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I am both the sculptor and the marble

A couple of weeks ago my counsellor shared these words with me and it really struck a chord. You are both the sculptor and the marble. It comes from the following quote by Alexis Carrel:

“To progress again, man must remake himself. And he cannot remake himself without suffering. For he is both the marble and the sculptor. In order to uncover his true visage he must shatter his own substance with heavy blows of his hammer."

This is about transformation. I've often questioned the knowing-doing gap. When we know what we want or need but struggle to make the shift to either taking, or sustaining, the action required. Why? Likely it's because it is hard, and painful.

In order to craft the life we want we need to have a vision and then make a decision. I read the other day that the word decide comes from the Latin root meaning to cut away or cut off. (I love a little morphology in my day!) When we are crafting ourselves, chipping at our rough edges, it hurts because we are choosing to cut off some parts of our lives, ourselves or opportunities to focus on what we really want. The temptation is to stay safe, avoid the risk of change and therefore minimise the pain but in this space our growth is stunted. Alternatively, instead of carving we get out the sandpaper and just scratch away at the surface as it doesn't hurt so much, but it takes longer and is often so irritating that we give up.

The challenge is persevering through the pain of transformation. But, imagine that moment, after the hard work of sculpting is done and you wipe down the marble to reveal the beauty that had been lying within the stone, just waiting for someone with the vision, determination and discipline to bring it forth.

It started with a decision. Just like Michelangelo standing with hammer and chisel in hand, gazing at the block of marble in front of him, envisioning the form within the marble that he will carve. He closes his eyes for a moment, allowing the image to sink into his skin then he steps forward. He lovingly caresses the space where he will make the first cut, then placing the chisel on the marble he raises the hammer and strikes the first blow.

This is the moment of decision.

Megan Gallagher, is a mum, teacher, coach, PLD facilitator and consultant. She weaves her teaching experience, intense interest and curiosity about the brain, and coaching skills together in all that she does.

She specialises in coaching for children, families and educators, teacher wellbeing, curriculum design, and impactful teaching and learning.

One of her greatest pleasures in life is seeing others shining and this is the basis of the work she does with Ignite Your Spark.

For more information please check out or you can contact her at

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Karen Tui Boyes
Karen Tui Boyes
Nov 25, 2023

Beautiful Meg - I like the idea that the sandpaper takes longer! I'm in the chipping away stage in some of my life too. It's hard! Dan Carter talks about having to subtract, take things away to focus on what we want, and this can cause sacrifice - he suggests you can't be great and have balance in your life. Love your work, and your journey. Rainbows and sunshine

KT PS: Love that you are normalising having a counsellor! I have been to a few over the years!

Unknown member
Dec 10, 2023
Replying to

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Karen. It is hard eh? But as you often say, "what do you want to live with, the pain of change or the pain of regret?" I think it is in letting go that is hardest... the comfort zone is comfortable after all!

Love your mahi and your journey too. Thanks for the inspiration e hoa. xxx

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