Solidly Planted, 12x9 inches, pastel, $575 ©Lynn Goldstein
,Working as a graphic designer for 17 years never felt like I was following my heart. During that time, I was going through the motions so that I could work on my painting when I wasn't completing graphics projects.
You see, until I began pursuing making art on a full time basis, I was not following my heart's desire. Over the years, examples of how things work out when one follows their desire have presented themselves to me. These examples come when I least expect them.
While in Italy, I was reminded of how things work out if we follow our hearts. Let me share with you a story that illustrates just what I mean. The tale is a little long, but I think you'll love it as much as I did.
The drive in and out of San Fedele
My workshop was sponsored by a company called Il Chiostro which handles art workshops. We stayed in a 12th Century renovated monastery called Borgo San Fedele owned by Nicolo and Renata Strub. Nicolo was born in Rome but spent time during his childhood visiting the area around San Fedele. While living in Milan, they visited the Tuscan countryside often. During one visit Renata asked Nicolo to promise her that they would live there one day. The promise was not difficult to keep because the area was filled with wonderful memories for Nicolo.
The door to my room
The two began visiting with an eye toward purchasing property, and were told about San Fedele. San Fedele had been abandoned for 20 years and the structure showed the kind of wear that you would expect. There were vines growing over the buildings as the vegetation began reclaiming the crumbling edifice. Nicolo and Renata fell in love with the place and they couldn't stop thinking about it. Finally, they followed their hearts, made the decision to make an offer, and began the daunting task of renovation which took almost 7 years.
Out of the blue, Nicolo got a phone call from a stranger who had heard about their purchase. The man was an architect who had written his thesis about San Fedele. He understood the structures and offered to work as the architect for the renovation project. He also impressed upon Nicolo the need to hire contractors who were local and had a connection to the place. Nicolo didn't think too much about this directive, but followed through and hired locals.
On the exterior of the sanctuary roof was a wooden cross that needed to be replaced. One of the workers knew exactly the person to make and install this cross. The day that the cross was finished and was to be installed, Nicolo met the contractor and the maker of the cross whose name was Gino. Gino was in his early 80s. The day was sweltering and the 3 men (the contractor, Nicolo, and Gino) made the long climb to the roof. When they reached the top, Nicolo noticed that Gino was wiping his eyes and face with a hankie. Concerned, Nicolo asked Gino if he was okay, did he need something to drink or anything? Gino responded that he was fine but that he knew that this would be the last time he would be on the roof of San Fedele. You see, Gino's father had constructed and installed the cross that they were replacing and Gino had been there with his father as a boy when it was installed. Now, Nicolo understood why local contractors and craftspeople were so important to this project.
I also believe that the coincidences that occurred were the result of Nicolo and Renata following their hearts. You see, I believe in magic in the world.
I plan to follow my heart as well, and hope to go back to San Fedele next year to teach again and share this magical place with more students! I hope that you can join me.
What do you think? Do you follow your heart? Has that been a good way to proceed in your life? Let me know in the comments below.
Here's the group having a great lunch
To enjoy more photos of Italy, click here.