Notes from Italy & Beyond
I mentioned some time ago I was doing an experiment. The experiment is called my deliberate recreation.
The idea is to evaluate life and all things in life. Identify what doesn’t work in life and then make the changes that are needed. That doesn’t mean fixing things that can also mean removing things.
The Office Effect
Since the year 2000 I have worked from home. The first ‘office’ space I had was actually a garden shed and it worked for me.
No rules, no hours, no restraints apart from the walls around me whilst working in the garden shed. The shed was in an orchard. The orchard was always filled with sheep. It was a pretty organic way of doing business but it worked until it stopped working for me.
After that I started working from home. Again my home ‘office’ was actually a bathroom that had never been finished. I didn’t have a desk but I did have a work surface I had cut from an old door that had been lying around on the farm. I write many very successful sales letters fro that space and created a lot of wealth for myself and my clients. Thinking about it right now I wrote at least half a dozen letters that sold more than $10-15 million in sales during initial campaigns.
Then offices didn’t work for me when the iPhone arrived because I began writing on my phone. It’s true that a lot of my work was and still is written on my iPhone now iPhone 7 plus (camera is amazing).
Exactly 12-months ago we decided that whilst my son was still living with us we should rent some space to work from. We created the perfect workspace – or so it seemed.
Then something happened that I can’t and don’t do well. It was this.
Suddenly for the first time in my life I had a routine that took me from my home to an office. Then work in the office. Then stop for lunch and then leave at a time when people would leave an office. OK it wasn’t quite that strict but as time went on despite the amazing 1000 sq. ft. we had it actually decreased my production.
The restraints were too much, the routine felt too regular and in fact I started heading out for more and more coffee because I found it hard working in an office.
Then my son moved into his own place. That gave us two free rooms. That was the catalyst to close the studio and offices and start to work from home again.
So we simply did what feels good to do and that was to make a huge change and right now I love it.
As I write to you my office is back at home where we have two rooms large enough for an office each.
Change is always a good thing but it is a better thing to make the changes yourself rather than have the changes forced on you.
Love from Italy
We started in Venice and stayed two nights. Then got a train down to Florence and stayed three nights. Then finally a train to Pisa and stayed one night (that really was enough – in fact too long in Pisa).
I love Italy … everything is just cool, relaxed, laid back and they always look so happy whilst singing their way through conversation. The men are too handsome with their style, hair and bearded faces and the women are beautiful with their olive skin and dark hair. Of course not as beautiful as Georgian women just in case my wife reads this! Sicily next in June – mamma mia!
Art has a purpose… David!
Seeing Michel Angelo’s David for the first time in real life is astonishing. The first thing I noticed is the size, it is massive and stands at around four meters. The incredible thing I noticed before you get to where David is you have to pass unfinished works from Michel Angelo. There are at least 4-6 huge monoliths of marble that are just half done. In one piece it looks like a leg and an arm are sticking out of the stone. In another piece you can see a slight form of a body and so it. It is incredible.
I had to think how does he know where to chip away and know the proportions of what is what? It also made me think of my own life project of deliberate recreation because Michel Angelo deliberate set out to create his creation of David. The unfinished works showed he took more than a few runs into the creative process before he delivered his David!
And – who paid for the marble and support during that process?
The Medici are a Tuscan family that left a legacy so strong it’s astonishing to experience when you walk through their home (Italian castle).
In short: they were known eventually as Gods bankers. They set up banking as we know it and served the Pope. They also used their cash to build an Italy that might not have been possible. The list of artists they supported was astonishing including Michel Angelo and Leonardo da Vinci. The house they built was and is astonishing. I have never seen blocks of stone so large in my life – bigger than cars.
There is a Netflix TV show about them called the MEDICI and it’s worth a watch.
What they did yesterday stands today and draws the curious from all over the world just to se if what they did is actually real. The city, the buildings, the branding (Google the medici brand – six balls). The art in their home is too overwhelming to write about here. I simply do not have enough time to share with you.
But I felt moved to my very core at the work and support they gave to others. It made me think of companies like Google. Maybe they really are a modern day Medici. Yes they have great wealth but yes I think history will show what they gave out and supported.
Leonardo Da Vinci…
I have always loved his work. I’m not sure why I always felt a connection to him in some microcosmic way but I was to see a painting that I have never seen before or even heard about. The painting was called The Death Of Leonardo Da Vinci. It had me transfixed, It held my heard and pulled me as close as it could pull me. Yes next door was the four meter David and this painting was maybe just small enough to be missed especially stuck in a corner yet there it was.
Not a young muscular creator but an old man, long white hair lying in bed whilst being held up by others as he gasped for his last breath.
I couldn’t stop thinking about what I have done in my life because one thing is for sure it will end. Today we see Da Vinci in a lot of things. His remnants are clear and his works are astonishing yet this painting shows the greatest fear of all thinking and conscious beings and that is the final moments themselves.
The Chines Boy The Pigeon and The Birthday
Today I am 54 years old.
I am sitting in Florence Italy drinking a strong coffee. My wife is at my side. We are in a large Piazza close to Uffizi Museum.
The sun is out and in the sun it’s warm. I can feel the changes from the sun on my skin. It’s around 17 degrees in the sunshine despite it being February.
Just in front of us is a small happy Chinese boy. He is probably around 8-years old. His parents are close enough to see him and shout when needed. The boy has become a boy obsessed and is obsessing over one pigeon from the hundreds of pigeons in front of him.
He has discovered a secret and it is this. If he patiently focuses on one bird, feeds that one bird and scares the other birds away that one. It’s appears to have become almost hypnotized by the boy.
The boy is not at the stage the pigeon not only eats from his hand but he is also able to stroke the pigeon. The pigeon is happy as long as there is food. The pigeon remains happy as long as there is no fear of threat.
Eventually the boy puts both hands under the pigeon, picks up the bird and lifts it to the sky until it jumps off, flies around and then comes back to his feet where the cycle is repeated.
I thought for a moment the boy has recovered an ancient secret that adults lose and can forget. It’s called curiosity. The child has become so curious that his whole being has become so alive I can actually feel his curiosity, excitement and spirit reaching me at a distance.
I say for a moment and tried to remember what I was doing at his age? I’ve no idea yet all I know is once curiosity vanishes ages comes to the youngest man.
Life is a gift.
My life at 54 years old is a gift.
Some didn’t reach 24 never mind 54 years old.
I have the perfect lover.
I also have the perfect wife that never tries to understand me but just accepts me.
I am healthy.
I have my needs filled.
And although I can never be the child again I am happy to be reminded by this small Chinese boy and the pigeon that life always has much more to offer.
Pisa and that tower …
The tower in Pisa really does lean. The lean looks extreme even more when you are standing next to it. It’s incredible that it was started in 1173 and only stabilized from falling over in the year 2001.
Maybe we are overly trained to expect things to change overnight? They could have started again with the tower but they left it until they found a solution. Despite it leaning it still stands.
Life’s like that. Not always upright or as straight as we’d like it to be but the proof is as history reveals most things have solutions as long as we are willing to show patience.
Before I go…
You know how we have a feeling about something? You know that feeling that it isn’t quite right? Be it a job, a position, health, wealth, business or even the paining or sculpting we are creating. It sad that most us humanity as had the ability to realise that feeling is a message to make a change and yet most fail to make the changes.
I know a guy that has never had a break from work in almost twenty years. He complains every hour of every day yet has never once stopped to question what the problem is or even more important how does he create or find a solution to that problem. He created what he has. I create what I have. You have created everything you have right now.
There’s a lesson there.
Life isn’t a race to the end it should be and can be as pleasant and as interesting a journey as you need it to be.
But … you have to create that, nothing happens on it’s own.
I’m back now after a wonder mind refresh and trip.
New wonderful workspace, new ideas and new energy to deliberately recreate what ever I want to recreate.
I hope this has been of interest to you and if it has will you do one thing for me? Hit reply and let me know or even better go the post at the Facebook link below and leave a comment.
Alan Forrest Smith