A blank canvas stands open and receptive before me. A beautiful arrangement of colorful paints and paint brushes are lined up eager to be put to use. The smell of acrylic, freshly washed linens, and fermented grapes is in the air. People around me are filled with mixed emotions of anticipation, excitement and a little fear. The tone of their voices is reflective of the emotions they are experiencing. The instructor begins by teaching us the basic method for creating a background and foundation for the rest of the painting. The evening ahead lays full of possibility and creativity.

Have you ever attended one of the wine and paint events illustrated above? I find that meeting new clients for the first time is similar to these events.  People are coming to me filled with mixed emotions and are eager to hear about the possibilities. But, unlike the blank canvas, they are often covered with what appears to be erroneous strokes and blending mishaps. I am able to see the potential for beauty that is present in the person, but they often struggle with recognizing it. If you have ever been in that mental state, you know just how challenging it can be to notice the strokes of perfection while being surrounded by all of the imperfection. It is possible to learn how to see the beauty just like it is possible to learn how to paint.

A client once referred to me as the Bob Ross of counselors because I encourage people to see mistakes as learning opportunities - necessary steps one goes through to experience a spiritual awakening. Some of you might remember Mr. Ross on the PBS television series, The Joy of Painting. He was known for reminding viewers, “We don’t make mistakes. We have happy accidents.” Bob’s view of painting is relevant to how we find the joy in living. 

At the start of each new day, we are greeted with a blank canvas. We have the ability to choose what we want the canvas to look like; but just like in painting, it takes practice to turn mistakes into happy accidents. Follow the steps outlined below and you will be well on your way to creating a beautiful work of living art.

Step 1: Set a daily intention

Setting an intention for your day is like entering an address into your GPS navigation system. It keeps you focused on the day’s journey. For instance, if my intention for the day is to be free from worry and I catch myself worrying, I can take one conscious breath and remind myself that today is to be free from worry. I may have made a wrong turn by worrying, but I was able to turn myself around and place myself back on the right road.

Step 2: Use reminders

This step may sound unnecessary but for the beginner it is essential. Use your cell phone, alarm clock, egg timer, stop watch, sound of your dog barking, telephone ringing, email alert notification or any other method you prefer to serve as a wake-up call so you can ask yourself, “Am I still on the right road and following my day’s intention?” You can set a timer to go off hourly to help you remember. This will serve as the voice your GPS navigation system makes when you have made a wrong turn and it is repeatedly saying, “Recalculating”.

Step 3: Forgive yourself

Inevitably as your day progresses, you will find yourself veering away from your day’s intention. Mistakes start happening and instead of viewing them as happy accidents, you become frustrated and irritable with yourself. This is the time to remind yourself that you are merely practicing and mistakes always happen when we are learning something new. Watch a child who is just learning to use a writing utensil and remind yourself that mistakes are a necessary part of the process.

 Step 4: Acknowledge the journey          

At the end of day, give attention to the positives by writing about them while recalling the experience with all of your senses. Describe what you saw, heard, smelled, tasted and felt at various moments throughout the day when you were truly honoring your day’s intention.  This will help you begin to program your brain to view your mistakes as happy accidents.

Author Bio: Catrina Stiller is an Intuitive Counselor and Healer. She holds a license as a Practical Counselor and is a National Certified Counselor. Catrina offers healing services to all individuals through a variety of methods. Visit her website at www.catrinastiller.com to learn more.

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Comment by Catrina Stiller on November 28, 2015 at 8:34pm


Thank you for the word count reminder. I usually have a problem with being too long winded. :) I added content to meet the requirement.

All the best,


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