04/11/2013 12:27 pm ET | Updated Jun 10, 2013

Life is a Gift

Life is a Gift

The gift is always wrapped in risk. It takes courage to open it and dive in. From cradle to grave we've been indoctrinated to dedicate ourselves to safety. Which doesn't seem like such a bad thing, until you consider all you're likely to miss. I'm convinced real safety lies in the willingness to be surprised by life. A mind that weaves safety nets ends up boxing itself in. Being open leaves room for the unimaginable to enter.

At the end of my days, I will be glad I followed my path as an artist. Sure, it's risky. There isn't a steady paycheck, and I walk hand in hand with rejection. If I had abandoned my gift for a more conventional career, no doubt I'd have more money in my pocket. But to experience the fullness of life is why we are here. I am in agreement with George Bernard Shaw when he said, "I want to be totally used up when I die." Yep, life is for living.


My muses for this piece were my great-niece Aine and her little brother Colin.


The dog in the picture is the beloved Quincy.

Text and images © Sue Shanahan. All rights reserved.