It’s been a while since we’ve connected. Roddy and I have been busy traveling this summer. Roddy and Susan took their whole family back to England for a month, and I have also been traveling through Europe and am just finishing up with some events in Romania before I head back to the United States.
So, all that to say, I’ve missed connecting with you. And I just thought I would drop you a quick message and tell you a little bit about what’s been going on for Roddy and I.
Back a couple of weeks ago, Roddy and Susan met me in Rome, along with some of our other friends. We had a great time. I know it was Roddy and Susan’s first time there, and it was so cool to see how much they loved the city – one of my favorite cities in the world. Everywhere you go, every street you turn down, there’s beauty and art in the core makeup of the city. Ancient ruins here, Renaissance architecture there, sculptures and monuments in every city square. Truly exquisite! If you’ve never been, I highly recommend you go. I’ve been many times, and the allure of it has never faded.
When I go, one of the things I make a point to do, for at least a few of the days that I’m there, is to hire a private guide who takes me to different landmarks and different historical sites. There is one guide in particular in Rome who I hire every time – she is so good. Her name is Daniella, and she is truly gifted at bringing to life the art and the history of the city, in a way that I have never experienced with any other guide anywhere else in the world.
This time, because I’d already seen the Colosseum, the Forum, the Trevi Fountain… you know, the major tourist attractions that everyone goes to see, Daniella took us to some hidden jewels off the beaten track. There was one church in particular that just struck me. There are churches all over Rome, on any given street corner, and each one is beautiful. The architecture and the art is truly stunning!
But this one church that we went to see was different. You see, Daniella was giving us a tour of some different examples of Ancient Roman, Medieval, and Renaissance art. And in this one church, there were a couple of things that I saw and experienced, that moved me into a place of deep contemplation.
The first was this. On the back wall of the church, above the doors where you enter, there exists this work of art, a fresco, which is a type of mural painting, and it depicted the Last Judgement. If you’re at all familiar with medieval and renaissance art, you may well be familiar with the very famous depiction of the Last Judgement painted by Michelangelo inside the Sistine Chapel of the Vatican. What you might not know is that many different versions of the Last Judgement were very commonly depicted in many different churches in Rome for many hundreds of years before Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel.
In this particular church, the Basilica of Santa Cecilia, an artist by the name of Cavallini painted a beautiful depiction of this scene on the back wall of the church sometime during the late 13th Century.
Here is the strange thing that I just can’t wrap my head around. Soon after Cavallini completed this mural, someone went in and whitewashed over it, erased it from the church, and seemingly from the memories and records of the time. And it wasn’t until the early 1900’s, when they were doing some construction on the church and chipping at the wall that they discovered there was this beautiful work of art completely hidden over. With much tedious work, they were able to restore portions of this mural, and I just cannot help but ask WHY? Why would someone ever seek to erase and obliterate such a work of art? What could compel this action of destroying beauty in one’s life?
I will never know of course, but it causes me to think, what are the things that we do in our own lives that make no sense? What actions am I ignorantly taking that are causing me to move backwards rather than forwards? Are my actions causing destruction in any way, shape, or form? And if I were to successfully identify what these might be, would I stop and change course? These are important questions to ask yourself.
What is it that you want to create in your life, and are you taking action that’s causing the opposite to occur? There are many ways to live a life, and the question is, how do you want to live yours? And do your actions support what it is that you say that you want?
And this brings me to my second contemplation that came out of the visit to this specific church. You see, this church is connected to a convent. Cloistered nuns have lived here for centuries upon centuries, to this present day. One of the key characteristics of the life of a cloistered nun is that they have as little contact with the outside world as possible. When we were at the church, there was a nun walking through the sanctuary, moving a few things around, opening the church for the day. She didn’t speak to anyone. She didn’t look at anyone. She kept entirely to herself.
Now, I have no idea what it’s like to live this life. I also have no idea what would cause someone to choose to live this life. It is so foreign from the life that I’ve experienced. And I could be quick to jump to conclusions, to make judgments about it being right or wrong, good or bad, happy or sad. But what’s the point of that?
There are so many ways to live a life. And if someone else chooses to live their life in a way that is different than mine, who am I to say what’s right or wrong, what’s good or bad?
As Thomas Troward wrote in The Spirit of Opulence, “Live and let live.”
We so often slip into the comparison game. “They’re life is better than mine.” Or “my choices are good, their choices are bad.” Nay nay! It is not your role to play judge over anyone’s life, including your own.
Your role is to look at your own life and the decisions you are making, and to ask yourself simply, “is it serving me?”
Is it serving you?
And if not, what are you going to do about?
Well, my friend, I hope this gives you some food for thought. I look forward to connecting with you again soon. Although we have been quiet over this last month, Roddy and I have some great things planned for you. So, stay tuned.
And in closing, I want you to know, I believe in you and I believe in your dream!!
Hold Your Image!!
We were born to BE, DO and HAVE more.