www.michelleandresart.com/2017/08/pissy

I cannot deal with your anger.

And, I don’t necessarily disagree with you.

Either you manufactured your outrage, or you have mastered the art of unskilled communication – but the daily outbursts are not convincing me to empathize with you; even though I may agree with you.

The world is noisy enough, people. We have real challenges and conflicts. When did some folks decide the louder they scream the more likely they will be heard? It doesn’t work that way.

Yes, I’m pissed, and I’m exhausted. I’ve been exhausted and in retreat for some time, now. My pleas to put down taking up sides and shine your light seem to have fallen on deaf ears, as we continue to slip deeper into this unholy mess. I haven’t published a post since last April. This is unusual, because this blog was conceived when I realized I wasn’t embracing my calling and I made a leap to create a better, happier, more authentically Well-Lived Life. It was a thrilling time and I wanted to share the formula, spread the word. So, I did, every Friday for over 4 years. But, somewhere around 2016, I found myself repeating the same theme:

Behave – you’re contributing to the problem!

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crotchety old womanI often recall the words of Clint Eastwood. When asked how he stays so young, he simply replied, “I don’t let the old man in.”

Yesterday, the old woman knocked on my door. She arrives silently with her crotchety, destructive attitude. Of course, my resiliency is waning since I’m in the process of slaying a fierce, self-depleting cold. I’m also feeling urgency to get into the studio and produce work. Amidst all this, there are people.

Ugh, PEOPLE! They’re in my house. In my house with their boots, their lead pipes, their full bladders and worse; we’re paying them for the unwelcome intrusion. They’re drilling through brick over my right shoulder while I’m beating away the old, curmudgeon-broad on my left. Help me rally, Clint!!! Continue reading »

Letting Go

Letting go may be the single, most important factor in creating a joyful life. (click to Tweet)

It’s not what we don’t have, it’s not what we do have, it’s the stuff we drag behind us…the weight of the expectations, the fears, the disappointments and perhaps, even, the weight of the betrayal that pull the joy right from our hearts.

I learn so much on my yoga mat, I’m not sure why I don’t go to it daily. Yesterday, setting an intention for my practice, I chose “letting go,” because

Maybe you’ve noticed, I used to publish this blog every week – but, recently,  that’s stopped. Truth is, the current political climate took a lot out of me. I’m pretty sensitive to “harmony” and when the world becomes a cacophony of discord, it eventually kicks even my inner cheerleader’s ass.  I like to keep our topics relevant, yet light, because my truth is, we all take life a bit too seriously. But, that’s not the only reason you haven’t heard from me. Here’s what’s been filling my plate: Continue reading »

Shine YOUR Light – Share YOUR Gifts

Natural gifts byron katieI know a brilliant designer, Nar Bustamante. His work makes the world  more beautiful in so many ways, but that didn’t matter to him on this particular day.

Recently, he posted on social media, “I don’t understand war. When I see children hurt, bleed, confused, helpless, innocent, my soul feels deep pain. All the greatness I surround myself with seems insignificant. I love people. I still think this world is awesome…” He went on to express his disgust that we don’t acknowledge and address this suffering. It was obvious his soul was very raw. There’s truth in his words, and we often wonder, what can we do, individually, to make a difference. Continue reading »

Moving Along Uncertainty and ChangeIt feels like a boxing match, a cage-fight – though I’ve never been to either. Maybe it’s worse than that.

After a year and a half of sustained attack, brutal defamation, taking up camps – the U.S. Election is over.

It always amazes me that people are so uncomfortable with ambiguity. We all know, we don’t have true control over change, but uncertainty  can really unravel some personality types – others are lucky enough to find some comfort in it. Nothing, no matter how good or bad, stays the same.

Right before the election, a friend gave me a book. “Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change” by Pema Chodron. It’s a simple volume, though richly written and takes a deep dive into Uncertainty and changeencouraging the reader to settle into the deep, unknown abyss. Between the book and my fuzzy blue blankie – I found a decent measure of comfort. I heartily recommend this book to my readers, here, not only for healing and moving on together – but as wisdom to draw on whenever life serves up uncertainty.

There are only 3 commitments, Chodron asks from us:

  • Committing to Not Cause Harm
  • Committing to Take Care of One Another
  • Committing to Embrace the World Just as It Is

The book creates a roadmap for successfully committing to each these goals. On a personal level, each commitment seems quite achievable. Together, I suspect it would create a significant shift in the way we think, behave and accept one another.

We can see our world and lives all from our own unique perspectives. The world can be a train wreck and human beings will easily take up camps. But, aren’t you exhausted? Isn’t that not working? It’s done. Let’s create now.

 Let’s work on ourselves, each individual person to be an example – an approachable, inclusive, listening example – because you cannot influence anyone more than you can yourself. (click to Tweet).

Complaint Free UncertaintyBy the way, I’m offering these Complaint Free World bands. You wear it and it reminds you not to complain without offering solution. Mine has kept me positive for over 5 days – so, it’s working. I have a limited supply to share with you. Let me know if you’d like one. If you keep the band on the same wrist for 3 weeks, you have successfully completed the challenge! Stop complaining – well – that would be a good start. 🙂

I hope I’ll be able to write some witty repartee for you next week. This week has been rather quiet and my muse has been resting. I’m ready to focus on possibilities again because-

Possibilities are the embers of hope – the kindling for the fires of our lives; they ignite potential and meaning. (click to Tweet)

Let’s start a fire,

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Michelle Andres is a writer and artist who cultivates her own Well Lived Life by drinking in Writer, Artist, Coachthe beauty around her, following her passion, respecting others and doing her best to own her own dookie.

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All ears It’s an interesting time in America right now.

Is anyone listening?

When I work with groups in my corporate gigs, I teach soft skills in leadership and communication. I teach conflict resolution and how to give productive, well accepted feedback that doesn’t escalate to conflict. But…

Emotions are running high lately in our society. We do have conflict.

Listening

Some people are refusing to accept our reality. Some people are upset and reeling. Some people are stunned and surprised. But, is anyone really listening?

When I teach communication classes I tell the participants how important it is to get agreement with stakeholders before proceeding to next steps. Here is the key:

If the agreement comes too easily, you probably have a problem. Yep, read that one again….

Easy agreement often means the other person hasn’t been actively participating in the conversation. They have no stake in what you say and they have no ideas to add. Do you really think they’ll follow you and your idea to fruition? I’ll give you this – sometimes, you’ll get 100% agreement immediately. That isn’t always a good sign either, because it could indicate  Groupthink – a very poor decision making condition. Know this  –  Silence is NOT consent.

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See(a) Life

Sometimes, I ‘m a sucker.Empaths life

Like an sucker mouth catfish, I suck up the energy of the stuff around me.

Maybe it’s part of being an artist, or maybe it’s part of being a human…but, I don’t particularly like it. Especially when it’s not good stuff…it…well, sucks.

Let’s assume, for the sake of conversation, we’re all this way. There are benefits and perils of being spongy.

Sucking up laughter is good.

Soaking in beauty leads to inspiration, which leads to art.

Drinking in love is magical – a bliss beyond compare.

But….

When people around us are angry, worried, sick or depressed, that empathetic existence is a BIG FAT BUMMER

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