Thursday, May 3, 2007

Painting over yesterday, I see it in a better light.

Every morning I awaken to a new adventure. My mind shakes off night's darkness, I let the dogs out, turn on my computer, make coffee and toast, write my gratitude list and sit down to a blank computer screen.

Somewhere between going to sleep the night before, and my fingertips touching the key board in the morning, inspiration lights my day and I begin to type. Sometimes, like today, I'm not quite sure where the road is leading, but I follow it knowing that with each keystroke, the page will become a map leading through my thoughts to clarity of vision.

It's like painting. I start with an image and sometimes end up with something completely different -- yet the process is always the same. I have an idea. A fuzzy image in my mind that needs to be exposed. I begin to paint the under coat. To apply colours and shapes and texture to my idea. At some point, I step back, look at what I've done and decide whether or not it's working. If it's not, I paint over some or all of the canvas to reveal the true painting that was hiding in the images on the canvas. What becomes the final product of my inspiration incorporates the values of what I started with -- and then some!

In life, each day, each experience contributes to the next day. This morning, my day is made up of my experiences from yesterday which are adding value to my experiences today. Those that have no value -- I paint over. No matter how much I paint over them, however, they are still there. They may not be visible in the final painting, but their value changes the density and intensity of the final painting adding texture, depth and perspective.

If life were like a painting, everyday we'd have a new image of beauty to awaken to. Yesterday's painting would sit on my desktop as I painted in new brushstrokes. Throughout the day, images from yesterday would inspire today's strokes and thoughts of tomorrow would be far away as I concentrated on creating the best value out of my brushstrokes today.

Life, like painting, is a serious of brush strokes. Some are loaded with paint. Some are tiny little dabs that add a finishing detail, a highlight so light you can barely see it, yet with such clarity it makes the other colours pop out. Some strokes are broad, some ill-defined. some require patience to ensure they capture the moment with clarity and forethought. Sometimes, if the paint is too wet, or too muddy, I need to patiently wait before adding the next brushstroke. Sometimes, I need to mix the paint on the palette. Sometimes, I do it right on the screen. Whatever I'm doing, however I am applying the paint, the purpose is always the same. To create a thing of beauty that adds value to my life and the world around me.

Just like life.

As I move through my today, I carry with me the experiences of yesterday. I cannot change the past, but I can see it in a better light. I can paint over the aspects that do not fit my life today with the vibrant true colours of who I am -- and in the process, the texture of yesterday adds richness to what I do today. Sometimes, I must patiently wait for the experiences from yesterday to become less sharp, less painful before applying new paint. Sometimes, I need to mix the experiences of yesterday with a little light in order to see them clearly. Sometimes, I just have to let the colours be and paint around them so that their value change in perspective to the new colours surrounding them.

So often, we try to erase, push away, push back, bury the past. Our fear of what was yesterday happening again today keeps the brush still, keeping us motionless today. Often, the fear of having to face the truth of what we did, or who we were, keeps us from looking for a new picture of who we can become as we stare the murky waters of yesterday and refuse to mix up a new colour that will change the value of what we see.

I can't change yesterday's picture, but I can change the light in which I see it.

When I paint today, what I create is richer because of every painting I have created in the past just as the canvas of my life is deeper, more profound. My 'today' encompasses the light that has come into my life through looking at the past with loving eyes and seeing the beauty in everything that I have done, everything that has happened to me, everyone I have met, every experience I have had.

Each experience adds clarity to what I am doing today that sometimes can't be revealed until I learn a new way of doing, or being, or seeing my world. Sometimes, I have to step back to gain clarity, and then apply light in order to reveal the truth of what I see. As in painting, sometimes, I learn a new technique and change the process of how I apply the paint, or what medium I incorporate into my art -- but the subject of my painting seldom changes. Waterlillies. Trees. Forests. Lakes. Sky. Flowers. Mountains. Nature in all its beauty.

When I walk through my day with my heart open, my mind freely embracing each experience, looking for value in all things, and letting the light pull out the beauty of my day, I free up my creative spirit so that I can focus on creating the masterpiece of my lifetime.

If you are creating the painting of your life, is it a masterpiece worthy of your name?

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