A treasure trove of wisdom from Beatrice Bruteau:

“The universe is not some blind and uncaring organization of atoms. . . . It can easily be seen as a gigantic artwork, full of whatever it is that comes out as “feeling” when it becomes incarnate. We are part of this, creative contributors to this.

And this is the other effect: we bear some responsibility. We have to take our part in the work. We, for instance, are now in a position to do something about all the suffering. . . . We are agents within the system and can have causal effects on other parts of the system. We have intelligence, we have empathy and capacity to feel for others and to care about them, we even have insight into the Ground present in every being and calling for an appropriate form of absolute respect.

What will we do? . . . What does “God** want us to” do? Not a good way of putting the question, because it distances God** from the world, but the answer I propose is Be! Be creative, be interactive, be agape, give being, unite, be whole, be in every possible way, be new. The self-creating world is unpredictable. It’s like a musician’s improvisation. . . . But the artwork will always resemble the artist.”

**(Should you find resistance with the term “God”, please substitute a different word or phrase that serves you best and then read this in light of what may be speaking to you. Perhaps choosing the word “Love” might be a place to begin?)

This quote is so beautifully stated that I am hesitant to add to it at all…but it immediately brought me to the thought of practicing preparing for each day by asking myself how I want to show up…then taking action on those preparations.

How do I want to “BE” today?

I love the idea of being an artist. As I first awaken each day to the precious privilege of yet another day gifted just to me, I can imagine this day as a beautifully blank canvas. On this canvas I may draw or paint, add found items, attach collage, whatever strikes me, contributing my particular colors and spirit. And at first glance, I might even believe that the world is based on MY Canvas.

However, as I am creating, I step back a little for perspective and I am suddenly aware that my contributions are also a part of a giant, infinite canvas, where other beings are adding their particular artistic touches contemporaneous to my own. I see that the other artists could be human, animal, plant or even Nature herself in the shapes of wind, rain, sun, the terrains of mountains, movements of oceans. Landscapes and cityscapes will add their presences as well. Birdsongs, the shade of a tree, the salty tang of ocean air, the flavor of a ripe orange, the soft fur of my beautiful dog…

Everything is there.

And so too on this Giant Canvas we will find darker areas that draw attention with their stark contrasts…

Because they highlight absences, needs that are unmet, things that are as yet unseen…those areas of our Canvas World where we are drawn to paint our presence…to help others, our earth, to bring compassion, to break away from our comfort zones a little to reach out with color where there may be little or none.

So my questions for each of us are these:

What do you plan to paint today, should you be honored by awakening to one more morning?

And, should events occur that would keep you from adding to the canvas in the way you had planned, how could you see yourself adapt, so that your touch is remains vibrant, compassionate, harmful to no being or to our world, adding light and brimming with the truth of Who You Are?

How do we envision ourselves regaining our position of responsibility and respect for all that surrounds us in those moments we may temporarily lose our grander view of our Canvas…and of the Giant Canvas we all share? Do we lie in the the dust of our lapses or do we use our missteps as a prop to push us upright so we may continue to create our art once again?

Finally, all this thinking and planning is all well and good but ultimately Action must take place, if our Work of Art is to have any Power.

It is necessary that we actually

GO and BE that vision.

Begin with just a single action.

Welcome its future completion as if it were already accomplished.

Then add another act…

And another.

Do this every day, throughout your waking hours, cherishing each moment that you receive…

For we know tomorrow’s Canvas is not promised to us.

Today’s is the only One.

Go choose your colors, your mediums for today.

Keep an eye out for adaptations and new views.

Do no harm.

But no matter what…




One thought on “What’s On Your Canvas?

  1. My favorite line: “And this is the other effect: we bear some responsibility.” And I love that the way you propose we take responsibility for our lives is by seeing it as a work of art. Thanks, Janelle, for your usual flare for making life seem so doable.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s