How To Create Space For The Beautiful Life That’s Waiting

sunlight on water
image: CoreBurn

Whatever our favourite artforms, the greatest masterpiece any of us can create is our own life.

That may sound like a tired cliche but the fact is you can, and do, use your creativity in every different part of your life, and you’re free to choose to create the life that’s right for you. The most beautiful life possible.

So if it’s so easy, why hasn’t that happened already?

Imagine your life is a harbour, where ships come and go from lands near and far. For your harbour to be able to welcome in these ships, there has to be space. There has to be open water so they can sail in and enjoy the anticipation of all you are and all you have.

The trouble is most of us don’t have that much space left in our harbours.

We don’t have a vast expanse of open water.

Instead we have dozens, maybe hundreds of boats of all sizes, fighting for a few inches to float freely in.

If these were all seaworthy, elegant boats in prime condition, it would be bad enough that they were all so crammed in and vying for space.

Worse than that though, most of these boats are tired and shabby.

They have flaking paintwork, made worse because they’re always bumping against other equally weary vessels. Their fraying fishing nets hanging limply and uselessly in the water.

Some have broken masts and torn sails, flapping forlornly in the salty winds, ripped further each time the storms come.

Others even have leaking hulls and are slowly, inch by inch, slipping under, away from view.

There are even a few that have already sunk, and all that’s left is the cracked tip of a rotting mast, peeking just above the water line, whilst below there’s nothing but a hulking, decaying mass of old wood further polluting the harbour.

Your harbour.

Few, if any, of these boats are capable of sailing again, and many have been simply bobbing around sadly having docked here years ago.

Some you can’t even remember coming in, and others you have a vague recollection of arriving and being welcome many years ago and somehow they’re still here clinging and clambering for space in your harbour.

Can you visualise the scene? Can you imagine this floating marine junkyard that was once a picturesque harbour with clean water for the sun to dance across, now nothing more than a sorrowful ships’ graveyard?

How can any new ships sail in?

How can anyone or anything inspiring or hopeful come into your harbour when it’s in this kind of state?

Everything in our lives – every physical possession, every relationship, every emotion, every belief, every thought, every memory – takes up space.

Somewhere in your mind, and in your heart, each of these possessions, relationships, emotions, beliefs, thoughts and memories has a little space, a tiny corner they occupy.

That’s fine if they’re positive, beautiful things that makes you feel good and alive, and inspire you to embrace life and be true to who you are.

But if, like the tired broken boats in the harbour, they hold nothing sadness for you, or are simply from a time that’s long past – in other words if they don’t support your life and who you are and want to be today – they’re just holding you back.

Take a good look in your own harbour. Describe the scene, write it down, draw it out.

What are the boats like? How much open water do you have for the sunlight to warm and fill, for new boats and new adventures to come into? How welcoming a scene is it for the wonderful ships sailing by?

You can’t begin to become who you truly are if your head and heart are like a desolate ship’s graveyard.

That includes fulfilling your creative potential and evolving into the artist you know you can be.

You can begin to create for yourself that beautiful life that’s waiting once you start to let go of a few of these boats that serve no purpose anymore, that do you no good.

Start with a few of the smaller boats. Push them out to sea.

Maybe a set of paints unopened that have taunted you from their shelf for years, making you feel inadequate or afraid because you haven’t used them. Let them go. Push them out to sea.

Maybe a relationship you’ve kept up through guilt, obligation, or duty, one where neither of you actually are able to give to or gain from anymore. Let it go. Push it out to sea.

Maybe a belief that you’re not a “real” artist because your father told you you’d only be a real artist once you’d had national exhibitions for years. Let the belief go. Push it out to sea.

Let go of all these things. Gently push out these sorrow filled decaying old boats and let the sea take them.

Be brave, start small, and slowly, steadily you’ll begin to see clear waters again. You’ll feel the sunlight’s warmth, and its light dancing across you and through you again.

You’ll be able to welcome in the beautiful life you’ve always been capable of creating. The one that’s always been waiting.

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13 thoughts on “How To Create Space For The Beautiful Life That’s Waiting”

  1. Lovely analogy Dan!

    I’m happy to say that right now my harbour is occupied by inviting-looking, freshly-painted, ship-shape craft πŸ™‚ Of course there’s quite a few in the yard waiting for their coat of paint and a pleasant view of disappearing ocean-bound craft on a calm sea…Long may it last!

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  2. “Let go of all these things. Gently push out these sorrow filled decaying old boats and let the sea take them.”

    How great this is. Definitely something I need to remember. I tend to think of my negative programing as anchors around my neck holding me down. ‘Letting go’ are the most freeing words I can think of. Thanks.

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    1. Oh I love how you’ve extended the analogy – “I tend to think of my negative programing as anchors around my neck holding me down.”

      Thanks for commenting Diane, look forward to hearing more of your letting go…

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  3. I really, really NEEDED this boost at this time! You must have been reading my mind, what there is left of it, Dan!
    One could say I recently “lost my way to the harbor.” I see it in the distance! Feel salty breezes kissing my cheek. Hear the Gulls circling above. Yet here I stand, WAITING once more.
    No time like the present to “get on with it.” Thank you and bless you again and again!

    Barbara

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  4. Thank you for this post. As I read through it I could actually identify my jumbled head with the harbor and could picture my cluttered harbor. Letting go is the most important thing I need to do right now.

    Bless you πŸ™‚

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    1. You’re welcome Eram, thanks for reading.

      Letting go is such an underrated need. Attachment is the root of so much anguish! I’m not saying we should never become fond of people, or form loving relationships for example, but attachments to negative stuff always ends in heartache somehow or other. There should be a class when we’re growing up – Lessons In Letting Go…

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  5. Wonderful use of metaphor and very appropriate for me right now. I’m clearing the harbor right now in preparation for new endeavors and it feels so liberating. It is also an act of courage and commitment to yourself and your goals.

    One thing I’ve noticed is when you let people go, their response almost invariably reminds you of why you’re moving on from that relationship in the first place.

    It’s not the gracious, supportive people we let go, after all, but those who have drained us and crushed our spirit. They show this negative side in all its glory when the relationship ends. This makes it easier than expected to make the break. It’s sad, but it is probably inevitable.

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  6. Hi Sue, thanks for your take on it, and I’m pleased you enjoyed the post.

    I think you’re right, sometimes when we do get up the courage to let go of something (a relationship, a belief, an expectation, an item of clothing) we soon wonder why we held on to tightly to it for so long in the first place.

    May you have many beautiful new ships sail into your life…

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  7. I had never explored the thought of every possession, relationship and belief etc taking up space and the potential consequences..

    I’ve only recently began “reawakening” my creative side – suppressed for so long for a lot of reasons and now I am just beginning to glimpse how pivotal it is to my lfe and how much more alive and at peace I feel inside.

    I have a lot to learn but thanks for helping me today πŸ™‚

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    1. That’s how I think it is, for everything we have in the physical world, there’s a connected little space in our mind. The more we clutter our lives, the more we clutter our minds, and our emotions. The idea of balance goes out the window, because there’s just far too much to balance.

      Thanks for reading Kirri, and great to hear of your “reawakening”, long may it continue to unfold. πŸ™‚

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  8. I totally get this for the wrecks and half-sunk stuff. I think it also works for some of the good stuff. I have done some things that I’m enormously proud of. Any time anyone asks what I’m proudest of, I trot out these few things. But I did them a long time ago, years ago. Lately — in the past month — I’ve been feeling like it’s time to put them away. Not pushed out to sea, but maybe safely put away in a boathouse, if you don’t mind my stealing your metaphor. I did those things, and I’m very proud of them and always will be. But I need to get them out of the way now because I feel ready to move on. I need some space to create some new things that I hope I can be just as proud of.

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    1. Bonnie, I love your extension of the metaphor with the boathouse. That’s an angle I hadn’t really considered in the original article. We can be so attached to the work we did (and the person we were) in the past, that yes, however amazing it was, we need to keep evolving, and be the person (and artist) we are today.

      Thanks for your thoughts.

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