Yesterday, I met an artist, a Korean calligrapher. He wrote poems in Chinese characters with a brush made of sheep hair and a special black ink, called muk. His writing was not conventional, for he added something of himself to it.
He also wrote something for me.

“What is the meaning of these letters?” I asked.
“They mean The sound of Autumn,” he answered.
A long time ago, my friend’s father used to work as a calligrapher in the state archives office of my hometown. Sometimes, he showed us his works of calligraphy. The characters he wrote had something artistic. It was as if he conveyed his spirit to them.
What is art? It is giving life to something that is inanimate.

Cooking is also an art. In Italy we call it Arte Culinaria (Culinary Art). Even making coffee latte can be a work of art. At a coffee shop of Daegu in Korea, I saw the shape of a heart drawn on the latte. The barista was also able to draw Jesus’s face on it.
When I learned a special martial art called Shintaido in Japan, the teacher used to write Chinese characters similar to those I saw in Korea yesterday. At that time, he said that writing by brush was like a meditation for him.
Not only music, poems, and writing but also life is an art. It depends on how you live, creatively or not. As for me, yesterday I learned something new about art and human heart.
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
– Travels of the Mind



In my hometown, I didn’t have the possibility to practice Shikido. The nearest Shikido center was in the north of Italy, almost a thousand kilometers away. But I didn’t want to give up martial arts. So, I went to a Tekkido center, another martial art, different from Shikido, but equally useful and instructive.
Unlike Shikido, Tekkido was based upon precise and rapid movements. Attending the classes, I was under the impression that Tekkido mostly consisted of movements of the wrist. The first principle was to attain the maximum result through the minimum effort. Tekkido was helpful to me. Like Shikido, its purpose is to strengthen the body and mind. There were some exercises that couldn’t be done if one looked at the opponent.
“Never look at the opponent; otherwise, he will eat your soul!” the teacher used to repeat.
I applied this teaching to my daily life. Before, I was conditioned by the public’s eyes on me. Because of that conditioning, I was not natural in front of others. When I went to dance in a public dance hall on Saturday night, I was embarrassed with the thought that others were watching me. After a few Tekkido lessons, I felt freer and more comfortable.
Without caring about others’ eyes, I danced much better. I was relaxed and enjoyed myself! Since then, I have acted and lived in my own way, without looking at others, that is, without caring what others think about me.
Another exercise was to move the body backward swiftly at the very moment when the opponent launched his attack. If you moved back too early or too late, the opponent would succeed in hitting you. That also happens in life, not only in human society, but also in the animal world. Every action, either to defend or to attack, has to be done at the right moment. The hare that wants to escape the attack of an eagle crouches down motionless and waits for the very moment when the eagle is about to clutch it with its claws. Then, all of a sudden, the hare moves sideways. If the hare wants to survive, it has to move at the exact moment when the raptor is very close. Since the eagle dives very fast, it can’t change the direction of its dive at the last moment. The hare owes its salvation to her waiting for the exact time to move aside. Moving too early or too late would be fatal to it.
This principle is also valid in daily life. From then on, I have tried to be not too early or too late in seizing the opportunities that life offers to me. By acting at the right time, I can avoid bad luck and also meet good luck on time.
This is an excerpt from Travels of the Mind
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
– Travels of the Mind






Then, we did another variation of the ‘seaweed and the wave.’ Both partners imagined being under the sea. They had to move continually like seaweeds. It wasn’t needed to wait that one touched the other with his hand to draw back and wave sinuously. In other words, one should move regardless of the partner’s action to touch him or not. This exercise made me think that we should live our lives autonomously, regardless of external stimuli. It is important to have a strong and stable mind, which doesn’t depend on the circumstances of life.
A long time ago, I thought that to solve my inner problems I should have a house in the countryside, live in the nature, and breathe fresh air. So, I purchased a plot of land and built a house on it, a big house with many rooms. At the beginning, it seemed that something was about to change in my life. I felt satisfied to have built such a big house. I became very diligent. I improved the soil and planted many young trees and grapevines.
Nevertheless, little by little, I became aware that the new house couldn’t calm my inner discomfort. A few years later, I sold the house and moved to a luxurious apartment in town. There, I felt uncomfortable after one or two years. I wanted to spend my life near the sea, but I didn’t feel like moving again. Instead, I decided to travel somewhere.
In ancient Rome, there was a similar character who moved from one place to another all over the world. He hoped that a new environment would bring him good luck. Coming across him, the Latin poet Horatio said to him, ‘Caelum, non animum mutant qui trans mare currunt.’ It means, ‘They change their sky, not their soul, who rush across the sea.’ Although the place where we live changes, that is, the sky changes, our mind is the same. Therefore, the way to overcome our trouble comes from inside ourselves. We should rely on our inner strength and inner light without expecting any help from others.

Excerpt from Travels of the Mind
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
– Travels of the Mind