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40 years, 40 little philosophies for a ‘dolce vita’

My move to Italy has taken me back to life’s drawing board. Not just in terms of work and figuring out how to develop a career here, but also in terms of daily-life and how to live it best. We came here in pursuit of a better lifestyle, and happily, the Italian climate and food are already delivering on that front. We’re optimistic, in time, of realising the dream of house in the countryside, olive grove, lemon trees, vegetable garden, vines, animals etc.- bliss! – but what of carving out one’s internal life, one’s internal journey? It’s all very well achieving La Dolce Vita, but how to live that sweet life and live it well, that is my question and thinking for this post.


Photo Credit: Saad Z via Compfight cc

I’ve lived several places, worked in many different jobs, made many friends, and hopefully no enemies. I’ve been influenced by many people. With ‘40’ beckoning it seemed an appropriate place to sit a while and take stock of the things that have shaped me, and made me who I am.

I consider this a ‘sharing’ of what works for me. Without further ado, I offer up my 40 little philosophies for a life well-lived:


1. Knowing what you really want is over-rated. Knowing what you’re really good at is very useful indeed.

2. Be confident. With confidence you can achieve more than you ever imagined.

3. Find pleasure in the simple things, they are the bread and butter of the soul.

4. Tell yourself you have all the time in the world, when you feel you have none.

5. What we do first, gets done.

6. When you’re struggling to keep all the balls in the air, let them all drop to the ground to see which ones actually matter.

7. There’s another day tomorrow (thank you, Mum).

8. Remember to enjoy the fruits of your labours.

9. Choose to watch that movie, read that book, play that game with your kids…no one dies wishing they’d done more housework.

10. Surround yourself with the things that bring you joy and which have a useful purpose. The rest is just clutter.

11. Feel the ground beneath your feet, the flow of your breath, and be thankful you’re alive.

Feeling the ground beneath my, er, arms, and being grateful I haven't fallen over, yet.

Feeling the ground beneath my, er, arms, and being thankful I haven’t fallen over.

12. Laugh like you did when you were fifteen.

13. Don’t live for tomorrow, it doesn’t exist.

14. Enjoy the moment, it is all that we have.

15. Love your ‘stuff’ – whatever your stuff may be. Embrace it all and see no.16.

16. Acceptance is the first step to change.

17. Do whatever it takes to let go of past hurts; that way you set yourself free.

18. Life always works to bring us back into balance. If there is a lack of ‘flow’, the waters will keep churning ‘til flow resumes.

19. For greater insight into your life, pick up a pen and write, write, write about it.

20. Forgiveness may change nothing for the forgiven, but transforms the potential of the forgiver.

21. Be a person who is ‘awake’.

22. If you are ‘awake’ in this world, beware unhappiness. Not all of the world’s problems are yours, cherish who you are and all that you’ve been given.

23. Choose happiness.


24. Trying to change oneself is futile.

25. Trying not to change oneself is impossible.

26. With an open heart, a playful spirit, and an enquiring mind you’ll keep on growing.

27. Listen intently; the little voice inside always speaks the truth.

28. Kindness is everything; especially in marriage.

29. Whatever we give attention to, flourishes.


Photo Credit: Jason A. Samfield via Compfight cc

30. See the best in others, and you will – almost always – get the best from them.

31. Have positive expectations, if you want to see positive results.

32. Treat money as a friend, not a commodity. Be good to it, and it will be good to you. See no.29.

33. Step out of your comfort-zone.

34. Feel the fear and do it anyway. Still feeling the fear?…keep doing it anyway.

35. Wealth is more than money. ‘Wealthy’ is a fulfilled state.

36. Health=Wealth.

37. Lose the expression ‘how time flies’ from your vocabulary. It takes you out of the present-moment and creates anxiety.

38. Be idle. Especially if you’re a do-er. Factor in some non-doing time and watch your thinking, creativity and energies soar.

39. Cultivate stillness; a quiet mind = a peaceful heart.

40. Whatever life throws, maintain an open & loving heart. It will sustain you and be a blessing to others.

I’d like to give credit and thanks, in no particular order, to:

Eckhart Tolle/The Power of Now, my Mum, Orna Ross (, Derval Cromie, Yoga philosophy, Matthew Tart, “love your stuff girl”-thank you, The Bible, Jon Kabat-Zinn, The Theatre, The Hub Theatre School, Susan Jeffers, Life Itself.



  1. This is such a feel-good post… I found your blog through Blogging 201 and am glad I did! I am now a new follower, and do feel warmly invited to visit mine. Maybe you’ll find it interesting enough to follow it back. 🙂

    • Well great to have you here Angie and delighted you enjoyed this post. I thought I’d have trouble coming up with ’10 little philosophies’ at first, but in the end I had to edit it down! How are you finding blogging 201, as ever I’m struggling to make the time, but the support from WordPress is brilliant 🙂

      • Oh yes, time is an issue, but not too much this time, as assignments don’t really take much time. I try to spend time on other blogs and make friends though. 😉 What takes LOTS of time is Writing 101!

  2. Thoralf Merrin

    Hi Helen,

    Thanks for your philosophy! I particularly liked 20 & 27. Lots of thought & experience went into it all. I’m not at all sure I could manage 76 little philosophies, but never mind! Going down to Cornwall tomorrow to meet up with my generation on Chris’s birthday for a little celebration. Well, I’m going and Ivor is coming under duress!!! Don’t know if you’ve heard, but Hannah has an internship with Shell for ten weeks in the summer, so that is good. Rachel has just changed her car, and is the proud owner of a brand new VW Polo [I think]. Jess & Martin are coming down over Easter weekend, so we are looking forward to that.

    Finally – I think you have the ability to produce a book from your blogs!

    Much love to you, and of course to Mario & Tamsin,

    Sheila & Ivor xx

  3. Bov

    Thank you Helen, It made me stop and think about where I am at. I’ll be 50 next month. Feeling achy and tired more than I used to so I’m going to add – Take a siesta most days- to my list. 😉
    I’m probably on the move again soon. I’m heading to the UK this weekend to look at some premises to open my own Yoga studio again. I have so missed my little place in Amsterdam.
    I’ve enjoyed Dublin a lot but it isn’t for us in the long term, I’d love a sunnier place to live but as it is, I think I’d be better off back at home in my Northern English town in the rain with my friends and family. Keep your posts coming I love hearing about how you are adapting.
    Love Bev x

    • Bev! That’s so great – about the studio plan – it’s so important to seize the day ain’t it! God, you’ll be missed at Samadhi. How lovely to have your own place, and to be near family. Best of luck. I had a conversation here with someone at the weekend who told me that there are no dedicated yoga studios in this area and it could be an opportunity…it’s certainly something I’d love to try and do, but the Italian bureaucracy feels a bit daunting for now…I’m already thinking yoga terrace for the summer, when we get a house in the country.
      As for the siesta – I learnt a great Italian phrase yesterday: Non fate mai il passo piu lungo della gamba – Don’t take steps that are too long for the leg! I certainly need to constantly remind myself not to overdo it, and enforced siestas will soon be on the cards due to the heat – no bad thing eh!
      keep in touch

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