Last week, Elaine Ruffalo and I led a class called “The Art and Energy of the Renaissance” where we walked the streets of Florence and went back in time to a very dark period right before the Renaissance. It was a great epiphany for me 7 years ago when I took Elaine’s art history class and made the connection between the energy of society now and the times leading up to the renaissance…and when we entered 2020 with the pandemic, well, you know what I was thinking! You always hear me talking about a “Spiritual Renaissance” and actually, I spend a lot of time contemplating the reasons why the renaissance happened here in Florence. Some people would say that it was “luck” that so many of the great minds of the Renaissance were “coincidently” born in Florence or Tuscany…Leonardo da Vinci, Dante, Brunelleschi, the Medicis, Michelangelo, Giotto, Donatello, Botticelli, Galileo, Machiavelli, Vespucci, Lippi and Verazzano just to name a few. I’m not so sure I’d call it all luck or coincidence…Maybe a better answer could be Divine intervention?
The 14th-century plague significantly affected Florentine culture, the idea of death, religion and the purpose of life itself. This period often was characterized by death, and the collective consciousness was heavy with fear and uncertainty. As we walked through the streets of Florence, I know that many were able to transport themselves to the time of the middle ages and the plague and started to understand the uncanny similarities between then and now. Back then, the outlook on life was not only grim, but quite limiting for most people. The streets of medieval Florence were filled with a feast of horrors for the five senses, yet people like St. Francis, Dante and Giotto had planted seeds in the minds and souls of many people that would grow into one of the most enlightening moments in world history. The Black Death forced people to start re-evaluating the meaning and importance of life, and from this collective place of darkness and a low vibrational existence, came a re-birth; a time of great socio-economic, cultural, and religious changes.
In fact, the word Renaissance simply means “rebirth”…and that was what the renaissance was all about. This black period marked the end of an era and gave way to a paradigm shift, creating a new awareness and approach to life itself. This affected how an individual thought of himself and his place in society, which led to a new reality that elevated the collective consciousness into a rebirth; a rebirth for humanity. Some consider it the emancipation of the modern world; the consciousness of freedom in the reason and spirit of mankind. An awakening after darkness and plague. This time is marked by a great explosion of intellectual, philosophical, scientific, artistic and spiritual activity paired with great social consciousness. While the events of the past year have affected each of us in a different way and have left us feeling a bit unsure about the future, I hope that with the understanding of what happened in the past, gives a sense of faith that all is happening in Divine order.
We all know how special our community is here. We are a group of people with great respect and love for our connection to each other and our environment. An open-minded community that is intellectually, culturally and spiritually curious. A community that values the history that brought us here and craves a future that holds something even greater. Like the Renaissance of 100’s of years ago, I don’t think that it’s a coincidence; I think we are here together at this time for a “higher” reason. Maybe we are here to start a spiritual renaissance of sorts. As the great profits have always told us, We Are One….and sciences such as Quantum Physics, are starting to prove that theory. Therefore, we can start another rebirth from the land of the renaissance if we make it our intention to do so.
How do we set out to do this? Start the way our ancestors did by taking a lesson from St. Francis and understanding the interconnectedness between us all. Be aware of the grace and Divinity that exists within each one of us and the system of Nature.
Our thoughts, words and actions are all energy that we send out into this world. Know that everything you do and think affects us all. Take responsibility for the energy you serve. Envision yourself spreading light and ask yourself everyday…
How can I be of service to others?
Did I forgive?
Did I give the apology?
How do I practice gratitude every day?
Is my heart open?
What energy am I putting out there with my thoughts and words?
Did I love enough?
Did I show compassion?
Did I share the light?
Simply think every day, “I am part of manifesting this Spiritual Renaissance”…the power each of us holds in this amazing city, right here and now, can change the world. Let’s manifest it!!
Some of you asked to know more about our Elaine (isn’t she fabulous?). Please check out her website https://www.elaineruffolo.com/ where you can take some of her amazing online courses that have become intensely popular this year. And if you haven’t had a private tour of Florence with her or taken her live art history courses here in Florence, you must. Hopefully she will start up again soon…maybe we all push her little? Hehe. And she does a tour of Assisi that will make your spirit and mind explode! Maybe that should be part 2 of our class??