Me, My Heart, and I

by Melinda Gallo

Experiencing more beauty every day

Itís only recently that I understood how to deepen my experience of the beauty around me. I used to look at something and immediately judge it as beautiful or not. I either focused on it or looked away. When I sit in a garden, walk through Florenceís streets and piazzas, or stroll along the Arno, I try to consciously keep my heart open and breathe my surroundings into my heart. Itís a delight to to revel in the beauty of a single flower, a pathway, or even sunlight beaming through the trees. I am always amazed at how something that pleases my eye can fill me with so much joy that my heart bursts open.

Me, My Heart, and I :: Experiencing more beauty every day

Iíve been told that itís easier to find beauty in a beautiful city like Florence. I donít agree because I find beauty wherever I go. It might not be the same type of beauty, but beauty surrounds us.

When you live in a ďbeautifulĒ location, it takes more effort and awareness to see the beauty around you because you become so accustomed to it. While I find the Duomo beautiful on any day, sometimes it really catches my eye and inspires me to take a photo of it, like I did yesterday. It could be the royal blue sky after sunset or the way the Duomo practically glows at the end of a narrow street. The Duomo is stunning from every angle, but if you walk past often enough, you might end up looking at other things around you or only glancing up at it. Such an awe-inspiring masterpiece is impossible to delight in completely every single time you walk by. I enjoy roaming the streets of Florence and find myself spotting new details I hadnít noticed before. Itís like I get the chance to fall in love with my beloved city a bit more every day.

I especially love catching a glimpse of the cupola from a variety of places like Piazzale Michelangiolo, Giardino Bardini, and the Giardino delle Rose. The photo I chose for this blog post was one in which I was admiring the roses and this one rose caught my eye especially because the Duomo was in the background.

It has been such an enriching experience to live in the same location for an extended period of time. Over the past fourteen years of living in Florence, I have come to not only deepen my appreciation for the beauty in my beloved city but also to expect to experience beauty everywhere I go. Finding beauty around me is such a normal part of my life now.

Iím fortunate to not just see beauty with my eyes, but also feel it with my heart. Seeing the same things over and over again allows me to savor more of its beauty and to cultivate even more joy in my heart.

Almost every single day, I take time out of my day to admire the beauty around me wherever I am. Over time, I have found that the more I appreciate the beauty around me, the more beauty seems to appear right in front of me. Beauty has therefore become a way for me to not only receive and embrace love, but also to share love with others. When something pulls at my heart strings, I not only savor it, but I often take a photo of it as well. Sharing a photo then becomes a way to allow others to experience the beauty Iím privy to. Itís not the same as experiencing the beauty firsthand, but it certainly might be able to lift up a personís spirits even if only for a brief moment.

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