Two Poems and a Quote

Gratitude Quote from www.michelleandresart.com

Happy Thanksgiving week sweet readers. I hope you and your families had a day filled with gratitude, love and the spirit of the Thanksgiving tradition. Those of you who follow me on social media know, I’ve made it a personal tradition to express gratitude each day for the month of November. I do it throughout the year as well, but in an effort to not drive you crazy, keep my gratitudes in my journals.

This week I offer you two poems and a quote. I hope you enjoy the read. I invite you to share thoughts on the poems, quote and the way you cultivate and nurture gratitude in your own lives. I sincerely thank you for spending some of your time each week reading my musings and know, for you, I am…

Deeply Grateful,

~ Michelle

In the life of aspiration and dedication
The gratitude-deer always runs the fastest,
Always achieves the most,
Always becomes the perfection-satisfaction
 of the highest and
 most fulfilling and fulfilled
 Supreme in us.
Gratitude is not a human achievement.
Gratitude is a divine treasure
 granted to us 
by the inner Pilot within us,
The Absolute Supreme.
                                                                       ~Sri Chinmoy

 

THE MOMENT
The moment when, after many years 
of hard work and a long voyage 
you stand in the centre of your room,
house, half-acre, square mile, island, country, 
knowing at last how you got there,
 and say, I own this, 

is the same moment when the trees unloose
 their soft arms from around you,
 the birds take back their language, 
the cliffs fissure and collapse,
 the air moves back from you like a wave
 and you can’t breathe.
“No,” they whisper. “You own nothing.
 You were a visitor, time after time
 climbing the hill, planting the flag, proclaiming.
 We never belonged to you.
 You never found us. 
It was always the other way round.”
                                                                                                                                                        ~Margaret Atwood

 

“Gratitude is the 
reflection of kindness and
 rests deep in the heart.”
                                                                                                                                      ~ Ken E. Hall

Wishing you gratitude and abundance every day of the year!

Coaching

Ripe for some creative fun while pursuing your dreams for the new year? I’ll be having a Beginning Mosaic Workshop called ” Magic in 2014″ in January. Register or  learn more!

 

Michelle Andres is a coach, writer and artist who nudges, nay, shoves creatives in the direction of their Writer, Coachdreams by helping them improve productivity and for good behaviours while eliminating poor ones. Follow her on  Facebook on Twitter

 For a free gift that will help you boost personal productivity “Join the Tribe” and subscribe to this blog!

 

Sniff

productivity

I don’t read fiction.

I’ve always considered it unproductive. I guess, in a way,  I’m a commitmentphobe.  A story must be finished to learn what “happens.”  If I stop short, I waste time. What if I don’t like the read? If I read a non-fiction book I can walk away at any time and take with me the knowledge that’s been shared. There are no “sunk costs” with non-fiction.  Fiction has sunk costs. (click to Tweet)

If I start something I finish it.

I don’t so much stop and smell roses along the way, though I won’t judge you for sniffin’ the perfume and may even advise you to do it. But me, I just plow right though. Finish it. Move on. NEXT!

I don’t sit and chill.

You guessed it. A colossal waste of time (for me). You can chill though, I know it’s good for some folks, but chillin’, for me, requires being still – and I can’t be still for too long. If my body isn’t moving, my mind likes to be doing the cartwheels.

If I do it right, I bleed.

Yes, that’s the litmus test. Catholic upbringing and work ethic have taught me that I have to go the extra mile. I have to leave a little blood on whatever I do – figuratively speaking, of course.  It should hurt to be “good.” Hey, I know it’s a fallacy and don’t call it “perfectionism” because you know how I adore imperfection. I know it’s not true, but it’s in me…in the quick…so I partake in the regular bloodletting. Feels good. (click to Tweet)

Enter Raging Rhinitis

My husband shares everything, including his wicked common cold. Last week, that thug, “Rhinitis” rolled me and stole all my goods. (click to Tweet)

 I. Got. Mugged.  

I spent the historical equivalent of 3 days down for the count. Once I acquiesced, I decided in my typical fashion, to leverage the time I had left. I set up shop by the hearth and went to work relaxing (yeah, I realize the irony in that sentence). Here’s what I found most healing:

  • A good book
  • A gentle fire
  • Tea
  • Several lengthy, mouth-breathing naps – sequential or gently spaced – didn’t matter
  • Not writing
  • Not painting
  • Not making the bed
  • Not doing much of anything
  • Snuggling with a cuddly blankie
  • Chicken soup (made for me with loving care, thankfully)
  • Hangin’ with my hounds
  • Allowing myself to be taken care of by others
  • Proper drugs
  • Chocolate

On the 3rd day I probably could have risen, but hey, I’m not that Guy. Truly, I was able to leave my post, but didn’t make any serious attempts to rejoin the real world. I was finally “allowing” myself to unwind. Trusting if I took a break I could restart the engine. Being gentle with myself.

It. Felt. So. Good.  !  Delicious.

Which brings me to the question. Why continue to allow such crazy beliefs to run my life? I see other ways working great for other people? What makes me so unspecial?  Isn’t it enriching to explore the other side? Scientific evidence supports stopping to “smell the roses.”

I vow to schedule more breaks like this…only sans phlegm. Maybe one-a-day, like a vitamin. Or simply take them as life serves them.  I’ll recognize and banish the para-abnormal overactivity that robs me of the “now.” (click to Tweet) Don’t get me wrong. I fill my days with work I love and with the people I find the most endearing, but I still subscribe to some strange beliefs, one being I don’t need to take care of myself the way I’d take care of someone else I love. I’ll bet you do, too. Care to take your inventory and vent your confession with me? You can jot a note below. You’ll probably feel better. I did. And  then, we can smell the roses together.

Sniff, sniff (but the good kind),

Signature

 

 

Ripe for some creative fun while pursuing your dreams for the new year? I’ll be having a Beginning Mosaic Workshop called ” Magic in 2014″ in January. Register or  learn more!

Michelle Andres is a coach, writer and artist who nudges, nay, shoves creatives in the direction of their Writer, Coachdreams by helping them improve productivity and for good behaviours while eliminating poor ones. Follow her on  Facebook on Twitter

 

 

 

Life and Death in the Pot

Are you superstitious? I’ve addressed this topic with executives in regards to superstitious leadership, but magical thinking applies Superstitions and Obstaclesto so many people and can be used against us, or to our benefit.

Because our beliefs can hold us back or propel us forward, consider your own obstacles.  Are they real or imagined? Are they helping or hurting? What’s defining you? Is it with or without your permission?  (click to Tweet)

I know I’m asking a lot of questions, but you must believe this…YOU ARE in control.  What’s more (brace yourself) most of the time that means EVEN if your life sucks. For glass half full folks, that’s good news!

Oh, I sound so sure, so bold. Pffffft! Well, it wasn’t always that way. Here’s a little story:

My violet is on life support.

I’ve owned the same African violet for over 20 years. It’s been with me through growing a family, weathering a former miserable marriage, the disillusion – oops – dissolution of that marriage, 4 moves, finding the love of my life, marriage, blending a family, empty nesting and career changes. My violet has blossomed when I’ve thrived and slumped, on the brink of disaster, as I’ve wrestled with life’s difficulties. Her mood indicates the state of my life, so she is known as “My Life Violet.” My family knows which one it is…the one in the bright, white, ceramic pot. The one that sits with all the others, but serves as the barometer of my current state and points the finger of fate at my future state. I’ve always respected her, but things have been changing.

Superstitions and obstaclesEarlier this year, after years of life in the pot and regular feedings and watering, she stood barren in a small bit of soil. She didn’t look good. I felt fine, but trembled at the consequences my plant’s condition could bring. My son brought soil and I repotted her – the first time she’d been tampered with in over 20 years. She seemed reinvigorated and grew 2 new leaves. But still, she stood frail and unsure.

Meanwhile, I’ve continued to build my career and pursue my passion. I’ve moved from a primarily corporate existence into the creative community. I’ve moved studios, secured a 2nd studio, grown a blog following and a coaching business and I have NOT experienced the difficulties the violet indicates.  Could she be in this alone?

Today, as I look at this once thriving plant, I must admit, it looks pretty hopeless for her. The 2 leaves of promise are sallow and shriveled. After over 2 decades, locked in the psychological grip of this small plant, I have decided to let her go. I suppose she’s my “Old Life” violet.

It’s time to move forward. To let past beliefs go. It may be time for you to do that, too. It’s time to tap into the essence of who we are, why we’re here and to embrace that mission fearlessly, with the gusto and passion that ignites us. 2014 is on the horizon so the timing is perfect!

Our spirits are independent of the obstacles we erect, the stories we tell ourselves and the opinions held by others (click to Tweet).  So, sit that drivel down. Give it permission to die. Have faith and make the commitment. From now on, I will be….

Blooming on My Own!

Coaching

 

Ripe for some creative fun while pursuing your dreams for the new year? I’ll be having a Beginning Mosaic Workshop called ” Magic in 2014″ in January. Register or  learn more!

Michelle Andres is a coach, writer and artist who nudges, nay, shoves creatives in the direction of their dreams by helping themWriter, Coach improve productivity and for good behaviours while eliminating poor ones. Follow her on  Facebook on Twitter

 

For a free gift that will help you boost personal productivity “Join the Tribe” and subscribe to this blog!

 

 

Play Grounded

Play GroundedLately, I’ve been a bit wonky. Does that ever happen to you? I know I’m off kilter because I get stressed by things that wouldn’t typically bother me, feel rushed, overcommitted and generally out of balance. It’s about life balance.

Life is like a teeter totter, it’s fun when everything is working, but if the counter balance abandons you, your bum hits the earth with a heart-stopping THUD and that HURTS! (click to Tweet)

I’ve been on this playground before. I’ve ridden the little pony merry go round, got dizzy and thrown up.  I’ve found cat turds in the sandbox, been pushed around by bullies and gripped the monkey bars so tightly my hands blistered (click to Tweet). Finally, I learned when to take a seat in the shade of the big tree and gaze at the clouds. Given my vast playground experience, I can recognize the warning signs and change activities  before I become a publicly raving idiot…um…. or is that what I’m doing now?

So, how do you know when you’re at the edge, getting ready to take the precarious tip off the corkscrew slide and do a face plant in the itchy cedar shavings?  It helps if you can recognize it before you start up the ladder.

Here’s what I look for (your warning signs may be different):

  • Things aren’t as funny as they used to be
  • Things aren’t as rewarding as they used to be
  • Things aren’t as relaxing as they used to be
  • I get bothered by things being out of place
  • I feel OBLIGATED
  • I feel empty
  • I start to forget details
  • It starts to not feel so fun

Grrreat. What can I DO?

I normally go to my coaching “Life Balance Wheel” and take a little assessment. I rank myself between 1 and 10 on each section, 1 being very dissatisfied and 10 being completely satisfied. I’m not ranking what I think I should be doing or how much effort I put into each section. I’m ranking how satisfied I am with that part of my life RIGHT NOW. I know it’s an “old” tool, but it works. It covers the major areas of life satisfaction and will immediately alert the “assessee” of where to get the most bang for the buck. For the record, I include spiritual development in the personal growth category, but that is highly personal and up to you. Hint, start with the low scoring areas first, and calendar some activities to support that part of your life.

Life Balance

Generally, if I work too much, my recreation and family life suffers. That doesn’t feel so good, so if I take specific measures to connect with those parts of my life, I feel much better. If I play (recreate) too much, my work and finances suffer. The prescription then becomes to focus more heavily on earning behaviours…like work. Easy! The trick is to have the wheel balanced. You want it to roll nicely…no flat places or huge dips (like the teeter totter) cuz we want to save our bums.

I have a few personal triggers that will stop me in my tracks…clutter. Yep, if my surroundings are in disarray, I won’t be able to think straight…so better straighten up so I can get some breathing room and make the next steps count. If you need ideas how to deal with clutter check out this post.

Feel free to use this wheel. Are there areas you could focus on to improve the satisfaction level in your life? What are your early warning signs you’re off kilter? You don’t want to do a face plant in the itchy cedar shavings. Take some baby steps, know when to give yourself a time out and you’ll be squealing with delight in no time!

Play Grounded,

Signaturef

 

Michelle Andres is a coach, writer and artist who nudges, nay, shoves creatives in the direction of their dreams by helping them improve productivity by helping them form good behaviours and eliminating poor ones. Follow her on Michelle Headshot plushy coatFacebook on Twitter

For a free gift that will help you boost personal productivity “Join the Tribe” and subscribe to this blog!

 

Command the Brand

Art BrandingCreatives have their plates full. I know you hear people say they wish they could hang out and (fill in the blank)________(write, draw, paint, sculpt, play music) all day, but they don’t know what you REALLY do.

Unless you’re a successful, established, uber lucky artist, chances are you’re doing some of your own branding, marketing and go-getting. I don’t have a “slave spouse” to run my business…I am my own slave. Don’t get me wrong, hubby is my biggest fan, but he doesn’t order supplies, create and order marketing materials, do my social media promotion, write press releases or even stage my installations – but he is willing to help hang them.

So, this week, prepare to get an earful of my “stream of consciousness” ramblings about how whatever you are, that’s not ALL you are! (click to Tweet)

I remember back in the day when I was a new coach. I had a discussion with a colleague about being a coach. I told her coaching was a tool, but you are a business owner first. She disagreed, and as a matter of fact, I believe the proclamation offended her. What I do know is this…

If I paint all day, every day, I will have a lot of paintings in my studio and no one will ever see them. (click to Tweet).

I have to market those suckers. I have to get them out into the light of day. Once dry, they need to be priced, photographed, catalogued, tracked, and SHOWN – otherwise, they are mine forever, and I do want them to go to good homes where other people can enjoy them. I have to let people know when and where to see them. I have to update my website, promote them on social media…the list goes on and on.

Sure, you can hire people to help you with some of these things…and you SHOULD get help rather than spending a full day Computer problemsdesigning a postcard, shipping your work, loading software (or whatever you’re banging your head against the keyboard trying to do).  I, personally, like the option of having access to my own website to update it, although I had a great developer help me when it was initially created. So, you pick and choose your chores – cuz you’re a grown up now!  But, let’s not reinvent the wheel every time, eh? Let’s work smarter, not harder so we can spend more time doing the work we love.

Given all the stuff we have to do besides honing our craft, I suggest the following platform for maximizing your branding efforts.

 Your Artist’s Statement is your Branding Platform. (click to Tweet).

Craft a comprehensive, concise and authentic artist statement. If you don’t know how, read last week’s blog post . Some of you requested “samples” and you may find them here.  Remember, not all the examples are good artist’s statements – so read the blog first, then see if you can tease out the pearls from the swine. (Hint: shorter is better…we’ll isn’t that terrific news?)

 Get clear on who you are and why you do what you do. Own it. Don’t chisel it in stone because we all change, the market changes, our art changes, “stuff” changes. The main thing is to be clear on who you are – now.  Like a geological formation, artist statements do evolve over time.

Now, take those few principles you’ve noted in your statement and use those to promote your branding.

  • Use part of it in a tagline for your business cards and other business materials, if that’s appropriate.
  •  Pick key phrases for postcards and other marketing materials.
  • Use your collectors’ favourite images of your work on promotional materials.
  •  Stay organized so you can find them these materials in a moments notice and won’t have to reinvent them.
  • Conduct yourself in accordance with your branding. This shouldn’t be a challenge since your statement is authentic, right? Walk the talk and be your brand.

I hope you find these suggestions helpful and time-saving, so you might spend a bit more time doing the creative work that drives you. It’s always a balancing act, but you can have considerable command.

Command the Brand,

Signature

 

 

Michelle Andres is a coach, writer and artist who nudges, nay, shoves creatives in the direction of their dreams by helping them improve productivity by helping them form good behaviours and eliminating poor ones. Follow her on Michelle Headshot plushy coatFacebook on Twitter

For a free gift that will help you boost personal productivity “Join the Tribe” and subscribe to this blog!