Creating a Whole

I remember as a child, shutting life away and creating stories and poetry. I’d spend hours upon hours in my bedroom…writing.canopy-toddler-bed What a delight to be in my perfect world, enjoying myself, creating (click to Tweet). There was a constant narrative running in my head. As I observed life, I would dialogue what I saw mentally in “story form.” It was a sweet and innocent time.

I grew up in a creative household. My mother would paint, sew and decorate cakes. One year she and her friend made hundreds of sugar peek-eggs and sold them for Easter. They made enough money to appoint my writing room (my bedroom) with beautiful furniture. I would sit on the canopy bed and write stories and poetry.

As I grew I was encouraged by my parents and teachers to cultivate my passion. I enrolled in college and majored in journalism.

ENTER THE BOY

I worked at the local paper writing feature articles. It was an exciting time, exploring new fronts, always with a photographer in tow.  I was consumed. Then, it dawned on me. I had a boyfriend and things were getting serious. If I kept indulging myself this way, I would probably never marry and have a family.  I was living my life with such zest it left little room for another. I “unselfishly” decided to put the kibosh on this writing. It obviously would get in the way of my life.

…DONE…

Workers fightFor the next 25 years my creativity was expressed in minimal and “socially acceptable” (at least in my mind) ways. I’d find business solutions, coach clients to problem solve, create budgets and write kick-ass business letters.  Painting and poems were for soft, self-indulgent types.

ANGER

So naturally, I was pissed off at the soft, self-indulgents; the selfish artists, writers and people who lived with such abandon and joy.  I made judgments about them and did not take them seriously. Couldn’t they see there was REAL work to be done? Come on, people, pull your weight! The rest of us are making sacrifices…you’re entirely too preoccupied with pleasing yourselves! (Click to Tweet).

REALIZATION

CIMG412325 years after I severed a crucial part of my soul through denying my passion, the boy was gone. All that remained was the resentment for artists and an emptiness of purpose. I found relief by breaking things and putting them together – creating beauty from ruin. Some call this mosaic art. I fell in love with the process, the medium, the result. This progressed and one day someone referred to me as an “artist.” At first, it was an uncomfortable feeling. Was I really one of those self-pleasing, self-indulgent types…not suffering enough to make a real contribution to society? It didn’t matter. I realized I had this one life to live and the urge, the need to create, trumped any name calling. Besides, art IS a real contribution to society. It binds cultures, creates beauty and brings JOY to the lives of those who partake (Click to Tweet). I began to paint, to write, to play. The fountain of creativity poured forth, having been “damned” for years…and it spilled into all areas of my life, showing itself though joyful living and a deep appreciation for beauty in nature, in life, in people. I was whole again.  The anger, the resentment fell away.

Recently, I watched Oprah interview Brene Brown, a researcher of shame and vulnerability. Brown said one key to living wholeheartedly was to cultivate creativity. How many of us amputate our creative selves to make those “meaningful contributions to society” and are fueled by discomfort, sweat and resentment?  How many of us deny our natural purpose – to create – and settle on becoming  “acceptable?” Brene Brown says:

“Unused creativity is not benign. It turns into grief, rage, sorrow.”

She says creativity gets shamed out of us. Do we do that to our children? I did it to myself and was so bitter I could have shamed it out of my children…fortunately, I didn’t. One of Brown’s main points:

“The only unique contribution that we will ever make in this world will be born of our creativity.” (Click to Tweet)

These days I work with creative types, mostly women, but some men, too. I love leading and teaching mosaic workshops where people can get away from their day to day demands and tap into that creative purpose we all have. It is healthy, it is necessary and it makes us whole again.

Live Authentically!  Live Joyfully!

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For more of Brene Brown I recommend “The Gifts of Imperfection” Let go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

Michelle Andres is a coach, writer and artist who champions others to follow the path less traveled; Coaching pic  - Version 3the path that leads straight to their joyful hearts.♥ Find her on Facebook or Twitter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Driven to Distraction – 6 Strategies for Creatives to Get More Done

Tick Tock Your Life is Waiting
Tick Tock Your Life is Waiting

 

I could move mountains if it weren’t for “distractions.” (Click to Tweet) I mean, really, the shiny things get in the way, catch my eye and I’m gone.

It’s become more challenging since I’ve become a corporate refugee, because now I’m doing creative work and am accountable to only myself. We are all creative beings, no doubt, but once you give yourself permission to be fully creative, you lose some of the ability to focus on getting stuff done. I think this is partially due to the fact that creativity is fostered by exploration and play. (Click to Tweet)  The three go hand in hand in hand.

I’m sure the “shiny thing” gets you, too. And it snowballs. One distraction can lead to another and soon the sun is setting and you haven’t done anything even remotely productive. Urghh!

What to do?

It’s all about – ahem – time management. And self discipline. Ick. Doesn’t that sentence just make your hair stand on end? Feeling resistance yet? Think of it this way:

Time is your asset. It’s the key to the kingdom. (Click to Tweet)

You aren’t going to get more of it, so have the self-discipline to jealously guard the 24 hours you’ve got. Identify what gets in your way – and take steps to secure it. Here are some easy strategies:

Your “To Do List” is your GPS – Creating a “To Do” list may sound cliché, but it keeps you on course, guides you and tells you cheerfully, “You have arrived!” Use a list!

Control TV, Email and Social Media – Set designated times to check and respond to email and social media. For most of us, three times a day will work. Morning, noon, afternoon. Having your mobile device firmly tucked into your hip pocket and responding to its every chime? That chime – that’s the sound of your time being sucked into a big hole!

Schedule your Day – Schedule your day…but not ALL of it. Scheduling 60% of your day is realistic, because it allows room for life to happen and keeps you from turning into a shrew. Schedule the stuff you must do, and the stuff you want to do.  Workout time – schedule it! Creative prep – schedule it! Even schedule recreational time. Remember to schedule some time at the end of the day to prepare for the following day. You can create some balance in your life and still move the mountain if you schedule it!

Create systems – Take time to organize in a way YOU can understand. If you can’t find it, you spend time looking for it, so take time to put it in its place in the first place. Besides, just admit it, if you’re looking though stuff to find other stuff you get DISTRACTED with the new stuff you find. (yeah, I wrote that all by myself).

Get a Handle on Procrastination – We all do it. If you really want to, you can get a handle on it. It’s not rocket science…if it were I would procrastinate for sure. Find the root of the procrastination and ferret out the resources, gumption or whatever you need to move through it…one step at a time.

Make Yourself Accountable to Someone Else – Research shows if you write down your goals you’re more likely to achieve them. If you write them down, tell someone you respect about them and make a commitment to report back to that person, your success rate jumps to 95%!

I offer a free gift to those who sign up on my mailing list. This published article is a “How To” for overcoming procrastination. Just “Join the Tribe” at the left and I’ll send it to you, FREE. Tell your friends to sign up, too….don’t procrastinate!

I once heard a wise woman say, “If you’re not using your time to deliver your own package, others will use your time to deliver theirs.”(Click to Tweet)  At first this self discipline may look like shackles to you. This is not bondage. Manage your time well and you will get to spend more time doing what you love to do…perhaps even move a mountain or two.

Git ‘er Done!

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Michelle Andres is a coach, writer and artist who champions others to follow the path less traveled; the path that leadsCoaching pic  - Version 3 straight to their joyful hearts.♥ Find her on Facebook or Twitter

 

 

 

 

 

Butt in Saddle, Peace in Heart

Motivational quotes…pretty pictures…we love them, don’t we? Sometimes they go deep, layers and layers deep. This Hafiz quote struck me with its depth and profundity. AND, it’s National Poetry Month, so why not celebrate one of the World’s most beloved and widely read poets? Hafiz, or Hafez, was a 14th century Persian poet who has influenced the likes of Thoreau, Emerson, Goethe, me and maybe you.

Hafiz

Consider the words you speak. I’m often surprised and enamored with my own wit. Sometimes, snarky, stabbing remarks about observations are just too good to keep to myself. (Click to Tweet) But, even if I don’t say them, I may think them. What does that get me?

I noticed McDonald’s new McWrap. Well, now that was too good to keep to myself. McWrap? You want me to eat a McWrap? You must be kidding me. Say it aloud marketing people! What were they thinking? I am self-entertained…but my tirade leads to thinking of other’s perceived stupidity…to the nutritional value of fast food…to the allure and marketing intended to seduce all Americans (and beyond our borders) to violate their bodies to fill them with chemicals and engineered “food stuff”…to our healthcare system and the big pharmaceutical companies…STOP!!! Truly, friends…you can tell me if I’m the only one on earth who thinks this way.

 But there’s more…

My dear Hafiz, it’s more than the words we speak. It’s the thoughts we THINK! To disarm them, to tame them, requires a spiritual practice of looking at the appreciative side, being anchored in gratitude, embracing forgiveness and acceptance. Let me tell you…

it.can.be.difficult.

654px-Sacred_lotus_Nelumbo_nucifera

As Ghandi said:

“Carefully watch your thoughts, for they become your words.
 
Manage and watch your words, for they will become your actions.
 
Consider and judge your actions, for they have become your habits.    
         
 Acknowledge and watch your habits, for they shall become your values.
 
Understand and embrace your values, for they become your destiny.”
 
 

We create our reality and impact our very happiness through the perception that begins with our thoughts. Are my witticisms worth it? (For YOU, dear reader friends…irrevocably yes!) For my peace of mind, my thoughts really ought to be corralled.

What are you doing? What words are in your house? Time for Spring Cleaning? Time to re-evaluate? I invite you to share your ideas and experiences right here on the blog. Thank you for making us think, Hafiz…even if your quote did end in a preposition. STOP!!!

If our thoughts create your destiny it may be time to tame that pony and ride off into the sunset!

May your butt stay firmly in the saddle!

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Michelle Andres is a coach, writer and artist who champions others to follow the path less traveled; the path that leadsCoaching pic  - Version 3 straight to their joyful hearts.♥ Find her on Facebook or Twitter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re Getting the Dog Finger Again!

 

Some of you have traveled the journey of “My Dog’s Life” and shed some tears reading my last blog post about my terrier Mystic 77who, at the time, was dying. You’ll recall my acceptance of a failed relationship and witnessing me swimming in a pool of guilt and angst. Like most things in life, that has changed.

Now, really, I don’t mean to jerk your emotional chain, but here it comes. Right around Easter she rose from the dead. Yep. She spent 3 days in what appeared to be the active state of dying. Family members and friends paraded through the house, wiped their eyes and paid their last respects. She was canonized. Mr. Wonderful (my incredible husband) struggled. Should he help her along in the process? “Do you need to just move on, girl?” Should we call Dr. Stamm?

I. Was. Switzerland.

Then…on Good Friday….one week ago…she rose from the dead and resumed her life.

I don’t get it. She got up, walked around, ate like a champ and basically said, “It’s on! I ain’t done, Jack.”  

What ensued was a test of my spiritual fortitude. Mr. Wonderful talked incessantly of her resurrection, the miracle, what the cause may have been and what the bright and shiny future held. He got her special food  (which drove the other two dogs crazy). He fawned over her, planned a spa day at the groomer and practically offered to get her a new car. Almost every conversation contained “dog topic.” I made an oath to myself not to feel even one pang of disappointment. And I didn’t (applause please).

I struggled with the state of my soul. I had been absolved of my sins during the “death.” I asked for forgiveness, made amends. Now, the chance to live peacefully together once again poked it head around the corner as if to say, “Hey, want to try again?” I was livin’ life on the edge. How long can a human being sustain pure thoughts, bury animosity and grind out a state of harmony? (Click to Tweet)

Sure, it took a few days for her to get back into fighting form. This morning, Mr. Wonderful claimed he got the “dog finger.“

You want a piece of me?
You want a piece of me?

That’s right, the willful disobedience is, once again, alive and well. She did the samba on the carpet with her dirty little fur body. I even got a report when I was away on business, there was a scrimmage with her sister in the kitchen. Switzerland.

Her behaviour has not changed. All the things she did that drove me crazy – she’s doing them again. My behaviour has changed. Aha! So THIS IS THE LESSON! My lesson. This is another chance of redemption. I can get it right. There is no end in sight, only the practice. (Click to tweet)  My practice.

It’s how life IS. I guess the point of the lesson is you don’t know when it will conclude. When it does, if you’ve learned it properly, it won’t matter how long it took. Be Switzerland.

(I invite you to start or join the conversation by leaving a comment below)

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Michelle Andres is a coach, writer and artist who champions others to follow the path less traveled; the path that leadsCoaching pic  - Version 3 straight to their joyful hearts.♥ Find her on Facebook or Twitter