Tom Seest

August 15, 2021


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Defining And Controlling The Canvas

Each day when you wake up, you are starting your day almost like the artist’s blank canvas. You have an idea of what the day’s story will look like. You’ve run various scenarios and tried to plan and anticipate the day. You’ve established timelines, jotted down notes, made task lists, and gathered your energy and resources, and rested in anticipation of the day.


While you can anticipate some of them, it is impossible to anticipate all the many forces that can or will interfere with your plans for your day. We live in a day and age where it is acceptable and encouraged to have various people, agencies, and companies control your behavior, your actions, your thoughts, and your desires for your day. While it may not be possible to eliminate, ignore, or avoid them, you can anticipate, and try to react in a way that still allows you to live and write your day.


As your day begins to unfold, the senses of the day start to unfold: before you start to react to what you see, what you hear, what you feel, and what you smell. Your day may begin with pain that you feel from the long stationary night trying to relax and rest, the sounds and smells of bacon and eggs frying in a pan, the sight of the turkeys and deer grazing in the field across the driveway, or the sounds of roosters waking up the brood for another day of chasing ticks and bugs that, when magnified, can create their own horror stories.


As the day progresses, the strategic plans you made for the day start to alter, as you react tactically to the opportunities and challenges that present themselves. You had a plan, some basic needs and desires, and their realization may be falling apart due to the circumstances of the day. While you can plan and try to anticipate the reaction, emotions often override plans and bring about new opportunities for improvement. Your day moves along, writing itself, telling a story of what has happened and what should have happened.


Now, the geographic and virtual landscape begins to change as the outside influences have had an effect on your day. Instead of behaving like the squirrel that attempts to find and store nuts for the day that they will be needed, the squirrel often has to spend the day just running from hiding place to hiding place, from tree to tree, to live to fight the battle the following day. But the landscape changes, as the running in every direction continues throughout the day.


If you take the time (as you’re running for your life, writing the story) to look around you, you can see so many beautiful things that you would not have seen had you lived your dream day. New buildings pop up, new plants, new flowers, new animals, new insects, new sounds, new fires, new smells. You can choose to ignore it all, in a desperate sense of entitlement and obligation, and grow stressed and frustrated, or you can embrace the waves of change and surf them wherever they go. Either way, you are still writing your story for the day.


If you take the time to examine the new objects and things that surround you in your new, unanticipated surroundings, the new details will start to grow and become apparent. The canvas starts to fill itself in: little details like the direction of the currents of the wind or stream, the directions and sources of the smells and sounds. The story begins to write itself and the detailed senses of the day begin to reveal themselves and display their beauty. You can react to the unfolding story in any way that you see fit. You can be angry and resentful, or you can embrace the new beauty and look for and recognize the new opportunities. You’re still writing the story, and it will be a masterpiece.


At some point during the day, you can embrace the new, unfamiliar place and its sounds, smells, sensations and textures, and sites, or you can move along in new directions exploring and looking for better opportunities. Will you stay and embrace it? Will you tiptoe through the tulips? Or move your two lips? You have the choices to make. You are driving the day. You are embracing it. The story is unfolding before you; the chapters are unfolding by the hour. Day is becoming night. The clock is ticking, and the mouse is clicking.


Are you alone in your story, or in a small group? Are you in a crowd? Are you with friends? With business acquaintances? Are you getting along? How is your mood? How are your aches and pains? Are you growing? Are you glowing? Are you learning? Are you turning? What questions do you have? What new opportunities have presented themselves? Is the canvas getting crowded?


When your day is done, you’ve written the story and you’re looking back, exhausted, enjoying what you’ve seen, remembering the sights, the smells, the feel, the love, the joy, the emotions, and, often, the pain. But you’ve written the story. The canvas is done. You’ve signed it. You can’t change it now. You can try to rewrite and relive the story some other day, but it won’t ever be the same. But it is a beautiful piece of art. Nothing like what you had anticipated, but something you accomplished, enjoyed, lived, survived, and completed. The story for the day is ending, and the much-anticipated rest is coming. Are you preparing for your new story tomorrow?


I’m not an artist. I can’t even draw water in a bucket. But my youngest son Alex is. I hope you have enjoyed the story told with the drawings he created today. I’m going to enjoy the rest of my days on this side of the soil reminiscing about times, both good and bad. And when I ascend to my home beyond the sky, and they plant my remains below the earth, I will have done my best.

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