Hello Fall!!!

Hello Fall!!!

A season of transition, of quieting, of reflection…moving inward.

Hello new home. A place of peace and beauty, lost toothbrushes, rock piles and weeds…lots of weeds.

In this contract we make with life, we’re obligated take it all. We tease apart the wheat from the chafe. Ferreting out the moments, the glimpses, the wins – and treasure them. Like seasoning in a dish, those moments make life delicious or, at times, at least palatable. It’s these small, blessings that nourish our lives, our bodies, and our hearts.

I’ve started this new project – Notes From The Nest on this first, glorious day of autumn. It’s mostly a photo journal chronicling our journey from a home we lived and created in for 18 years to a mid-century modern place that needs a little love. There are so many facets to such an adventurous transition – I’ll explore them with you and you’ll probably have your own to share.  I’m ever so grateful to our friend for selling us her family home. It has so much of who she is in it.  But, we need to leave our mark, too. The history will always remain. So settle in for a long ride – I’m going to.

I haven’t written for a long time, but it seems appropriate now, as my voice has softened, my eye has sharpened and I just know there is charm to be found – no matter where you are . Charm is my rocket-fuel. (click to Tweet). As an artist, the  beauty around me feeds my soul and fuels my muse. My hope is you also find nourishment here. A place to take sweet sips, rest, reflect and discover your own “moments.”

I hope you’ll join me by following, Notes From The Nest. It will be nestled as its own page on the “Art of The Well Lived Life” site, so you can join the list there – or here at the bottom of the page.

Our new place is named Nido De Rio, because everyplace should have a name.

Happy Fall, Friends. May your transitions be gentle and your blessings plentiful.

Moving Along – Dealing with Uncertainty and Change

Moving Along Uncertainty and ChangeIt feels like a boxing match, a cage-fight – though I’ve never been to either. Maybe it’s worse than that.

After a year and a half of sustained attack, brutal defamation, taking up camps – the U.S. Election is over.

It always amazes me that people are so uncomfortable with ambiguity. We all know, we don’t have true control over change, but uncertainty  can really unravel some personality types – others are lucky enough to find some comfort in it. Nothing, no matter how good or bad, stays the same.

Right before the election, a friend gave me a book. “Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change” by Pema Chodron. It’s a simple volume, though richly written and takes a deep dive into Uncertainty and changeencouraging the reader to settle into the deep, unknown abyss. Between the book and my fuzzy blue blankie – I found a decent measure of comfort. I heartily recommend this book to my readers, here, not only for healing and moving on together – but as wisdom to draw on whenever life serves up uncertainty.

There are only 3 commitments, Chodron asks from us:

  • Committing to Not Cause Harm
  • Committing to Take Care of One Another
  • Committing to Embrace the World Just as It Is

The book creates a roadmap for successfully committing to each these goals. On a personal level, each commitment seems quite achievable. Together, I suspect it would create a significant shift in the way we think, behave and accept one another.

We can see our world and lives all from our own unique perspectives. The world can be a train wreck and human beings will easily take up camps. But, aren’t you exhausted? Isn’t that not working? It’s done. Let’s create now.

 Let’s work on ourselves, each individual person to be an example – an approachable, inclusive, listening example – because you cannot influence anyone more than you can yourself. (click to Tweet).

Complaint Free UncertaintyBy the way, I’m offering these Complaint Free World bands. You wear it and it reminds you not to complain without offering solution. Mine has kept me positive for over 5 days – so, it’s working. I have a limited supply to share with you. Let me know if you’d like one. If you keep the band on the same wrist for 3 weeks, you have successfully completed the challenge! Stop complaining – well – that would be a good start. 🙂

I hope I’ll be able to write some witty repartee for you next week. This week has been rather quiet and my muse has been resting. I’m ready to focus on possibilities again because-

Possibilities are the embers of hope – the kindling for the fires of our lives; they ignite potential and meaning. (click to Tweet)

Let’s start a fire,

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Michelle Andres is a writer and artist who cultivates her own Well Lived Life by drinking in Writer, Artist, Coachthe beauty around her, following her passion, respecting others and doing her best to own her own dookie.

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View her art here

 

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”

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”

Chills and Thrills – Why You Should Do What Scares You Most

Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 7.00.23 PM
The Scream by Edward Munch

Cheap thrills, chilling thrills, new thrills, known thrills…I’ll take ‘em all.

Sometimes you have dreams of thrills, sometimes thrilling dreams – but stepping off the edge from time to time makes us feel ALIVE.

It’s fun to push your boundaries. If you’re not a risk-taker, you still might stretch just a little – in a “mostly safe,” but somewhat thrilling way. Safety is a drug that stifles fear AND creativity. It feels cozy and comfy and s-t-u-c-k. Neale Donald Walsch said, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

We rest quietly in the clutches of comfort…letting it seduce us into its predictability, and as we marinate there, we find it ever so more difficult to venture out. We get stuck in a rut, become depressed, agoraphobic, stagnant. We know it isn’t right, we can feel the rub. Still, that fear will stop us in our tracks and we don’t forge new territory – at. all. Do you have a safety habit? Need a 12-step program?  Continue reading “Chills and Thrills – Why You Should Do What Scares You Most”

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”

6 Steps for Surviving the “Angsty Middle” of the Creative Process

Creative process, change, transitionChange is like an Oreo cookie. There’s a crispness to the beginning and end…but the middle is sticky and gooey.  I suspect it’s the same with the creative process.

It doesn’t matter what you create…

There’s that angsty little bit in the middle. It’s sticky and gooey,  but it isn’t all that sweet.

Our creative processes, like the muse that drives us, are uniquely ours. We can mould, form, write, compose, paint, sculpt, but for most of us, there’s that little bit in the middle where our hearts are stricken with fear and we think we’ve effed it up.

It’s a little eerie and quite coincidental that a year ago this month I wrote a post called “The Middle.” In it, I offer tips for dealing with change in one’s life. As someone who has worked extensively with human behaviour, I‘m waaaay more comfortable with managing life transitions than creative ones. In “The Middle” I explored how our takeaways from  life transitions are transferrable to other events in our lives. Now, I’m thinking they may be scalable, too; scalable down to the creative process. Continue reading “6 Steps for Surviving the “Angsty Middle” of the Creative Process”

Techno-coloured Funk

Technology challengedSome people respond to technology very well.

Some people stink at it.

I’m going to have a nice, brief, honest rant here…

Those of you who don’t use email, text or turn on your phones DRIVE ME NUTS! We have business to do here…

Don’t. Be. Difficult.

I realize being technolocially challenged can be a generational thing, but hey, my parents use bill pay. Thankfully, I’ve NEVER witnessed my mother whip out her “checkbook” at the end of the sale to slowly draft a “cheque,” only to have the clerk process and return it to her…perfect signature in place. Thank you Mom, for not embarrassing the family. Continue reading “Techno-coloured Funk”

Lessons from the Classroom

Lessons come in all forms. I’m a big believer in lifelong learning and occasional breaks, so we can recharge. I  believe we should pursue “continuing education” no matter what type of work we do. Here’s a repost from a time I spent at an art retreat – when I learned so much more than art. Since it’s “back to school” season, I figure this is worth a revisit. 

art retreatsLife can get going pretty fast. It’s easy to fall into a pattern, partake in the same old activities, see the same people each day and do the same old thing. Some people call it the “Grind.” Well, you may be stuck in the grind, or you may be enjoying the way things are…no matter, you could probably use a break.

Retreats are a nice way of taking a break. I recently took one and found it was not only good for my head, but my soul benefited as well. Here’s what I took away from a break in routine: Continue reading “Lessons from the Classroom”

Priming the Pump

Creative Inspiration PumpIt can take a while to prime the pump. Inspiration flows, but not as reliably as the city water district. We can’t count on it to make our artistic endeavors more palatable. Other times creativity flows as if a dam burst. We don’t have a big enough bucket to capture it all and some of its precious droplets sadly slip through our fingers. If we’re blessed, we find ourselves in a steady flow and creative inspiration trickles in like a pristine, mountain stream…and we drink, and we drink, and we drink. Drunk with creative inspiration. It’s a giddy condition and you never get hungover (click to Tweet).

I’ve advised plenty of coaching clients, “If you’re thirsty, don’t go to the empty well.” That’s a metaphor…but duh! We often seek answers in places we already know will offer no solution. Why do human beings do that? Stupidly hopeful or arrogantly believing  we can force others to change? It doesn’t work. If you’re thirsty, go to the water.

I just spent 3 days in drought-torn Northern California (really, that is not a metaphor) with 9 extraordinary people. Some were professional artists and some didn’t realize they are artists, but we all are, you know? They gathered from many corners to find themselves, prospect a bit of inspiration and learn how to take broken mosaic pieces and create a whole piece of beautiful inspiration. It was my “Making Magic in 2014 – Beginning Mosaic Workshop.” And as always, being the teacher, I learned so much.

Creative Inspiration
Mosaic Courtesy of
Gwen Day

The first day we primed the pump. We gave ourselves plenty of time and prompts to “think” about things. We thought about ourselves, our futures, messages, design, colour and space. We took full advantage of a “creative pause,” because those who believe they work best under pressure are…I believe…often crushed with pressure and, like a diamond, they have to be dug out before they can shine. 

By the middle of the second day, students were eyeballs deep into the creative process. The only doubts were about the technical aspects of their work. They were clear on the message that inspired them.

The question is this…

How do you handle inspiration? Do you honor the creative pause before you get started? Do you wait for the cosmic 2×4 to whack you upside the head? What happens when your once fertile, creative soil begins to fracture and desiccate? Do you stop, assume the fetal position and cry? Or, do you courageously push forward knowing eventually your thirst will be slaked? Do you get depressed and binge on Oreos, watching mindless television? Are you my beloved reader who hasn’t picked up the brush in 2 years? Afraid? Don’t flog yourself! You have the power to fix it!

If you find yourself in a creative drought, you might catch a couple rain showers here. If you’re drinking inspiration from a fire hose, get a journal and record your ideas and give thanks and praise for the abundance! Create a little space each day for your muse. Treat her kindly and she will reciprocate. (click to Tweet)

Feel free to share ways you pursue the hunt for creativity here, in the comments, you predator, you. Or, if you’re starving, ask for help. That’s what communities are for. May it rain on your plain regularly!

Stay Thirsty, My Friends! (but not too thirsty)

Coaching

 

 

 

Mosaic piece by Gwen Day – who fought through a migraine headache to complete it. Find her at  www.gwenday.ca

If you are an artist who would like to have your work featured on my blog, please send me a quality image with a note of your permission.  If it is selected for an appropriate topic, I’ll use your image and link it to the site of your choosing.

Michelle Andres is a coach, writer and artist who nudges, nay, shoves her clients in the direction of their dreams by Writer, Artist, Coachhelping them improve productivity and cultivate productive behaviours.

  Follow her on  Facebook on Twitter

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

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Old Friends

Last weekend my public studio space was open for our local city art event. Lots of interesting people pass through…all great admirers of art…or at least admirers of the cheese, crackers and, let’s face it, probably the wine.

Old Friends
Photo Courtesy of Dianne Poinski Photography

A quiet, young woman came through with her significant other. She silently viewed the studio. She saw a favourite poem I‘d posted on the wall and it sparked  a conversation about the art and the poem. “I’m a poet,” she proudly declared. “Would you like to hear one of my poems?”

Heck yeah! She proceeded to blow me away with a poem about “Blue.” Then, she recited another and had me fully enthralled, under her spell. Her countenance changed as she “took her stage” and recited words that flowed like honey. How un-mistakenly beautiful to, once again, be in the presence of words that touched the soul with their raw honesty and stunning imagery.

There are old friends we sometimes forget. Friends like snorkeling, or poetry, or watercoloured landscapes. Friends like riding a bike, or skateboarding, or writing a poem, or breathing life into a treasured family recipe. Things we’ve left behind, for no certain reason, we’ve just moved on to other interests.  Like most old friends, reuniting feels like you’ve never been apart.

Lately I’ve had a yearning to go out in the morning with my camera and take some nature shots. At this point, people who know me are likely to have me committed. I’m not a morning person. Sometimes you get up early for old friends (click to Tweet).

I remember writing poetry myself, years ago. I threw them away…never keeping them for later. Like my paintings, usually once it’s “out” I have no need or attachment for an ongoing relationship. My artworks – they’re all one just night stands (click to Tweet).

Where are your old friends? Who are they? Are they near? Do you hear them beckoning in that space between consciousness and dream time as you drift off to sleep? Maybe it’s time to consider a reunion.

Sweetest Dreams, 

Coaching

 
 
 

Photograph of Ice Skates – Courtesy of Dianne Poinsky Photography. Find her at www.diannepoinski.com

If you are an artist who would like to have your work featured on my blog, please send me a quality image with a note of your permission.  If it is selected for an appropriate topic, I’ll use your image and link it to the site of your choosing.

Michelle Andres is a coach, writer and artist who nudges, nay, shoves her clients in the direction of their dreams by Writer, Artist, Coachhelping them improve productivity and cultivate productive behaviours.

  Follow her on  Facebook on Twitter

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

Endings and Beginnings

(Note: This may be the least humorous, most content rich post I’ve ever written. I’ve provided links to previous posts as resources for you.  I hope it helps you create a blueprint for making your dreams come true in 2014…should you choose to create one! Please, as you link to the other posts, feel free to comment on them and share them…Thank you for helping The Art of the Well Lived Life GROW! I am grateful for your readership.  ~ m)

I’m feeling a lot of pressure this time of year. It’s all good stuff, but it feels like none of the balls should be dropped, lest they shatter New Beginningslike a delicate Christmas ornament and shatter to pieces the dreams of a hopeful child…yep….pressure.

The fact that time marches on and I’m smack in the middle of the path has me a bit concerned (click to Tweet). Nature calls…not like THAT, silly! The moon was full the other night, so I felt the need to have a final, good, scrubbing for 2013 and not track any dirt into the pristine promise of 2014. Here’s more about how I journal in accordance with the moon.

Also, Solstice is peeking her head around the corner and I adore her! It’s tomorrow! *LET THERE BE LIGHT! * Days will get longer. Hope springs from light and warmth and new growth. Many consider solstice the dawning of the new year. Whether you celebrate December 20th or January 1 – it’s staring you in the face! In the midst of all the celebration and fervor, have you considered what you want to do with your 2014? It’ll happen, whether you plan some audacious strides or not.(click to Tweet).

new pathI encourage you to take this time to consider what their ideal year would look like. This may easily consist of more than your business goals…you might like to review the Life Balance Wheel and see if you have any gaping holes that will swallow your best laid plans like a sink hole in Central Florida. (Of course, you aren’t planning a sink hole! I mean swallow the PLANS! Never mind…)   Once you know which areas you’d like to bolster,  create a list of the things you’d like to do next year to make it happen. Make your goals S.M.A.R.T. – if you don’t, well, that’s just not smart, and I don’t want to call you stupid or anything…you’re an adult, you  can draw your own conclusions.

There are lots of ways of backing those goals into your calendar. Identify and engage  resources and support groups to help you achieve your goals, or hire a coach to help you find your way and overcome your demons (hint, hint). I have some screaming deals on artist’s coaching packages (click to Tweet).

And FINALLY, because so much is about attitude…don’t forget your “Nutshell” word. That single, guiding word that will be your compass for the upcoming year. Where are you in your journey? What do you want to express? For example, last year mine was “joy.”

Just a few things to think about between baking, wrapping, traveling, finishing the year end books and anything else that may be on your plate. Don’t forget – when it’s all over it will just be you…and 365 days you’ve been given to make your dreams come true. Manage your time wisely.

Cheers!

To New Beginnings!

Coaching

 

 

Michelle Andres is a coach, writer and artist who nudges, nay, shoves creatives in the direction of their Writer, Artist, Coachdreams by helping them improve productivity and cultivate good behaviours while eliminating poor ones.
Follow her on  Facebook on Twitter

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

 Ready for some creative fun while pursuing your dreams for the new year? I’ll be having a Beginning Mosaic Workshop called ” Magic in 2014″ in January. Register or  learn more!
 

 

Sniff

productivity

I don’t read fiction.

I’ve always considered it unproductive. I guess, in a way,  I’m a commitmentphobe.  A story must be finished to learn what “happens.”  If I stop short, I waste time. What if I don’t like the read? If I read a non-fiction book I can walk away at any time and take with me the knowledge that’s been shared. There are no “sunk costs” with non-fiction.  Fiction has sunk costs. (click to Tweet)

If I start something I finish it.

I don’t so much stop and smell roses along the way, though I won’t judge you for sniffin’ the perfume and may even advise you to do it. But me, I just plow right though. Finish it. Move on. NEXT!

I don’t sit and chill.

You guessed it. A colossal waste of time (for me). You can chill though, I know it’s good for some folks, but chillin’, for me, requires being still – and I can’t be still for too long. If my body isn’t moving, my mind likes to be doing the cartwheels.

If I do it right, I bleed.

Yes, that’s the litmus test. Catholic upbringing and work ethic have taught me that I have to go the extra mile. I have to leave a little blood on whatever I do – figuratively speaking, of course.  It should hurt to be “good.” Hey, I know it’s a fallacy and don’t call it “perfectionism” because you know how I adore imperfection. I know it’s not true, but it’s in me…in the quick…so I partake in the regular bloodletting. Feels good. (click to Tweet)

Enter Raging Rhinitis

My husband shares everything, including his wicked common cold. Last week, that thug, “Rhinitis” rolled me and stole all my goods. (click to Tweet)

 I. Got. Mugged.  

I spent the historical equivalent of 3 days down for the count. Once I acquiesced, I decided in my typical fashion, to leverage the time I had left. I set up shop by the hearth and went to work relaxing (yeah, I realize the irony in that sentence). Here’s what I found most healing:

  • A good book
  • A gentle fire
  • Tea
  • Several lengthy, mouth-breathing naps – sequential or gently spaced – didn’t matter
  • Not writing
  • Not painting
  • Not making the bed
  • Not doing much of anything
  • Snuggling with a cuddly blankie
  • Chicken soup (made for me with loving care, thankfully)
  • Hangin’ with my hounds
  • Allowing myself to be taken care of by others
  • Proper drugs
  • Chocolate

On the 3rd day I probably could have risen, but hey, I’m not that Guy. Truly, I was able to leave my post, but didn’t make any serious attempts to rejoin the real world. I was finally “allowing” myself to unwind. Trusting if I took a break I could restart the engine. Being gentle with myself.

It. Felt. So. Good.  !  Delicious.

Which brings me to the question. Why continue to allow such crazy beliefs to run my life? I see other ways working great for other people? What makes me so unspecial?  Isn’t it enriching to explore the other side? Scientific evidence supports stopping to “smell the roses.”

I vow to schedule more breaks like this…only sans phlegm. Maybe one-a-day, like a vitamin. Or simply take them as life serves them.  I’ll recognize and banish the para-abnormal overactivity that robs me of the “now.” (click to Tweet) Don’t get me wrong. I fill my days with work I love and with the people I find the most endearing, but I still subscribe to some strange beliefs, one being I don’t need to take care of myself the way I’d take care of someone else I love. I’ll bet you do, too. Care to take your inventory and vent your confession with me? You can jot a note below. You’ll probably feel better. I did. And  then, we can smell the roses together.

Sniff, sniff (but the good kind),

Signature

 

 

Ripe for some creative fun while pursuing your dreams for the new year? I’ll be having a Beginning Mosaic Workshop called ” Magic in 2014″ in January. Register or  learn more!

Michelle Andres is a coach, writer and artist who nudges, nay, shoves creatives in the direction of their Writer, Coachdreams by helping them improve productivity and for good behaviours while eliminating poor ones. Follow her on  Facebook on Twitter

 

 

 

Life and Death in the Pot

Are you superstitious? I’ve addressed this topic with executives in regards to superstitious leadership, but magical thinking applies Superstitions and Obstaclesto so many people and can be used against us, or to our benefit.

Because our beliefs can hold us back or propel us forward, consider your own obstacles.  Are they real or imagined? Are they helping or hurting? What’s defining you? Is it with or without your permission?  (click to Tweet)

I know I’m asking a lot of questions, but you must believe this…YOU ARE in control.  What’s more (brace yourself) most of the time that means EVEN if your life sucks. For glass half full folks, that’s good news!

Oh, I sound so sure, so bold. Pffffft! Well, it wasn’t always that way. Here’s a little story:

My violet is on life support.

I’ve owned the same African violet for over 20 years. It’s been with me through growing a family, weathering a former miserable marriage, the disillusion – oops – dissolution of that marriage, 4 moves, finding the love of my life, marriage, blending a family, empty nesting and career changes. My violet has blossomed when I’ve thrived and slumped, on the brink of disaster, as I’ve wrestled with life’s difficulties. Her mood indicates the state of my life, so she is known as “My Life Violet.” My family knows which one it is…the one in the bright, white, ceramic pot. The one that sits with all the others, but serves as the barometer of my current state and points the finger of fate at my future state. I’ve always respected her, but things have been changing.

Superstitions and obstaclesEarlier this year, after years of life in the pot and regular feedings and watering, she stood barren in a small bit of soil. She didn’t look good. I felt fine, but trembled at the consequences my plant’s condition could bring. My son brought soil and I repotted her – the first time she’d been tampered with in over 20 years. She seemed reinvigorated and grew 2 new leaves. But still, she stood frail and unsure.

Meanwhile, I’ve continued to build my career and pursue my passion. I’ve moved from a primarily corporate existence into the creative community. I’ve moved studios, secured a 2nd studio, grown a blog following and a coaching business and I have NOT experienced the difficulties the violet indicates.  Could she be in this alone?

Today, as I look at this once thriving plant, I must admit, it looks pretty hopeless for her. The 2 leaves of promise are sallow and shriveled. After over 2 decades, locked in the psychological grip of this small plant, I have decided to let her go. I suppose she’s my “Old Life” violet.

It’s time to move forward. To let past beliefs go. It may be time for you to do that, too. It’s time to tap into the essence of who we are, why we’re here and to embrace that mission fearlessly, with the gusto and passion that ignites us. 2014 is on the horizon so the timing is perfect!

Our spirits are independent of the obstacles we erect, the stories we tell ourselves and the opinions held by others (click to Tweet).  So, sit that drivel down. Give it permission to die. Have faith and make the commitment. From now on, I will be….

Blooming on My Own!

Coaching

 

Ripe for some creative fun while pursuing your dreams for the new year? I’ll be having a Beginning Mosaic Workshop called ” Magic in 2014″ in January. Register or  learn more!

Michelle Andres is a coach, writer and artist who nudges, nay, shoves creatives in the direction of their dreams by helping themWriter, Coach improve productivity and for good behaviours while eliminating poor ones. Follow her on  Facebook on Twitter

 

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The Nick of Time – Time Management Tips for Creatives

Time management
Time management
Tick Tock Your Life is Waiting

(This article was originally published in April, but with recent conversations, I think it may be a good time to reiterate the benefits of managing your time well.  ~ Enjoy)

“I could move mountains if it weren’t for “distractions.” (Click to Tweet) I mean, really, the shiny things get in the way, catch my eye and I’m gone.

It’s become more challenging since I’ve become a corporate refugee, because now I’m doing creative work and am accountable to only myself. We are all creative beings, no doubt, but once you give yourself permission to be fully creative, you lose some of the ability to focus on getting stuff done. I think this is partially due to the fact that creativity is fostered by exploration and play. (Click to Tweet)  The three go hand in hand in hand.

I’m sure the “shiny thing” gets you, too. And it snowballs. One distraction can lead to another and soon the sun is setting and you haven’t done anything even remotely productive. Urghh!

What to do?

It’s all about – ahem – time management. And self discipline. Ick. Doesn’t that sentence just make your hair stand on end? Feeling resistance yet? Think of it this way:

“Time is your asset. It’s the key to the kingdom.” (Click to Tweet)

You aren’t going to get more of it, so have the self-discipline to jealously guard the 24 hours you’ve got. Identify what gets in your way – and take steps to secure it. Here are some easy strategies:

Your “To Do List” is your GPS – Creating a “To Do” list may sound cliché, but it keeps you on course, guides you and tells you cheerfully, “You have arrived!” Use a list!

Control TV, Email and Social Media – Set designated times to check and respond to email and social media. For most of us, three times a day will work. Morning, noon, afternoon. Having your mobile device firmly tucked into your hip pocket and responding to its every chime? That chime – that’s the sound of your time being sucked into a big hole!

Schedule your Day – Schedule your day…but not ALL of it. Scheduling 60% of your day is realistic, because it allows room for life to happen and keeps you from turning into a shrew. Schedule the stuff you must do, and the stuff you want to do.  Workout time – schedule it! Creative prep – schedule it! Even schedule recreational time. Remember to schedule some time at the end of the day to prepare for the following day. You can create some balance in your life and still move the mountain if you schedule it!

Create systems – Take time to organize in a way YOU can understand. If you can’t find it, you spend time looking for it, so take time to put it in its place in the first place. Besides, just admit it, if you’re looking though stuff to find other stuff you get DISTRACTED with the new stuff you find. (yeah, I wrote that all by myself).

Get a Handle on Procrastination – We all do it. If you really want to, you can get a handle on it. It’s not rocket science…if it were I would procrastinate for sure. Find the root of the procrastination and ferret out the resources, gumption or whatever you need to move through it…one step at a time.

Make Yourself Accountable to Someone Else – Research shows if you write down your goals you’re more likely to achieve them. If you write them down, tell someone you respect about them and make a commitment to report back to that person, your success rate jumps to 95%!

I offer a free gift to those who sign up on my mailing list. This published article is a “How To” for overcoming procrastination. Just “Join the Tribe” at the left and I’ll send it to you, FREE. Tell your friends to sign up, too….don’t procrastinate!

I once heard , “If you’re not using your time to deliver your own package, others will use your time to deliver theirs.”(Click to Tweet)  At first this self discipline may look like shackles to you. This is not bondage. Manage your time well and you will get to spend more time doing what you love to do…perhaps even move a mountain or two.

The Clock is Ticking!

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Michelle Andres is a coach, writer and artist who nudges, nay, shoves creatives in the direction of their dreams by helping them Art coaching, building your art business, belongingnessimprove productivity teaching them to get out of their own way.

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The Chains of Change

Seasonal change, business change, business cylcesI’m a big fan of summer. Summer offers light, and blooms, and fruit, and warmth and joy. Summer feeds my soul and I am its most avid supporter, but summer’s taking flight. Have you noticed?

Mornings are a little chilly, leaves are twisting off trees and riding light autumn breezes. This is terrifying for me. (click to Tweet)

 I’m not opposed to autumn…no, it is my 3rd favourite season. It’s the winter I abhor. I do not welcome its darkness, its dampness or its frosty pain. Keep your sleepy, naked, muddy winter. I’m not interested. Heck, we had to stick Christmas smack dab in the middle of winter just to rally the frozen troops. Boo for winter.

Ceremony Guru, Cindie Wilding, of Bird’s Nest Ceremonies, recently posted a chipper reminder that fall is on the way. She spoke of the equinox – which is this Sunday. She mentioned fall being a season of balance, reflection and change.  Hmmmm…..

Hang on tight, or bail off this hayride, because I’m about to pull you into the madness of my stream of consciousness. This is how my mind works, and it is especially powerful at red traffic lights…so just be glad I’m not driving.

Seasons are like businesses. There is a natural ebb and flow to the cycle of a business. A time for planting, a time for growing, a time for harvesting and a time for rest and planning. If businesses fail to change and adapt – they die!

There is no fighting the seasons of the year. I can’t stop winter’s chilly forward march. It’s bondage, the “chains of change.” I don’tBusiness cycles, seasonal change have a problem understanding business cycles, so why am I fighting Mother Nature?

Fortunately, if we are skilled, lucky, or both, business seasons move along faster than Mother Nature’s. If you’re fighting your business season, perhaps you’ve misunderstood how to leverage it. As business owners, we create business plans and activities around the seasons of our work. We strategize, prepare, fill the pipeline and sell. In short, we take advantage of the seasons.

Business seasons aren’t always as rhythmic as Mother Nature’s. For instance, you may find yourself in the midst of an autumn harvest without having done your winter planning. Or, if you’re stuck in a perpetual business “winter” chances are pretty good you need some professional help to nudge you on to the rest of “the year.” No worries, you don’t have to despair and lie down or die in the cold…there are good people who can help you. Reaping a thin harvest? Call the people who sell seeds, or fertilizer. Lots of people sell fertilizer, so buyer beware! (click to Tweet) If you’re thriving in an eternal business “summer” please write a book so the rest of us can prosper and spend an eternity in the sun.

 Anyhou, we can’t expect our businesses to always function smoothly. That would be delusional.

So, I’ve decided to fully embrace autumn this year. As her troublesome cousin “Winter” follows on her heels, I may try welcoming her chilly embraces, too. Relating something I can’t control to something I understand and feel comfortable with takes the dread out of summer’s demise. She’ll be back, with her light and growth and song, because Mother Nature will do her job. Just like us business owners – leverage the seasons, follow the plan, watch the Almanac and we’ll be just fine.

A Big, Fat Harvest Moon to You!

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Michelle Andres is a coach, writer and artist who teaches creatives business behaviours that boost their Art coaching, building your art business, belongingnessproductivity and happiness…all the while honoring their unique and artsy selves.

 

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