The Big Art is Our Life

“All the arts are apprenticeship. The big art is our life.”

—Mary Caroline Richards, 19th Century American Poet & Potter

Image of a potters wheel

Image from Flickr by pax-h2o

Do you live to work or work to live? Regardless of how you answer the question, it is clear that we spend a pretty high percentage of our lives engaged in our work.

How many different jobs have you had so far in your life? Many of my coaching clients have multi-page resumes, often including five, ten, or more positions. Quite often, one reason they hire me is to support a transition in their professional life.

They almost always simultaneously seek to live more artfully and include a high degree of focus and effort in their personal lives.

EXERCISE:

What artistic efforts are most appropriate at this point in your life? What would make it a more beautiful masterpiece?

“Life is the art of drawing without an eraser.”

“Life is the art of drawing without an eraser.”

– John W. Gardner, American educator and politician

Girl-with-crayons-quote-597

Photo from Flickr by Roseannadana

Think back to the last time you visited the home of a family with young children. You probably saw various pieces of artwork created by those young Rembrants, Picassos, and Monets around their home, especially on the kitchen fridge.

Children live their lives as free spirits and don’t seem to be all too concerned about how things look. As we age, this changes. We become far more aware of the judgments and opinions of others and we often find ourselves holding back our most authentic expressions of ourselves.

Exercise:

How would your professional or personal life look if you threw away all erasers, and simply leaped into each day to pursue your own journey of artistic living?

“If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.”

“If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.”

– Émile Zola, French naturalist writer

color wheelImage from Flickr by scui3asteveo

Consider for a moment that the journey of life is actually a form of art. Our lives contain many components, including work, family, community, and so on. Ask yourself, “How expressed and fulfilled do I feel in these (and other) domains?”

Many of us, including myself from time to time, live quiet, reserved lives which seem to provide some degree of protection, security, and safety. These perceived benefits have a considerable cost, in that they limit the upsides of life, including joy, love, excitement, adventure, and much more.

As a coach, husband, father, son and community leader, I have decided to dare a bit more greatly and live a louder life.

Exercise:

Please let me know if you too will take on the challenge to pursue your own form of art and crank up the speakers to your life.