Dita Parker

Monday, May 9, 2011

The da Vinci mode

You know whose birthday it was a few Fridays back? Oh he's been dead for almost five hundred years. A day here, a decade there, well, neither here nor there, right? If I ever got my hands on a time machine, I'd be spying on the man in a jiffy. Which could well turn out to be the longest day ever if he just sat there thinking, which is hard work, mind you. [My man gets it, he totally does. I lounge on the couch. DS snickers. "Mom's sleeping." DH: "No, she's working." Was too! That's my story and I'm sticking to it.]

And where were we? Yes. About to sit down for dinner at a friend's house, except I'm held up in the home office slash library picking someone's brain via their bookcase. And what do I see? A da Vinci. Not Brown. That Renaissance man. The Renaissance man. Leonardo, a polymath par excellence. What did he do? What didn't he do. He's like a superhero of art and science except he is real, as superhuman as his CV sounds.

This particular da Vinci looked suspiciously like a self-help book, and I'm suspicious of self-help books. Too often they're a Band-Aid for someone bleeding from the jugular; an easy fix to some complex problem. Well, by the time dinner was ready, I had helped myself to a hefty dose of da Vincian personal development principles. Ethanol emergency and friends forgotten, I was gobbling the thing like a platanna yelling, "Yeah yeah, in a minute," then muttering, "I mean, it's da Vinci," as if some of Leonardo's genius would magically leap across time and off the pages and anoint me with the balm of brilliance.

And maybe I shouldn't be so quick to judge the shiny happy people trying to make others so. After all, what do most self-help books do but recite things we know at some level but don't practice for whatever reason. (That's why they're so damn annoying, isn't it?) Full disclosure: I did snap out of it and sit down for dinner like a good girl and guest, I haven't touched the book since nor am I affiliated with the author of the book or his programs, but if your interest was piqued as mine was that night, I dug up ze deets for ya: How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci by Michael J. Gelb. 

I don't know about your corner of the world,  but up here in the northernmost north April isn't the cruelest month. May certainly isn't. (November is. Says I. Need a second opinion? November is. Says I.) Spring is shaping up nicely. Everything is coming up if not roses then some sort of sprouts, and all but the most hardened souls are feeling quite rejuvenated. A brand new season, a spanking new opportunity to be born again.

What would Leo do? He would read something no one else is reading. Think something no one else is thinking. Do something no one else is stupid or brave enough to attempt. He would learn from experience and treat these uncertain times of ours as an opportunity. He would cultivate holism. Try to harmonize mind and body and hone his senses. He would do whatever it took to nurture a dispassionate view and understanding of the world while passionately embracing and experiencing it, I guess. And that, sweetie darlings, is easier said than done. Is it any wonder some reach for Elastoplast.

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