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”

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”

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”

Mind Your Manures

manure IMy mind is fertile. Even in childhood, I was the one with my head in the clouds, dreaming, scheming, generating ideas and questioning the world.

Fertile minds can work for us or against us. It depends upon the fertilizer, really (click to Tweet).

A mind full of dung generates steaming, fetid, heaping piles of shit. Yeah, I said that. Before I went on my summer vacation  I was composting media clips, political commentary, mind-spinning current events and fears of our collective future. That composting roiled itself into a seething, slow boiling sort of rage. I do not like the “good” being stolen from me by subversive sources. I especially detest the dismemberment of the truth; there IS good in the world. Nuff said.

I really can’t blame the putrid state of affairs on anyone other than Manure IImyself. It’s a lot like your diet. Consume a constant regimen of fast food and junk – you get fat. Make choices for a sedentary life-style – you get sick. Deny any spirituality in your life – you become hopeless. Stop working and spend every cent you’ve made – you become impoverished. Focus on the bad in the world – you get angry. Maybe because you know it’s not the truth. Maybe because you can’t do anything about it….

Wait….

But, you can! Continue reading “Mind Your Manures”

Gardening Tools – Tending Healthy Friendships

Healthy FriendshipsTend your healthy Friendships – like flowers – and enjoy their blooms.

Earlier this week, I read someone’s thoughts about how we sometimes defend other people, claiming, “Deep down they’re a nice person.” We all have or have had these people in our lives, who we felt needed our protection. I’ve previously referred to them as “Weed Farmers.” While other people doubt such a person’s capacity for caring or sensitivity, we, as their faithful friend, family member or spouse, step in and exclaim, “Deep-down he/she is a good person.” This begs the question the writer asked:

How DEEP down?

How far down are you willing to excavate to find the “possible goodness” in another person? Of course, the answer is highly personal. It varies from person to person and situation to situation. I’m a firm believer in tending your relationships, like a garden, with loving care. I am also a firm believer that excavation, if it’s to be done at all, can be left to heavy equipment operators. If someone is over-fertilizing my garden – I’m just not that interested.

Continue reading “Gardening Tools – Tending Healthy Friendships”

Garden Party

“We’re all mad here.”
“But, I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”
                                                             
                                                       ~Lewis Carroll – Alice in Wonderland
 

Mad, Fearless artArtists are an insecure bunch. Not all, but many seek constant reassurance and direction. Newer artists may do it incessantly. They’re liable to make a career out of “what do you think?” and lose the spirit that had them fearlessly making art in the first place.

Some time ago, I made a vow to liver fearlessly…Freudian typo.
This was not entirely possible without reconciling myself to a certain degree of madness. While the decision to live fearlessly included putting myself and my art “out there,” it did not preclude the insecurity that would accompany “spreading my wares” before the masses, showing artwork publically, and the challenges of defining and refining my artistic “voice.” I also didn’t count on the Ego voicing Her rather paranoid concerns. As the stakes got higher, Her inflated decibels were on a mission to drown out reason. My motto – Starve the Ego, feed the Muse. (click to Tweet) Continue reading “Garden Party”

Positive Focus – Getting Back on Track When You View the World as a Train Wreck

Positive FocusChugga, chugga, choo-choooo…..

Life is not always easy.

I’m not prone to anxiety, but the last couple weeks my chi has been askew. Listening to news and current events makes it worse. Our world is a train wreck.

  •  Terrorist wars raging in the middle east
  • Run-away ebola outbreak in Africa that could spread to other continents
  • Government corruption
  • Cyber attacks from Russian mobs
  • A “super volcano” in Yellow Stone National Park
  • Drought in California with no end in sight
  • And, in my own neighborhood, a young man abducts an 8-year-old child from her bed and releases her an hour later, unharmed, but he’s still on the loose.

Are YOU freaked out yet? Sorry to drag you into my misery. Truly, I am. Continue reading “Positive Focus – Getting Back on Track When You View the World as a Train Wreck”

The Unravelment

UnravelmentThe Unravelment

It hasn’t happened in a while and doesn’t happen often, but the other day, I came unraveled I’m a frayed.

I like to think I can steer my own ship, but I was taking on water, so put out an  SOS to a friend. Friends are wonderful for such things, but make sure you have a level-headed confidante, not one that is a little dinghy….so sorry, I couldn’t help it.

I guess I should define unravelment for you, since it’s apparently a new word; as a matter of fact, I just created it. Wouldn’t it be cool if Merriam- Webster put it in the book for 2017? Write to them!

Un-rav-el-ment (v.) – The act of coming unhinged by emotionally reacting to things that could be true or could happen. The awfulizing, ruminating, and visceral reaction of things fabricated in one’s mind without factual proof of existence.

Do you know this state of being? I’m going out on a limb here and guessing we’ve all done it and I’m not alone and bat-shit crazy. Continue reading “The Unravelment”

Camping is Treacherous!

Camping is treacherous!Fighting Bears at Camping

Not the kind of camping where we become one with nature and steep in the beauty of the Creator…that camping, while posing the occasional hazard, is wonderful and restorative. It’s when we break ourselves, as humanity as a whole, into camps. Opposing camps….

That’s treacherous.

Breaking into camps came full focus recently. A video highlighting something called “mansplaining” is making the rounds. A friend, who found the term amusing, posted it on Facebook. She was surprised by the reaction. It sparked a lively and respectful conversation, but not in support of the poorly aimed moniker. Mansplaining is defined as:

Mansplaining (v.) (of a man) explain (something) to someone, typically a woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing.

Embracing such pop-culture labeling is dangerous – in more ways than one. I find these labels offensive and divisive…

To men…to us all.

Continue reading “Camping is Treacherous!”

Sometimes I Need a Jump Start

jump startSometimes I need a jump start.

A real honest-to-goodness kick in the ass.

Lately, I’ve been droning along…needing that jump start. It could’ve taken a good set of defibrillators to get me humming along. I’m kind of like a short order cook. When breakfast and lunch set in, I’m cooking on all the burners and building up steam – happily losing my freaking mind. Then, between rushes, I fall asleep. The kitchen could be on fire, but I hardly would know it, basking in the warm glow of the down time.

Maybe I’m like a fainting goat.

I’m not the slow and steady wins the race kind of girl. I’m Nascar, I’m a firefighter, I’m crisis management, a lunatic trooper. That’s me. (click to Tweet if it’s YOU, too!)

And every time the lull sets in for more than a few days…I panic. I think I’ll never be stoked again. But, you know what? After all these years I think I’ve pinpointed the formula for getting me going.

Over-commit.

Why not just try a good cup of coffee, you say? Weak. Over-commitment is the Beluga caviar of motivation. (click to Tweet) It works every time. I mean, I can actually feel my hair stand on end. I suppose it’s because I take my commitments seriously. Do you? I see a deadline looming and I feed off that urgent energy like a zombie during the apocalypse …yes, a zombie chowing on Beluga…or something like that.

I don’t think this is necessarily the best way to approach my Well Lived Life. But, I seem to be making the most of it – AND I am enjoying myself.

I recently committed to #100tweetables – It’s about making something each day (art for me) for 100 days. Check it out at #100dayproject or visit Elle’s website here. Of course, I’m behind – but I have 97 days to catch up. First I need to finish the work for my June show and 6 “micro-pieces” and a commission and submit some….never mind, you get the point.

Stoked.

So, this is just a short one, because, you know, I’m sort of busy. Didn’t want you to think I forgot about you! NEVER! What’s your summer looking like?

My hair is on fire and I love it!!!

11782161_10207494863919739_64633069007983764_o

 

 

P.S.  There’s still time to get in for the drawing for a free art piece. Sign up for my monthly art newsletter here. April 30th I’ll select a winner. No worries if you’re out of the area – I’ll mail it to you!

If you’d like to follow me on my #100tweetables journey just type the hashtag into Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and you’ll see them. FUN! (But give me through the weekend to catch up).

Michelle Andres is a writer and artist who cultivates her own Well Writer, Artist, CoachLived Life by drinking in the beauty around her, following her passion, respecting others and doing her best to own her own dookie.
Visit Michelle’s studio art site here.
Find Michelle on Facebook or on Twitter or Instagram
“Join the Tribe” and subscribe to this blog (Over there on the left sidebar)!

 

No April Fool


No April Fool
I may have been a fool in March, but refuse to be an April Fool. No joke. The tail is wagging the dog in Michelle Land, and of course, the tail is my computer addiction and social media. Bear with me. I think I can pull this thing together before the end.

Monday a bottle of water took a spill on my laptop. I had to (almost) go cold turkey without my “device fix,” forcing me to sing the praises of iPads and phones. You know my struggles, and I had to wonder, was it irony, justice or both?

Then, blog reader, Amy brought to my attention the time requirements of social media and how it might contribute to my “addiction.” True that…but we can’t live sans electronic devices, especially if we’re using them for business. I began to consider I could be working smarter. Maybe, I could take a page out of my consulting playbook and implement the Pareto Principle and some time management techniques on my own bad self. Seems doable.

Finally, yesterday I had a conversation with a dear chum about friends. Seems most of us have our close friends, our garden variety friends, acquaintances and strangers. Our inner circle of friends know us the best and support us the most (click to Tweet). They are to be valued above all else.

Then, I realized….

When it comes to social media, especially Facebook, many of us have lots of “friends.” Being that they’re friends, I’ve made a habit of getting to know almost all of them…like you would with good friends. I’ve met several people who live in cities different from my own, in person, and it’s been a blessing because they’re delightful. But, lately I’m beginning to feel the weight of focusing energy too many different ways. On Facebook we’re bombarded with family deaths, friends facing health Continue reading “No April Fool”

I’ve Got Friends in High Places

I’ve got friends in High PlacesFriends

How about you?

I’m not a social climber or name-dropper – but my friends give me priceless advantage with very little effort on their part. I’m more of a siphon…not a sponge. These friends presence in my life put me at a distinct advantage for being a success.

You must be thinking ugly things about me. I deserve it because I sort of intentionally misled you. I’m mischievous that way…can’t help it.

My friends in high places are not business or political connections, they’re people who take the high ground in their day-to-day lives and inspire me to do the same. They act as a compass for me, when nurturing others, remaining non-judgmental and, in some aspects, help me drive my business in the spirit of being a positive and service-based. Continue reading “I’ve Got Friends in High Places”

It’s Going to Be a Great Day!

This is not the real delivery guy
(This is not the real delivery guy)

It’s going to be a great day.

That’s what it said on the top of the delivery sheet.

A handsome, young man who was expecting the worst…you could tell.

He told me he had to remind himself. His mantra was on the top of every work order for every day…because, “One bad customer can ruin your whole day.” He had 20 deliveries the day he saw me, and he was all business. From my corporate experience, I suspect he was on some kind of PIP – performance improvement plan. Maybe people had complained and he was REQUIRED to write it at the top of each work order. It’s an educated guess, informed by the fact he told me, “Honestly, I should’ve refused this delivery, so they could send a smaller truck,” as soon as he arrived.

Not a good way to win friends and influence people. Continue reading “It’s Going to Be a Great Day!”