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.
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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