In our lives B.C. (Before Children), my husband and I took a spontaneous trip to Rome and Florence, Italy, for the Thanksgiving holiday. I had no trouble trading turkey for lasagna in such a beautiful country!
One of the highlights of our trip was witnessing David, the Renaissance sculpture of the biblical hero by Michelangelo. Beginning in 1501, this famed artist meticulously chiseled what is arguably one of the finest examples of sculpture in history. Standing before David, all 17 feet of him, I actually teared up at this marvel of marble. It's truly a moving experience to behold works of art of this magnitude.
What I find wonderfully ironic is that David began as a 19 foot block of damaged carrara marble. Despite its imperfections, Michelangelo had this to say:
“In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it.”
There is so much in this quote that applies to my clients and anyone seeking to reshape their lives and bodies into something healthier and fitter.
Many of us feel damaged, imperfect, even imprisoned inside a body we don't recognize or wish to claim. This perspective can make us feel like a cold block of stone -- heavy and burdened.
What if we allowed ourselves the vision of an artist, to see ourselves as we were created to be--"shaped and perfect in attitude and action"--and began chiseling away, layer by layer, the rough walls that thwart our potential? Admittedly, it's not a quick or easy task, as it took Michelangelo three years and the removal of two feet of marble to sculpt David. But taken one hour, one meal, one activity, one decision, one day at a time, your "lovely apparition" will, too, take shape. It all comes down to "attitude and action."
So, how do you start? Set a specific goal, write it down, and commit to a time frame. For example, you might say, I will exercise vigorously for 30 minutes three days a week (Mon., Wed., Fri.) from 6-6:30a for four weeks. Or, I will commit to eating a healthy breakfast of protein and carbs five mornings each week (Mon.-Fri.) within 30 minutes of waking, for four weeks. As you near the end of that month, build on that goal for the next month.
What does Michelangelo say about goals? “The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” With that in mind, set a goal that's doable, but challenging, knowing you will continue to increase that goal as you get fitter and healthier.
What's the best time to start carving out your personal work of art? Now! "There is no greater harm than that of time wasted," said Michelangelo, who also believed, even in his artistic mastery, in hard work and continuous learning.
And on those days when you have unexpected setbacks, stay the course and keep your artist's vision, repeating Michelangelo's words for inspiration: “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him/her free.”
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Molly is a wife, mom,
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I am not a registered dietitian, nor a medical professional. My blog is a representation of my views and experiences, which are not intended as medical advice. While I am a certified personal trainer, descriptions of things I eat and exercises I perform may not be suitable for everyone. Please speak with a medical professional before making any changes to your current routine.