Oh, The Drama!!!

Oh, The Drama!

A friend put this on her Facebook page:Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 7.35.18 AM

I think Cheryl Richardson hit the nail on the head. While we might KNOW it’s not our drama, the most challenging part of refraining, or resisting the drama, lays in identifying boundaries. That’s right…sometimes we get confused about which luggage is yours, which is mine, and we end up carrying other people’s bags. I’m no lobby boy (click to Tweet).

My theory is this –

In the vast expanse of most of our brains, there is a tiny corner of doubt. I rather appreciate that place, because it sometimes stops me before I speak, keeps me from making rash decisions and generally keeps me out of trouble. You probably have that corner, too. It’s a corner of doubt that can also be self-critical, keep us from pulling the trigger on our dreams and often gives some people a foot up as a stepping stone to pull us into their drama.

Politicians and marketers know about the using the corner as a stepping stone.

So do drama queens.

Now, not everyone has a “doubt corner.” Most of those who don’t are politicians and socio-paths. It is with this knowledge that I’m grateful for my occasional doubt. (click to Tweet)

Any ol’ hou….sometimes we dive into other people’s drama under the guise of wanting to help, to be supportive, or to prove we “care.”  There’s a plethora of reasons, including that doubt – we just don’t know what’s ours to do and what’s theirs to do. Sometimes the border can be almost invisible and it feels like the illegal immigration of our minds. One day you wake up amidst the drama and say, “Hey, this is really none of my business!” Now, the work of extracting yourself will begin. It’s best to have an early detection system where you can walk the other way, walk away from the drama, before you’re in their play.

If you can’t deflect the drama, there’s a tool for dealing with it and putting it back into the hands of the willing owner. I’ve found acknowledging and validating to be a very useful tool, so the person feels heard, but you’re not helping or participating. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Recognize ahead of time their drama is their business. You are not going to try to “help” or join them. It’s their path, their issue to learn from and their business how big of a deal they want to make it in their OWN lives. This is the most important step because this keeps their “stuff” in their lives.
  2. Acknowledge their feelings. Example: “It sounds like you’re really angry at your mother for calling you “crazy and irresponsible.” Stick to the facts by restating them.
  3. Now, validate their feelings with, “Most people would feel that way.” Key here – most people. Don’t make it personal by saying YOU’D feel that way, too. Don’t step into the pile. “Most people”…got it? Good!
  4. You can conclude your conversation on the topic by sharing some words of confidence to send them on their way. “You’re a very smart person, I know you’ll find a solution to this.” “You’ve got this, I have a great deal of confidence you already know the answer.”

Skilled people might ask a couple open-ended questions before going to step #4 – but this is not for the faint hearted. It’s one of the easiest ways to get a role in the drama queen’s play. So, if you want to be SURE not to end up on stage…proceed without asking questions, to the #4 wrap up. Here are the MOST important points

  • Recognize what is someone else’s drama
  • DO NOT ADVISE THEM!!!women with grace

Now, in my book of doing the work, you’ve done your part to support this person. Don’t wade in any further. Excuse yourself and go about your business. This works great with kids, too. Trust me on this…It’s supportive and empowering to let them figure out a solution on their own.

If you’re wondering if you’re a drama addict and part of the problem, you probably are. If people avoid your conversations, don’t blame them, examine your own topics of conversation and behaviour. If you’re compelled to help a drama queen, if you’re dying to “fix it,” you’ve got other issues. We tend to repeat behaviours that give us a pay-off. You might start by asking yourself, “What’s the pay-off for me in getting involved?”

Now, back to that little corner of doubt – know that it’s there. Protect it. It serves most of us well, but can be misused by others. Learning where boundaries lie is difficult because they apply to so many areas and contexts of our lives. Certainly, we don’t want to NOT help people who are truly asking and need it. Learning the difference is a valuable skill because you never signed up to be a supporting cast member of the crazy play.

Exiting Stage Left,

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Michelle Andres is a writer and artist. SheWriter, Artist, Coach is a trained personal and executive coach, has a BA in Psychology and an MS in Organization Development. She’s an advocate for all of us cultivating our own, “Well-Lived Lives.”
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Loose Ends

Those dang loose ends. We tend to forget them, like fringe on the hem of our pants. We just drag them along, like they don’t even, never did, exist.

We don’t need to worry about every little thing, anyhow (click to Tweet). Little loose ends should be the least of our worries. Looking over our shoulder, when all that OTHER junk is looming on the horizon….that’s how you run into stuff!

I suspect loose ends have a lot more impact than we care to admit. I’ve suspected it for some time now.

Load of baggage

It’s all that hocus-pocus, voodoo, “the Universe says” sort of thing, you know? It’s a close cousin of the clean up the clutter to make room for new possibilities, self-help, kind of ‘er “crap.” Loose ends, I suspect, are the kind of fray that can silently KILL you! Think about this when you’re not thinking about it:

Loose ends are like our shadow selves –  pieces of a shrugged-off obligation. Like raggedy pant hems they go through the wet streets in winter, they drag through the mud of spring, they sit in the closet all summer long and finally, we yank them into the light again and, like mushrooms, they’ve grown in the dark, taking on a life of their own.

Loose endsSo, it’s time for me to clean it up. That’s right! I’m rolling up my sleeves, breaking out the scissors and trimming up those ravelly ends, before my life ends up in tatters. I suggest you do the same.

For years I’ve had an unfinished project in the mosaic studio. It’s sat unattended, like something from a Stephen King novel, watching from the shadows, silently whispering, “why don’t you finish me?” Well, I don’t really know. But, I do reckon you’re probably clogging up my abundant energy exchange. You’re probably so pissed at this point that you’re cursing me from the dark corner. Truth be told, I’ve avoided you the last 8 months because you scare the bejeezus out of me!

That’s not all…there’s another piece I’ve avoided, because I’m not sure about the vision of it. Again, a commitment that I’ve allowed myself to dodge, dragging my shabby shoes over, shuffling through the war-torn fields of my life’s forgotten promises.

Don’t judge me!

The last few months have felt like a little something is out of place. It’s not really bad…but it ain’t quite right. I’ve asked for guidance, I’ve sought answers. Maybe it wouldn’t bother someone who takes their commitments more lightly, but the guilt, oh the guilt of the unanswered promise, the shredded, ragged, misery of the loose ends. BAH!!!!

SO, before the next blog post that mosaic will be finished. Loose ends are the fibers that weave ragrets – intentional misspelling…no letters, puleeze. (click to Tweet)

Got a confession? Sure you do! Leave it below and we can do our penance together.

Off to Be a Grown Up,

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Writer, Artist, CoachMichelle Andres is a writer and artist. She confesses every Friday and falls on the sword for all of us. Please, let’s laugh at ourselves together as we cultivate well lived lives. 

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The Value of Grit

(This is a “reprint” and a bit of an edited “hybrid” of a previous post. I selected it because, while I understand the value of grit, I also understand the value of the combination of letting go while still engaged in joyful pursuit. It’s a balance I’m struggling with….so while I struggle, you may want to read this…)

Grit work ethicI used to have a sticker next to my computer. It said “Die Trying.” It was the culture of the company I worked for – where the boss hurled battle cries like, “Play hurt!” “Dig your cleats in!” “This ain’t no country club!” We were a small, yet powerful, team. What we were able to accomplish was remarkable, and our successes drove us to work harder. We celebrated often, whether it was for conquering the competition or recognizing our own mammoth efforts. It was a constant thrill and the work ethic built confidence in each of us.

That job was a good fit for me. This recovering Catholic doesn’t feel like anything is finished until I leave a little blood on it (click to Tweet if you’re RC, too!).

I know it’s a fallacy, but I believe it has to hurt – just a little – for me to feel like I’ve done well enough.  I am convinced this guilty masochism keeps me striving for excellence. It pushes me. It’s my quality control.

There’s a difference between those who are willing to die trying and those who are not. It usually shows up in results. (click to Tweet)

I’ve noticed a lot of creative people expect things to happen organically. I can understand that because  that’s how our creative work is processed. Intuition and inspiration play a large part in knowing how to approach our work, understanding when something is complete and, at least for me, there’s an entire “letting it go” part in the middle of the creative process that allows the best work to spring forth…almost on its own.

Letting “it” come to you it a critical component in achievement, but shouldn’t be relied upon…at all. It doesn’t work very well in practical pursuits like productivity and marketing. You have to do your legwork. You have to stretch. You have to be willing to die trying. That madness that has you working in the studio at 2:00 am – that’s not always inspiration…sometimes, it’s a DEADLINE!

And that’s okay.

Because stuff happens. Stuff happens when we are willing to “die trying.

Most of us value success, fulfillment, recognition. Whether you get it or not depends upon a few things. Luck? Sure! Opportunity? Certainly! Talent? Yes! Then there is that other piece…Grit. If you aren’t the luckiest and most talented contender, you must have grit. It’s the fuel that may just make the difference. It’s the ingredient that might just get you there. If you don’t get “there” every time, that’s natural. You’ll probably pick up some other bi-products along the way – things like confidence, camaraderie, strategic skills, faith.

And speaking of faith…a little reminder that the very best things in life often wear disguises. They come wrapped as parcels we may not have chosen. Sometimes, they just choose us, because, newsflash, you don’t know everything. As you forge ahead, may your grit be curious and accepting. May the burning in your “trying muscles” have stamina and faith. May you be bold and tireless,

Go Get It, or Die Trying,

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Michelle Andres is a writer and  artist. She writes this blog in hopes it may help you, also, create a well-lived life. Writer, Artist, Coach
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Don’t Judge ME!!!

“Don’t judge me!” “DO NOT judge me!”Don't Judge Me!

I’ve said it before, in jest, haven’t you? I’m sure most of us, when we self-confidently push the envelope,  have asserted that statement with humour and followed it with broken laughter or giggles.

Sometimes, it’s not funny. There are times we’re alone in our head,  times we think or suspect we’re being unfairly assessed that can have big, nasty impact. What happens when we believe we’re amongst friends, and suddenly we feel judged? Actually, the bigger question becomes are we really being judged, or are we insecure and feeling out of our element, so we make the fatal mental leap? I’ve seen people turn this assumption inward – after all, you can’t confront it when you simply suspect it, so the only evidence becomes your own self-doubt. Continue reading “Don’t Judge ME!!!”

The Path’s Purpose

Have the planets aligned? It’s New Year’s Day and a perfect chance for me to harangue you with a bunch of questions, like “What’s your word for 2016?” “What big, audacious goals are on your horizon?” “What steps do you have planned to achieve your dreams this year?” or “What’s your New Year’s Resolution?”

© 2015 Diannepoinski.com
© 2015 Dianne Poinski Photography

Not. This. Year.

I think 2016 is time for a grace period. Why? Well, I recently saw this from my friend,  Joseph White Wolf:

My New Years resolution is to not change a thing about myself and to simply love myself just the way I am… Never do I want to change the path that I am on, my path is here to change me… ”                                           

Continue reading “The Path’s Purpose”

An Equation for Self-Worth

self-worthI don’t want to write today. This fine morning, I have a choice. I’ve written this blog for you for over 3 years – I think – but I’m not good at math, really. Well, except in the idiot savant sense, when I baffle and amaze…but I’m veering off track. I always post on Friday. 3 years ago, I made a commitment to myself to write every week. I didn’t care if you read it or not; I wanted to write it. Well, now, I’m giddy and grateful you read it – or at least sometimes you read it. I really feel blessed when you leave comments or share it. You’ve encouraged me and I’m considering a book…but that’s another story. The point is, I don’t want to write today, and I wouldn’t, if it weren’t for that darned equation of self-worth. But, like a quick talking, fast moving, snake oil salesman, I’ll explain the math later.

Know how that is when you don’t want to do something -especially when it’s good for you? Have you ever had a hard time finding the motivation to keep your commitments? Does it ever happen to you? Continue reading “An Equation for Self-Worth”

Recipe for a Peace of Mind

We all have an appetite for a peace of mind.

Unfortunately, too often it seems it’s come to this –  people are divided, though we are more alike than we are different. We blame, finger point, cave to fears…and the truth is…most of it may not even be real. This Ted Talk brought to light just how much of what we’re told is intended to manipulate us to do something, not do something or vilify our fellow human beings. Many of these “agendas” work against people being whole, healthy and happy… though I’m not sure that’s their primary objective. We don’t have to let the establishment cannibalize us – do I sound like a conspiracy theorist? (click to Tweet). We can cultivate wholeness and unity.

It begins with us. It begins with gaining control over our own souls, our own thoughts and deciding who we want to be in this world. I believe we were designed, by God, to be peaceful beings, but it’s so difficult to do when we’re being manipulated into contention. This constant division, attacking and vilifying is like sandpaper on our souls (click to Tweet).

Do you know who you want to be? Are you brave enough to claim it?

Bill Phillips Who you are quote Continue reading “Recipe for a Peace of Mind”

Charting a Course for the Good Life

What a week! Don’t ‘cha think?Good Life

It’s been an emotional ride, from the Paris attacks, to our divided ideas as a nation trying to manage a refugee crisis. No one is asking my opinion, and I’m not about to give it – I’m hardly qualified. However, I can clearly see the fallout and have charted that course before. Heck, I’ve got a map!!!

I’ve written about addictions before. I’ve addressed Internet addiction and the compulsion to be “selected.” But, what about addiction to the news? Are you afraid if you turn the news off you’ll be left behind? Terrified you’ll be only one on Earth without a 6-month supply of drinking water and coconut Kind bars if you wrench yourself away? Suffering from “Media Malaise?” I realize this is a stretch, but are you convinced the media is full of manipulative lies, designed to motivate you with fear, name-calling and confusion, but despite that realization you can’t turn network news off? You might be a sick, wrecked, sadistic mess of a person. It’s okay. We’re all a little cracked.   Continue reading “Charting a Course for the Good Life”

Lightening the Load

Load of baggageThere’s been something on my mind lately. It has to do with lightening the load, letting the past go, forgiveness. Basically, it’s about not dragging your baggage behind you…forever.

I’ve wanted to write about it, but realized I’ve written something similar before and I don’t want to be redundant. Let me repeat that, I don’t want to be redundant.

Yet, I realize, life is a spiritual practice. Truly, it is.

Sometimes, I find myself repeating the same lessons over again. I suppose it’s either because I haven’t fully learned them, or perhaps I just have a short memory. Did I ever tell you that? Does it happen to you, too? Which, you ask? Whichever.

Anyway, lately I’ve been shedding stuff. You’ll remember I let go of the stuff with my neighbor. I’ve also let go of some past relationship baggage – where I’d felt wronged. Maybe, rather than feeling we’ve been wronged we should feel we’ve been “informed.” Seems easier on the soul. (click to Tweet)

I’m not sure what triggers that moment when we choose to drop the load and move forward. It’s strange, but we drag it behind us – the stories, the wrongs – sometimes for a long, looooong, time. They begin to feel like part of us, this extra weight. Maybe eventually we don’t even notice it. These things become part of our identity.

Maybe that’s why we refuse to let them go. We think things like, if I wasn’t a “victim” of so and so, who would I be? If I hadn’t had that bad employment experience, who would I be? If I didn’t have that difficult relationship with that awful person, who I make wrong so I can be okay being me, who would I be? I’m not sure exactly who I’d be, but I’m sure of WHAT I’d would be….lighter. I’m sure I’m okay without the bags.

Seems some of the bags I carry aren’t even my own; they’re the bags of those evil twins, judgment and expectation; the twins who steal our levity, our joy, our liberation. They keep us in the world of our stories, which may or may not be true…but who really cares? 

So, as I move ahead, I thought I’d share my inner-ramblings with you. Because, while I’m a bit crazy, I’m no more or less crazy than you are… and you’ve probably carried some bags, too. I think you’ll find, if you put down the bags, the colours are more vivid, the heart is lighter, life is sweeter. So….

Check your bags,

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Michelle Andres is a writer and artist. She Writer, Artist, Coachwrites this blog to share tips for a well-lived life and finely run art business…just for you! 

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 9.05.02 PMThe “2016 Art and Inspiration Calendars” are HERE!!! Buy one for you and one for friend while I still have some in stock! Each month features a painting and quote from the blog. The cost is $20 plus a shipping fee of $3.99 or they can be picked up in my R. Street Studio. 12 months of art and inspiration!!! You can order them at the bottom of my art page (see the tab at the top). 

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Wanting What’s Best

The best thingJust because we want it, doesn’t mean it’s the best thing for us.

You may want to read that again.

This point was driven home this week when I had a conversation with a friend. She was wondering how to deal with some “crazy spirited” extended family members. You know the old saying,”You can pick your friends but you can’t pick your family?” Sorry, Mom, I don’t mean YOU! Anyhou, convinced large family gatherings would fill her heart, she was wrestling with the idea of her unwieldy and unreliable “attendees.”  She dreamt of a large family gathering and, of course, that was the family she had to work with. Just because we want it doesn’t mean it’s good for us. Imagine hosting a family gathering where you issued straight jackets like party favors at the door.

I remember when I worked in corporate. I’d apply for advancement positions. I did it because I wanted it…or sometimes, I just wanted to be the chosen one. Honestly. I just wanted to be selected…competitive much? All the demands that accompanied the position, well, those might not be for me, but I wanted to be the pick of the litter. This addictive desire got me into tight, unhappy spots on more than one occasion. My ego made my bed, then I had to be the one to lie in it! It’s taken some time, but I’m so over it.

What do you want? Is it your ego or inner-child doing the begging – or is it your heart’s desire? How would you know the difference? It’s worth taking some time to think about, me thinks. Sometimes, our best information comes in times of contemplative silence. (click to Tweet) Continue reading “Wanting What’s Best”

Silence

Silence Cairns(This post is republished from 9/1/15 – still pertinent. I hope you enjoy. As always, your comments and thoughts are welcome. We learn through sharing.  ~m )

Silence is priceless. It’s a precious space where the feet of our souls, not the soles of our feet, find solid ground. In silence we can contemplate, innovate, be.

Silence provides a reprieve, walling out the chatter, the opinions, the judgment, the noise.

Silence provides a feather bed for deep discovery. (Click to Tweet) Continue reading “Silence”

Social Media Has Made Me A Better Person

Social media has made me a better person.

Social MediaI know, you’re probably saying, “Whaaaaaat?” You might believe people let their alter-egos run like wild toddlers on “Fakebook” and other social media platforms, but that isn’t always true. I’d like to believe very few do.

Several years ago, I realized the person I was born as had been buried alive to allow birth for the person who would comply with expectations. It wasn’t really a tragedy, because I developed skills I probably wouldn’t have pursued if left to my own devices. I became an educated, professional who could run not only an entire life by myself, but also run other people’s entire days and businesses. But, one day I realized I needed to honor that silenced inner voice. It was a crossroads. I needed to bloom before I went to seed, so the gag-order was lifted.

I wrote a “coming out post” – birthing this blog, “The Art of the Well Authetic picLived Life” and mostly quit my corporate gig. I occasionally dip my toe back into the water, because it’s fun, refreshing and still part of who I am (and it can buy a lot of paint!), but I spend the bulk of my days pursuing more creative endeavors.

Continue reading “Social Media Has Made Me A Better Person”

Studio Space – A Place to Call Your Own

Studio Space
Sirima Sataman’s workspace as seen on design sponge.com

How important is studio space to creating the art you love? What impact does it have on your work? To some of us, the surroundings are vital to success…to others, the impact is minimal.

I know people who’ve made art in basements, in garages and at kitchen tables. I once made a mosaic bench on two saw horses and an old door (the table) in a falling down gazebo.  I’m sure others have created in stranger places.

It’s interesting our preferences, and the excuses we can use to NOT create. For instance, I have a friend who has been delaying art-making

Studio Space
Claire Basler at work – Buddhabrot

until she has a “proper space.” It’s going on 3 or 4 years. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not pointing any fingers…just observing.

I’ve found some spaces are more inspirational than others. I used to share a studio space that had previously been used by a very renowned artist. I expected an infusion of juju that couldn’t be beat down with a big ol’ stick, but that never happened. As a matter of fact, I practically couldn’t write in that space. The energy was all wrong – and because it was shared – it could be energetically cleared and then would soon be filthy with negative buzz again. No. Helping. It. Continue reading “Studio Space – A Place to Call Your Own”

Who’s Your Daddy?

Who’s your biggest advocate? Who champions your career, has your back, ferrets out opportunity that will benefit you?Advocate for yourself - create opportunity

I hope your answer is – ME! I don’t mean me…the coach, the artist, the advisor…I mean YOU! You probably aren’t comfortable advocating for yourself. Few of us are, but the truth is, you MUST be your own advocate, whether you’re a creative, a corporate person, a small business owner or a solo-preneur. No matter who you are, you owe it to yourself to be your own best advocate. It’s not a bloated ego thing. It’s a smart thing (click to Tweet).

Continue reading “Who’s Your Daddy?”

You Say Devices; I Say Divisives

Social media addiction devicesEvery week I send an email to my accountability partner, listing things I’ll take care of in the upcoming week. She does the same. We have Alyson Stanfield to thank for our professional relationship, which has evolved into a fine friendship over the years. This week, “Stay away from the computer” was on my list, and my partner’s interest was piqued, admitting she had a little social media addiction problem, too.

I’ve copped to my addiction in the past, but never offered the concrete solutions I’ll offer in this post. WARNING: These concrete solutions can, and will at times, feel more like a pair of cement shoes.

I began to examine what is commonly referred to as FOMO – Fear of Missing Out – but needed to understand the ‘why’ behind our obsessive computer-seeking behaviour. I came to these conclusions about why we’re drawn to our divisives devices: Continue reading “You Say Devices; I Say Divisives”