Me, My Heart, and I

by Melinda Gallo

Me, My Heart, and I :: Embracing people and places

The more I discover other parts of the world, the more I consider each place to be like a person. Each place has its own unique mix of history, culture, and energy. When I visit a place, I look at it like having a conversation with it. I might get an impression about a place based on my interaction with it, but I canít know it very well. Not only does it take time, but it takes a wide variety of experiences for me to understand a place. I have lived in Florence for the last fourteen years and I am certainly no expert. And, honestly, I don't want to be. If I believe I know a place, it restricts me from discovering more and from seeing it evolve. Every place and every person is constantly evolving. If we classify someone or some place, it makes it more difficult to notice the changes.

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Me, My Heart, and I :: A break leads to a breakthrough

I have kept relatively quiet on my blogs for the past six months. I didnít consciously choose not to write, but I wasnít as clear as before about what I wanted to write in my blogs. I have worked on many posts, but didnít feel like publishing them. I set aside my writing projects because I felt a little lost. It was a bit scary for me to stop focusing on my projects because I wondered if maybe I wouldnít pick them back up again. I felt that I had to take the risk even though it frightened me. I told myself that if Iím meant to complete my projects, I will. And if not, I will discover what I should be writing.

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Me, My Heart, and I :: My artist trip to Berlin

The one book that changed my life as a writer is ďThe Artistís WayĒ by Julia Cameron. Ever since I read it, I have been writing my morning pages and going on weekly artist dates. Every morning, I write the three pages, called ďmorning pagesĒ to clear out the chatter in my head and drop down into my heart to where my writing wants to come from. Since I live in Florence, itís relatively easy to go on at least one artist date a week. After going on my artist dates for many years, I realized that every time I was alone I was on an artist date. I could hop on a bus, take a train, or wait in line and suddenly I found myself opening up to my surroundings and letting beauty be unveiled to me.

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Me, My Heart, and I :: Creating my writer's life

It has taken me some time to create my new life as a full-time writer. When I stopped working at the end of January, I thought I would just wake up the next morning and focus on my writing projects, but thatís not exactly what happened. I sat down in front of my computer the next day and wasnít able to concentrate. For a week, I looked at my projects and felt empty. I was surprised since writing full-time had been my goal for a long time. I decided to take a break to figure out what was going on and realized that I couldnít just start a new life without first putting to rest my old one. For years, writing was something I fit into my life and now it was to be at the center of my life.

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Me, My Heart, and I :: Running and writing practices as habits

After consistently running every other day for the last few weeks, running has become a habit for me once again. It was a habit for many years and then after skipping one day that led to one month, the habit was broken. Whatís great about a habit is that even broken, you can mend it back by continually practicing. I noticed this not only with my running, but also with my writing. I found that the key to creating a habit was keeping a scheduled practice and not listening to fears or worries when they tap me on the shoulder.

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Me, My Heart, and I :: Shifting gears or shifting focus

My run up to Piazzale Michelangiolo the other day was a bit challenging because I hadnít done it in a few weeks, but today it ended up being even more challenging. The other day, I had to prepare myself mentally yet today I had to push my body more. My run was going well until I reached the long stretch of stone sidewalk in the middle of the incline. It was warmer this morning and the sun was shining on the right side of my body. I looked out at the valley for a split second and thought about walking instead to take in the view. was an excuse for me because I just didnít think I was going to make it to the curve in the road much less up to the piazzale (large piazza). But, thereís one thing I learned from running and that is when the going gets tough, you either shift gears or shift focus.

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Me, My Heart, and I :: Running and writing my way to confidence

Lately I havenít been able to focus on my writing projects. I even started a few blog posts that I gave up on. I wasnít exactly sure why I was feeling so distracted and disconnected to my writing, but this morning I had an idea. Running affects my writing a lot. Itís almost as if they are intertwined. I didnít realize it until last year when I took a six-month break from running. I hadnít planned on taking a break, but after skipping one running day, then a week, and then a month, it was easier to not go out than it was to go for a run. I didnít think the break would affect me that much, but it did. I not only felt disconnected from my body, but also from my writing.

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Me, My Heart, and I :: Indulging in Paris before taking off for Florence

I am a city girl. I have known that ever since I lived in Lyon, France for my junior year abroad. When I returned to California, I dreamt of going to live in another city and was fortunate enough to land in Paris. I am extremely fortunate to call two cities my home. In Florence, I live in the heart of the city, but in France my beau and I live just outside of Paris. Itís incredibly close and it only takes me 20 minutes on the mťtro to get to the center of town. But for me there is something about going to sleep in the city and waking up to it that I truly miss.

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Me, My Heart, and I :: Running along the Arno before taking off

Today was my last day in Florence and I began it with a run along the Arno. During my stay home, I headed up to the Piazzale Michelangiolo for each of my morning runs. However, because it was a little chillier than it has been, I decided to stick to the centro (downtown area). When I arrived at the end of Ponte alle Grazie, I turned right and headed toward the Ponte Vecchio, which looked like it was lit up by the sun that was just coming up.

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