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#93 Your Masterpiece



The Opera del Duomo, or Overseers of the Office of Works of the Florence Cathedral, commissioned Michelangelo's (Michelangelo Buonarroti 1475-1564) David in 1501. He was the third artist to receive the commission for the work, as two other artists were set to the task beginning in 1464 and 1475. These two previous sculptors began their work, but each rejected the job due to the marble assigned. The Carrara Tuscany marble had a unique and difficult grain and could not be easily worked. The slab was also too flat and would present a problem when sculpting David. There was also a hole or divot on one end, which was difficult to work around.


Michelangelo was only 26 years old when he began the work. He presented David with his head turned to accommodate the narrow block he was dealt. Because of the hole at one end, David was shown with the left leg on a step. This put all David’s weight on the right leg, which cocked his hips and shoulders. The sculpture was carved with such exact anatomical detail that the artery in David’s neck was bulging to indicate his fear and excitement at the task at hand, and the abductor digiti minimi muscle in his right arm is in the right amount of flexure to show he was holding the stone in his right hand. Even one of the rhomboids between the spine and shoulder blade was shown to be missing, but Michelangelo wrote a letter explaining that because of the grain in the marble the muscle could not be shown anatomically correct.


Michelangelo’s finished work is 17 feet tall and weighs in at 12, 478 lbs.


How does one achieve such a feat? How does one envision a work of such stupendous magnitude that it is complete in the mind before it is complete in reality?


I’ll make a point here before we get to the focus of our talk today.


To make a sculpture, you need to know what you plan to create. One doesn’t simply start pounding away at a piece of marble hoping for the best.


“Well, we’ll just see what it becomes.”


Once a cut is made, that marble can never be added back into the sculpture. One can only remove the marble. You grab a chisel, and a mallet. With nothing but your vision to guide you, you beat that large slab until pieces begin to break away. You bang away, cutting into the hard surface with sharp tools and blunt instruments until the art is revealed.

 





To make a sculpture, you must remove everything that isn’t the sculpture. The art is revealed when all that isn’t the art has been removed.

 




Our lives are organized the same way.


Bruce Lee once said, “It's not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.”


George Bernard Shaw said, “Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”

 


We create ourselves when we first envision the best version of who we design ourselves to be. What is our best version of ourselves? When we see that optimal version, we then need to hack away at the unessential. We grab our metaphorical chisel and hammer and bang away at the parts of our lives that are not our best selves.

 

There are several methods and processes involved, and not in any particular order.

 

“Do nothing which is of no use.” Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings. Our actions should serve our greatest purpose, which ultimately is the development of our highest nature. Do you waste time on meaningless things? Rest is useful, hobby is purposeful, but work is necessary. Carve from your life wasted effort on useless actions.


Say “Yes” to yourself. Rest and play are necessary. I’m a living example of working too much and not enjoying downtime, hobbies, or fun. Saying yes to yourself is a recharge that gives you a reserve of formidable inner strength which will serve you well as you carve the best version of yourself. Reward yourself periodically. It is important, however, that you never let fun and play be the central theme of your life. Some people choose meaningless jobs that pay well enough to allow a return to play. Work should serve more than a simple means to a recreational end. Recreation is a time away from work, but you must return to chiseling.


It's okay to say no. Saying no is powerful. It is often necessary to maintain sanity and the sanctity of energy. I see so many people who give all of themselves to everyone around them to gain approval or because they are afraid to disappoint. I tell them there is no need to light themselves on fire to keep others warm. Sometimes you simply must tell someone NO. Sometimes you have to disappoint. Grab your chisel and hack away at the part of yourself that needs to please others. Your pure, true self will do what can be done for whom it can be done, when it can be done. Boundaries are the outward expression of inward appreciation; your sense of self-worth. Let go of the idea that you should let people walk all over you so you can gain their approval. Do what you do, because of who you are. Because you know who you are and have no need for others to define you. You define yourself as you hack away at what isn’t you.


Junk the shit you no longer use. Hack away at the unessential items in your life and your home. Clearing your space will clear your mind. An organized space leads to an organized life. Remove all that isn’t you. Children of the Great Depression kept everything because most things were built to last, and most people were capable of repairing nearly everything. Their houses became piled high with everything they touched because, “You never know.” Today, nothing is built to last, and no one knows how to fix things. If most stuff is designed to be disposable or is designed with “engineered obsolescence,” then chuck it in the f#ck-it bucket. The current rebellion against this mindset is the latest trend toward minimalism.  

 


Two Japanese concepts are important here.


Ikigai. Purpose for life. Do what makes you happy, do what you excel at, do what serves others, do what earns a living. When all these align, this is Ikigai. This is your life’s purpose, its direction, its meaning. I’ve told clients for years that the greatest purpose in our lives is to find that gift we brought into the world when we arrived here, tune that gift into a skill or a talent, then share that gift with the world, and make a living in the process. Whether you write, sing, paint, sculpt, lead, motivate, or organize, you can share that natural affinity with the world.






Kaizen. To improve a little each day. The Japanese believe that if you improve in your skill, talent, life, purpose, meaning, or direction just one percent each day, over time the improvement will be astonishing. Whatever your pursuit, if it is in alignment with your goals, if you continue to hack away at unessential actions and habits, you will make improvements over time. You will be a master at your craft. You will chisel a more complete version of yourself.




 


Banging away at a chisel with a blunt hammer may shape marble over time. The chisel cuts, it carves, it breaks things away. The hammer directs the angle and direction of the next painful strike against the hard stone. Hundreds of raps with the hammer will direct the cutting force into the marble and peel away all that is not the final masterpiece.


Practice, dedication, discipline, habit, and motivation will carve away all the things that are not the final you, the masterpiece you are destined to become. Yes, it will hurt. Yes it will be difficult. Of course it will take time. Nothing of value is cheap or easy. Nothing that is easy has value.



Hack away at the unessential in your life and reveal the truest version of who you were always meant to be.

 


 

Keep hammering,

 

Weeg

 

 

 

Joe “Weeg” Weigant is a Board Certified Massage Therapist, Holistic Health Authority, Reiki Master Teacher, Herbalist, Metaphysician, and Empowerment Coach. He combines bodywork, energy work, and coaching to improve quality of life by healing from the outside in and from the inside out.

Weeg sells Nature’s Sunshine Products, Pure Herbs Ltd., doTERRA, and Juice Plus+. Weeg suggests lifestyle changes and provides herbal remedies to his clients so they may build new habits for long life and vibrant health. He teaches Karate and Tai Chi, Reiki Certification, as well as seminars and workshops in metaphysical and spiritual matters. Weeg is available for sessions at Tri State Holistic Wellness by appointment only.

 

Contact by text 812.568.5356, or Facebook Messenger to set an appointment.

 

 

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Jun 09

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