Articles / Creativity

The Gifts

We are all gifts to the universe, and our life is a gift to us. Gifts are being exchanged daily between us, our life, and others, with most of them going unnoticed. We have not been taught that we are a gift to the world; rather we are encouraged to ‘make something of ourselves.’ The underlying message being that we are not good enough as who we are, and so we attempt to do more, to ‘prove ourselves.’ We look for meaning and assurance in being successful, but there is more to life than this.

Sharing the gift of ourselves is the most creative act we can perform. Each day gives us the opportunity to do this, and when we do this we are being an artist with our life. Our ability to feel joy, wonder and love, and to share these with others is how we live our life with dignity and honor.

Discover the fundamentals of what makes life meaningful and you will open up for yourself a whole new way of seeing yourself and the world. We live in a consumer-obsessed society where often we are measured by how much we money we earn, how much stuff we own, and how famous we have become. Be careful that you do not measure yourself in this way only.

We have the opportunity of reframing our concepts of ourselves so that we see ourselves as wondrous human beings filled with gifts waiting to be shared with others. In fact one of the finest gifts we can give to ourselves is to respect who we are. In respecting ourselves we can enter into the world and easily create wonderful gifts of compassion, loving kindness and creativity, becoming an artist with our life.

These are little gifts of life that disguise themselves as ordinary events, and they happen every day. Comforting a sick friend at the hospital, spending an hour on the phone with someone who is depressed, giving someone who is broke some financial help, visiting the elderly—these are gifts both given and received. It is wonderful to give and receive gifts in this way, and when we do so we can be described as artists in every sense of the word.

We are all learning to master the fine art of living. Credo Mutwa, a Zulu wisdom keeper whom I have the privilege of knowing, once told me, “Life is an instrument and we must learn how to play it. Life must never be taken for granted. We must learn how to play in it and with it and learn its mysteries so we can become artists in the ways of life.” I have never forgotten that. 

How many gifts do a mother and father give to their children daily, and how many gifts do the children give back to them? How do you measure the gifts of friendship and human interaction, the gifts of nature, the gifts of intellectual stimulation, of having fun, listening to opera, watching an exciting sporting event, being moved by theatre, reading a good book? These are all gifts that we give ourselves and have been given to us. Gifts abound in every life.

The truth is we need nothing other than what we are to be happy, content, and artistic. Learn to see the gifts of everyday life. We practice appreciating our life, noticing the gifts that are bestowed upon us in ways both large and small. As I’m typing this piece my right arm is bathed in the warm glow of the sun coming through the window and it feels good. It is a little gift happening in this moment of time.  Shortly I will be going for a walk in the woods and there will be many gifts to appreciate there. This evening we are going to a dinner party and there will be many gifts of conversation and friendship, not to mention food, wine and laughter. They are all gifts.

Hopefully this short piece I have written will uplift you or inspire you or make you think in a different way, even if just for a moment. If so, it is a gift. We are all giving and receiving gifts everyday. We are all artists in our life.  Being a human being is the most remarkable experience. It is a gift.

John Kehoe