New Yorkers, my congiunti. But aren’t all of our communities our congiunti? My family, my cities, my expat community, my friends. Shouldn’t we all be cheering each other on that we made it through? And if you can’t do that, just put your hand in Vulcan position and wish everyone to live long and prosper. And if you can’t do that, just try not to be an asshole.

I lied. I didn’t throw away the duct tape.

MAY 5, 2020

Greetings from Florence where we just came out of the strictest lockdown in the West. We are now in phase 2 of the quarantine and it is time to come out of isolation and start our healing. The isolation has been kind to some of us, but not for everyone. The isolation has caused mental, emotional, physical, financial and social issues for many. We cannot imagine what people have gone thru in the confines of their own homes and heads. Everyone had a different reality and we must be kind to everyone. We are social beings and We don’t heal when we feel isolated, but when we feel connected and supported. Our leaders are perhaps not being as we had hoped, so it’s up to us to lead in our own community…and you may not be aware that you’re a part of several communities. It is so incredibly important to come together now and build connections, community and healing. Ways of helping can be supporting small businesses and restaurants, helping the elderly or those who still are afraid to go out, shopping for people, visiting people, checking in on your neighbors…or a simple smile and “good day” with eye contact can do wonders. Do not underestimate the power of your light…and shine that shit everywhere!!!

MAY 8, 2020

Each one of us has the power to change the world. Be a badass beam of light and shine that shit everywhere

MAY 11, 2020

The process in which the caterpillar transforms into a butterfly is called metamorphosis. During this time, the caterpillar will form a cocoon and inside, the caterpillar’s body digests itself from the inside out and undergoes this remarkable change. They stay inside of the cocoon for between five to 21 days, but if the environmental conditions are not right, some will stay in there for up to three years waiting for good conditions. But the whole time they are in the cocoon, they are transforming creating a new self. When it’s time for to emerge from the cocoon, the butterfly must struggle to push its way through the tiny opening of the cocoon pushes the fluid out of its body and into its wings. Without the struggle, the butterfly would never fly. In fact, it is the struggle that causes you to develop your ability to fly.

MAY 17, 2020

Greetings from Italy where our quarantine is coming to an end after 10 weeks of isolation. I am not sure that anyone expected what’s going on now…and how it changed the trajectory of your life, but one thing that I know for sure is that we are exactly where we need to be. Stress/anxiety/depression is wanting the present moment to be something that it is not…and all suffering comes from that. Let go of your disappointment of what you thought your life would look like right now and embrace the present moment which is full of infinite possibilities if you allow it. Your reality is simply made up of how you perceive the world. Remember, you’re a badass beam of light and view it from those eyes

MAY 28, 2020

Be love and light, but protect yourself and have boundaries like a motherfucker. And always take responsibility for the energy you are putting out there.

October 13, 2020

These are some strange days, no?

I know it’s been a long time since I’ve written to you all. Like so many, I have been in a bit of a fog the past few months. Indeed, this is a time where nature is forcing us to go within. This is a time for inner reflection.

If you were in one of my first (and last) classes in 2020 someone asked what my energy prediction was for the coming year (as I normally do). I couldn’t respond, because I had an uncertain and uneasy feel for the year. Here we are in October, and I still feel the same, which for an intuitive person like me, leaves me feeling a bit off balance. But the thing that I did say in that class was that the energy of Karma is getting swifter and sharper. Remember that karma is a not a reward, nor a punishment, but a great equalizer of energy. Karma is simply a natural, energetic force does not judge, it only seeks to balance, offer lessons, and if the receiver is conscious enough, will allow a great deal of learning, healing and evolution. We cannot always understand why things happen, but if we take full responsibility for our lives and for what is served to us with curiosity, we can enter new states of consciousness that will bring us greater personal freedom and wisdom. If we view the current state of the world with “karmic glasses” we can learn a lot. Everything we are going through now is a manifestation of past actions.

What we are experiencing is not something that magically appeared this year. Everything we are seeing globally and personally, is the manifestation of what we’ve all been creating. We have to have faith that what we are in the middle of is a metamorphosis of something. This is why we have to go within, together as a community, to create a world that we want to live in. As difficult as it may seem, we have to rise above our suffering and become that which we wish to see in the world. We have to start not only wishing for a compassionate world, we have to each feel and act upon what that means in our own, personal lives.

What I realize now is that the reason I can’t sense many things is because the energy of our times is transformation. A metamorphosis, if you will.

The world has seen much suffering this year with the pandemic and its numerous repercussions, causing issues with health, government, safety, relationships, finances, mental health and many other aspects of life. While most people are in a state of some sort of discomfort, I ask you to look above and beyond your limited 5 senses. This world is erupting with change and profound transformation…and I ask you…didn’t we need this transformation? I keep hearing people say that they want to go back to the way it was…but do we really want to go back to what caused all our discomforts? We cannot fix everything that is broken; this is a new beginning. Everything is screaming for change. Every part of our planet is going through transformation…nature, the environment, the animal kingdom, government, education, beliefs…What a time to be alive.

This is the beginning of starting to realize who you are and what is really important to you. A time to not have huge goals or having to put on different faces. It’s a beginning where you really just step back and come to terms with who you really are, rather than who you’ve been told you are, who you’re “supposed to” be and what’s been projected upon you. It’s a new place where all of the old structures start moving out; and then new parts start to come forth in a state of a realignment. If we take away the annoying voices in our head (and those of the media) and we start looking with new eyes, you will notice the stories of courage, resilience and innovation that are popping up everywhere. New structures being put into place. New ideas. A new way of being. A new earth, if you will.

So many illusions are being revealed about society, government, families and ourselves. Veils are being lifted. We are seeing the ugly of the world and it sucks, but again, I beg you to look beyond the illusions we are being fed on a daily basis. We, as a global community, created this world. Before your ego gets offended, please realize that every choice we make with our thoughts, actions and intentions, sets into motion consequences that spin off consequences and those consequences effect everything, because we are all woven into the whole. We cannot see the threads of our attachment to everything, but they are there. We are incredibly powerful and its time we take full responsibility for that so that we can transform into something far more evolved than the shit we are seeing.

I have days of unbelievable clarity of Spirit, followed by days of utter confusion…and a few dark nights of soul mixed in there for good measure. I have been very withdrawn and certainly not my usual social self – and it’s not because of the fear of the virus, but of a powerful, inner pull to go within and to shut the fuck up (there goes that karma again!). I have had a lot of life-changing experiences over the past several months and know that my energy system is shifting. I spent half the summer here in Florence and the end of it at my house in Brooklyn, going through a few quarantines because of the traveling. At the end of August, I dropped Dean off at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. It really was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I’d imagined it would be difficult, but the current state of the USA – and actually, the whole world – made this unimaginably difficult. You cannot imagine the crying I did! Big, ugly, snotty sobbing! Sure, I embarrassed the shit out of my son, but fuck it. LOL. Many have criticized my decision to send my son to an American university right now, but the driving force in our decision was not fear, but its opposite; faith. Faith that Dean’s generation will be the ones to bring us into the light of a new world.

Kids are being traumatized right now. The collective fear and anger. The state of the environment. Lack of social contact. Masks. The media. All these things are leaving a heavy impression in our personal and collective reality, but it is the kids that will develop and grow as these global events are feeding them. We have to remind our kids that this is a time of transformation and we need to empower them with compassion, faith and love. If I could ask everyone one favor, it would be that you each go out of your way on a daily basis to show kindness to any child you come in contact with in any way you can, even if it’s just a smile. Let us show them not only how to survive, but how to thrive. It is my goal to teach as many young people as possible the power they all possess with their own energy.

If there is one thing I have tried to teach all these years, its energy awareness. There are forces at play at all times that we cannot see, but they are there. It is easy for someone to accept that they can be driving, pick up their cell phone and call someone on their cell phone who is driving on the other side of the earth. You see no wires connecting the two people, yet their conversation is very real and their words impact each other. No one questions this, yet we question our own energy systems that connects us to everything on this planet. Your actions, reactions, your words, your thoughts, and your intentions have consequences on everything. How are you using that energy? How are you making empowered choices?

I know many of you are suffering – whether it be financially, physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually – and I do not downplay your current reality, but I beg you to simply start being more aware of the energy that you are putting out there. Start noticing your lower-frequency behaviors and patterns. Start noticing how many times you repeat the same thoughts, words and feelings that are not serving you or the ones you love.

We are not just anyone; we are Lightworkers and that means that we have to hold a higher frequency than the rest. We are the vessels for change. What does that mean? We have to lead the way with our light. We have to play in a different field – the field of energy and consciousness. We have to rise above the noise of our current reality and not fall into the fear, anger, and depression. We have to utilize our energy and light right now to affect the future. Everything we “see” right now was already created; we need to work with the forces that create something new and different. Does that make sense?

So how does this look in our daily lives? Let me give you some suggestions:

  1. Connect with Divinity every day. This can be through prayer, meditation, inner contemplation, studying spiritual texts, doing your morning exercises. You need to develop a dialogue or ritual that connects you to the Higher frequencies. You need to ASK for the things you want to experience. Remember, you are a co-creator of your life and of our world. We need to pray for the world we want.

  2. Be kind to yourself and others. Believe me, I know this is difficult. There are very angry people out there that are spewing hatred and spreading fear. Forgive them. They are not Lightworkers, but they are our lesson. They are serving a very important purpose. Also, be aware that many people are suffering from mental and emotional issues right now. Do not judge them. Be kind and pray for them.

  3. Be in a state of gratitude. Again, not always easy, but look at all we’ve been through. Look at all we’ve learned. Look at our resilience. Let’s go back to the basics and write down 5 things you’re grateful for every day.

  4. Perform at least one random act of kindness every day. A random act of kindness is when you do something kind for someone and expect nothing in return.

  5. Be conscious of your thought patterns. Start noticing the thoughts that make you uncomfortable. Honor those thoughts and feelings, but don’t be controlled by them.

  6. Limit time spent listening/watching the news. Trust me, they are feeding us nothing but fear in an effort to dumb us down. Do not let them control our energy systems. Fear and anger are more contagious than covid. Stop spreading that shit.

  7. Be creative and seek beauty. Whether you write or read, paint, listen to your favorite music or cook or take walks in nature, find ways to connect to creative energy, which is an incredibly strong force right now.

  8. Stop reacting. Learn to sit back and observe and shut the fuck up. Only you are in charge of how you see things and respond to them. It’s your responsibility. Not everything needs a reaction.

  9. Be happy for people and tell them!! Share in people’s joy and accomplishments. Acknowledge and compliment the good you see.

  10. Acknowledge that your thoughts, emotions and words affect everyone around you and that the energy of karma is constantly working through you. Take responsibility for your energy at all times. You are powerful.

  11. Expect miracles.

In addition, Caroline Myss offers a suggestion for daily practices, which i absolutely love You can also check out her numerous videos that are amazing.

Certainly, there is more chaos ahead of us. Yes, more chaos. The continuation of the spread of the virus, fear and the US presidential election looming over us. But just like the lighthouse in a storm, we need to stand grounded and strong, shining our light and offering guidance to others. We need to rise out of this survival mode that many of you have been feeling. This is a time of profound transformation, which also means there is an enormous amount of creative energy out there. We are living through unprecedented times and things are shifting constantly, so we have the power to harness this energy and do things we’ve never done before. We are experiencing the great unknown. It is a journey we are all sharing. All of what’s familiar is disappearing, which leaves us room to create something better. Everything that is facing us requires all of us to transform and to approach and see the world differently.

The power we have as individuals to co-create is intense, but the power we have when we collectively co-create is profound. As a group, we need to have the same intentions and become a collective force for change. I know I always repeat myself about certain things, but we all need reminders. You can never ever never ever change someone else, you can only change the energy you emit in order to change the circumstances and/or the relationship. Bring the energy of hope, wisdom, kindness, respect, faith, love in all you do. Yes, there are many dark forces out there, but believe me, the amount of Lightworkers out there is growing every single day. Do not let them fool you into thinking that we are all divided – that is the dark forces playing with us. Let us rise above that and remember, that it is in the darkness that the Light shines the brightest.

I am hoping to maybe have a class on Monday the 19th – let’s see what this week brings with the new rules. I certainly have the space to hold many of you while socially distancing…even if it’s not in my living room, we can do it in my entry. Let me know if you’re interested.

I am also working on a lot of new projects to help keep us connected and learning…like I want to create a website (finally!!). If you have any ideas or can offer help, please share!!! I will be sending out a questionnaire soon that I hope you will respond to!! In the meanwhile, let’s work as a connected group. Keep the Lightworkers in your prayers and when I send out a call for help, please don’t dismiss it or roll your eyes as I know many of you do. Take just one minute to send out love. That which you put out, comes back.

And while I know that I have not been very present, know that I think of us every single day. You’re all in my daily prayers and if there is something you need, please do not hesitate to contact me. As I am in the middle of energetic upgrades, I cannot offer private energy healing sessions, but I can refer you to some great healers. Much love to all.

November 19, 2020

Lockdown 2.0 – So here we are again. WTF?? Over the past several months, people have asked me to write another update and I tried writing several, but the tone was either sad, angry, suspicious or downright negative. I hate when other people post shit like that, so NFW. I thought I was going thru menopause, but instead, I think I have PTSD. The funny thing is that I look back on the spring 2020 lockdown with fondness, like maybe I kinda had Stockholm syndrome; longing for the comfort of my captors. But, a few weeks ago, Italy set up zones by color for the different regions (like states). Yellow, orange and red (at first, they used the color green instead of yellow, but after the color-coded maps went viral, PM Conte realized that green was way too permissive a color). Tuscany was basking in the glow of a yellow status - 10pm “coprifuoco” (curfew), mandatory masks, restaurants and bars close at 6, kids in high school go back to remote learning, younger kids stay in school. Seemed fair-ish. But like the fuckers did in March, they lulled us into a false sense of security. They never had any intention of keeping us in the yellow and 3 days later, they put us in the orange, which is just about a full lockdown…and a few days after that, we are in the red. So, in the space of one week, my region of Tuscany went from being in a “zona giallo” (yellow zone) to “zona rosso” (red). I mean, I know I’m not a fucking genius, but shouldn’t they give new measures a chance to work or not work? How do they know that the yellow measures weren’t working yet? And here we are back in a police state. Stockholm syndrome gone.

On the first day of orange, one of my closest friends gets stopped by 2 Carabinieri (navy blue/tight pants) for being out of her “comune” (like a township - pronounced co-moon-ay). Now, get this, she was allowed to drop her kid off at school (elementary schools still open) which is in a different comune from hers, but on her way home, she decided to do some grocery shopping (allowed), but because of the route she took back home, they told her she wasn’t allowed to pass thru that comune and BAM! they gave her ass a 400 euro ($475) ticket (my friend is quite pretty and she tried to flirt, but the 2 fuckers played “good carabinieri/bad carabinieri” and the bad one won). People here like to say, “oh but the Italians don’t listen, which is why we have to be a police state!” Really? People have lost their jobs, livelihood, minds and are scared, so you give people a hefty ticket for taking the wrong road home? Fuck outta here. 400 euros is a lot of money, but especially here in Italy where the wages are much lower than that of the USA.

Back in the spring, everyone praised the Italians for “doing the right thing” and God knows how many people were saved because of their strict measures (shhh, let’s not talk about the financial, mental and emotional damages done). This past summer in Italy, you could have almost forgotten that it was 2020. Crowded beaches, piazzas, bars, Germans everywhere (they love Italy in the summer) and a constant flow of Prosecco. Ahhh, we could almost taste “la dolce vita” again. You still had to wear masks inside public places and your temperature was taken before entering, but the Italians hate air conditioning (remember “colpo di aria”) so being indoors wasn’t especially inviting. This lack of air conditioning is the number one reason why my American ass runs back to NY in the summer. So, I spent August and part of September in Brooklyn quarantining in my central a/c, nursing my PTSD and mentally preparing myself to drop my son off at college, which, by the way, failed miserably and I did some really embarrassingly, ugly-snotty-snorting-gasping-for-air-crying, which was made much worse wearing a mask.

People are now criticizing Italy for being so lax in the summer. Seriously? Who are we not criticizing? I mean if you go back and look at the measures taken by different countries in the spring, you will notice that every country had a different approach, yet, here we are all dealing with a second wave. So, you can criticize all you want, but the truth is – no one knows shit. It would have been nice if Italy had prepared better for this second wave – how about improving the internet here? Better preparing teachers and students for remote learning? creating mobile hospitals? Supporting people financially and mentally? staffing up on more doctors and nurses? But hair salons remain open (imagine the back-lash that must’ve occurred to make that happen? Priorities, people). At least they could have made marijuana legal here; not all of us are into wine, damn it. Actually, it would have been nice if someone had given us a heads-up about 2020.

Remember back in 1999 we were scared of Y2K? There was talk of shit blowing up and all kinds of crazy rumors going on. The 90’s were a decade of decadence, excess, invincibility and a lot of fun. I remember that New Year’s Eve I was totally fucked up at my friend’s pajama party, dressed in a white negligee with no bra and no fear (ahhh, youth). In fact, there was a kind of sick curiosity at the possibility of this Y2K. 9/11 began to wake us up a bit and talk then came the talk that the end of the world would come in 2012, leaving us wide-eyed and wondering WTF the Mayans were trying to tell us by abruptly ending their 5000+ year calendar.

But, no one warned us about 2020. And seriously? WTF?! This shit is biblical. We started the year with the near eruption of WW3, devastating fires around the world, Brexit, the death of Kobe, locusts taking over Africa and India, Prince Harry leaving the royal family, Syrian refugees, Boy Scouts scandal, the threat of fucking “murder hornets”, gruesome massacres in the Congo, deadly plane crashes, the Hong Kong mess, deadly floods and landslides, the horrible murder of George Floyd and the protests that followed, Beirut explosion, violence in India, earthquakes, hurricanes, volcanos erupting, the deaths of RBG, Eddie Van Halen, Alex Trebek and let’s not forget zoom calls, homeschooling, lizard people and pizzagate. And the highlight of the year - a world-wide pandemic that has not only killed hundreds of thousands of people, but put millions of people in financial, psychological and emotional crisis. You would think that a common enemy like the virus would bring us together, but it seems to have created more division between people. Racial tensions. Political issues. People spewing hatred and fear. The fucking media. And how about masks? Do you think I like wearing a mask? I hate it, but I’m going to wear it. Do I feel my personal liberties dwindling away with every breath? Actually, I feel it more every time I put on my bra. Trust me, I am wearing that shit for your well-being, not mine.

We keep waiting for this great leader to materialize and show us the way. Or if we’re going biblical, maybe we are waiting for the coming of the messiah. But would we even know the messiah if s/he showed up? Who knows what that looks like…maybe Floyd was the messiah, maybe it’s Trump or Biden, maybe it’s the coronavirus, maybe it’s the homeless guy on your corner or the person you cut off in your rush to make the green light. I bet if we brought back the people that lived in the time of Jesus and suggested Jesus was the messiah, they’d say “You mean that crazy, hippie Jew?” Whatever it is that illuminates the desire in you for peace and unity, is your messiah. We think we are asking for salvation, yet we keep focusing on the stuff that separates us. People keep wondering if Covid was man-made…of course it was! Not in the sense of some fucking mad scientist in a lab, but didn’t humanity manifest this with our combined thoughts and actions? Our perception of “us” and “them” is the virus. For every action, there is a reaction, but it is too difficult for us to see our own role in this. We only sense our discomforts and seek to blame someone else (like cursing out my personal trainer and ignoring the empty cookie boxes). We have to be responsible for our own energy via our words, thoughts, emotions and actions. That which offends you is your clue as to what you need to work on. But I ask you - What if our combined unity is the messiah?

My point is that it’s really up to us. No one is going to save us. We have to save ourselves. The media is trying to trick us into thinking we are so divided, but I beg you to look deeper. While the year has brought us countless tragedies, I keep seeing evidence of evolution – resilience, innovation, faith, awareness, and people reaching out to help who they can. I have been lucky enough to be around a lot of kids of different ages (what I mean by “lucky” is that they are not my kids, so I don’t have to homeschool them) and, while there is a sense of sadness and fear (nearly every kid I meet is suffering from anxiety), there is also a sense of deep gratitude for the simple pleasures in life. They have developed natural, physical boundaries and at the same time, a reverence for school and friendship. In fact, I think we have to end the term “social distancing” and replace it with “physical distancing”. I think the best thing that Italy has done is keep the schools open for at least the younger kids. I just heard that NYC has closed public schools again. The only good part is that this solidifies everyone’s agreement about one thing – deBlasio is a douchebag.

The other thing we all have in common? We’re all a little fucking nuts right now. Everyone has their own version of crazy, but crazy we all are. I mean I can honestly say that my situation this year has been the best you can ask for under the circumstances – roomy house with lots of outdoor space, good food, friends and weed, 2 dogs, and a husband I enjoy being with (except when I want to stab @seth Bogner) – yet, I can tell you that I am, without a doubt, bat-shit crazy. I have given birth to new voices in my head that say the darndest things. We all have our buttons, that when pressed, can have quite an astonishing reaction. We have all become reactive and we see the evidence in social media posts, our relationships and our attitude. Everyone is a victim to “them” and everyone has a different “them” to blame instead of taking personal responsibility for our own actions that created this. This pandemic is a lesson is here to teach us; not to punish us and “changing the world begins with the very personal process of changing yourself, the only place you can begin is where you are, and the only time you can begin is always now.” (Zukav)

So today will be our 5th day in “zona rosso” and I promise you that I will begin the process of taking responsibility for the energy I put out there. If we think, speak and act as if we are one, we can change the course of history and build a better reality together. We can shift the paradigm by shifting our perceptions, judgements and expanding our peripheral vision. Every day, ask yourself how your actions helped someone else. Every action you make creates a ripple out there. Let your ripple be one that helps people come together and bring awareness. Yes, we need to grieve together for what we have lost, but we have to get ourselves out of this “survival mode” we’ve been living in (which weakens our immune system) and switch it to “thrive mode.” I will put a mask on those evil little voices in my head; not only for my well-being, but for yours as well. And, ok, I promise to apologize to my personal trainer too.

December 21, 2020

Today is the Winter Solstice, which astronomically speaking, marks the end of autumn and the beginning of winter in the northern hemisphere when the Sun will be above the Tropic of Capricorn. The winter solstice always signals the rebirth of the sun; it’s the longest night of the year, but afterwards, the days get longer and there is more light. But this year’s solstice is very special, as the largest planets in our solar system – Jupiter and Saturn will align themselves in such a way with the Earth, that we will have something called a “Solstice Star” appear in the sky. The last time this Solstice Star appeared was back around the time of the Renaissance (wooohooo…no coincidence!!). Now, I am not an astrologist or an astronomer, but I have always held a great reverence for the power of the planets/stars and their effect on us. While the time of the Solstice always holds a great deal of power, considering the events of 2020, I am going to say that this year’s solstice is an opportunity for us to help shift our energy and that of the planet. We are experiencing a collective shift, which means we are all playing a part in this experience.

If you have been part of any of my classes these past few months, you know the theme has been transformation - and last week, I took this theme a bit further teaching about co-creating in the time of Covid. The energy out there is creative and potent, and today, that increases even more. So, let’s take advantage of that and put our desires out into the Universe.

As the pandemic wears on and we are being forced to be more by ourselves, it is getting harder to escape the things you know that you want to change about yourself…but somehow, with each time you promise to stop doing that, or start doing this, you go back to your old habits. And that’s the thing – we are being forced to keep going within and re-visiting these habits that do not serve us. There seems to be no escape, but let’s view it as the gift we didn’t know we wanted, but here it is! We need to take this gift, by being the gentle observers of ourselves, reflect within, and then improve upon of our own states of consciousness. If we don’t do this, we as individuals and as a species, cannot evolve. That which we see outside of ourselves is simply another distraction; we need to fix what is within. It is precisely the cure to this virus…The virus did not just appear one day; this is something that humanity has been manifesting for a looooong time.

So, today, let’s deliberately manifest the shit out of some good stuff!! I’m going to make it easy for you. Ground yourself, open your heart and just say a mantra all day with deep appreciation, conviction and passion.

I have gotten a lot of people reaching out to me this past year. People feeling trapped, angry, scared, ill, needy, ugly, tired, abandoned, disappointed and tremendous lack…I know it’s hard to find yourself out of some of this shit, because its pervasive and takes way too much effort to get out of it. and if it’s not you personally feeling these things, then you know someone who’s in that low space. And truthfully, even if you’re not in a low place right now, can’t you – and the world - be in a better place? Don’t we want better for ourselves and each other?

Right now, decide that you want better for yourself and the planet. It’s not an arrogant or entitled ask, it’s a knowing. It’s a knowing that there is better - only if you want it.

How do you want to feel? This is a deep, personal question. It’s not about wanting a thing, it’s about the predominant emotion your wish to experience as your state of consciousness. You have to figure this out and align yourself with that emotion.

So why not start with a mantra? Start thinking it. start saying it. start aligning yourself with it. what would you look like without the lack you’re feeling? Or the fear? Or the anger? Or whatever…?

Using the I AM statements are so incredibly powerful. If you don’t know what you want, just ask yourself what you don’t want to feel.

Feel lack? I am abundance

Feel trapped? I am freedom

Feel scared? I am faith

Feeling down? I am the Light

Feel scattered? I am grounded

Feel ugly? I am the expression of Divinity

Feel needy? I am fulfilled

Feel unloved? I am the expression of love

Feeling hopeless? I am the expression of Divine faith

Feel angry? I am grace

Feel disappointed? I am peace

Feeling stuck? I am creative energy in action

Feeling lonely? I am the Divine Light that connects me to the Universe

Sick? I am radiant health

Or you can use my favorite mantra/quote from Florence Scoval Shinn that has helped me and I have had as my email quote for the past almost 20 years…” I give thanks for this perfect new day. Miracle shall follow miracle and wonders will never cease.” And what is a miracle, but just a change in consciousness from fear to love?

Repeat your mantra all day. Seriously. What do you have to lose? Interrupt those thoughts. They’re just old habits. They trick you into thinking that you need them, so they repeat themselves and create your state of consciousness, but you don’t need them. You will be just fine without them. I promise you, you won’t miss them. We are all creative energy waiting to be expressed!

And one last thing…if you can’t do anything else, just be kind. Be kind to yourself and others. Everyone is going thru some kind of shit right now. Don’t judge yourself or others harshly. Just be kind by not saying harsh words with your mouth or with your mind. Use your mantra to interrupt those thoughts! Compliment and say Thank You to everyone you see, including yourself. Start being what you want to see in the world. And if you can’t say something kind, just shut the fuck up

I love you all and pray for this great re-set to bring us into the Spiritual Renaissance I’ve been praying for us for many years. Let’s do this!!!

Happy Holidays!!!

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