You Must Start with a Blank Canvas

Like a spring that has lost its shape, life can overstretch us sometimes.

Past memories and decisions define future actions, preconceived ideas warp our thoughts, and the opinions of others can cloud our knowledge of who we are. We don’t feel like ourselves anymore.

Who are we, anyway?

In my experience, the answer to that question can be one of the most limiting beliefs that tie us to a set destiny. Many of us see ourselves as the sum of our parts, the sum of our past experiences. Our road ahead is dictated by our journey thus far. That simply doesn’t have to be the case. It really doesn’t.

When we accept that we are no one and we embrace the heart of a beginner, we are open to receiving everything. To get to this point, we have to learn to let go, to get ourselves to zero.

We are a beginner of many things, an expert of nothing.

In mindfulness and meditation, the concept of letting go of past thoughts is central to being present. We say goodbye to the stale energy in order to enable a fresh future. Embracing the present means not thinking about what it means – it means getting in touch with our feelings, being intimate with the moment rather than trying to analyze it. There is no form, no structure, just a feeling of “hey, this feels like me.”

You have (re)discovered your groove

I personally find that watercolor painting helps me to get back in touch with who I am, to help to cleanse my thoughts and make space for my future to flood in. I have no idea what the picture is going to look like, I play with the colors and let them flow onto the canvas, embracing what comes along and enjoying the process immensely as I do so. It is just me and those paints. No family, no career and no bills to pay. Just the contentment of being me.

Painting might seem selfish when I have a thousand-and-one other things to do, but unless you can get back to “zero” in some way on a regular basis, you won’t have much to offer the world. You will argue with your husband about trivial things. You will shout at your kids because they are being kids. Even your dog won’t be so keen to give you a friendly lick. You will be weighed down by your worries, unless you learn to clean them in whatever way works for you.

There is an ancient Hawaiian system of meditation called Ho’oponopono. It uses four phrases to help someone accept the past, package it up and then leave it behind them. “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. Thank you.” You take responsibility for things that have happened to you, you reach out to them, surround them in love and then leave them behind you with gratitude. There is a lot of detail behind their meaning, but saying these phrases has helped me to lose my attachments with my past and be more connected with what is happening right now in front of me.

When you are aware of your current self, you can be utterly deliberate about your future.

Try letting go of your baggage

Do it in a way that feels right for you. There is no single solution. It might be painting, it might be fishing, it might be meditation, but leave your past where it belongs and just be present in the now. Let go of perfection. Let go of fear. Let go of toxic people. Let go of dishonesty. Let go of a rigid mindset. Let go of everything….

Only then will you be able to start with a blank canvas. That is the most exciting thing for an artist, after all, isn’t it?

We are all the artists of our life.

We deserve to start with a blank canvas every day.

We are more likely to achieve the results we want when starting out anything in the right way: from a blank canvas mindset, so all that’s left is the feeling of our true selves.  What better goal is there?

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