Twisting In Transition

The Unknown forces you bear down on the Now.  Days and moments become more precious and important to daily living, as you focus on what’s in front of you.

It may sound like a good remedy for the chaotic wails of the modern world, but that’s only if you’re fearless.


Sometimes, the Unknown holds the hand of its cousin, Fear.  Fear has a way of keeping you awake at night and stopping you in your daily tracks. Fear demands you flee, hide or kick its butt. I don’t know about you, but I’m not as bad-ass as I’d like to believe. I’m reminded of this when Fear tags along. I’d like to add, “uninvited,” but we all know that’s untrue. Continue reading “Twisting In Transition”

I’m A Work In Progress

I’m a work in progress.

It’s taking longer than I thought. Both the unfolding of me and our life transition.

I grasp at lovely things, as if they were branches that will keep me from going under. Until this household move, I had little idea that I thrive on aesthetics, taking in beauty as if it were air.Grab a branch

Since our old home is on the market, loaded with charm and sacred, secret spaces, it needs daily care. I’m constantly, gardening, cleaning, giving it love. But, I’ve given all my love. 

 

Artist Supplies

I don’t paint anymore. I haven’t worked in the studio for weeks, and weeks. I had no idea this transition would totally take out my practice. Everything is out of place. This isn’t good for an artist. We get irascible when we don’t work….no one wants the business end of a stalled artist.  With the exception of Tuesday mornings with my dear teacher, painting does not happen. I’ve started daily ink drawings for Inktober. It’s something.

So, as I often do in times of uncertainty, I look for the lesson. Am I learning patience? Am I learning faith? Is it both….or more? Yes, I’ve considered it’s me. It always is, you know? Not always me, always us…you. We get in our own ways. Continue reading “I’m A Work In Progress”

Hello Fall!!!

Hello Fall!!!

A season of transition, of quieting, of reflection…moving inward.

Hello new home. A place of peace and beauty, lost toothbrushes, rock piles and weeds…lots of weeds.

In this contract we make with life, we’re obligated take it all. We tease apart the wheat from the chafe. Ferreting out the moments, the glimpses, the wins – and treasure them. Like seasoning in a dish, those moments make life delicious or, at times, at least palatable. It’s these small, blessings that nourish our lives, our bodies, and our hearts.

I’ve started this new project – Notes From The Nest on this first, glorious day of autumn. It’s mostly a photo journal chronicling our journey from a home we lived and created in for 18 years to a mid-century modern place that needs a little love. There are so many facets to such an adventurous transition – I’ll explore them with you and you’ll probably have your own to share.  I’m ever so grateful to our friend for selling us her family home. It has so much of who she is in it.  But, we need to leave our mark, too. The history will always remain. So settle in for a long ride – I’m going to.

I haven’t written for a long time, but it seems appropriate now, as my voice has softened, my eye has sharpened and I just know there is charm to be found – no matter where you are . Charm is my rocket-fuel. (click to Tweet). As an artist, the  beauty around me feeds my soul and fuels my muse. My hope is you also find nourishment here. A place to take sweet sips, rest, reflect and discover your own “moments.”

I hope you’ll join me by following, Notes From The Nest. It will be nestled as its own page on the “Art of The Well Lived Life” site, so you can join the list there – or here at the bottom of the page.

Our new place is named Nido De Rio, because everyplace should have a name.

Happy Fall, Friends. May your transitions be gentle and your blessings plentiful.

Pissy, Unapologetic and Fed-Up

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!

Continue reading “Pissy, Unapologetic and Fed-Up”

Don’t Let The Old Man In!

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 “Don’t Let The Old Man In!”

The Art of Letting Go

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 “The Art of Letting Go”

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 “Shine YOUR Light – Share YOUR Gifts”

Moving Along – Dealing with Uncertainty and Change

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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View her art here

 

I’m All Ears – The Art of Listening

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.

Continue reading “I’m All Ears – The Art of Listening”

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

Continue reading “See(a) Life”

Mired in the Quicksand

This is a repost from a previous post – which is pretty much what a repost is. Finding this one was helpful to me today – maybe it’ll be helpful to you, too.

Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”                    ~ C.G. Jung

Many creative types tend to be introspective. According to Merriam Webster introspection can be understood this way:

In-tro-spec-tion (n.) a reflective looking inward : an examination of one’s own thoughts and feelings.

Introspection is interesting, it can become rather obsessive and quicksand1addictive. I’m introspective by nature…and when not being introspective, I’m extrospective – examining the world outside me. So, while watching y’all I’ve noticed, introspection can be like quicksand. People get in, but have a great challenge trying to get out. Continue reading “Mired in the Quicksand”

This Unholy Mess

Ever notice how when you get all caught up in the world you’re in tangles and dreadful and unhappy?

Power of choiceI think I speak for a lot of us in the U.S. when I say this election has taken a toll on our personal relationships, our faith in our country and any semblance of inner peace we once had.  It lead me to this:

This Unholy Mess

This unholy mess
Where good women and men set aside their virtues to follow unproven false gods.
This unholy mess
When the decent abandon their identities and souls to take up verbal arms against one another.
For what?
Two depraved power-mongers who closely hold secrets and lies and plans we know nothing of.
They’ve amassed hoards of innocents,  whose only sin is the thirst for brighter lives and fuller bellies.
Innocents who gladly abandon their own essence to follow them into the darkness.
They stockpile believers with false narratives,
then they call them votes.
The price –  soul for an uncertain future. The most egregious of trades.

Unholy messes don’t only happen during election times. Our lives are filled with challenges, conflict, inner-turmoil and, hopefully, a dash of introspection. After writing this poem I wondered what went wrong. Continue reading “This Unholy Mess”

Sacred Spaces

studio space
Home Studio of Artist Michelle Andres

Creative spaces are sacred.

Each time I enter a fellow artist’s creative space, I feel honored for the privilege of being there. Studios seem to hold concentrated energy – the very vibrations the artist, the ones he or she uses to create their work.

As I wrote poetry at the river this week, I realized the importance of the space where we create. It doesn’t have to be a high rent studio, certainly we know this because the creative energy flows through us…but there is a definite exchange…a way we use inspiration…it’s like the air we breathe.

Continue reading “Sacred Spaces”

Remembering What I Don’t Know

Sometimes, you have to remember what you don’t know.

Sometimes, you have to sprinkle a little trust dust on the world and go with the flow til it all shakes out.

We’re dog people. We have dogs because we have big, fur-lovin’ hearts and weak minds that thrive on endless, extra work. Dog people.

“Some of our greatest treasures we place in museums,
others, we take for walks.”     ~unknown

tangie-face

In early August one of our girls blew out a knee ligament. We were told it would take several thousand dollars and 4-months of rest and she’d be good as new. Well….okay, then.

Humphh!

Like good fur parents we obliged. We created spreadsheets to manage the post-operative medications. At one point, there were 9 daily doses, not including supplements used to support pain and liver function. Initially, she had to be carried to the yard, then a beach towel was used as a sling for moving her up and down the steps. She had to stay confined and walk on a short leash to use the “restroom.”

Continue reading “Remembering What I Don’t Know”

My Life of Utter Excess

Excess

I live a life of complete and utter excess.

If I were smarter, that would be all I would say…but no… because I’m excessive.

This doesn’t mean I live a lavish life-style, travel the world, over-eat and drink or spend until I’m over my head. I might have a few too many bites of pizza, now and then, but generally, I’m not gluttonous. My excess is found in the realm of energy.

I spend my energy like it’s a perishable item. I know it IS! But, it doesn’t rot at the rate I’m moving. I realized this when I was gardening this week. Gardening is great for the soul. I’d been working so hard in the studio, I forgot what a salve it can be to push one’s hands into the earth, clear the space, create a beautiful, living canvas. It’s healthy for the body and the mind. I gardened in the 90+ degree heat until I was done… Continue reading “My Life of Utter Excess”

Life is Two-Faced

Two FacedThere are two ways to view the world, I think. The first world-view comes from what others tell us. This includes what we read in newspapers, magazines, on the web, see on TV and hear on the radio. It’s a life scripted by the media. The second view comes from observation in day-to-day living. This view is comprised of data from our 5 senses, observations we get on our walks, at the market, from our work and in the company of family and friends. This view is scripted by your reality.

My experience of the world is vastly different depending upon the view I choose.

Continue reading “Life is Two-Faced”