Lead with Love: Choosing to live ‘La Dolce Vita’

Gina Murdock
Lead with Love
Gina Murdock
Courtesy photo

Each day, I have a choice what to focus on.

What I focus on is what grows. I know this. There is a part of our brain biologically wired to focus on what’s wrong or what might go wrong. This is part of our reptilian brain’s survival programming. It is hard-wired. By assessing and evaluating risk, it helps us to stay alive.

This negativity bias, as it’s called, is difficult to override. It takes intention, practice, and awareness to choose to see what is right versus what is wrong, all the while not ignoring the brilliance of a mind wired to survive.

I am currently in Italy, and I am loving the feeling of warmth, connection, and joy I feel from this culture. As we are planning a Lead with Love retreat here in September, I felt called to explore what the Italians call “La Dolce Vita,” or “The Sweet Life.”

What I see and sense in the people here is a slower pace of life. I see a focus on family and connections that span generations. I sense a warmth among people who start as strangers and quickly become friends. What I feel is a fullness in my heart, a sense of presence with the landscape and “place,” and a true feeling of contentment just being here.

It’s easy to over-romanticize the culture here versus in America and have the grass-is-greener syndrome. I love America and our democratic values that are being tested every day. I know there are big problems in Italy, too. The Italians just elected an openly fascist leader in the last election. That is a bummer. There are problems everywhere. There is beauty everywhere. It all depends where we choose to look. 

My teachers Drs. Ron and Mary like to say, “The issue isn’t the issue, it’s how you relate to yourself as you’re going through the issue that is the issue.”

Think about that. The issue isn’t the issue. No matter what happens, good or bad, you have a choice. How will you respond? How will you treat yourself and others? Will you be angry and bitter and judge and blame and hold resentments? Will you own what’s yours, move on, and choose love and forgive yourself and others over and over again? 

My intention and the focus of my life is to create La Dolce Vita no matter where I am. For me, it is a focus on these life principles that speak to what’s truly important to me and how I want to live. The more I focus on these, the more they will grow. 

The seven pillars of La Dolce Vita for me: Connection and Belonging, Optimal Well-being in Mind, Body and Spirit, Authenticity and Vulnerability, Empowerment and Ownership, Joyfulness and Lightheartedness, Love and Generosity, and Forgiveness and Letting Go. 

What are your pillars of the sweet life? The human brain has a natural tendency to give weight to, and remember, negative experiences or interactions more than positive ones. A big part of the sweet life is claiming it, becoming more aware of what you want, and choosing to live it each day no matter where in the world you are.

Gina Murdock is the founder of Lead with Love, an Aspen-based, non-profit organization dedicated to shifting culture from fear to love. Lead with Love hosts trainings, workshops and retreats around the world. To learn more about The Dolce Vita Retreat in Italy Sept 23-30, visit .