The Attitude Doc- Happiness/Women's Issues Articles


I just finished reading The Agony and the Ecstasy, a portrayal of the life of Michelangelo, famed Italian painter, sculptor, poet and architect. Best known as the creator of the sculpture David, the Sistine Chapel ceiling, and the dome at St. Peter’s, Michelangelo was, indeed, a composite of agony and ecstasy. While acknowledging that his ability to create works of unimaginable beauty was a gift from God, he was also tormented by a genius described as a “God-driven fury.”

Believing that humanity struggles endlessly between the physical and spiritual, Michelangelo’s work reveals this constant tension between agony and ecstasy. These opposing forces were seen before Michelangelo even began a sculpture. He climbed high into the mountains to work with stonecutters, picking out the perfect piece of marble. He stood before the gigantic stone he had chosen and sensed “signs of life” coming from within. Later, after sketching an outline on the front of the marble, he chiseled furiously, explaining he was “liberating the figure from the marble that imprisons it.” The resultant sculpture always captured this tension between humanity’s liberation and imprisonment.

Five hundred years later, as students of metaphysics, we know we are blessed with the ability to sharpen our own sculpting tools and liberate ourselves from the marble that imprisons us. We know we have a choice to live as though the block of marble we see is all there is or to chip away at the stone, setting free an individual of unique and remarkable beauty.

Often, we opt to accept the block as the finished piece. We tend and polish it, doing everything possible to enhance the stone’s unnecessary portions that are composed of false beliefs we have created: fear, envy, busyness, anger, issues around aging, or dozens of others. We think these are the actual sculpture, when in fact they are the marble that keeps us trapped.

As children of God, our core is the very essence of our being. Through spiritual practice and faith-based living, we have the ability to chisel away at our marble, sensing, as Michelangelo did, the “signs of life” waiting to be revealed from within.

Think for a moment about having the ability to chisel through the agony and liberate the ecstasy that is your true nature. What does your sculpture look like? What beautiful child of God is waiting to be liberated from imprisonment if only you chipped away at the marble?

It would have been a tremendous loss to the world if Michelangelo had stood before a block of marble and simply seen a block of marble. It would be equally unfortunate if you did the same. Pick up your hammer and chisel and begin removing that part of the marble that hides your true self, an extraordinarily beautiful sculpture just waiting to be revealed.