A while ago Katie Byron shared a mindset I really liked. When you have an inspiration to paint and an idea what you’ll paint, it could be just an invitation to come to the canvas. Once you’re there you don’t have to stick to that idea anymore, because it served you as a push to paint, nothing else. Now you are ready standing at the canvas with brushes and paints aside and you are totally free to do whatever you like at that moment.
It’s similar in life, imagine you get lost on vacation and discover the most beautiful beach that you didn’t even plan to visit. Sometimes you feel the pull to go somewhere else than you firstly planned and you meet the most amazing person you wouldn’t if you’d stuck to the schedule. Planning is boring and predictable like you already know what your life will look like for the next 10 years. If you leave some space for magic to occur, it will, I promise.
Imagine you have an idea to paint a horse and in the middle of the painting process you figure you don’t really want to paint the horse anymore, you’d usually force yourself to do it from start to end, because you decided to paint a horse at the beginning, convincing yourself you’re supposed to finish what you’ve started and you don’t want to change your mind every 5 seconds. Sounds familiar? What if you let yourself some freedom and color over the damn horse, which you didn’t like in the first place and let your inspiration lead you to paint something totally new.
If you wonder why my paintings have so many layers, well that’s the reason! First few layers are always a bit of exploration until I am certain what to let go and what to keep on the canvas. My favorite quote from an artist Flora Bowley is “Make strong commitments while staying open to change”. It’s something I try to follow when painting and in life.
Of course, we need to plan some things like plane flights, meetings, visiting a store when it’s actually open. We need to plan a lot of things to stay on track but often we have opportunities to get away from the schedule and experience some freedom. Often because we are so used to plan everything, we don’t even take those chances and let ourselves to be surprised.
I always wondered, when you get lost, are you really lost or life leads you totally to the right spot and the idea of the old story “where you are supposed to be” is keeping you blind from seeing where you are and what life has to offer for you.
If you allow yourself to make just small daily changes, like for example taking another way to your job than usual, you will attract changes. Energy, remember? If you always stick to a plan, well the plan becomes your everyday life. The canvas can be a perfect playground to practice this mindset, exploring, trying different materials, colors, becoming more courageous and integrate that lesson to everyday life.