The other day, my daughter eagerly showed me a hat her friend had knitted for her. “Isn’t it cool, Mom?” she said. “She made it for me.”

This past fall, I hired an artist to do a drawing of my house. With her permission, I made copies for my kids as their Christmas presents. Sure, I could have framed a snapshot of the home they grew up in, but I’m pretty sure their eyes would not have filled with wonder, as they did when they saw their house through the artist’s eyes, whimsical trees and all.

In the end, it’s the homemade gifts that will always mean the most. It’s the art we purchased from someone whose talent touched us in a unique way. It won’t be the toaster your grand kids cherish when you pass away, it will be the painting that hung above the bed in the guestroom where they slept. In the end, you may think back on your only trip to the New York Metropolitan Opera, but you’ll also remember your five-year-old daughter singing a solo in the talent show.

Our lives are enriched by great art and touched by genius artists, but our lives are fulfilled by the art we make in our own homes. Christmas cookies and crocheted baby blankets and spontaneous dance parties in the kitchen. All of it matters. How you engage with art, how you appreciate it, how you turn to it, how you love it, and most especially, how you create it.

In the end, will you be proud of the art you made, or the time you saved by not making it? Will you recall the lullabies you sang to your babies or the few extra hours of work you got in each night? Will you prize the money you can’t take with you, or the happiness you brought to this world?

It’s time to let your inner artist lead the way. Only it knows what you are capable of. Every other voice, including your inner critic, is just opinion.

Make art, your art. It doesn’t matter if it’s perfect or even good, as long as you enjoy doing it. Because in that art lives your spirit. Your joy, awareness, hope, revelations, imperfections, vulnerability, and strength. Anyone who sees it or hears it or touches it will experience that, whether they like the work or not. Walk into a bookstore or art gallery or empty theater and it’s there. You can feel it. The spirit of all who’ve brought their light into the world and all who came to take pleasure in it.

Make a little art, or make a lot. There’s no judgment. And no space for regret. Art is now. It’s not the mistakes you made in the past, it’s not your hopes for the future. It’s that burst of brilliance that’s going to hit you today when you least expect it. And when it comes, relish it, whether you act on it or not. Thrill in the magic of inspiration and a great idea. Be grateful for that moment, because it’s reminding you that you’re brilliant. Do you believe it?

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