In 1501, Michelangelo began the work of carving his masterpiece, David. He began with a vision in mind, knowing ultimately what he wanted to create. At the beginning though, all he had to work with was a single slab of marble and his tools. It seems it would be overwhelming, looking at the hard work ahead of him and it certainly would have been easy to give up. Did you know David is nearly 17 feet tall? It took Michelangelo 3 years to complete.
A fact I find fascinating is that Michelangelo believed the people he carved were already inside- he just needed to set them free. Throughout his life, he began many sculpting projects which were never quite completed before his death. He was still pleased with his work, though. He felt he was getting them closer to their own freedom.
I believe people are like that. Each of us in a masterpiece. Remember how in school as a kid you were told you were special and that no two people are alike? It sounds so cliché, right? But it is true. Never in all of creation has there been another you, not in the billions of people who have walked this earth. We get one shot at this mortal existence, and I believe we came into this world with potential far beyond what we could possibly imagine.
So what if as we do the work of growing, progressing, learning, and changing, we aren’t actually becoming a new version of ourselves. We are just chipping away the slabs of marble to show the world who we really ARE? Standing in our own masterpiece?
As I have applied the tools I teach in my coaching practice to myself, I have noticed a few things. I apologize less for being me. I speak what I actually feel far more often. I like myself. I appreciate the things I bring to this world. I take offense less easily. I offer love more freely. I feel less afraid. I am more courageous. I am more willing to be wrong and admit my (many) imperfections. I am more satisfied in general with life. I like the me that is showing up under all that marble. She was there all along – I just had to find her (and this is my life-long work…it is never quite finished here in mortality).
We all come to this earth innocent, perfect and pure. As we experience life and some of its hardships, the layers begin to form- the layers of thought errors, false beliefs, others’ opinions of how we should be, and then the gap we feel between where we are and where we want to be. How awesome is it that we can chip away at those layers?! Expose them. See them in full light and decide if we want to keep them around or not.
I promise you are a masterpiece. Done. It’s already in you. Your job is to go find it. You are already beautiful, just as you are. Go find your David.