A couple of my gal pals and I started taking painting classes a few years ago.  We have consistently, for the most part, met once a week for a few hours to paint, while our teacher coaches us when we need it. Painting has taught me a lot about life and myself. As an artist, one thing I have come to know and appreciate, is that I have to take time to stand back from my work and quietly contemplate what is what. A painting looks different from a distance. When I take the time to lift my brush from the canvas and step away from the closeness and the details of my work, I feel like I have stepped outside after a rainstorm and taken a deep breath of fresh air. The repose and distance bring perspective and order to each brush stroke. The colors are brighter and what looks like chaos up close takes the shape of a beautiful flower from a few feet away.

I urge you to do the same thing in your life. Take the time to step back and in solitude have a look at your life from a distance. What may look like pain, discomfort, challenge or terror up close, can be viewed very differently if you give yourself some quiet time and space. As I reflect back to times in my life when I felt broken, hurt, or scared, I have come know that those situations were gifts.  Blessings sometimes look like a big blob of paint on an otherwise perfectly fine canvas, but as time passes, it becomes clear that the blob of paint turns into a beautiful expression of your life.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross wisely once said, “Learn to get in touch with silence within yourself and know that everything in life has a purpose.  There are no mistakes, no coincidences; all events are blessings given to us to learn from.”

You are the artist of your life.  Don’t forget to step away from your canvas now and then.