I am learning to listen.

Listening to the silent cues that help me navigate perspective. Listening for what’s missing.

I got caught up in the noise. At first, it seemed important, critical that I should pay rapt attention. It kept getting louder and louder, creating fear and trepidation. Why was it scary? Because, I couldn’t pay attention to ALL the noise. I didn’t have the capacity to process all. that. noise. It came from so many directions, and if it was important, I was missing a ton of it! Eventually, I began to doubt my ability to manage this massive amount of  data. In the back of my mind was the realization perhaps some of it was not crucial, needed or true. How could I manage it ALL? How could I live my best life without it? How could I possibly separate the wheat from the chaff of truthfulness?

Yesterday it dawned on me, if I just settled into in the silence, God would take care of the noise. That’s what faith is, isn’t it? And I invited the silence. And I looked for the Good. And it’s abundantly sprinkled…everywhere. (click to Tweet). Continue reading »

For a year, or two, I haven’t written much. I felt like I was beating the same, noisy drum…no one was listening to my rhythm. Was I out of sync? Did I need to reign in my focus? It’s so simple, I’ve said it a million times (slight exaggeration)…

What you focus on becomes your world.

For the first 3-years of writing “The Art of The Well-Lived Life” I focused on joy, building a life you would love and tips for creatives growing their businesses.  I shared those ideas with you. It worked.

Then something changed.

I noticed the world was becoming collectively ugly. You know what I mean, so I’m not going to dive into details. I got fixated on demanding a big, fat, collective time out from everyone.

No one sat down.

I felt powerless. My voice was too soft. In retrospect, perhaps it was too angry? I think, in an effort to “fix it,” I was becoming part of the problem. Maybe, hey!!! I was beating a toxic drum!

What you focus on becomes your world.

So, I sat my sorry butt down. I gave myself a big, fat time out. I wrestled with my demons and tried to sort it out. During my deep breath (it’s a metaphor) I looked for beauty. I looked for what was right. I looked for joy. Then, God delivered a gem – right in my lap. Thank YOU!

It was a blessing and a joy to stumble upon “The Creativity Habit” Daphne Cohn’s podcast. See, each day, on my walk, I look for beautiful things. They’re all over my neighborhood, and probably in yours, too. You can see some of them at @notes.fromthenest on Instagram. While walking, I listen to podcasts. This is when, quite by accident, but more likely by Divine Design,  I found #66 – “How to live a joy-filled life doing what you most love” with Jesh de Rox.

Never has anything made me feel so understood. De Rox knows how to get to the core of our humanity and urge us, simply, to be ourselves and choose joy. He simplifies the language, collates the thoughts, validates the fear and reminds us of our choices. Have a look.

It’s not easy…but, it’s perfect for me. It might be perfect for you, too. Have a listen to the podcast here.

So, I reached out to Jesh to thank him. He told me about his podcast mini-series, Practical Forms of Self Love. It’s on my playlist.

I encourage you to fill your ears, and hearts. If you do, let me know what you think.  I’d love to hear from you – just leave a note below in the comments. By the way, Google doesn’t like the search-ability of my post. After listening to the podcast, I’m not fixing it – because I’m marching to the beat of my OWN drum! So, please feel free to share the post. Let’s make it a conversation. Let’s keep it bright and beautiful. Because, you know….

What you focus on becomes your world.



Michelle Andres is a writer and artist who cultivates her own WellLived
Life by drinking in the beauty around her, following her passions, respecting others and doing her best to own herown dookie.

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Photos: 123 RF
Headshot: Jeremy Meehan Photography


Moves come in different forms and contexts.

Moves include not only our physical bodies, our locations and objects around us  – but also our mental strategies and attitudes.

Whenever a move is made, it creates a change.  When I was in grad school, studying organizations, we learned every change made to any part of a system impacted the entire system, and the same holds true for moves in other areas of our lives. Moves are the catalyst to change. 

Expect Good Things - Michelle Andres
For me, moves in art make a painting not only possible, but the creation of it more interesting. The time spent, and act of creating, offers a space to solve problems, explore possibilities and overcome fears.  I like to expect good things yet, sometimes, we’re afraid to make a move. We don’t want to lose what we have – and this is true not only for painting, but for life. Could the painting be BETTER? Could our lives be BETTER? If you make that move, you take a risk.  

Recently, we moved homes. It was a long process. We bought our new house before we sold our old house – a move I don’t recommend unless you have a compelling reason to do so, or thrive on crazy, unbridled stress!!!  Most of our belongings were left in the old house for “staging” purposes. We camped at the new place for over 5 months with a fold up table and chairs and a bed, slowly dragging back small items of comfort… kind of like Steve Martin in The Jerk. It was home-seller’s purgatory. During this time, my studio space changed, shrinking to a 5thof its previous size. I couldn’t find materials – everything had changed. Everything had MOVED!!!

So, when I ran across this quote, I was more than a little intrigued:

Moves create possibilities

It’s from Dr. Nancy Hillis. She’s an artist, author and existential psychologist. Her new , best-selling book, The Artist’s Journey, Bold Strokes to Spark Creativity offers support for creatives, helping  them work through the fear and doubt that many artists wear like a career accessory. I’d like the bracelet of doubt and the necklace of shame, please. Uh, no thank you. I work best unadorned.

Continue reading »

Mary Oliver died…and I wept.

I did not know her, but acutely knew her words and lyrical poetry. Her story was well known – growing up in a dysfunctional family and finding solace in the outdoors, writing and exploring. I knew about some parts of her life…but I only knew her through the poems.

My grief was ignited by the realization there would be no more words from Mary Oliver. My thoughts rolled over the tremendous gift she was and that often the words were taken for granted, like they sprang from an overflowing well. But, she was a treasure and had a limited engagement with us…as do so many.

For me, poets live closest to the soul. I wrote poetry as a child and younger person, but found I had to scrape so close to the core it burned me raw and I didn’t want to live there.

Oliver’s poetry inspired me on many occasions. Particularly, when I was working in corporate America, desperately searching for my true self – I discovered this one: Continue reading »

Fog, life, river
Some of us aren’t content with a simple, lovely life. We riot to live on the margins. 

Some of us can’t help but let life beat right through us, dancing in joy, writhing in disappointment , sticking its stiletto heels into our very souls.

A friend wrote, “ I realize how lucky I am, to feel everything so hard. It’s why I am an artist and it’s who I am.”

It took me a lifetime to appreciate living on the margins. In my younger days, it felt like mood swings, hormones run amok. My parents had no idea how to handle the intensity and I had no idea how to control it.  So, as any obedient young person would do, I stuffed a lid on it and became one of the soldiers; the soldiers who slay their nature and pledge allegiance to duty. I marched on, one in a million – bringing my best to whatever post called me while routinely trudging across the heart of my muse.

Until one day I didn’t. Continue reading »

The Unknown forces you bear down on the Now.  Days and moments become more precious and important to daily living, as you focus on what’s in front of you.

It may sound like a good remedy for the chaotic wails of the modern world, but that’s only if you’re fearless.

Sometimes, the Unknown holds the hand of its cousin, Fear.  Fear has a way of keeping you awake at night and stopping you in your daily tracks. Fear demands you flee, hide or kick its butt. I don’t know about you, but I’m not as bad-ass as I’d like to believe. I’m reminded of this when Fear tags along. I’d like to add, “uninvited,” but we all know that’s untrue. Continue reading »

I’m A Work In Progress

I’m a work in progress.

It’s taking longer than I thought. Both the unfolding of me and our life transition.

I grasp at lovely things, as if they were branches that will keep me from going under. Until this household move, I had little idea that I thrive on aesthetics, taking in beauty as if it were air.Grab a branch

Since our old home is on the market, loaded with charm and sacred, secret spaces, it needs daily care. I’m constantly, gardening, cleaning, giving it love. But, I’ve given all my love. 


Artist Supplies

I don’t paint anymore. I haven’t worked in the studio for weeks, and weeks. I had no idea this transition would totally take out my practice. Everything is out of place. This isn’t good for an artist. We get irascible when we don’t work….no one wants the business end of a stalled artist.  With the exception of Tuesday mornings with my dear teacher, painting does not happen. I’ve started daily ink drawings for Inktober. It’s something.

So, as I often do in times of uncertainty, I look for the lesson. Am I learning patience? Am I learning faith? Is it both….or more? Yes, I’ve considered it’s me. It always is, you know? Not always me, always us…you. We get in our own ways. Continue reading »