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”

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”

Noticing the Difference

Finding possibilitiesIf there are keys for getting from where you are now, to where you want to be, one of them surely is ‘noticing the difference.’ (click to Tweet)

Noticing the difference is like peeling an onion. Differences, nuances of shades, exist on so many levels. Sometimes, for me, the awareness is fleeting. I get a glimpse of where I want to go and then it fades, that’s how I know I have so much more to learn. Other times, in areas where I have more experience, it’s clearly noticeable. Finally, when we’re accomplished at something, the difference shows up as a fact; the level of competence or mastery easily discerns the level of the novice. I’m not just talking about art. This “difference” also shows in how we behave in personal relationships, leadership situations, golf or any sport, even parenting. Not that parenting is a sport…though sometimes, I guess, it can actually feel that way. Continue reading “Noticing the Difference”

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”

Illuminate Your Fear

Donald Neale Walsch said, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” Several years ago, I began a quest with a pledge of fearless“fearlessness.”  When I segued from the corporate world to work full time as a writer and artist, I made a pledge to do my work courageously and without care for what people might think of me. It’s easy to be fearless when you feel you have nothing to lose. (click to Tweet).

Next month I have an event and am fraught with insecurity and doubt. This is the polar opposite of fearlessness. I’m not sure when I decided I have “something to lose” because clearly, you all know, I’m out of my mind and might as well put it all out there – there IS nothing to lose. Today a friend gave me encouragement to move forward fearlessly, and that’s when I realized I had, once again, breached my pledge to myself. Continue reading “Illuminate Your Fear”

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”

Don’t Touch the Money!

 

Expectations

“Don’t touch the money!” There’s a saying I’ve heard from golfers, especially when things are looking particularly promising. “Don’t touch the money” is the warning.

I’m an artist and my husband is a golfer. There are many parallels between the two endeavors. Sometimes, at our dinner table, we banter about golf and art…truth. Consider this:

Technical Skill  –  Swing vs. Stroke

Innate Skill  –  Athleticism vs. Creativity

Mental Game –  Both require courage and a good dose of faith

Dry Spells –   I’m a spaz vs. I’m a spaz

The Journey – Both improve with practice and you can’t be further along than you are.

Happy Accidents  – Hole in one vs . Wow!!! How the Hell did I do that???

Anyhou, when playing an important golf match, it’s important not to get too sure of your skill. You think you may “win?” Don’t touch the money…don’t for one second assume you have it in the bag, because that is precisely when you pull your putt…or in the case of art…blow a large painting.

This week, I stepped back into painting joyful abstracts. I had a great thing going; you know how it is. You’re stroking the ball…er…brushstrokes are going down quite nicely.  A well-intentioned admirer steps into your studio and gazes at your piece in process. You are happily working away, your mind is free, you’re in the flow then, they utter the words of doom.

“I think that will be the best work you’ve done to date.”

Dammit! NO!!!  In my case, I didn’t actually touch the money,  but with encouraging words and undying support, my admirer opened the purse and jingled the gold – RIGHT IN MY FACE.

With that comment the stakes changed. My outlook changed. Mostly, my attitude changed.  I began to push my will all over that canvas (click to Tweet). In a moment, I was out the zone and standing staunchly in the “mine field of expectation.” BOOM! Every stroke. BAM! With each brush stroke I hammered home the possibilities of what could and clearly would not be. My painting was being dismembered focal point by focal point…stroke by stroke – HA! That was a golf pun!!!

“Golf and art are such delicate, mental endeavors that you cannot dare touch the money lest you end up a pauper.” (click to Tweet)

We may find ourselves in a deep pit, a fitful, homicidal, canvas burning rage (or is that just me?) – trying desperately to get back to where we were before; most often, to no avail.

When this happens my best advice it to stop. Our emotions show through clearly in our work. Trying too hard? Stop. Frustrated? Stop. I know it sounds cliché, but tomorrow is another day.

A set of freshly rested eyes can work wonders. A more relaxed attitude serves us well. In the scheme of things, it’s one painting, one round of golf. It doesn’t have to be our legacy. That will happen when we aren’t trying quite so hard. Because, whether you are aware of it or not, the way you live your life is creating your legacy. (click to Tweet that, too). Don’t touch the money and the riches will come in full.

You Are Already Wealthy, 

Coaching

 

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, Coach                                             more success in their lives. 
 
                          Follow her on  Facebook and on Twitter

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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!

 

20/20 is Hindsight

I remember, years ago, asking my mother the benefit of getting older. I was sure there must be a big payoff for Guide dog puprelinquishing one’s dewy youthfulness, a prize like a parade or Clearing House Sweepstakes. After all, the exchange for creaky knees and wrinkles does seem somewhat inequitable.

Nada.

That’s what she told me. I remember asking, “Isn’t there something? A richness that comes with aging?”  Her reply was a flat, brutal. “You just get older.”

I’ve thought about that conversation many, many times. I’ve also promised myself it wouldn’t be like that for me. Now, in Mom’s defense, perhaps she didn’t know what I was looking for, or maybe I caught her on a bad day. But, the fateful conversation stuck with me and I’ve spent my years determined to take the deep dive into any small grain of gain, any wisdom, any understanding, any peaceful, embryonic, Jacuzzi bath of reparation that might exist…ready to snatch it up in a second.

What you look for you usually find. Wouldn’t you agree? If you look for the bad in someone…you’ll see it. If you look for possibilities, they emerge. If you look for the happy, rewarding moments in life, they magically appear. I like to say,

“Stuff grows where intention flows.”  (click to Tweet)  I do believe it’s true.

So, as I careen into the “deep” years of my life, I do so with eyes wide open, darting, searching for the golden ring. I’m not all that creaky yet, but when the creaking comes,  I want to know what I traded up to.  So far, here’s what I’ve discovered:

That’s right. I can no longer read the print on the bottom of the lipstick tubes and shampoo bottles. Why do they even bother?  It’s my understanding that eventually lips and hair disappear anyway. Why do I have to wear magnifying glasses when I paint? I’ve been assured my eyes are fine…I’ve been adjusted to 20/20.

Yes, I’ve noticed lines forming on my skin. Things that hurt take longer to heal. I’ve noticed some changes “inside,” too.

For my age:

  • My heart is more steady.
  • My soul has learned to listen.
  • I am selectively inspired by those who have gone before me.
  • I don’t jump to conclusions, but have ratcheted it back to a modified “hop.”
  • I look for the “why” with people’s behaviour.
  • I am slower to condemn.
  • I mind my own business more.
  • I am more inclined to enjoy my own company.
  • I look deeper for the possibilities.
  • I enjoy “watching.”
  • I am more immersed in the practice of gratitude
  • My creativity has blossomed.
  • I seek to be of service.
  • I want to leave something behind rather than take more than I need.
  • I work to keep my soul “right.”

Like I said, as we age our eyesight fails, but our vision becomes more acute. That certainly is something to lean in to, something to, pardon the pun, look forward to. There is much terrain to be explored, through another set of eyes, through a more open heart, through a gentler character.

To be fully disclosing, and you know I am, I must set the record straight…I’m not all the way “there.” I still get irritated by some of the “going ons” in day to day living. I still find it easier to forgive character flaws than stupidity. Stupid should hurt. But, I am on the rails of my chosen track  and looking forward to the trip. I’m grateful for it. I’m learning to see differently. (click to Tweet).

What has time given to you? What have you gained as life moves along? Feel free to share here…we’re all friends.

 Choose to be farsighted,

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!

 

Series-ous Directions

Having the vehicle and directions to get where you want to go is priceless.The Weaver's House

But, what happens when we’re in unfamiliar territory?

Recently, I came to a crossroad and didn’t have a map. No stinkin’ Garmin…no road signs. Nada. Sometimes, as we’re traveling the path of our natural, creative evolution, we get lost. It may be we follow our curiosity deep into the woods and can’t find the way out.  Perhaps the shiny eyes and voices in the night murmur, ”Come this way.” “Not that, this is better.” “Since you asked my opinion…” and we actually listen to them! It’s the way with the world today.

If we tried to pay strict attention to all the information that claims to be “useful” to us, we’d  be in an over-loaded, slack–jawed, dead–fish eyed, stupor.(Try Tweetin’ that!)

Enormous loads of information bombard our consciousness daily. In the confusion of looking for a map, we’re accosted at every proverbial street corner.  I don’t know about you, but I’m unwilling to have my art career carjacked by any ol’ yahoo waving an “Pistol Of Perspective” (click to Tweet).   Lots of people claim they can provide directions…but sometimes they send you down a treacherous alley, or a dead end street.

I was stopping to ask directions when I bumped into San Francisco Artist and Acrylic Diva, Tesia Blackburn. To my delight, not only was she familiar the terrain, she honored my free will to choose my own mode of transportation.

Her advice to me – choose one design element you’d like to study. Create 50 paintings. Do nothing else. Nothing else. Explore that element, get intimate with your subject. You’ll free your mind from other bothers and you’re bound to produce some very good paintings.

Huh?

It sounded so simple…yet time consuming. It smacked of….ahem….self-discipline. What’s a lost girl to do?  Rather than straying deeper into the woods, I sought civilization. I set out to explore my element in my new series titled “Villages.”

Promo for FB Villages WMWhy “Villages?” Because my abstract landscapes held my interested, but I needed a little bit more. I want to ensure I’d stay engaged during the learning process. I wanted to tell stories. Villages…small communities where people live their lives. Families. Characters. History. Epic tales. If you’re looking for direction, start a series, as Tesia Blackburn suggests. Here it is, from the horse’s mouth (sorry, Tesia).

Artist, Kesha Bruce has her own flavor of advice to begin a series. Kesha draws quickly and with abandon – in one sitting, 100 drawings, 3 minutes each. She swears it will take you out of your mind. Something original, fresh and exciting will evolve.

Kesha Bruce uses this technique to begin all her series. It’s a potent prescription to find direction or even discover new lands. Learn more here.

Not all who wander are lost, but if you are, or if you’re seeking new direction, try a series of paintings or drawings. You might discover new lands! I’ve found success. The journey has deepened my understanding, experience, confidence and my work is improving.

So trust yourself. Let your muse be your guide.

Take your art series-ously,

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!

Walking the Tightrope

Ritual and Routine

 

When you work on your own, it’s easy to get into an unproductive rut. The demands of everyday life can pull you off track. Soon, you find, you’re taxiing kids, doing the laundry or waiting for repair people. Did you get into the studio? Nope. Take care of that upcoming marketing piece for your event? Nope. Did you write your newsletter? Heck, nope…and that’s not all. It’s not that you’re not “working,” it’s just you aren’t working on your stuff. Your life has become a circus!!!

“If you don’t spend your time delivering your own package, other people will use your time to deliver theirs.” (click to Tweet)

This kind of “off-tracking” and generosity may feel like flexibility to you, but what it really does is zap your productivity. What’s more, it can suck every bit of creativity out of you. Schwwwwooooopppp!

   

So, how do you develop a healthy routine that boosts production and allows creativity to thrive? Can your free-spirited self ever be happy with the bridle of routine? You might think it feels, well…constricting.

It’s unrealistic to expect our days will be spent doing only the things we love to do. Ooooh, did I sound like your mother?  Sorry!  Sure, the bulk of your work should be something you’re passionate about, but realistically, we all have parts of our work we don’t thoroughly enjoy. If we want to sip the sweet nectar of success, we have to drink the bitter medicine, too.

The key is to create some balance. If we only do the tasks we enjoy and put off the others, we run into a big pile of procrastination. Life can be like the bigtop, so here are some tips to get a foothold on that tightrope, and create some happy, predictable fun and routine in your days.

Start with a Solid Program – When creating ritual and routine think of the things you enjoy…what are you passionate about? This is your foundation for the day’s journey. Make sure your passions are really your own…unique to you.

Artfully Schedule the Acts – Identify your peak production hours. Schedule hard hitting stuff for the times you’re most energized. For example, if you’re a morning person, do your heavy lifting in the morning. If you are energized after lunch, schedule demanding tasks in the afternoon. Schedule your days with the activities you most enjoy in strategic time slots to kick off the day. Keep momentum by scheduling some “duties” that don’t squeal your wheels, but need to be done anyway, in between the times you’re doing the fun stuff. Need some time management tips?

Sweeten the Deal Think of it like cotton candy. If you’re doing a task you don’t enjoy, sweeten the deal by playing music you love, or performing the task in an enjoyable spot. For example, go out to the garden with your laptop to create marketing material, or play your favourite artist during your clean up phase in the studio. Sip a favourite beverage while doing your books. It works!

Be the Ringmaster – Of course, you have an audacious “To Do” list! You also have a calendar. Use them both. Schedule 60% of your time and leave 40% free for life to happen. But when you schedule it, make sure you honor your commitments to yourself and do what’s on your calendar. It’s important to schedule time in the day to take a break and recharge. This is essential to your creative flow. You can find some tips here.

Hold Regular Dress Rehearsals  – Spend time on the tightrope every day. Repeat the ritual and routine. Keep it predictable…well, as predictable as possible. Let those around you know the road you’re traveling, so you can reclaim your time for yourself and decline their requests until you’re free. If you get up everyday and repeat the same positive behaviours, you can’t help but increase your productivity and creativity. You’ll be flying through the air with the greatest of ease.

By consciously filling your days with both things you love and activities you MUST do, and being committed to the schedule, you create ritual and routine. Inform others of your plan and schedule their time separately…then they can’t clown with your calendar. Be committed to your own success by claiming your own time and stepping into the spotlight. Be the star of your own act.

Take a Bow,

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 more success in their lives. 

Writer, Artist, CoachFollow 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!

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!

This Free Spirit

This free spirit sings aloud, filled with mirth.

 This free spirit sometimes partakes of dessert before dinner.

 This free spirit dances with dogs, many of them, all at once.

This free spirit feasts eyes upon bold and lively colour palettes.

 This free spirit sports costumes which please her…sometimes to the amusement of others.

 This free spirit speaks her truth, never trying to hurt, but to connect and understand.

 This free spirit takes chances, knowing this life is precious, to be celebrated and savored.

This free spirit feels deeply, loves fearlessly and is loyal to the end.

This free spirit can soar when the surroundings feel harmonious and beautiful.

This free spirit should not be crossed…no…you don’t want to do that.

 This free spirit feels your stories and is honored to hold your hand along the path.  

      This free spirit has been known to eat nothing but chocolate for an entire day (click to Tweet).Tweet:

 

This free spirit laughs at her own jokes and will laugh at yours…if they’re funny.

This free spirit wants to see everyone she meets stand in their own light, no matter their light, she appreciates the “illumination.”

 This free spirit loves animals and household furnishings and must confess…loves them equally.

This free spirit is curious and sees the wonder in all things.

This free spirit speaks her mind. Then sometimes has to apologize.

“This free spirit has given both permission and immortality to her inner child.” (click birdie to Tweet)

Tweet:

This free spirit cries at the sweetness of life and the imperfection of her own soul.

 

Set Yourself FREE! 

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!

 

It’s Not Always a Masterpiece

https://michelleandresart.com/?p=967I paint. My husband plays golf. It’s not always a masterpiece and his round is not always par. As a matter of fact, he’s yet to shoot a sub-par round. And me…that masterpiece….well, never you mind.

I’d written another post for this week. I said, “This really sucks. I won’t publish it.” Then it occurred to me…this might just suck as well, cause it’s not always a masterpiece.

That doesn’t keep us from trying. That doesn’t thwart our practice, our passion, our optimism. It creates a bit of balance, actually.

  • The bad days make the good days more blissful. (click to Tweet)
  •  The faulty painting makes the masterpiece sweeter. (click to Tweet)
  •  The missed shots make the hole-in-one a celebratory, bankruptcy event at the 19th hole. (click to Tweet)
  •  The sucky post makes the blog post shorter…good for you, the reader.

And we keep plodding along. The gambler, the believer, the dreamer, the fool…oops, sorry. Ahem, the tenacious, the headstrong, the dedicated. We do it because we love the challenge, we love the process and sometimes, just sometimes, we love the outcome. Because, when it’s all said and done, who doesn’t value excellence?

So keep on, keepin’ on. It’s more important to keep your commitments, be true to your character and to stand in your own light than to be perfect every time… or perfect any time. Because, I for one, deeply appreciate the flaws, the imperfections, the crooked little tooth. “I love that you’re not perfect, because neither am I, and that is the field where we can meet and hold the hand of humanity.” (Click to Tweet) Not only do we forgive one another, we accept one another, we have to…because none of us are perfect.

So, there you have it. It ‘s not a masterpiece, but it’s something.

“There is a crack in everything, That’s how the light gets in.” -Leonard Cohen

Celebrate Life In All Its Imperfection and Cherish the Rarity of the Masterpiece,

Imperfection

 

 

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. 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!

Hearing Voices

I think of myself as fearless.

But. I’m. Not.

Fearless Idiosyncratic fashionistas About 8 years ago I publically declared my intention to become a crazy old lady in my later years. That statement liberated me. It made it possible to be creatively fearless and do stuff that would make the faint of heart run and hide. I put my art into the public eye with reckless abandon. I wrote my thoughts and confessed feelings that I shouldn’t publically admit (still doing it…you can’t stop me…yes, you could…please be gentle…don’t hurt me). I felt free to live with verve. I would be like the Idiosyncratic Fashionistas (more here).

When we don’t care about what other people think of us; when we do not beat ourselves with the social climber’s measuring stick; when we simply do our best and our heart knows it is good enough (for now)…that’s when the magic happens (click to Tweet)That’s the place where we give ourselves permission to flourish. It’s the fertile learning ground, the joyful happy place, the vast creative field where innovation and daring meet. We are authentic, courageous and fearless when we live and work from there, like children. Deep down, I know it is my obligation to protect this place in myself.

Lots of times fear creeps in.  It does so like the fog …on little cat feet. Thank you, Carl Sandburg. We don’t hear it coming. We raise our heads and there it is – BAM! IN YOUR FACE!

Yesterday, I spent some of the afternoon sketching and painting. Drawing is somewhat new for me, so I’ve chronicled my journey Fearful voicefrom the start and am pleased with my progress. I cavalierly posted a picture of a botanical on Facebook. A friend replied, “Love it! You are getting so good.” Promptly I removed it. I knew the rocks weren’t right. Shame. Shit. Shame. Nothing had changed but the voice in my head. The seeping self-judgement…thief of joy. 

I’ll bet you do it, too. Sometimes? You do, right?

For a lot of artists their work springs from joyful self-expression. For a lot of people their best comes when they embrace whatever work they do with joyful abandon. THIS IS WHY YOU DO WHAT YOU DO. It feels good.

Then…here comes the voice; the fear of judgment. Worse yet, we turn our judgment to others and compare ourselves to their goodness or a golden standard. Suddenly, mine is not good enough. I am not good enough. It doesn’t matter who you are, or what your dreams – you fill in the blank:

  • My art is not good enough
  • I’m not a good enough parent
  • I am not smart enough
  • I’m not a good employee
  • I’m not pretty/handsome enough
  • My voice is not good enough
  • I’m not a good daughter/son
  • My house is not good enough
  • My writing is not good enough (then why are you still reading?)
  • My clothes are not good enough

I’ll spare you the pain, because the list goes on and on. Know what? Sure, you could be doing better. That’s why it’s called a journey. There is always room to improve – that’s the BEAUTY of it! (click to Tweet)

It’s the voice that must be controlled. Silenced. Replaced with the cheerleading voice.  Some  coaches call the negative voice the Gremlin, and everyone has one.  Shame researcher, Brene Brown talks about it, researches it extensively. She says only sociopaths don’t feel shame. Whewwww! I dodged that bullet!

So in the spirit of being a crazy old lady, because I know better, because I choose courage, because I made a commitment to work from a place of joy and abandon, I am sharing. This is why I do what I do.

From shameful voice to fearless
Shameful Botanical Print

 “I will not let the voice of fear rob me of my best life” (click to Tweet). 

What about you? You make a choice to listen to a voice. Do you choose the fearful one, or the champion?  What is the price?  This blog is a safe place, a tribe, where you can share. I find most people are supportive and wonderful. Those who aren’t have their own work to do. Do not go down without a fight…be brave…be happy.

I have no doubt, you are good enough,

Signaturef

 

 

 

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. 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!