What better time than the new year to think about dreams? Some people are born knowing who they are and what they want to be. (Musica) I was not like this. I searched for meaning in my life for a long, long time. I read books and books and books looking for answers. I just wanted someone to make it easy, put it in black and white; I wanted the ABC of
I didn’t think that was so much to ask. Other people found their dreams. Now all I had to do was find those people and see if they wrote a book about it.
I ended up reading a lot of books, lots of biographies; but for the most part, I only found clues; I never found the list I was looking for: first you do this and then you do that; I had to try and put two and two together.
Some books had more clues than others, and one of those was called How to Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci. I picked it up because, it seemed to me, after seeing the title, if I could learn to think like the genius that painted the Mona Lisa, my life might get better.
And, really, how hard could it be? This book said there were just seven steps to thinking like a genius every day!
Ha ha ha ha ha ha !
I was young.
It just happened I was going away for a few days, so I took my new book with me, up to Bretton Woods in New Hampshire, to a historic old hotel built in 1902 called the Mount Washington Hotel. It looked very much like the Grand Hotel (which I’d seen in the movie Somewhere in Time); I’d always wanted to go there.
I started reading my book in an old wicker rocker on the huge curving porch of the hotel with a far view to forever in front of me, and the cool smell of the high mountains surrounding me. The hotel was a little run down in those days, in a genteel way, scruffy and peeling around the edges. It had a big dining room with high, gilt-edged, ornately plastered ceilings and an old-fashioned menu that included quail, liver and onions, Jell-O, and a relish tray with hot peppers and crushed ice on it. They also had normal things on the menu so I took my book to lunch there, and that’s where I discovered that Leonardo Da Vinci worked much harder on getting to know himself and finding his dreams than I did. Much.
“The essence of Leonardo’s legacy is the inspiration for wisdom and light to triumph over fear and darkness.” ♥ Michael J. Gelb
Michael J. Gelb, the author of How to Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci, had made a sort of workbook. He wrote about the principals of genius-Da Vinci-thinking and then combined them with self-assessment checklists and exercises to help the reader connect to a different place, one that even I could understand. One exercise was called “Realizing your Ideal Hobby.” Which helps the reader to work out a strategy for realizing their dream hobby — those life enriching, creative hobbies such as learning to play a musical instrument, learning a new language; studying dance, drawing, painting, acting, tennis, golf or sculpting and so on . . . the meaning of the words “follow your bliss.”
He even talked about sharpening question-asking skills, because how can you ask a question, if you don’t know what it is?
I’m barely skimming the surface in my description of this book; there is so much. But my favorite exercise of all was something called “Mind Mapping,” inspired by Leonardo’s approach to note taking. It’s a method for generating and organizing ideas. I read that a person could use mind mapping for personal goal setting and discovering “their own originality!” A clue! I thought, Count me in!
I’d woken early on the second morning, gotten dressed, grabbed my book and walked down the wide creaky staircase, gravitating toward the stone fireplace in the massive lobby under crystal chandeliers. It was a chilly morning and the all the guests still seemed to be in dreamland except me. I found a cup of tea, pulled my shawl tighter, and settled into a creased and lined leather sofa in front of the crackling fire to read. I was inspired by the explanation and a diagram of “Mind Mapping,” so I pulled a piece of paper from my notebook and following the directions in the book, I drew this:
Squiggles on paper, not supposed to be art, but supposed to help me find time to nurture myself, live a healthy life, to achieve balance, and to do better. Each mind map, I read, can cover a different subject; your dream vacation, a perfect evening, your hope for the future, your plan to execute your plan; pretty much anything that interests you. It’s an exercise that is supposed to train your brain to a higher level of personal awareness.
You can have neither a greater nor a lesser dominion than that over yourself. ♥ Leonardo Da Vinci
Leonardo’s way of saying Be Your Own Chaperone! 🙂 I’ll never have all the answers, but what I learned so far (I’m still on my quest) was that my dreams weren’t out there in space somewhere, big, unreachable and even unseeable; fragmented like the milky way; they were inside me, small and tidy and complete, I just needed to go inside to find them.
There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates loot on Treasure Island. ♥ Walt Disney
Now what I have to do is mind map my way into getting my new book finished! Onward and upward girlfriends! Have a wonderful day! ♥ XOXO