Don’t you just love seeing a place through the eyes of someone who has utterly and madly fallen in love with it?
We stumbled upon a couple loading firewood into their foyer — well, really a cortile with cathedral ceilings and a grand alabaster staircase leading skyward. So we stopped, and Diana discovered that architect Eleonora Ricci Misheff and artist Alzek Misheff also share her love for Acqui Terme. Then they invited us inside their 17th century palazzo, meticulously restored and lovingly decorated with gorgeous artwork by Signor Misheff.
Each of us was deeply moved and affected by the experience in our own way (read Diana’s impressions), but one thing we shared in common:
We were overwhelmed by the warmth, beauty, and knowledge of everything about that palazzo, a place we stumbled upon by chance — or maybe not.
On a crisp November day, these kind owners stopped what they were doing to share their home and workspaces with us, to explain not only the physical reconstruction of the building but also the philosophy and emotions behind their choices.
So many small moments of that day were magical, but something that has stayed with me was when Signor Misheff launched into a lyrical Aristotelian lecture about how important it is for people to work together in order to bring ideas to fruition, for each person to share his or her talents to work toward the common goal. It’s all “a process,” he said, one that requires different perspectives and skills.
And this “process,” he added, calls for a group of like-minded people who “live, appreciate, think, work, and understand” it.
In other words, no casual observers need apply — you have to feel it, work at it, and make it happen. Such a process isn’t easy, Signor Misheff said, but it’s always worth it.
As Sara commented at the time, I said next to nothing during the hour (or was it two? three?) we toured the house. Instead, I snapped photos and recorded some video, but mainly listened — allowing Signor Misheff’s words and the elegant simplicity of the surroundings to wrap themselves around me, seep inside of me, and make such an impression that I’d never forget them even without photos and video.
I’m naturally a quiet person and a listener at heart, but I’m especially attentive (and silent) when I’m in awe of someone, when I know they have so much to teach me that my best course of action is to just shut up and listen.
In those situations, I relish the chance to absorb like a spugna and tuck it all away to process later in quiet moments of reflection and calm.
Now, months later, I realize that during those moments, I was gradually reaching the decision to change the direction of this blog in order to talk more about finding and appreciating simple pleasures, living deliberately, and cutting out physical and emotional clutter.
By that point, I had been considering taking that route for months, but I was at that proverbial crossroads, still unsure of so many things — how would longtime readers respond? Would they accept the change, even embrace it? Should I fold up this blog and start a new one? Should I just stop blogging altogether?
I never really wanted to stop writing entirely though, so I took Signor Misheff’s thoughts about community, about “process,” and applied them here among an already amazing community of readers. I put faith in the idea that by writing about what I believe in and feel passionate about, those on the same wavelength will willingly offer up their talents, skills, and visions, and together we can learn and grow. In case this is not clear, let me assure you:
I am loving this process, as we “live, appreciate, work, and understand” this common goal together.
That short visit in Acqui Terme reinforced my desire to not only keep this wonderful blog community going, but to make it stronger, to enrich connections, to explore topics and ideas that dig a little deeper, to make us all think and feel a little bit more — and, most of all, to continue to share those experiences with one another.
Can you recall a time when you stood in silent amazement and just listened? What did you hear?
*For more photos of Acqui Terme and Misheff palazzo, please see my Flickr set.