Holidays and Loss Part 1: The Da Vinci Method for Songs of the Season

Self-Portrait (photo courtesy
Self-Portrait (photo courtesy


Holiday season does not stop and wait for the heart to heal.  When you have just lost some aspect of your life that you held dear to your heart–a loved one, a home, the means to support yourself, a pet, a friend–you might find yourself in a store or with the radio on in your car and the traditional holiday carols grip at your heart and overwhelm you with sadness. They bring you into the vortex of nostalgia, void, perhaps even regret. You are not alone, this happens to all of us.

In my book “Lemons into Limoncello: From Loss to Personal Renaissance with the Zest of Italy”   I describe how  “Da Vinci immersed himself in the dynamics of nature. By focusing intently on the details of everything he observed, he was able to translate his keen observations into awe-inspiring works, which he re-created with masterful hands. No one was more proficient than he in painting the human anatomy, right down to the complexity of the way the skin stretched over the muscle and bones of the human hand or foot. Neuroscientists today still marvel at his textbook accuracy in depicting the human brain. His portrayal of light and shadow on the faces of his portrait subjects made the images he created seem so stirringly real that they could be mistaken for photographs instead of paintings.”

What does this mean to the aching heart at holiday time?  Da Vinci’s approach today might also be described as “mindfulness”, and there continues to be emergent research demonstrating the healing effects of staying focused on the details of the present moment , even if only for a few seconds at a time. When you do this you are taking control of your mind and limiting your thoughts to ONLY the details what is going on at the moment. You become one with the “flow” of life, and can start to once again become involved as a participant. No fear, no regret, no pain–in the moments in which  you are FULLY engaged in what you are doing.

Try this  and see if Da Vinci’s approach  works for you. Eventually you will be able to do this for longer periods (5 minutes, 10 minutes) and find true relief. The day WILL come when you will be able to listen to those same holidays songs for the beauty of their melodies–not for their association with sadness.

Lemons cover


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