La Tela di Carlotta
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In the face of death, smile and let go

Aug 14, 2012

Photo: Drew Geraets

Death is all around us. People die every day. Car accidents, plane crashes, cancer, extreme sports gone wrong, shark attacks, gun shots, fatal robberies… we’ve heard it all. You can die crossing the same old street you’ve crossed every day for thirty years. My mom’s friend went to the beach on Sunday to spend a family day: her husband went for a swim, and drowned.

Yesterday my mum’s friend was married and today she’s a widow. The life she knew has changed forever. There won’t be a “we” any longer. She won’t have a shoulder to sleep on when she closes her eyes at night. She will have to watch her kids cry because they miss their daddy. She will cry because she lost the love of her life. She will have all the support of family and friends, and yet she will feel helplessly lonely.

I can’t stop thinking about it. Death has so many ways to show its face, but what can we possibly do in the face of death?

I think the answer might be less difficult than it seems—and maybe unintentionally ironic. We can live. I can live my life and not let my life live me.

I stress for silly things, my PMS makes me feel like the world is collapsing on me, my moods often change with the weather, I complain because I commit to crazy schedules and find myself running around like a headless chicken, I get upset at myself when my mouth says “yes” to a favor while my mind is screaming “no”, I regret when I eat too many sweets too many days in a row. I stress, stress, stress.

I keep telling myself and others that I’m improving. That I’m less pessimistic and negative by the day. That I’m learning to live stress-free and at a slow pace. And it might be somewhat true if we look at the small, daily achievements. But what about the big picture?

Let’s not be romantic. I can’t possibly live every day of my life like it’s the last one, and sometimes my silly moods will make me feel bad, affect my relationships, maybe hurt or distance the people I love and, ultimately, myself.

But let’s be honest. Everything falls away in the face of death and I can definitely learn to smile when I feel down, let go of stupid arguments, not let stress overcome me, not fight for something that’s not worth fighting for.

I keep thinking it may come down to learning two new behaviors:

  • Smile. I recently read that if you put on a fake smile when you feel down or stressed and hold on to it for long enough, it will turn into a real one.It may feel fake at first (something like grinning at the dentist), but maybe turning the corners of your mouth up instead of down will actually make you feel better. Why not give it a try?
  • Let go. I already have a key rule in my relationship: never go to bed angry at each other. But what if I could actually not get mad… at all?

Once, a friend told me referring to her husband “When he does something I don’t like, I just ask myself, ‘Am I getting a divorce over this?’. If the answer is no, then it’s simply not worth fighting over”.

Yeah, right. I listed a million case scenarios where NO, I wouldn’t get a divorce over an argument, but YES, I would still be willing to fight to get my message across. But what if I can get the message across without arguing?

Maybe I just have to learn to let go. Of my ego, of his tone, of my bad moods, of his words. Just let go. And maybe this would actually prove and show my love more than a million words or great actions can do.

I could be dead tomorrow. When it comes to myself, there’s no time for slow improvements and small achievements. So in the face of death I want to learn to smile and let go. ASAP.

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The blog

I write mainly about Montessori, parenthood, and multilingualism. Here are some recent posts.

Montessori
One day a few years ago my husband came home and said, "Why don't we put a mattress on the floor in the baby room? It'd be much more natural". "Never" was my reply. That's how our Montessori journey started. Since then we've been living, breathing and applying the philosophy at home day in and day out, starting from ourselves. Because educating children starts from the parents.
Bean and seed mosaic
I'm not perfect. I'm aware
DIY yoga cards for kids
Children at the restaurant: let's recalibrate expectations
Don't ask your children to share their toys
Those "good job" that erode our children's confidence
Our Montessori birthday
Two alternatives to screens that my kids love
Using fear and threats to control children is never right!
"Stop crying!" doesn't work
Living sustainably
Living sustainably for me doesn’t only mean to have a more eco-friendly lifestyle. It means to make decisions that are sustainable for our planet, the people on it, but also for our life, our lifestyle, and our happiness. It means to take any daily chance to evolve and be happier, healthier, kinder, more responsible and more caring human beings—the only sustainable way for a meaningful future.
Face yoga is an act of self love
Why you should wear the same outfit twice on Instagram
The power of creating habits (and why you should do it, even if you then break them!)
Responsible eating is the diet of the future (Would you like to teach it to your kids?)
The power of NOT complaining: can you do it for a whole month?
Clean up your planet, please!
Infographic: 8 steps to switch to cloth nappies (a guide for reluctant parents)
A personal note on happiness
A personal note on social media
A change of life always widens your horizons
New to La Tela?
I’ve prepared collections on various topics that I’ve written over the years. Perhaps you’ll find one that interests you.

Travel

We sold everything to travel the world for two years. We're currently in New Zealand.

Books

In 2020 I wrote 4 books for the Italian collection “Gioca and Impara con il metodo Montessori” curated by Grazia Honegger Fresco. The collection is a project by Il Corriere della Sera and La Gazzetta dello Sport.

We also implemented the workshops of the last 15 volumes of the collection with Oliver and Emily.

Podcast

On my podcast, “Educare con calma”, I talk about various topics, from Montessori to sustainability. Only in Italian!

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Why La Tela di Carlotta?
I dreamed of the name La Tela di Carlotta. One morning I woke up and in my dreams I had created a blog named just like the American novel (Charlotte's Web). Many years and endless ups and downs later, this web of thoughts and stories is my work. It took me a long time to understand what kind of online presence I wanted and today I know: I'm transparent, I show real life, I don't advertise, I only recommend sustainable brands (and not only because they pay me) and I believe in the value of my blog and my courses—because if we don't believe in the value of our work, no one will believe in it for us.
Carlotta
Carlotta dreaming of La Tela
I know! I don't want it to be over yet either.