Developing an authentic lifestyle–one that truly reflects what is important to you in all areas of life–is a work of art. It is your personal statement to the world. Are you creating your masterpiece with both the intention and attention a great artist gives her creation?
Reflecting on the ideas and manipulating the materials over time, the artist begins to clarify the vision and, as the piece emerges, watches, refining her ideas, adding this, discarding that, reworking, until the materials begin to match the vision. Once the realization of the dream is glimpsed, work accelerates, and joy and passion carry the piece to completion. Isnt that much like our lives?
Few artists receive their inspiration from attempting to fulfill someone elses idea of what the clay, paint, rock, notes, words, fabric or wood might become. Imitation in art is only the tool of the student as the techniques are learned. The truly authentic work of art must come from within the artist, through the techniques and media, into reality.
Similarly, you cannot live the dreams of your parents, the desires of your friends or the visions of another with passion and integrity.
Great artists understand that their art is their personal expression, and is, therefore, unique. The artist values the medium for its potential to express the idea. The artist works diligently with it– keeping the vision in view, making small adjustments, learning new techniques, experimenting–until the vision emerges in concrete form and becomes an extension of the artist. It is visible then to all who care to look. The piece bears the artists name and influences all who view it.
Sometimes, pieces do not please the artist and they are reworked, painted over, melted down, unraveled. These pieces have great inherent value. The artists vision is clarified, the materials better understood. This contributes much to the next project, the next work of art.
Sometimes, pieces become a legacy and influence many by their existence. These are the authentic works, the true expressions of the artist. These are the quality pieces, as Willa A. Foster, says, Quality is never an accident; it is the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.
You want your life to be of quality, filled with wise choices. Therefore, approach it with high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution.
When creating a work of art, you must be present with it, fully engaged each moment, totally absorbed by the possibility you are actualizing and the potential you are exploring. This intense focus is required if you are not to be distracted by the myriad of seductive, and easy to justify diversions. It is a powerful process uplifting, inspiring, sometimes frustrating, satisfying, and, most of all, creative. When you are making a success of something, it s not work. Its a way of life.
Now, if by chance, you are thinking that viewing your life as a work of art, or a lofty contribution to the world, is impractical compared to a factual time-management, goal-oriented, bottom-line approach, please consider this. Every successful business, organization and corporation has two types of leaders, visionaries and administrators. Both are required. You need to be both visionary and administrator in your own life, to live a life of integrity, of wholeness.
After all, would you prefer your life to be a fleeting statistic, or a memorable piece of performance art?
By Rhoberta Shaler, PhD