08/15/2014 11:04 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Seize the Day: Make Your Lives Extraordinary


Sunset in Lerici, Gulf of Poets

Robin Williams' death knocked at my door unexpectedly, while I was discovering the Gulf of Poets. Here, many of the world's most celebrated poets and novelists came, and even died, from Percy Bysshe Shelley and his wife Mary Shelley, and from Lord Byron to Italian poets Dante, Petrarch and Montale, who spoke of the natural beauty of the Gulf, of the villages of Lerici, Tellaro, Portovenere and La Spezia, Italy.

The Gulf of Poets reminded me of one of my most favorite Robin Williams movies, Dead Poets' society, where Professor John Keating was engaging his students to Love poetry and to express it in many different ways, creating a club of poets filled with passion, foolish dreams, happiness, noble pursuits of beauty, love to lead a sustainable life, as members of the human race.

Every movie taught us something, making us feel closer to this great and lovable man, like a close friend we can call up anytime to have a laugh with or to share sad happenings and overcome them together. Like in Good Morning Vietnam, DJ Adrian Cronauer was building morale for the U.S. military troops in Vietnam, transforming the tragedy of the war in meaningful moments of laughter and normality and thus creating an open environment for friendship and temporary relief; Mrs. Doubtfire was the caring dad masked by nanny to show love and affection to their kids. Or Dr. Sean Maguire, the therapist who sat down on a bench with Will Hunting, making him feel less fearful and defensive towards life.

A listener, a helper, an empathic and caring friend, always available for us, a smile on our everyday life, a huge smile hiding a deep sadness. That no one could help.

I was extremely impacted, so my generation. Movies that made us dream the impossible, share love and believe in our potentials, use our creativity to look in different ways by standing up on our school desks ( who hasn't done it?), find our ground, our voice, make a difference. He was our maestro, our life coach, our motivation, our "daily infusion for action". If you want to do something, start now and do not be afraid of making mistakes. Carpe diem was the expression Professor Keating used in Dead Poets' Society to encourage his pupils to go explore life and make the best out of it.

Arianna Huffington, in her latest book on redefining success and creating a life of well-being, wisdom and wonder, Thrive, is teaching me a lot on meditation and mindfulness practices. According to Blaise Pascal, she quotes "all of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone". The ability to not lose connection with our inner soul is fundamental to live a fulfilled and calm life, although we are fully plunged in our daily activities, work and we love what we do ( hopefully). Gratitude and awareness, self- consciousness, along with being present and paying attention to life happenings and to what surrounds us can help us listen to our inner voice.

Being in balance and enjoying our existence, seen as a piece of the immense universe we are all are sharing and which connects us all, can also boost our creativity and can improve our productivity, our sense of well-being and our ability to reach out to others by giving a hand and/or a piece of our hearts.

Our life service can be devoted to what we choose is right and by knowing what we can do, we have the "power" to shape our destiny and to make an impact. I am always truly inspired by people who can transmit this energy to human beings, and, I must say, our ability to make decisions ( life changes, reaction to tough moments, illnesses and deaths) can be shaped by who we are and what we think. Mind and Heart must always be allies and we should take care of them.

Thank you Captain for bringing Joy in our homes and lives.

"The universe is wider than our views of it." - Henry David Thoreau