Do you know that you are an artist?
Did you know that from a very young age you took up a paintbrush and started painting on the “canvas of your life” along with many other artists who were also there to fashion that painting?
Let me explain…
Imagine a blank canvas. The type that artists use for oil painting, normally rested on an easel.
Now imagine your existence as a canvas upon which your life will be painted.
For this analogy, the canvas represents the day you were born. It is a completely blank, fresh, newly made, and pure canvas. The canvas is perfect.
Now, just in the same way as the “first line of programming” in my previous post represents another piece of “life-determining data”, (or conditioning, or experience/s), each brushstroke represents an incident in your day-to-day.
These incidents, (brush strokes), can be small and quite insignificant whilst others can be massive and might completely change the picture on your canvas. Likewise, incidents in your living experience might be small and very insignificant whilst others will be huge and might even be “traumatic”.
The accumulation of brush strokes will either turn out to be a complete mess or will have the potential to be a beautiful painting.
Who holds the brush that paints on the canvas?
There are others around you holding paint brushes and painting on your canvas whilst you do your best to keep the picture beautiful. Some of the other artists are good and kind and want your picture to be as beautiful as you do. Others are not so good and are out to paint your picture the way they want it to look. Of course, there are variations of goodness, kindness and perspectives on how your picture should look.
Who are the other artists?
As with the MS-DOS analogy, the other artists primarily consist of our parents, siblings, school teachers, etc., whilst “Secondary painters” might include learning institutions, the church, mass media, peer groups and the workplace.
So you have all these people standing around you at your easel painting the picture of your life. Some have good intentions but they want your picture to suit them. Others are passive and want your picture to be shaped how you want it and still others have “negative intentions” and will try to “spoil” your personal life painting, and, of course, variations of all of the above.
What influences the type of picture you will paint the most?
The one thing that has the most potential to influence the “development” of your painting is what you put into it yourself, (although this may not always be the case).
How do you “put into” your painting?
Everything that you read, watch on TV, listen to, eat, and, essentially, everything that you take in with your five senses will have the biggest impact in the way your picture will look today and into the future. To continue with the painting analogy, all of the above can be considered to be the “colours” you choose to put on your paint-brush.
How do you change your life with a single brush-stroke?
Simply put, you take control of the entire situation.
This means that you get to choose, not only your own colours but, also who you allow to paint on your canvas. You see, the one thing that no one ever tells you is that you have the ability and the authority to choose who you will allow to influence the painting of your life.
Now, getting down to the nitty-gritty, what does all of this mean?
Every family, every school, every culture, every country, even every city, has its own “way of doing things”. For example, in some cities that I have lived in, it was customary to queue at a bus stop, whilst in others, it was “normal” to just get on the bus regardless of who arrived at the bus stop first, second, third, and so on. As you grow up you learn how to behave in certain circumstances and the consequences of deviating from the “norm”, like whether you will be scorned in some way if you don’t “queue properly”. This is something that we cannot get away from, until we become aware of how we have been “programmed”, “shown how to paint” or “socialised”.
This is normal and there’s nothing we can do about it unless we become aware of what has been happening and choose to live differently. The reason is that the people who have influenced us in this way are only passing on what they’ve been taught since the day they were born. They influence us quite innocently, for the most part.
Here’s the crunch…
Everything that we have learned, by whatever means, is nothing more than a collection of “constructs”.
They’re NOT real. It is all made up, agreed to, and it’s mainly generational. Meaning that most of it has developed and changed with each successive generation, for hundreds, if not thousands of generations.
To take control of this “situation”, all you have to do is to begin questioning everything (almost) that you hold to be true and to become open to new ideas, (or allowing new painters around your canvas).
Asking questions about the things that annoy you or that make you angry, fearful, or sad is a good place to start. In short, anything that you feel you need to defend in some way is a potential learning curve and can be questioned.
What about the part we play?
One thing that you need to remember is that you also hold a paint-brush and stand at the easel of every other person that you come into contact with. Everything that you do or say to everyone you meet; family, friends, work colleagues, etc. is another stroke of your brush on the other individuals’ canvas. And, it’s up to YOU how you will influence their painting; either positively or negatively.
In short, you have the power to influence almost everyone you come into contact with.
Now, you have a choice what size of brush you want to use in each and every case and you get to choose what colour you put into the canvas of another life. Will you choose a small brush with a bright colour? Or will you choose a large brush, and what is your favourite colour to put into another “painting”?
Some might say, “My painting looks rubbish, I am stressed most of the time, I feel unhappy and unfulfilled. I just don’t like my painting. Is there anything I can do about that?”
If you are unhappy with the way your painting looks, if you are dissatisfied with your lot in life, you can take up a new canvas and start afresh. Each moment is an opportunity to choose to start a new painting. In other words, you can choose to pick up a new blank canvas and restart your painting at any time.
With this new canvas, you will start small, choose your colours carefully, and watch vigilantly who is around you, holding their paintbrush and influencing your life.
If the first canvas represents the day of my birth, does a new canvas mean being, “born again”?
The short answer is NO.
The new canvas represents nothing more than your choosing to change the “colours” in your new painting. There are things that you might identify that are causing you “problems”. You can identify these things by asking questions. For example, and I’m sure I’ve used this example before somewhere, let’s take the idea that it is “rude to speak with your mouth full”.
Is it rude to speak whilst you have food in your mouth, or is it just difficult to speak whilst chewing food? Is it rude or is it just difficult to understand someone when they try to speak with their mouth full?
Don’t try this at home. There is a very real possibility that if your mouth is too full, you will inadvertently “spit” some of your food as you speak. It may just be impractical to speak when chewing food, but, is it really rude?
It just makes life difficult for everyone involved, right?
What does all this mean, Zander?
What are you getting at?
In conclusion, we, each of us, have the ability and the authority to choose how our life will look from this day forward. We have the ability and the authority to choose who we allow to shape our beliefs, we have the ability and the authority to choose what we believe, and, we have the ability and the authority to change what we believe at any given time.
What kind of picture will you paint for yourself, and who will you allow to influence your painting?