Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Everyday


Thanks To Muri Groff for sharing this summary with me from Michael Gelb’s book – I’m going to go and buy this and also start drawing again:)

“It was with the idea of finding the principles underlying Leonardo’s limitless creativity that I began my work on the book you are now holding in your hands. The seven principles I eventually identified were simply my attempt to write the how-to guide that Leonardo never put down on paper, to codify the principles implicit in Leonardo’s work so that they can be used by others. I feel very strongly that the genius of Leonardo resides not just in what he created by in what he can inspire us to create. Beyond all his stellar achievements, Leonardo da Vinci serves as a global archetype of human potential, giving us intimations of what we ourselves may be capable of doing.”

~ Michael Gelb from How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci

The Seven Principals:

1. Curiosità — An insatiably curious approach to life and an unrelenting quest for continuous learning.

2. Dimonstratzione — A commitment to test knowledge through experience, persistence, and a willingness to learn from mistakes.

3. Sensazione — The continual refinement of the senses, especially sight, as the means to clarify experience.

4. Sfumato (literally ‘Going up in Smoke’)—A willingness to embrace ambiguity, paradox, and uncertainty.

5. Arte/Scienza — The development of the balance between science and art, logic and imagination. ‘Whole-brain thinking.’

6. Corporalita—The cultivation of grace, ambidexterity, fitness, and poise.

7. Connessione — A recognition and appreciation for the connectedness of all things and phenomena. Systems thinking.

“For Leonardo, drawing was much more than illustration; it was the key to understanding creation. So for aspiring Da Vincians, learning to draw is the best way to begin to learn to see and create.”

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Friday, August 8th, 2014

Divine insight – follow the signs

Love gives me wings

I love my job – supporting inspiring people to stand up against mediocrity and do their heart’s work. The symbolism of feathers has come up time and time again for me this week. Today in a conversation about the drawing of feathers on a mural by a talented young lady in prison.

Then there was the email from a spiritual lady yesterday in the UK who wrote this to me: ‘”I just had an image of some light green jade and a greyish feather, so they might be useful tools for you to work with.”

She further encouraged me to use these tools by cleansing and then programming the jade with my intention.  “Use the feather, with intent, to waft and radiate out your intention from the crystal into the universe.”

These and other frequent manifestations of feathers over the last week reminded me of this beautiful, and very powerful drawing one of my client’s shared with me in a recent coaching session.

So I was thinking – why are feather’s coming up so often for me and what do they mean?

Off the top of my head, I’m thinking of the phoenix who rose from the ashes;

the dove as the harbinger of peace (two of which have been recently visiting our garden);

the Kiwi (New Zealand’s flightless native bird) who (perhaps) yearns to take to the sky (or perhaps is content here on earth);

the hummingbird (a tiny bird capable of amazing feats) that a client in the US told me is her favourite bird,  and although rare in her area, came in a pair to her garden which I then noticed everywhere (magazines, and cards, and even a book I carry in my bag);

and I thought of the woman who once told me, in a feedback questionnaire called ’who do you think I am) if I was an animal I would be a bird – not just any bird, but a lorikeet – a multi-coloured  bird who loves to be with others.

And then there was the time I was stuck in a job I hated, and my career coach asked me to do a drawing, and I drew a bird in a cage. The door was open, and when she asked me about it, I said, “She’s forgotten how to fly.” One of my clients, after reading this, sent me this most beautiful song by Jaime Regan called, “Goodbye Magpie” 04 Goodbye Magpie

Thankfully my career coach helped me – in fact the experience inspired me to become a coach and proactively help others to live their best life.

I’m also recalling a song by Canadian singer, songwriter and actress Nellie Furtado, with the lyrics (along the lines of), ‘I’m like a bird, I just want to fly away, I don’t know where my home is…”

And now I’m also thinking of one of my favourite books, “Jonathan Livingston Seagull,” by Richard Bach, about a bird who didn’t want to settle for less, who didn’t want to buy into the mainstream view that he couldn’t  be more, do more,  have more. His ‘rebellion’ led him to be ousted from his flock.

“One day, Jonathan is met by two gulls who take him to a “higher plane of existence” in that there is no heaven but a better world found through perfection of knowledge, where he meets other gulls who love to fly, “ write Wikipedia in their lot summary of the book. “He discovers that his sheer tenacity and desire to learn makes him “pretty well a one-in-a-million bird.” In this new place, Jonathan befriends the wisest gull, Chiang, who takes him beyond his previous learning, teaching him how to move instantaneously to anywhere else in the Universe. The secret, Chiang says, is to “begin by knowing that you have already arrived.” Not satisfied with his new life, Jonathan returns to Earth to find others like him, to bring them his learning and to spread his love for flight. His mission is successful, gathering around him others who have been outlawed for not conforming. ”

I love this!! Also reminding me of the quote by Mark Twain,  “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

Then how could I forget the peacock, with her eyes of providence. The peacock is a possessor of some of the most admired human characteristics, and is a symbol of integrity and the beauty we can achieve when we endeavour to show our true colours.

In history, myth, legend and lore, the Peacock symbolism carries portents of: Nobility, Holiness, Guidance, Protection and Watchfulness.

Contemplate the powers of the Peacock when you need more vibrancy and vitality in your experience. The Peacock can also help you on your spiritual Path, and breath new life into your walk of faith.

The Peacock can rejuvenate self-esteem levels too. If you’re feeling “blah” and blue, imagine the glorious, techno-colour display the Peacock provides. This puts us in a proper mood to embrace your own nobility. In no time, you’ll be walking tall and proud as a Peacock too!

Here is a keyword quick-list of peacock symbolism…Glory, Vision, Royalty, Spirituality, Awakening,   Immortality, Refinement, Incorruptibility.


Continuing on with the theme of synchronisities and noticing how often feathers are appearing in my life, today while we were out walking my partner found this most beautiful silken Tui feather. Big love!

In Māori culture Tui’s and other birds have powerful significance – acting as messengers to the gods in the heavens, winging their ways there along spiritual paths. They were the mediums used by tohunga experts to communicate with the gods.  Learn more here >>

A wonderful lady wrote to me and said it was all very, “Forrest Gump.” Which didn’t mean anything to me at the time so I asked her to clarify. “It starts with the feather landing by Forrest & begins a new journey! Another friends believes it’s guardian Angels saying we love you.

I love that too…how could I possibly forget about angels. I’m reading a book at the moment called, “Angels Of The Divine Light,” and every chapter heading has a sketch of a beautiful feather. I’ve been fascinated with angels for a long time and often stop to photograph sculptures of angels in cemeteries. And when my darling step-father Ted was dying from his terminal cancer, I placed a photo of an angel I’d photographed when we were all travelling along the canals in France, and hung it in his hospital room to watch over him.

Aug 13 more ‘feather synchronisities – today hanging on the wall while I was having a spiritual reading with Tabaash –  this wise, all-seeing Indian man with his head of feathers.

Well that’s all for now…just a bit of free-writing from the heart 🙂

What do feather’s or birds symbolise for you? How are they a sign? What can they inspire you to be and do? Or is the Universe sending you other re-occuring go-incidences?

I’d love to hear!