You, my dear, are a creator – and you are perpetually in the throes of artistic design. Even now, as you read these words, you are crafting a masterpiece of such proportions that it will take an entire lifetime to complete. Your every inhale is like the whisper of a pen over paper. Your every smile is a splash of color on a canvas, and each endeavor is like a spin of the potter’s wheel. You are an artist and your life is your art.
Like a sculptor who sacrifices the stone that is for the carving that will be, you have learned well how to sacrifice now for what may come later, and to sacrifice who you are for who you wish to become. You’ve grown quite adept at wielding willpower as your creative tool – relying on blood, sweat, and tears, judging yourself harshly, and working diligently to round off your rough edges, cut away the extra bits, and stretch yourself thin enough to fit the mold that was given to you by your schools, family, religion, and peers.
But just like any art, life develops one layer at a time – and each layer requires a unique method and the use of different tools. You have come as far as you can with force, my dear, and now it’s time to change tools. Just like tirelessly hacking away at clay won’t make a great sculpture, constantly hacking away at yourself won’t make a great life. Both must be followed by a gentler, more forgiving approach if they are to yield beauty rather than chaos – where normally you would apply willpower you must learn how to refine with acceptance, and where you once used sharpness now you must begin working with love.
It’s time to move beyond the role of the apprentice who forces the clay to conform to her idea of beauty; it’s time to become the master who works to reveal the beauty already latent within it.
You have a natural urge to reach this higher level of artistry; and that urge will have its way, even at your own expense. This is why you blow your diet and your budget, or why you squander time, relationships, or otherwise act against your best interest. Your spirit is trying to shake you, to make you see that it’s time to give up the old method of force and to try working with flow. It wants you to realize that it’s not about the art you create as much as it’s about the artist that’s creating – that there’s no point in accomplishing great things if you’re abusing yourself, always pushing, always fighting to get there.
The time has come for you to transition into the next layer of your art, to reclaim your position and your purpose; the time has come for you to remember that you are a creator and that your life is your art – and for you to really begin considering what that means. A masterpiece isn’t painted with the observer in mind. It isn’t forced to conform to the specifications of a frame or to the taste of the audience. It flows freely from the soul of the artist; and its purpose is nothing less and nothing more than the spark of passion, the splash of love, and the freedom of expression that drives the artist to paint.
So also it will be with your life once you let go of the idea that there’s a certain way it’s supposed to look, once you lay down force and replace it with acceptance, freedom, and love as your creative tools. Once you start working with what’s right in you, start focusing on what’s beautiful about you, and stop worrying and fussing over what’s not.
This is how the master painter, poet, and singer creates; and it’s also how the master sculpts a life. The use of force is only ever meant to be temporary and must eventually be put aside, for great art withers under pressure and it refuses judgment; but given patient attention and tender care, it will present itself to the artist freely and without toil like a flower that blooms regardless of the gardener’s care. Most importantly, it’s a pleasure and not a chore to craft each new layer as it is slowly revealed, because it’s done out of passion and not obligation.
©2016 Cristen Rodgers
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