Me, My Heart, and I

by Melinda Gallo

Me, My Heart, and I :: Intense and beautiful transformations

The moment I arrived at the top of Giardino Bardini, I was greeted by a butterfly. She encircled me twice before joining a few other butterflies and bees buzzing around a lavender bush. As I watched the butterfly drink nectar from the center of the lavender blossoms, I thought about her life. It's such an incredible transformation for one being to go through: from being born a caterpillar and to being reborn a butterfly.

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Me, My Heart, and I :: Endings and beginnings

As 2019 is about to begin, I feel an excitement and a lightness that I haven’t felt in quite a while. It’s not a feeling that comes and goes; it’s a feeling that is solid within me. I experienced some upheaval these past few years, which initially I thought was a curse, but now have come to realize that it was a blessing. If someone would have told me that my entire life would be turned upside down, everything and everyone removed from it, and that I would rebuild a more solid life based in love, I wouldn’t have believed them. But it happened.

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Me, My Heart, and I :: My journey of writing a novel

This morning when I woke up, the last thing I thought I would be writing about was the third draft of my novel. I tend to be quite reserved when it comes to discussing my current writing projects. For some reason, however, I felt a push inside of me today that said that things must change. I must change. It’s scary to talk about something that is still in progress. It’s like digging up a seed to see if it’s sprouting. What if the seed has died? What if the seed only has a tiny sprout and needs more time? Those are the questions I ask myself, which keep me quiet about my writing projects. I couldn’t get the first few sentences of this blog post out of my head until I wrote them down, so I decided to do so.

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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 didn’t consciously choose not to write, but I wasn’t as clear as before about what I wanted to write in my blogs. I have worked on many posts, but didn’t 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 wouldn’t pick them back up again. I felt that I had to take the risk even though it frightened me. I told myself that if I’m 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 :: Photography as a way to savor the moment

Anaďs 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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