Life is a gift that is given to us. It is like giving someone a blank canvas and telling them that they are free to use it however they please. If they want to draw or paint, they can go for it. It doesn’t even have to look great to anyone else.
Maybe they want to use it for something different. Perhaps they will sew the canvas into something, or maybe make it into a sign with a message for whoever cares to read it.
Perhaps for a time they will choose to leave it blank, to do nothing with it.
Imagine that is you with the canvas, and you just don’t know yet exactly what you want to do with it. Imagine people coming to you and telling you what to do with your canvas. You look around and see so many different things that people have done with theirs, and you don’t know who to listen to.
Some people tell you to do your own thing, and others want you to decorate your canvas just like theirs (because they think theirs is best, or because they want you to be like them).
Or imagine that you have your very own idea about what you want to do with yours, and people keep telling you to do something different. You know that this is your canvas, and it is the only one you’ll get, and you really want to try out your idea. But people get mad, or make you feel dumb or uncooperative if you don’t do what they want. Some even accuse you of not loving them or caring about them if you won’t do what they want. So, you either do nothing, or do what they want, and then become angry or depressed. You might not even do it very well because it wasn’t what you wanted. Or you do it well, because that is your way, but you are not happy, and maybe get ulcers or headaches.
How much easier it would be if people would tell you that you must treasure your canvas, and whatever you create, to make sure that it reflects your heart and soul. How much better it would be if they told you that they loved you, and honoured whatever choices you might make, because making this canvas reflect your essence is what you came to this Earth to do. How wonderful if they told you that your canvas did not have to be perfect, nor did it have to please anyone else.
Life is like a blank canvas, and how we live it is our work of art. We are created, and we belong to ourselves. Our life is our work of art. We mustn’t make anyone colour between the lines we have drawn. The greatest gift we can give to another is the gift of freedom to be and express who they are. This is the path to wholeness.
Gwen Randall-Young is an author and award-winning psychologist. For permission to reprint this article, or to obtain books, CDs or MP3s, visit www.gwen.ca. Follow Gwen on Facebook for inspiration.