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”

The Middle

(I’m on summer vacation! These posts are re-posts. I have discovered a need to re-fill my creative cup. Looking forward to bringing you new and improved posts in the fall. I hope you enjoy these selected writings! Search topics of interest on my site for more related articles.)

“Every giant redwood was once a seedling. They don’t get to skip that part.” –  Sue Fitzmaurice  (click to Tweet)

There’s a recurring theme lately. People are in transition. Life is full of cycles and we’re sometimes called upon to reinvent Life transitionourselves. This is not necessarily a bad thing, it can lead to growth, breathe life into our dreams, be a catalyst for positive change…but let’s face it….it’s more than terrifying to be a seedling.

You. Don’t. Get. To. Skip. That. Part.

Seedlings are itty bitty small in a big, big world. Seedlings get stepped on, drowned, and their tender little stems are pickings for things like…well…wild pigs. Seedlings are vulnerable. Not all seedlings make it but they try, because  the prospect of being a giant Sequoia is quite enticing. Sequoias are strong, long-lived and have a fabulous penthouse view.

I’ve had a fairly varied and interesting past. (Notice I did NOT say “colourful.”) Every decade has brought transitions – new places, new relationships and sometimes, new careers. Interestingly, what was learned from the old situations bolted onto the new transitions quite nicely, kind of like Legos. Just because we leave a job or relationship behind doesn’t mean the skills and knowledge we have aren’t transferrable – THEY ARE!

I will tell you a secret. Often, during transition, there is a long expanse of time that is the “uncomfortable middle.” (click to Tweet) It is not the creamy, fluffy, goodness. This is the place where you lack direction, uncertainty becomes a way of life, the answer or direction often does not reveal itself as quickly as our fast-food appetites would like. This is not a happy place, but a place of exploration, possibilities and change. It is an uncomfortable crevasse. It’s the very thing that can send you running and screaming back to the comfort…back to the known. To get past the middle you need a serious dose of courage. You have to trust the process, your God and your gut. Continue reading “The Middle”

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”

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 ~

11782161_10207494863919739_64633069007983764_o

 

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
Join the Tribe and get updates by signing up on the left sidebar!

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”

Weed Farmers

Insecurity and DoubtSome people are just weed farmers.

They plant seeds of doubt in the fertile manure of your brain, and then carelessly leave them to germinate and grow weeds in your happy little garden.

I don’t like that. I hope I don’t trip up and plant the occasional weed, because it’s noxious.

Sometimes the evil seeds they plant are composted…er…composed entirely from their own faulty thinking or assumptions. Sometimes, it’s a thorny opinion that cuts and stings. Some weed farmers do it on  PURPOSE. Yep, for some reason, they plant their dirty little seeds and even spritz a bit of water as they take leave. Continue reading “Weed Farmers”

Travel Light

It’s 2015.

A brand new start.

How many times can we begin again? The possibilities seem endless. But, even with the permission to begin anew, some of us feel the anguish of past mistakes, regrets for what we may have (or may have not) done,  or are blistered with disappointment as we take stock of our lives.

I understand the need to reflect on our pasts. Reflection is okay, but I recently saw this:

Identity, new year, light
Image courtesy of www.mooreminutes.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think it’s sage advice. And, don’t go flogging yourself with the “social measuring stick” either. Your path is uniquely yours, holding the mystery and gifts that are close to your heart. Just because you may not know your purpose, or recognize your gifts, it doesn’t mean they aren’t there. How will you find them when you’re carrying more bags than The Beverly Hillbillies?

Continue reading “Travel Light”

Bone Tired

Bone TiredThis is a re-post from May. I’m not “Bone Tired,” but this time of the year, I reckon some of you are. I hope you enjoy and take a deep breath ~m

I’m bone tired.

It’s been a crazy couple months doing the thing I love most…and I am still bone tired.

It feels like August. You know about August? After the dog days of summer you just don’t have it in you, no piss, no vinegar. Plants are turning brown…who cares? Dog-hair dust bunnies on the floor…keep on shufflin’. Bone Tired is the kind of tired where you send out a search party for your energy and your sanity. (click to Tweet, if you’ve got the energy) Has anyone seen my memory? Thirsty, but too tired to fill the cup. Yep, parched and I guess it suits me. That’s the kind of tired I am…bone….tired. Continue reading “Bone Tired”

The Art of the Portfolio

Authenticity.Art portfolio

It’s the most important thing about your art portfolio, beginning with your artist statement.

I know, you’re thinking –  how could my art NOT be authentic? I created it! Well, it goes deeper than that. I know you can’t fake what you create (mostly not), but is it aligned with you? How about the rest of your portfolio?

Want an awesome portfolio?

 First be yourself.

Nearly every month I deliver a professional development workshop to artists at a local arts center. Everyone there wants to be successful and happy, but some don’t want to be SEEN. We are an insecure, tender bunch, like little baby spring lettuce. Egos get easily bruised, hearts are on our sleeves, we wish for respect but don’t feel entitled to it. I get it. I’m one of you. Continue reading “The Art of the Portfolio”

12 Steps and a Trip

12 Step Computer AddictsPut 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.

I have a computer problem.

I need to take 12-steps back from my computer…way back.

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”

A Life Saver

Life-saving poem

 

There are a few things that pack a wallop in your life – like this poem by Mary Oliver. Whether you’re in a deep, dark place and need a winch to pull you out, or you’re “breathing just a little and calling it a life,” this poem calls us to be true to ourselves, claim our lives and live it in our own skins…in our own way. Continue reading “A Life Saver”

Shifting Gears

Better LivingI’m changing gears this week. This post is not about art business, it’s more about “life business.”  It’s a glance in the rear view mirror where I see a road behind that’s strewn with worry and angst. I realize, like a finely woven tale, it evolves into a road of purpose, goodness and gratitude.

Yesterday was rife with challenges. It began with too much coffee, which was quickly followed by a “pirouette” that resulted in coldcocking myself in the face with the edge of the bathroom door – hard enough to leave a mark. Don’t ask…the toilet paper roll was too big and that’s all I’m sayin.’ If you ever ask my husband he will tell you, “She’s not clumsy, she incredibly athletic.”  That’s his gracious way of saying I haven’t yet broken a hip.

All amped up on the crack-Kona coffee, I stole away a few moments in the studio and quickly realized small motor skills are degraded by a good cup of joe. My car was in the shop, but I had my husband’s car, so I went to meet a friend. Surprisingly,  the key I was using worked in the ignition, but wouldn’t allow me to lock the vehicle. I ran some errands and left the car unlocked; interestingly, things went smoothly.

Mid-afternoon a nice man from the garage drove my freshly and partially repaired car to my house. He took me to his shop to finalize the repair paperwork. There was one more major repair to be made at the dealership. To my surprise, but not really, I couldn’t persuade my car out of the parking lot. It gasped, and lurched and died. Admitting defeat I summoned the tow truck, which hauled it to the dealership for its “final final.”

I was able to get home from the dealership because, in my past, I had the good sense to have children and marry a man who also had children. I’ll bet you’re surprised that my husband had children…sounds sort of painful…and I’m sure it had its moments. Anyhou, he raised a lovely daughter. She and her little yorkie fetched me up to take me home. After a brief visit, a Mexican payoff and a 10-dollar bill, she left. She took her yorkie with her, but in his customary regalia, Better Livinghe left behind little yorkie turds in my studio. Every. Time. He. Visits. Little shitter.

Because of these mis-adventures, I missed an annual charity event I’d been looking forward to attending. Sitting home hungry and tired, it dawned on me.

I have shifted gears.

Years ago I would have focused on each thing that “went wrong.” I would have dwelled on the string of imperfections that formed my day. I would’ve complained about the inconvenience, the heat, the loss.  While it sounds like I’m doing that now, that’s not the case.

I find myself grateful at the close of this day. Grateful for the good will of strangers. Grateful they cheerfully went out of their way for me. Grateful the dealership went beyond their call to see if the high dollar repair would be covered under warranty – and it was! There was value in the interesting chat with the driver from the first garage.  I’m touched by the tow-truck driver’s positive attitude and careful attention. I’m blessed by a daughter who is responsive and generous – and her little dog, too, for he is WAY too generous. I’m delighted friends at the charity event said they missed me. An additional wave of gratitude is for my husband’s car, which served me well, escaped a raping, and didn’t end up street-side on blocks, despite being unlocked. I’m even happy with the unseasonably warm weather. I’ve been deeply touched by the kindness of those who don’t know me, but were willing to give to me nonetheless. Mostly, I’m thankful for the personal growth; the ability to shift perspective without clawing my way through old habits to do so (click to Tweet that). It came naturally – today.

You hear people say things like, “You can’t change the world, but you can change your attitude about it.” “Look on the bright side.” “Happiness is a choice.” Blah, blah, blah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. We know these things. Sometimes, some people would like to haul off and slap these sunny-side crusaders – I’m not absolutely sure, but it’s an educated guess (click to Tweet). But, the day you have a potentially tough day, put your feet up and count your blessings, that’s the day you really know it. The day you don’t consciously reframe your life, but it instead falls into a frame of its own, and you’re happy with it, is when you know you’ve really shifted gears.

Just Cruise Along!

Signature

 

 

Michelle Andres is a writer, artist and coach who nudges, nay, shoves, her clients in the direction of their dreams, helping them to overcome non-productive behaviours and enjoy Writer, Artist, Coachmore success in their lives. 

                          Follow her on  Facebook and on Twitter

For a free gift that will help you boost personal productivity “Join the Tribe” and subscribe to this blog!

Lessons from a One-Year Old

GratitudeToday is the First Birthday of “The Art of a Well Lived Life.” Time for a party! Bring in the clowns, the ponies and let us consume copious amounts of CAKE (preferably chocolate)!

Setting out to simply share some thoughts and be a solid resource for creatives by using my corporate chops, a year ago I committed to writing a weekly blog and publishing it – every Friday – for at least 12 months. Family and friends supported me. They safeguarded my already ruddy reputation by making sure I didn’t breach the line…much. I only want to sprinkle mischief dust; I don’t intend be hurtful (click to Tweet). As I said in the beginning, one of the things I love most about people is, when we are being genuine, we have interesting wrinkles and shortcomings…it makes us human and I am thankful, because those imperfections add perfect colour to our world.

My readers have responded to the shares. I’ve discovered an enormous sense of community through “The Art of the Well Lived Life.” I’ve had an opportunity to share my knowledge, and in turn, you all shared your wisdom. I’m grateful for your shares, your feedback, your words.  People have gotten naked with me in conversations – bared their souls, their pain, their hopes…I am humbled. 

I work for free, but should really be paying you, dear readers. Here are a few of the priceless lessons I’ve learned while penning “The Art of The Well Lived Life” –

    • People are kind
    • After over a decade of business writing, the writer I was born as has rediscovered her voice
    • I’ve written over 52 stand alone posts – a cohesive, though short, body of work
    • I possess self-discipline – I don’t need a boss – I’m the boss of my own, bad self
    • Older people have incredible stories, philosophies and wisdom to share – they are reluctant to share them on a blog , but they rock it in private groups
    • Creatives need a community – while we may work alone well by nature, we get lonely from time to time
    • Showing my own scars and faults has hopefully given us all “permission”
    • Everyone is insecure from time to time and in their own way – if they aren’t they’re probably a psychopath
    • Even people who rail against structure want structure – let’s just dress it up in lace and call it something else
    • Spellcheck cannot be overrated – evher
    • People love to have fun. They like to laugh and poke, but they want respect and reassurance – so I give them permission to laugh at me
    • WordPress is relatively user friendly
    • Our souls were designed to express our essential selves. When the outlet is blocked we react with negative behaviours and behave poorly (click to Tweet this one)

This is a deeply emotional birthday for me, like the ones that end in a 0 or 5. I’m actually crying as I write this, it must be hormones or a lack of chocolate. It also may harken back to  this first post.  Above all, I am awash with gratitude that you keep reading, keep commenting, keep laughing and sharing your wisdom and questions.  Thank you, thank you, thank you….

Make a wish…

Coaching

 

 

Michelle Andres is a writer, artist and coach who nudges, nay, shoves, her clients in the direction of their dreams, 
Writer, Artist, Coachhelping them to overcome non-productive behaviours and enjoy more success in their lives. 
 
                                    Follow her on  Facebook and on Twitter

For a free gift that will help you boost personal productivity “Join the Tribe” and subscribe to this blog!