Live Your Yoga

Free from DoubtLive your yoga. That’s what my yoga instructor says when she ends class.

I’ve been harried lately (please don’t send Lady Gillettes, that’s not what I mean). I’m inundated preparing for a June art exhibit, taking on a new medium and managing multiple travel plans. It’s made daily living ripe for chaos and slip-ups. In past posts I’ve explored my penchant for over-commitment and collecting information – AKA “clutter” – when things get a bit too demanding.

Well, I’m THERE.

My balance has been off-kilter.

Many revelations come to me on the yoga mat, so I took to it this morning. We have the most incredible instructor who talks a bit about living your yoga before we begin class. Today’s topic was energy – yours…mine…ours. Our energy is our responsibility. Continue reading “Live Your Yoga”

Pack Rattin’

pack rattin' clutterPack Rattin’

That’s right! Hang on tightly – because this is a confessional blog. Time for me to fess up and do some heavy duty penance no matter how embarrassing the admission is. I do it for YOU, because you just might be pack rattin’, too.

Last week realized I’m motivated by over-commitment. I’ve noticed having a LOT to do leads to the seduction excuse of pushing organizing stuff to the wayside. So basically, the more I have to do, the less time I have to keep things in their proper places. When I pack rat, I do it in grand style. I have electronic junk and paper junk and some of it isn’t junk at all. I suspect I’m gathering some emotional junk, too. I don’t really have time to clear it all up because…Time Management

I’m just soooooo busy. Continue reading “Pack Rattin’”

While I Was Busy Being Someone Else – Power of the Redux

(This share is over 3 1/2 years old and the 2nd post I ever wrote for  “The Art of The Well Lived Life.” It was, in essence, my coming out post. I had some startling realizations While I was Busy Being Someone Else. I still feel this post relevant and poignant. Hoping, on this day, you find yourself happy and celebrating who you really are. If you’re not, you can always use today to reclaim your life and live in accordance with your heart. Wishing you all the courage to joyfully celebrate YOU! ~m)

Strange thing happened the other day…

I was called to recount my past life in detail. My corporate life. When thisSomeone else happened, I began to behave like the person I was back then. I got edgy, sharply strategic, unsettled.

I am not a corporate type. It’s not that I’m not smart enough, aware enough, creative enough…I can do those things. It’s my soul. My soul does not agree with the treatment I witnessed as an internal corporate employee. I’m an artist at heart. A writer, a coach and communicator. I appreciate pure intention, honesty, flaws. The human aspect, with all its imperfections makes me joyful.

Do you remember who you really are? As a child you probably knew. Continue reading “While I Was Busy Being Someone Else – Power of the Redux”

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!!!

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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
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The Price of Giving Too Mucho

(Since I’m on an undisclosed beach in Mexico, filling my own cup, (and draining the occasional shot glass) I thought you might like to read this again…or even for the first time, because I’ll bet you’ve been here, too – not the beach, but the place where you’ve given too mucho)

My cup is almost empty. There’s no more wind in my sails. I can only giving too muchthink in trite clichés.

I’ve given pretty much all of it away.

I’d like to think I’m a bottomless-well, serving buckets of goodwill, assistance and cheer to everyone I meet – but it’s a negligent practice that can lead to a parched throat and scowling countenance. Ooops, there goes the cheer.

I’m not that generous. At least not now.

I offer a lot of assistance – I know that about myself. I will generously promote you, tirelessly applaud you, praise you, share with you, give of my time. Don’t feel sorry for me –

Human beings do not repeat behaviours that don’t have a pay-off in it for them. (click to Tweet).   Continue reading “The Price of Giving Too Mucho”

Life is a Poem

Poetry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s April – National Poetry Month. I’ve been spending March and  April writing haiku – a form of Japanese poetry, in preparation for my upcoming June art exhibit with the talented Judy Jacobs titled “See it with Words.”  This exhibit features writing and visual art. It opens June 11th at ARTHOUSE Gallery.

In honor of what I believe is the rawest, most saturated and divine form of expression, I’m presenting you with 3 poems, in different forms. These are, of course, some of my favorites. I hope you enjoy them. If you’d like to add a poem that speaks to you, please do so in the comments. I’d love to know what speaks to you! It’s a good way to celebrate National Poetry Month.

Mary Oliver’s “The Journey” is a poem that spoke to me as I transitioned from working in the corporate world to becoming a full time artist. I’m sure this piece speaks to your experience with transitions as well…at least I hope it does.

This Maya Angelou poem speaks to the indomitable human spirit and the common, perhaps familiar feeling of being opposed or defeated. I love that the author is reading it….the sound of her velvety voice is comforting to me and makes me smile. And Still I Rise.

Finally, I present a “boss poetry jam” by Derrick Brown exploring what is “holy” in our world. It might be more than you think. This one gives me chills for the obvious reasons. It is worth every second of your time.

Also, a gentle reminder, April 21st is Poem in Your Pocket Day. (Click to Tweet) Click on the link to learn more and download a poem for your pocket. Of course, writing your own would be a fine thing to do, too. Feel free to share these and celebrate….

Because Life is A Poem,
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Michelle Andres is a writer and artist who cultivates her own Well Lived Life by drinkingWriter, Artist, Coach in the beauty around her, following her passion, respecting others and doing her best to own her own dookie.

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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”

12-Steps and a Trip

(This is a modified re-post from July 2014. I still find computer addiction is an applicable issue. I’m getting better…I think. Maybe YOU’RE the one with the problem, now Since).

Computer AddictionPut me in a 12-Step program. I’ve been through one before, but that was eons ago.
12-Step programs offer fantastic structure with “rules for accountability and living.” Back in the day, it was clear whose shit was whose right from the start, and yes, ahem… I did make a small, negative contribution to the “problem.” In the walls of those meetings, I made friends who were seeking healthy boundaries and I learned to sniff out abusers, so I wouldn’t repeat my choices. I had a sponsor. I’m not sure if anyone would man-up and sponsor my recovery with my current problem.

My name is Michelle and I have a computer problem.

I need to take 12-steps back from my computer…way back. (click to Tweet)

It’s affecting the quality of my life and work. The black tar social media is the worst.(click to party with me and Tweet this) It’s become a nag, a constant, driving, whiny beast, tugging, clawing at the corner of my mind each time I try to focus on something truly productive. When I do break free, I feel elated and light spirited. I’m mindfully engaged. I’m not sure what’s rewarding about lighting up the screen again, but I know from my previous training, there must be a payoff for the dysfunctional behaviour to continue. Seems I’m gettin’ my fix. Continue reading “12-Steps and a Trip”

The REAL Picture

Not a REAL picture

The REAL Picture

There’s a lot of information in the webosphere and a lot of should do’s and should be’s. It’s almost like we’re being told how to live a life; like we wouldn’t otherwise know how! It’s easy to get the impression you’re not cool enough, clever enough or happy enough. Hmmm….let me tell you –

There isn’t only one way to live and there’s certainly not only one “right” way (click to Tweet). People will try to control you by telling you so – think organized religion and retail marketers. I guess there are some “wrong” The Real pictureways to live – but none of us here are encumbered by such poor behaviour and devious deeds, right? Sure, occasionally we stumble, that’s why I write and you read it – we share little human foibles – but nothing serious, nothing, ahem, pathological – right? Sure, it’s right. I have the utmost faith in you. Continue reading “The REAL Picture”

Give Me Room

Give Me Room

Give me room
To be who I am
To think how I think
To believe what I believe

Give me permission
To be different from you
To share those ideas
To listen to yours

Give me acceptance
To walk in my light
Extend me respect
You know I’m your sister

Allow me to love you
I care who you are
I marvel at our differences
Still, I know we are one.
                                                      ~Michelle Andres

Give me room to be me

Some of you know I’m working on a June art show that involves words in my work. I’ve been writing haiku and poetry – which is rather dangerous for me. When I do this work, my nerves get sort of raw to current events and my surroundings…not conducive to the current external climate (i.e. election year). I’m finding I search deeper for the humour in my days and have to practice self-care to insulate myself from the meanness people are embracing. I also find, I have to control my own impulses to judge, because it’s natural.  When we judge we trick ourselves into thinking we understand the world.

I suppose for me, right now, it’s my spiritual practice to learn to explore this space and still find the joy and beauty in day to day living. Why do we punish one another when our authenticity shows? Isn’t that what we value in life? Want to see more of?  I wish I could put the world, America in particular, on a big, fat time out!

I saw this and thought it was beautiful…substitute your own colours, beliefs, whatever. Enjoy and be love.

 

Be Yourself, Be Love ~

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Michelle Andres is a writer and artist who cultivates her own Well Lived Life by drinking in the beauty around her, following her passion, respecting others and doing her best to own her own dookie.
Follow Michelle on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter
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Blinded by Options

Options food choicesMarch is not only the preview of spring, but it’s also National Health Month. So, in the spirit of a true spring-cleaning, I decided to do a whole body cleanse.

Go big or go home.

I have, for 3 days now, abstained from sugar, gluten, dairy, anything white, caffeine and yes, even my beloved wine. I’ve made several treks to thegrocery store in search of healthy alternatives. As I stash my healthy eats I notice…

My refrigerator is stuffed with “stuff.”

There are marinades, more mustards than any self respecting chef would need, vegetables good and rotten, and all sorts of beverage options from Pellegrino to probiotic drinks – oh, and the water. My husband collects water bottles like a certified hoarder. All icy cold, of course.

This got me to thinking – life is like my refrigerator. It gives you tons of options, from the good to the deviously perilous. Sometimes, your refrigerator gets so packed you can’t ferret out the good choices. Left unchecked, well- intentioned food goes moldy. This is true for meals…and for life. Continue reading “Blinded by Options”

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!”

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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I’m Up to My Eyeballs in It

This week I’m crying “UNCLE” cuz I’m up to my eyeballs in it.

I had a great post planned for you and started to write it. Somewhere in the middle my commitments, life happened. In the last 10 days I’ve helped my husband launch a new product line, taken care of a kid who had 4 wisdom teeth extracted, attended a funeral, gone to some art classes, celebrated my birthday month and made an earnest attempt to be in the studio every day. If it sounds like I’m making excuses, your radar is working, because – I am!  I feel like I’m running behind schedule and if I don’t cry uncle, nothing will get finished! Yeah, I’m panicking, just a little.

Nothing major, just that I took Leslie Saeta’s  “30 Paintings in 30 Days” challenge and it’s (gulp) JANUARY 29th! So, I’ll fill this post with pictures of my process and throw myself on the mercy of the court.

I began the challenge with the intention to do a daily ink and watercolur piece that depicts a blog post I’ve written. It took a LOT of research and I completed 11 of them. Here’s a sample 

Crying uncleThese drawings took a long time, because I had to peruse ALL my posts to select which would be appropriate, the topic and then create an image. I wondered if I could reach my goal and then made a slight adjustment. Continue reading “I’m Up to My Eyeballs in It”