Rearranging the Room in Your Head

When I call this a “Confessional Blog” I’m not fooling around. This week I’ll share a recent experience and give you a tour inside my head; some insight into how my brain works.

You. Should. Brace. Yourself.

Sometimes I free up space in my head and go all conceptual, philosophical ninja on my defenseless self (click to Tweet). I do this without medicinal aids or the use of any hallucinogenics. That’s right, it’s all natural – like the Whole Foods of psychosis. I might be going out on a limb today, but hey, falling is a chance I’ll take. Remember, I vowed to live as fearlessly as possible. Here’s the story…

Following my breath into my yoga practice yesterday morning a strange thought came to me. Suddenly, I imagined I was not little Free from Doubtme, rather, I was Elizabeth Gilbert. You know, the best-selling author of  “Eat, Pray, Love” and her newest release “The Signature of All Things.” I’ve read Gilbert’s interviews. She’s a thoughtful, kind, down to earth human being. Yesterday, Gilbert herself planted her butt on my yoga mat; she took up rent in my cranium.  How did it feel?


So, I began a little experiment. I was Georgia O’Keeffe. I was John Mayer. I embodied  Helen Frankenthaler and Hemingway.  For the record, Hemingway’s balance and flexibility suck wind. With each writer, artist or musician I noticed a subtle change in my body. It differed depending upon the person. It was always different than “I” feel in “my” body. Experiencing each of these people had one feeling in common.

It was…liberating.

I don’t know about you, but when I see people who are revered in their fields I make a big assumption. I assume the doubts, self-consciousness and challenges that go along with striving for that status have long fallen away for them. I assume they’re simply solid in their craft and their souls are free to pursue the world sans doubt. Surely they wake up swinging life by the tail! This freedom allows them to pursue and enjoy doing their best work. Their gifts are free to flow. Unfettered.

To be humble, I have a few…well at least one…well-honed skill(s). When I reflect upon my own experience of using these skills, I realize this “lack of doubt” may not be true of  ALL accomplished people. Perhaps some of them still struggle with insecurity, but surely some must have broken free of the bonds. How would life be different if we each stepped into that space? Not a place of arrogance or haughtiness – instead, a place where the voice of doubt is hushed, quieted.  A space where confidence is given permission to take the “mountain pose.” What would happen then? (click to Tweet)

Freedom from DoubtHow would I be different if I weren’t wondering if I’d ever “do it well enough?”

What if I quietly, internally, accepted I already “did do it well enough?”

How would YOU be different if you stepped into that space?

I had a discussion with a brilliant man about this. I have to say that… he’s reading this. He wondered if the doubt fell away, would the drive and fire be diminished? I encourage you to go deeper. The drive and fire are still alive, only doubt and self-consciousness are diminished. How would you feel? Stop. How. Would. You. Feel?

God has given each of us our own unique gifts. It’s criminal not to unleash them…practice them…share them with the world. Isn’t that why we’re here? It’s not in our benefit to play small, although our fears find gleeful satisfaction in keeping us tiny. It is not our responsibility to feed them.

I’m sorry you’ve read this far (you are still reading, aren’t you?) and I’ve offered no answers. My purpose, I suppose, is to start the conversation. Would you entertain the thought of how this freedom might change your life, your work, your relationships? No one is asking you to change who you are, only to consider rearranging the space in which your spirit resides (click to Tweet).

I look forward to your thoughts.

Please, don’t institutionalize me,



Michelle Andres is a coach, writer and artist who nudges, nay, shoves creatives in the direction of their Writer, Artist, Coachdreams by helping them improve productivity and cultivate good behaviours while eliminating poor ones.
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16 Replies to “Rearranging the Room in Your Head”

  1. Talk about synchronicity. Your link showed up in my FB newsfeed this morning. I had just posted a blog about a secret fear about being an artist, and am getting very little response to it. Immediately started questioning. Thank you!

  2. One of my good friends, Ann Tatlock, is a phenomenal writer. In spite of the fact that she’s an award-winning author, including the Christy Award, she doubts the quality of every new book she writes.

    She’s shown me that doubt is normal and it has spurred me to focus on honing my craft. I’m a better writer today because I have a healthy dose of doubt.

    1. I can sooooo appreciate that point of view, Sherry! I used to be in a management position, and I would have sworn that the key to being good at it was the constant wondering if I was good enough.They kept giving me new company cars while I wondered every day if I’d get fired! LOL! This doubt definitely can create drive. However, after this recent experience, I wonder if you could retain the drive, but let the fear fall away, would that take us to a new level? Would that create a freedom to do even better work? I don’t know. I’m not there yet.

  3. When I was starting out being an artist, I seemed to have a lot of confidence about learning. I recently went through a “dark night of the soul” where my art suffered because my hands were tied from feeling I wasn’t good enough. What had changed? I felt I had to be an “expert”.I’d felt like a total charletan. My drawing and painting and creativity suffered. I am gradually learning the courage to make mistakes, to have fun with the process, and care less about the result. I’m not good at fearlessness, but I’m good at focus (I meditate). Not perfect, just good. And THAT is good enough!

    1. Claudia, thank you for sharing so fearlessly and candidly. In my previous life in corporate America I coached a lot of leaders. Even high performers would sometimes suffer from “Impostor Syndrome.” They’d lay awake at night and wonder if people would find out how “little” they really knew. Doubt is a plague for even experts, but it can definitely pull the reigns in on creativity. There is a balance, I’m sure. Thanks for sharing how you find yours!

  4. It’s great that you have taken a holistic view into the effects of artist accomplishment and in the subtle reading on those who experience the piece. I believe we are entering an age in which a meditative position , receptivity, will be a great rational way to experience creative works, and get to the “real” meaning beyond any doubt

  5. Michelle,

    Great post!

    I think that this is something that happens to all of us who create. We are so vulnerable to the opinions of others. I don’t know if that ever goes away. I’m feeling like that at this moment about this body of work I have. I do need to sit down, close my eyes and take some deep breaths. I do need to be Elizabeth Gilbert (love her books). Thanks for your post!

    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Dora. Everyone has doubts, not just artists. Sometimes they serve us…keep us out of trouble. Sometimes they stifle us and handcuff our creativity. I think most of us begin to rely on it more heavily than necessary. It can be a self destructive habit. Wishing you time and confidence in the “doubt-free” zone. Your work is always beautiful, by the way!

  6. Wow Michelle, what incredible timing!! I just finished a local exhibit that focused on the spiritual energy of Nature and I had mandalas that I painted in 2007, color pencil originals of the local songbirds and even some holiday crafted ornaments from natural objects. Most of the customers didn’t even know what a mandala was…makes me question my market. But I’ve also been questioning the art that I create. I know that I create because I can’t go through a day without that process. It is definitely time for me to “rearrange the space in my head!!” Thanks for an always informative and thought-provoking blog! I will experiment in being Helen Frankenthaler today!

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