The story goes that when asked how he was able to carve the statue of David, Michelangelo explained that he chipped away everything that didn’t look like David.
It’s a fabulous peek into the mind of a creative genius. And it’s also a pretty good guideline for finding the masterpiece in your own life.
Let me explain:
Deep inside yourself, whether you are ready and willing to admit it or not, you have a dream for your life. It could be an ideal career, a business, a relationship, or to live on your own private island. It could be to write a book or create affordable renewable energy, or to fight fires, or to have a totally off-grid homestead. Whatever. There’s something.
And if you’re doing it? Yay! Well done.
But if you’re not? Why not?
There are lots of possible reasons. It could be a job that’s sucking the life out of you. Maybe you’re in a relationship that’s run its course but you feel obligated to stay in it. It could be the weight of your debt. It could be a lack of training. It could be lack of confidence. Perhaps you don’t feel supported. Maybe your health isn’t what you would like.
Maybe you’re feeling caught on a hamster wheel, repeating your days without really paying attention to them. Other people’s expectations are blocking you. Maybe you feel like you don’t have a choice.
But you do. You may not like the choices you have – but you have choice. (Yes, that may kick up some uncomfortable feelings for you, but there it is.)
So just for a moment, let’s just think about those “reasons” as the marble that’s hiding your masterpiece.
You are the artist. In your hands, you hold a chisel and a mallet.
Every time a choice doesn’t support the vision of your masterpiece, the marble block is unchanged.
Every time you make a decision that brings you one step closer to your dream, you chip off a piece of marble.
When you say you want to improve your health as you eat an entire pizza while binging on Netflix, your chisel lays quietly on the coffee table. But you chip a piece of marble as you walk around the block after supper.
When you grumble for years about a career that bores you, the chisel is idle. When you take a class or find a mentor to guide you in a new direction, pieces of marble fall away.
One chip at a time, your masterpiece reveals itself.
It is both that simple and that difficult.
Remember: You are the artist in your life. Only you can create your masterpiece.
Until next time,
PS If you would like to learn some strategies to sharpen your chisel, join the free Facebook group Midlife Alchemy.