Who’s Painting Your Canvas?

A few years ago, a very influential friend in my life, celebrated a significant milestone with family and close friends. The event was filled with people connecting and reconnecting, and sharing hugs, laughter, story telling, and much joy.

With painting as a hobby, my friend had created a long oil painting that spanned about five feet long and a foot wide for the celebration; that depicted all the significant moments in their life up to that point. A living, growing vine that started from their birth and proceeded through to all the historical events that made them who they are, all those key moments… the great memories, the struggles, and the victories.

People attending the celebration were amazed at the unique and interesting way that the act of creating this painting was so much more than just simply doing a mental reflection of ones life history, but actually spending the time, the care, and the diligence to capture it within a painting that could then be shared and celebrated with others.

Beginning with a Blank Canvas

Recently, I had the opportunity to do something that I thought I would never do… jump off of a one hundred and fifty foot bridge spanning a beautiful river gorge. On the day of the bungee jump, I was surrounded with new friends and colleagues who guided and supported me through the entire process. People whom I trust and have complete faith in. This allowed me to drop any preconceived fears that would have prevented me from ever doing the jump in the first place.

After my body left the solid structure of the bridge and I began to free-fall (and after I caught my breath), I was reminded of my friend’s oil painting depicting their journey through life; and I was reminded that in every moment, as we take the next step in our journey; we face the opportunity of a clean white canvas waiting for us to create our own personal history.

Who’s holding the Brush?

The epiphany at that moment was the realization that each one of us ultimately decides whether we are the one holding our own paintbrush, or whether we relinquish the brush to someone else to create our life for us.

How much of your canvas is pre-populated with historical baggage, preconceived notions and judgments, and limited beliefs? How much “white-space” do you have on your daily canvas, to create, be innovative, take risks, allow yourself to be vulnerable, serve others, or just simply… do what you want to do and live into the life you want to live? Are you holding the paintbrush or have you relinquished the brush to someone else?

“Life is painting a picture, not creating a sum.”… Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

Time to take control and become the Artist of your life

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  1. Angela Aarts 12 years ago

    Thanks Greg for another insightful article. It’s interesting even as a parent how early we start defining our lives by our surrounding environment and by who we meet. Being a woman in my mid-life stage, I realize I need to relinguish responsibility and to start recognizing and initiate how I want the remainder of my life to unfold. I truly owe it to myself, so I have devised my own personal visioning statement that guides me. I feel a similar exhilaration of a 150 foot bungee jump every day as a budding entrepreneur, parent, and partner. I am in a constant transition of change… with some of it hormonally induced. 🙂


    • Author
      Greg Martin 12 years ago

      You’re welcome Angela…sounds like you are on your way to taking control of your future!

      I think doing a bungee jump is a different kind of exhilaration… ; )


  2. Catherine Hedrich 12 years ago

    It is very interesting how you brought the two elements of a past painting, which is the story we tell ourselves, and the concept of the daily canvas, which is essentially a blank space waiting for our creative input, together in this article.

    Without being conscious of it, we have a tendency to focus on the negative elements of our story. We begin our new daily painting with those thoughts and feelings which are past and do not serve us.

    My experience in the last 6 months has been to re-visit the past while consciously shedding paint strokes which were no longer in service to my present moment. As scary as the bungee jump, this letting go process has been healing and life affirming. The release has also left space within the painting. Space to breathe and expand.

    I highly recommend this approach to re-creating the moment. You will find a lightness of being which brings inner peace to your day.

    As always, a wonderful article Greg!

    Walk in beauty.


    • Author
      Greg Martin 12 years ago

      Thanks for sharing Catherine…!

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