Me, My Heart, and I

by Melinda Gallo

Me, My Heart, and I :: Photography as a way to savor the moment

Anaïs Nin is quoted with saying, “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” I feel quite similarly about photography. The first time I experience beauty, the moment is intense and rich with the stimulation of all of my senses. The second time it is more like an echo of that first experience, but all my senses are not stimulated to the same extent as they were originally.

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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 “The Artist’s Way” 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 “morning pages” 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, it’s 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 :: Crafting my own rhythm and honoring each writing project

The day after my job as a technical writer in Paris ended a year ago, I turned my focus onto my writing projects. I thought the switch would be easy. Writing was no longer something I fit into my life, but rather became my main focus. Working as a freelancer for so many years, I have always been able to focus on my tasks, manage my time, and realize my goals with relative ease. I thought I’d be able to have the exact same approach with my writing. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen that way. I wasn’t able to focus on my writing for eight hours a day, like I would with my day job. I got distracted by fears bubbling up inside of me and doubts tapping me on the shoulder when I least expected it.

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Me, My Heart, and I :: Appreciation is the key to happiness

For over a year, I have dedicated time to watch the sunset wherever I was. I initially took photos of sunsets only if I happened to be out at the right time. Eventually, I began to go for a walk outside to watch the sunset. I began to feel a great sense of joy bubbling up inside of me each time. I realized that there was something incredibly healing and empowering about watching the sunset. I wasn’t feeling joy only from the beauty I was experiencing, but instead from the appreciation I was giving. As I watched the sky changing colors, the birds flying overhead, the boats passing along the river, the people walking around me, the wind blowing in my hair, and the church bells chiming, I began to feel a great sense of appreciation for the moment I was experiencing as well as the life I was living.

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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 that’s not exactly what happened. I sat down in front of my computer the next day and wasn’t 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 couldn’t 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 :: Divine Living in Florence

I am often invited to events in Florence because of my Living in Florence blog, but I rarely attend any of them. Last month, Gina DeVee’s exectutive assistant contacted me about attending a Divine Living conference in Florence. I quickly perused the website to learn more about the event and was pleased when I read that Gina’s mission was to empower women by teaching them to get clear on their desires, own their uniqueness, be in their power, and enjoy life. Before accepting this generous offer to attend the WOW Factor Live Event, I asked if they expected me to write something on my blog. When they said that they just wanted me to attend the event without any obligation, I didn’t hesitate for a moment.

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Me, My Heart, and I :: Coming full circle to be a writer in Florence

I initially came to Florence to learn Italian and find my inspiration to write. I thought of going to Venice, Rome, or Siena, but the woman at the Italian Consulate in London convinced me that Florence was a better choice. I had visited Florence only once in July and never thought I could live here, but I’m happy I listened to her because Florence has ended up being the perfect city for me.

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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. What’s 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 hadn’t 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 didn’t think I was going to make it to the curve in the road much less up to the piazzale (large piazza). But, there’s 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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