Life is a Canvas. Get Creative.

Via Andrea Balt
on May 27, 2012
get elephant's newsletter
(Bettlewings via Tumblr)

There’s nothing new under the sun…

But we can color it purple.

The pencil is called Creativity. But who uses pencils anymore? Think of it as a free app that comes with your original human software, though you can go an entire life without its proper installation or use. Mostly because you have no idea it’s there.

To get a clearer picture of what Creativity is we should first check off what it’s not:

The birthright of a privileged few.
A talent.
Art. (Unless you consider yourself a living work of art, which I strongly suggest you should).
A “lucky-you” kind of magic.
Inspiration. (That’s a catalyst and a result of creativity, not creativity itself).
A genie in a bottle.
A limited resource, available only to special people—which, in order to get, we must step over another creative’s dead body. (It’s everybody’s Precious.)

“Creativity—like human life itself—begins in darkness.” ~ Julia Cameron

And just like life, it can’t be contained in a box. It is unstoppable. All we have to do is get out of the way.

When we let it be, it becomes. It automatically unfolds; it springs to life like a healthy plant, turning into a network of thoughts and actions, followed by more thoughts and actions, recycled into—wait for it—more thoughts and actions…That’s how you make a world. Each door leads to another door. Eternally? I couldn’t tell, I’m not that old.

Deep down, beyond all thought and language, reason or knowledge, there’s a river. It never ends. And it’s a million years deep.

This subterranean, undefined water—this infinite gray mass is our raw material, the Substance of reality. It’s metaphor, possibility, hypothetical you and me. It’s the beginning, the end and everything else in between.

Creativity is a process that requires two basic steps:

1) Knowing that all you need to make something out of this sea of possibility is already inside you.

2) Using your “hands” (or whatever you work with, physically speaking) to bring it out.

Creativity is not a noun, a mood or a feeling. It’s an essential verb, it’s action and, ultimately, it is love. Because to leave your fingerprints on your own life and inevitably, on those lives you touch, you need to love yourself (your life) like mad.

As Henley put it, be first “the captain of your fate, the master of your soul”, before you become a soldier in someone else’s battle.

Creativity is one of our few good viruses left. It spreads by inspiration. It reminds me of faith. All you have to do is believe and it will find a way to come to life. And others will want a sip.

Maybe I should start a new religion, I’d name it: A River Runs Through It (scratch that, there’s already a movie).

There’s nothing new under the sun. But when has there ever been? If we’re tapping into the same, neutral, subterranean river that Edison, Da Vinci, Van Gogh, Shakespeare—and a million other remarkable humans—have also tapped into, it’s only logical that our raw material, our creative possibilities are still intact (enriched, if anything).

Who says the river is now dry? It can’t be as long as unique human beings are still born on this planet and Nature still finds new ways to recreate what we nostalgically call “old”.

Thanks to the geniuses who’ve made history before us, we now have more to work with, not less. The Universe is abundant. And if you don’t believe me, go for a walk in the woods and start counting all the wonders you see.

We’re the scarce ones here. We’re the ones with only ten fingers.

Considering the mess we’ve made out of things (of life) during the past century, creativity is not just a fancy or a preference. It’s one of our most relevant and urgent human duties. We must go back to our unlimited, original roots and start working to our fullest human capacity. Though we may act like it, we aren’t ants.


From Here On…

I am in creative love with this manifesto. It was put together by five brilliant curators of an exhibition for Les Rencontres Arles Photographie titled From Here On.

It puts our unedited, beautiful, messy life in perspective right here and now, by opening our eyes to the abundant creative resources available to our generation more than any other.

This is how we edit our lives in the postmodern jungle:

(Le Rescontres Arles Manifestos)


When we were fish we had small eyes. We used to swim, drink and forget. But then we grew, and graduated into oceans.

I am now vast. I’m filled with water, plants and all impossible creatures. I foster an entire subhuman ecosystem I need to nourish and protect, like my life depended on it. Because it does. I also swim in a bigger, superhuman oneness daily, where there are no coincidences, only auspiciousness.

It’s not that I’m begging to be essential in the creation of the (my) world, or irreplaceable on the canvas of humanity. It’s just that I can’t help myself. I must use my fingers, even if I don’t know how to type. 

(M.C. Escher)

It really doesn’t matter who signed what first or when in history or under what name or circumstances. It won’t mean a thing if it ain’t got your swing.

You must add your signature. And don’t worry about not finishing. No work of art is ever complete, not even You. Others will take over after you’re gone.

As Goethe so passionately put it, we should first learn to be beginners:

“Whatever you can do or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now!”


Bonus: 29 ways to ignite and maintain your creative genius.


Et voilà le transcript, should you want to hang it on your fridge, next to your other life-altering mantras.

(Via EdHall)


Don’t wait. There’s only Now or Never. And Never is too late.


~ Like elephant culture, enlightened society & yourself on Facebook. ~


Elephant:Now a new feature on Elephant Journal—enabling you to instantly share your mindful ideas, photos, art, YouTube videos/Instagram links & writings with our 5 million readers. Try it Now.

Write Now

About Andrea Balt

Co-Founder / Editor in Chief of Rebelle Society, Wellness Alchemist at Rebelle Wellness & Creativity Curator at Creative Rehab. Unfinished book with a love for greens, bikes and poetry; raised by wolves & adopted by people; not trying to make art but to Be Art. Holds a BA in Journalism & Mass Communication, an MFA in Creative Writing & a Holistic Health Coach degree from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition®. In her work she tries to reflect the wholeness of the human experience by combining Art & Health + Brains & Beauty + Darkness & Brilliance into a more alive, unabridged and unlimited edition of ourselves. She is also on a quest to reinstate Creativity as one of our essential Human Rights to (hopefully and soon) be included in the UN Declaration. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram and sign up for her Monthly Stroke of Renaissance.


28 Responses to “Life is a Canvas. Get Creative.”

  1. MamasteNJ says:

    I love this. This is my manifesto. I will create, become creative and see the creators. TY Andréa. xoxox ~Mmaste

  2. karlsaliter says:

    Love the undergroundriverfed thinking here, and the democratic viewpoint. We are all entitled to creative acts. As you mention regarding prayer, creativity is a force which wants to play with us.

    You are onto something with the "last good virus" idea. Just sayin'.

    Just posted to Elephant Spirituality on Facebook.

  3. Tracy says:

    Love, love, love this article!

  4. nathan cole says:

    Love this one… super love it, my wit riddled Romaniard. <—- "Romanian & Spaniard" i know… it's a stretch. We can't all be as witty as your wit ridden wittiness. 😉 This one inspired & opened me today… which was much needed. Thank you.

  5. my daughters were both born with creativity more than their father's and mine combined. i encourage this creativity every day and will be sure to share this with them. you have a fantastic mind!

    • Andréa Balt says:

      Thank you Cindy! It's good when it's encouraged from a young age. I didn't have a TV growing up and at least during the first decade of my life my parents consciously tried to stimulate creativity. I don't remember disliking anything, I was a sponge. Movies were rare, I thought the real thing was to make up stories and "act" in them… But it's harder to compete with technology now. Still I think, more resources demand even more creativity (and not the other way around, as the entertainment industry, for instance, would have us believe).

  6. Robert says:

    Love everything in this article. Could and should have skipped the University and just read this – again and again and again.

    • Andréa Balt says:

      Big smile on my face now. I should have skipped college too and just gone to the library and read everything in there. Cheaper, quieter & it smelled like old books. Thanks for that beautiful picture. Amazing x 100 & I'm infected by the creativity virus. Cough, cough.

  7. […] carries truth as a burden but it is a truth nonetheless. With Kerouac, this loss is part of a whole world of possibility and there is no need to shy away from […]

  8. Great goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you are just too magnificent. I really like what you’ve acquired here, certainly like what you are stating and the way in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still care for to keep it sensible. I cant wait to read much more from you. This is actually a great website.

  9. […] a list of what makes you come alive and start checking off the items, one by one. Go feed your starving, creative soul. (Via […]

  10. […] never too late to reshape the mind, train the fingers and reconnect with your creative source. This applies to any other art or craft. Don’t delay the conversation of a […]

  11. […] on which we walk for a few good 80 years (if we’re lucky), where each of us performs with our own, unique instrument, reminding the tired passerby in you or in me, that our heart is still beating, that this walk is a […]

  12. […] Through all of this sudden change, I discovered we all have the capacity to give birth-if not through our physical wombs, then through the womb of our creative beings. […]

  13. […] him interested to the end. Then, I realized this was my chance to encourage my son (and myself!) to be creative and make up stories and names for each of the faces. I also realized that my husband and I could […]

  14. […] the moon as a source of inspiration. If you like to write, write about the effects of the moon or pen a story with a full moon as the […]

  15. I am extremely impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout

    on your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself?

    Either way keep up the excellent quality writing, it is rare to see a great blog like

    this one today.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.