Your Life Is Art – Living On Purpose
Your life is art you create on purpose, or it’s a series of accidents we respond to. In truth, most of us are somewhere in-between. Most of us have never really gotten into our heads how much in control we really are, then, of course, how fully responsible we are.
Our lives vibrate in the moment. Even calm, you aren’t still, just balanced. A fluxing universe pitches through us at a speed that defies description. We’re part of everything and can’t get out. There are no real dropouts.
Evolution prepares us to handle the endless arrival of change, adapting on the fly. It’s so automatic, we scarcely notice. Our minds’ eyes pick out the important stuff our five senses throw our way and turn it into pictures of a world we can navigate and enjoy.
The danger is that we let this amazing process become so automatic, so easy, we miss out on the most enriching experiences and exciting activities that rush by. We stop paying close attention because we can. We’re lazy by default. We can live less consciously and get away with it. But where’s the fun in that? Where’s the beauty? Where’s the thrilling new experience? How can life be art, if we’re not paying attention?
Living on purpose, aware, we get involved with the loves of our lives and do those things we’ve always wanted. Spirit calls us to original experiences that warm our holistic cores. Do we answer? Are we listening? Practice makes perfect. My life proves that, the more fully and frequently you follow your impulses, the more frequent and full they grow. Life is art precisely because flourishes when our creative inspirations come freely and we follow them.
Speculation about reincarnation and life after death aside, we live this life only once, right? No afterlife or redo will compensate for what we don’t do now. Seeing your life as a chance to create something amazing can be the best experience you ever have, an awakening that for you and an example for others. Your life really is an art, and you can live it on purpose as your choice.
Ready to get started?
Is Your Life An Art?
How much are you living on purpose?
You probably haven’t thought that much about it. Is your life a work of art? If an audience was watching, would you expect them to applaud or at least be interested enough to keep watching? Would it inspire you, if you were on the outside looking in?
We all have ideas about what matters to us and what we’d like our lives to be about. A difference among us is between those are satisfied with letting the chips of fate fall where they may and those who take an active role in managing the fates, moment by moment.
Let me explain. Living is a granular experience, moment by moment, and each is moment of choice. Only death stops it, and how you chose defines you.
Except for the most extreme circumstance, life is awash with choices. We walk on this side of the street. We go to the window to see what’s outside. We interact with others we meet on the way. Every choice matters, and since you must make choice after choice, doesn’t it make sense to take the world on with a set of values as guides that lead you?
All art isn’t beautiful. Some of the best isn’t even complex. The one constant among great art is originality. And who’s more original than you? Nobody is.
You remember the wonder of learning that of all those that have filled the sky, no two snowflakes are perfectly alike? The same is true of people, except that it’s ballooned by the over 50 trillion cells that, in unison, are you. Each of them is distinct too. You are a fully realized exception, unlike anything else in the 14 billion light year history of the universe.
No escaping it. Your conscious mind puts you constantly at the easel where you will create the masterpiece (or not) that is your life. Why be an everyday Smith or Jones when you can be Picasso or Bach?
Life As Art In Action
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions…
An original idea I’ve noticed only twice is sitting on the curb in a city and getting a whole new perspective from the gutter. First time I saw it was on Lexington Avenue in New York. We were in a restaurant, and he was chewing a sandwich in a no parking zone. Then, I saw this guy in San Francisco. The originality taking a spot for which no one else was competing was striking, and on a rain free day, what’s the harm?
We all look at the world from a different angle. We also smell, hear, taste and feel like nobody else. It’s like your own private movie, and the beautiful part is that you’re gifted with an ability to imagine it differently, to see what you want to see and the freedom to chose.
Learning to see is a skill you develop. Making the decision to really look is something else again.
When I worked at an office away from home, I used to walk along the waterfront every morning, even though a bus was a available and no matter what the weather. It might be cold or wet, but mostly, the days were bright and sunny. Each morning stroll was different. I trained myself not to accept anything as routinely forgettable or not as interesting. I paid attention to every detail of every morning and let my inner self be nourished by fresh knowledge, fresh awareness of my world.
I learned something I once knew but forgot. That is, I love walking in the rain, hearing that faint sizzle of moisture on the ground and in the trees, seeing the patterns in puddles. I also began to appreciate those overcast days that seem so raw and dull. Opened to everything, I could see how rich and full of nuance they once were.
Once, I ran through fresh snow, my running shoes feeling the added cushioning, flakes melting against my face, Manhattan’s midtown towers barely visible across the river. Another time, just looking on purpose, I saw a face that came from somewhere in my dreams.
If you don’t look, you don’t see. Living on purpose means the art of life comes to you and inspires you like the fields whipped by a mistral thrilled Van Gogh into painting.
You make a decision in every moment. To look, see, feel, absorb, smell, touch, taste, appreciate, smile… or not.
Why Art Is Life
You Have No Choice
Cast in the flow of sights, sounds, smells and tastes you were born into, you are always in control of what you make of your life. It’s always a work of art, and you get to decide what that changing face of reality is about every day. You decide what to see and what the world looking back sees of you.
For my tastes, I like to experience the world in as much abstraction as I can. I prefer to see the meaning instead of the object, although you can’t do that all the time without getting lost. But I do want to continuously understand that whatever I see, touch or feel always represents something deeper and more connected. I get more insight from Jackson Pollack than I do from Norman Rockwell.
What about you? Keeping in mind that what you chose to see in the world bounces back out to what the world sees from you, do you prefer the jarringly unexpected over the comfortably expected? Do you like to give others a jolt or the warm fuzzies?
This all matters because we are part of a seamless whole, and when your conscious intention creates, it creates for all of us. The worst answer is none of the above. Each of us is born individual and with the ability to inject something no one else can. If we don’t do it, there is no fallback, no replacement in the wings that is your equal.
We go through our lives thinking that some people have much more influence on the rest of us. That’s true only of the veneer, the thinnest, least consequential layer of reality. It’s surprising in a world where most people accept that they have souls that we’d imagine this most soulless feature is so valuable.
The President of the United States, in the full measure of things, is no more powerful than you. As a creator, the art of your life reverberates across all time. When you live on purpose, the powers of creativity percolate up and down through all the layers of culture. Your power is in the consistency and passion of your convictions.
And you’ve got so much help. Not only are the actions and intentions of others dancing around you, you have your own inner voice trying to help. Call it intuition or spiritual guidance – who cares? It’s there and we all hear it. Sometimes, the cacophony around us and the flood of visuals makes it harder to get the message, but you can learn to listen and, then, to hear. Get some quiet time. Meditate if it suits you. Or just quietly pet your cat or dog until the voice rises and grows clear and less roughened. Some also get a dialogue going through prayer. There is no reason that you can’t ask for guidance, wisdom or outright help. The important thing is to do something and accept the best help you can find.
The image at the top of this section is one I took of an artist’s friends work clothes as they were set aside to wait for the next day’s work. My friend paints abstract expressionist canvases that contain spiritual impressions. That reflects the way in which he lives his life. I picked this image because it shows something about how all of us are at a moment in our lives. Our lives are art, and it only waits for us to put on our apparel, pick up our brushes and get the work of creating our lives from the tools at hand. That’s when you begin to live on purpose, one canvas at a time.