Imagine that you’re in Paris and you’ve just arrived at the Louvre museum. You’ve given yourself the entire day to bask in the beauty of this vast collection of art. First, you make your way through several rooms that display European paintings in chronological order beginning in the thirteenth century, and you observe the painting styles develop and become more sophisticated throughout the centuries, bringing greater sense of depth, perspective and detail.
You walk into the next room and it’s filled with people gathered around this painting set apart from all the others, and it’s enclosed on all sides by a bullet-proofed glassed housing. Making your way through the throngs of onlookers, you get close enough to catch a glimpse of this iconic image that you’ve seen and heard about in school, books, movies and songs since childhood. There before you is the infamous Mona Lisa.
Attempting to have any intimate time with this most celebrated woman on canvas is impossible given the conditions around you that resemble a mad rush to board a train in downtown Tokyo! So, you bid your humble adieu and continue your day soaking up the enriching and creative spirit of these artesian masters.
On your return home, you share pictures with family and friends and you feel a greater sense of appreciation for the beauty, culture and mastery of art that filled the space of this grand and historical museum…..a monument to artistic perfection.
However, something continues to tug at your thoughts, a question that won’t leave you alone. What makes the Mona Lisa such a big deal? Why the heavy security and the constant stream of people rushing about to tell others that they peeked a glimpse of her? What makes her one of the most celebrated artistic masterpieces in the world?
On a subconscious level, do we think that by seeing Madame Lisa in person, we’ll somehow become infused with greater culture and mastery? Akin to getting a celebrity’s autograph, do we hope that we’ll become more important, more respected and more successful after being infused with their celebrated mojo? This is an illusion that’s been present in our culture for eons; the notion that there are those who are talented, successful and glorified, and others (consisting of most the population) that are ordinary and not gifted with a great deal of promise.
It’s time that we, as a culture, come to recognize that we’re all masterpieces in the eyes of the creator. Think about it, no two people look the same. We’re all crafted with our own individualized, unique and detailed brushstrokes. Everyone’s eyes radiate their own story, a sacred sojourn that reflects our unique path of awakening.
We are all gifted equally. Perhaps with different skills and ways of expressing ourselves, but make no mistake about it, radiant talent and mastery resides within us all. Trust your internal guidance and allow your amazing talent to soar. Discover what ignites your soul and nurture it with all your heart, as you would a young child. Allow the creative spark within to flourish and witness the rich contributions that you naturally give to the world.
You are the masterpiece, and your life reflects your immense talent, wisdom and gifts that you so preciously bring to the world.
Perhaps that’s the mysterious message in Mona Lisa’s smile?
Carl Studna is a world-renowned photographer, inspirational speaker, teacher and award winning author. Carl’s intimate portraits of influential people ranging from Paul McCartney to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, are published and known worldwide. Carl has taken his message and experiences to print in his newly released book, "CLICK! Choosing Love…One Frame at a Time". Studna’s innovative work, the LuminEssence Method©, teaches a new paradigm for radiating the light that resides within revealing each person’s authentic gifts. www.CarlStudna.com.
(c) Photography by Carl Studna