There’s Still Time to Make Art

natural art 0514Perhaps each life is a painting, an infinitesimal rectangle or even the equanimity of a square. Beginning with a blank canvas, an entire life swirls with the colors of choice, shifting scenes until ultimately blending into the tapestry of existence.

Existence is endless art, it seems, as delicate and precise as a sand painting—a mandala—once a life is complete, the sand shifts and returns to its state before shape. Always, there is another shape to come.

There is an art to life, I suspect, no matter how minute one’s tile in the mosaic of existence may seem. It is not the size or shape of a life that looms but rather the choice of options from the palette provided.

The colors of choice vary as does the brushstroke that reveals them. Some moments the stroke is as subtle as moonlight and just as changing. During the dense, life-changing events–dark moments that mark a life for its duration–the swath of the brush is broad and opaque.

Yet each life has an array of choices—a palette of options—to absorb change as it colors a life, ultimately illuminating, much like light of the moon.

At night, I open the window

and asked the moon to come

and press its face against mine.

Breathe into me.

Close the language-door

and open the love-window.

The moon won’t use the door,

only the window.


We might want to look to the moon when facing the doors it ignores. Sometimes, the broad brushstroke Art 0514wrinkles the canvas in a determined color of choice. Other times, the subtle stroke turns opacity into transparency, rather like darkness leaving for light.

The tapestry of existence is in constant flux, swirling with infinite possibilities as we work through daily decisions, choosing our colors. Some are doors and some are windows but both eventually open, either by the light of the moon or by the love of life.

Our living canvas is not yet a still life nor is our sand mandala complete. There is still time to make art.

*This lovely Rumi quote comes from a favorite blog of mine, ZenFlash.  Thank you.


18 thoughts on “There’s Still Time to Make Art

  1. I love waking in the middle of the night to find the moon pouring in the windows. And that’s the second time in seven days that I’ve found myself reading Rumi. Do you know The Guest House?

    • I did not know “The Guest House” so thank you for that, Cynthia. For me, Rumi’s work appears much like the “new arrival” he mentions, unexpected and not always understood. Sometimes, awareness jogs me into noticing the arrival so that when the moment comes to recognize my guest, I do for I was first aware when my guest entered. Thanks so much, Cynthia!

  2. What a beautiful post … and a beautiful way of looking at life! I especially love the way you have incorporated Rumi’s words into this reflection. I could stand to approach my life more often as a piece of art, and I am grateful for this vivid image of that practice. Thank you!

    • It does seem that life as art allows more creativity, more pleasure so that we remember the beauty inherent in living, which is a work in progress. Seems like there is more possibility, doesn’t it? Thanks, Kenetha!

  3. I love the Rumi quote and had not seen it before. Thank you. And I love the image of life as a piece of art. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we got to see what we’d created when this life is finished? Perhaps we will:).

    • I am thinking we get a glance, at the very least. Of course, there is also the consideration of constant viewing for the last moment is known only when it arrives. Hmm…thanks for that.

  4. Lovely post as always, Karen. LOVE the idea of life as art because we really are a blank canvass. Each day is a chance to start over, like the monks who wipe away the finished sand mandalas. The Rumi quote was perfect, I just recently started reading those teachings so again, your post is timely. Thanks for another great start to my week. Best to you.

    • Yes, Stephanie, that each day just may be its own sand mandala is renewing, isn’t it? Thank you for that. It keeps the possibilities infinite. Have a great week, Stephanie.

  5. I never thought of life this way – but you’re right! Our lives ARE art, and we make it as we live – as we interact with the world around us, which is part of us, if we only let it be so.

    • I do think each life lived is a painting and that painting is a scene in the overall tapestry of existence. If we see ourselves as part of such a rich tapestry, it may help us feel more connected to all life so that we may interact with as well as contribute to life, actually feeling the oneness of existence. Thanks so much, Matthew!

  6. As I walk through life I realize how much natural art there is if we’d simply stop and look around. In fact, the art not only surrounds us, but comes from deep within. Thanks for reminding me to stop, look around, and appreciate.

    • I agree that art is everywhere, Kitt, if we will just look, and if all of nature is art, then are we as well? More and more, I think we just may be. Certainly, ours is a variety of hue. Thanks, Kitt!

  7. We choose the colors with which to portray an event. We decide whether the colors will be vivid or dark and sad. It takes an act of will, but we can color what happens and thereby influence how it will affect us. It’s hard, but even the worst things hold a glimmer of pure color.

    • Life is color, no matter the hue, vivid or dark, as you say. The fact that we do influence what we observe may affect that shade as well. Thanks for this, Adrian. I am going to think on this from the observer perspective.

  8. The moon is such a powerful image in our consciousness, even though it is but the pale reflection of the sun; however it seems always to connect to the depths of the human soul. Thanks for another beautiful and insightful blog. Always nice to meet Rumi along the road again.

    • One can never meet Rumi too many times, I suspect. For me, the moon’s reflection through a window is akin to living with an open heart. Thanks so much, Craig.

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