This article of mine was originally published through Wanderlust.com. This week has been full, and I will explain why in my coming posts. For now, enjoy this revisit of a truly important subject…
You are the artist of your life. Every time you speak, daydream, or make a move you are creating your life’s picture. The only tool you need to paint the canvas of your being is mindfulness.
Cultivating presence, acceptance, and allowing one’s emotions and thoughts are the foundations to mindful living, and they are also the entry points for your artful living. Your art is found in your expressions and moments of pause, like in making ceramics, creating music, doing yoga asana, or playing with your children.
Here are five truths about how your art-filled life leads to mindfulness:
You trust that now is your entry point.
In your art practice, in order to start a new project, you give yourself permission to begin as you are. I once mentored a woman who was in a waiting zone of her creative life. She kept waiting for the right time, or the right response from someone else, to express herself creatively. But that other thing, the perfect external circumstance, never did show up like she anticipated. I know many of us can relate to this story of expectation.
The lesson is to trust that now is the best starting point. When you are in a mindful flow with your art, you don’t wait to begin—you merely start where you are today.
You know mistakes are a direct invitation to awareness.
Let’s say you made a mistake in your seemingly artful communication with your beloved. You each understood one another’s wishes for your future together differently. Instead of fleeing from gut-wrenching feelings when the mistake is revealed, take a moment to invite in awareness.
Learn to embrace the lesson within, in spite of the mistake, and ask yourself: How can I practice mindful behavior to get through this situation?
You see what obstacles you face.
Maybe you feel you don’t have enough time for your art because you habitually prioritize others first. Maybe you’re not sure what the outcome will be, and that’s a bit scary, so you never take the risk to create something new.
In looking at your obstacles, ask yourself what is real and what is an excuse because you are afraid. See how you can remove the self-made obstacles and get into your artful practice. You may also be making the same excuses in other aspects of your life. Believe that you are worthy of living a mindful, happy, and joyous life filled with creativity at all times.
You intentionally make a mark.
Each time my paintbrush hits the canvas, I see it as a permanent impression of what I am saying. The mark I make will be translated into something else entirely by those who interact with my art. I intentionally create, knowing it affects not only me, but also those who see what I create.
What mark do you make in your life with your words, actions, or thoughts? How will what you express impact others and their experience of this world you create?
You radically accept the pace of change.
Change is pretty consistent in life, right? It’s our relationship to change that can be a challenge. Have you ever been stuck in a traffic jam where all you want is for the situation to change? Or, have you ever been in the midst of a life change, like getting laid off, and all you want is consistency? When you take the time to be an artist of your life, a sense of wonder replaces the frustration that comes with the pace of change. You embrace what is going on with you right now with fascination and curiosity. You fall radically in love with the change of life because it inspires new ideas to fuel your art.
As the great scholar and poet John O’Donohue reminds us: “Each of us is an artist of our days; the greater our integrity and awareness, the more original and creative our time will become.”
How will you welcome your inner artist and make meaning in your precious life today?