(Photo Credit: www.unsplash.com)
I’ve lived in a prison of my own making. I painted myself into a really appropriate, polite and proper square box on my canvas over many years as I grew into an adult. Each day, I added a stroke of stifling, a dab of limiting or a swipe of restraint. I painted daily with different sized paintbrushes and had planned for it to be a masterpiece when I finally finished; something beautiful and freeing and colorful to live in for the rest of my life. Instead, I just kept adding more gray worries and blue rules or black self-critiquing. I wasn't feeling any sense of magic from the canvas. When I finally slowed down long enough to step back to look at the whole painting, I saw that it was limiting me and making me live a very boring existence, in bland colors!
I had worked on it throughout my childhood and well into my young adult life. It wasn’t the masterpiece that I was sure it was going to be. It took time to decide how I was going to correct the colors and shades so that I could add more beauty. I decided to paint white over the whole canvas to start blank and clean. Then came the fun part; I began shopping for exquisite paints and more fervent colors. I even picked out messy, colorful finger paint! Bland was no longer my style.
I think that first work of heArt started with rules that I had laid down for myself before I even began painting. I even added stepping stones so that I wouldn’t step off of my “proper” path; safe and centered and out of the mud. But those rules didn’t keep me safe and they didn’t keep me out of the mud. They made me even muddier. Those stepping stones and bland colors kept me away from living my life. My head was buried in the colors that were safe and strategic. So many colors were missing!
With a blank canvas, I knew I still needed rules as much as I needed new colors, but I wanted to create new ones; ones that would stroke beauty and boldness into my life.
My rules were now simpler, richer, more sensible and easy to apply to the years ahead. There are only three.
- Always be kind
Being kind is as easy as worrying is, but better. People like it best when you give them pieces of your heart, not a piece of your mind.
- Be world-embracing
This gives me less worry-allowance. Now I embrace and own those things that worry me, instead of worrying about them. Worry won’t rock my world the way that I want my world to be rocked.
- Live from the heart
How to live from the heart for me means simplifying my expectations of myself and trusting that I know myself enough to know that I don’t need a thousand rules to live by. I trust my heart and my instincts and I live through my heart instead of through my thousand rules.
I try to do those three things, even during my darkest moments. I know that sometimes there will be blood red and dark blues involved, but they have their place on my canvas alongside the vibrant yellows and satin pinks and valiant purples. By the time I finish painting my canvas, it won’t only be valuable to me, it will be valuable to many. I’d never sell it, but I’ll share it and hang it proudly knowing that the colors can only be enjoyed after watching the deep colors saturate and complement one another.
Without the dark reds and blues, I wouldn’t recognize the vibrancy of the yellows and oranges and greens. When I look up at my canvas, I will see a prism of color that I live in and it will tell my story. No matter how it turns out, it will be a masterpiece.
This is my first blog in awhile so I'm rusty. (squeak...) I've been busy living in the pink glows of preschool teaching but I've promised myself that I'd write more and read more. So today is a start. 🙂 xo Paint your masterpiece, too~ Katherine xo