Recipe for a Peace of Mind

We all have an appetite for a peace of mind.

Unfortunately, too often it seems it’s come to this –  people are divided, though we are more alike than we are different. We blame, finger point, cave to fears…and the truth is…most of it may not even be real. This Ted Talk brought to light just how much of what we’re told is intended to manipulate us to do something, not do something or vilify our fellow human beings. Many of these “agendas” work against people being whole, healthy and happy… though I’m not sure that’s their primary objective. We don’t have to let the establishment cannibalize us – do I sound like a conspiracy theorist? (click to Tweet). We can cultivate wholeness and unity.

It begins with us. It begins with gaining control over our own souls, our own thoughts and deciding who we want to be in this world. I believe we were designed, by God, to be peaceful beings, but it’s so difficult to do when we’re being manipulated into contention. This constant division, attacking and vilifying is like sandpaper on our souls (click to Tweet).

Do you know who you want to be? Are you brave enough to claim it?

Bill Phillips Who you are quote Continue reading “Recipe for a Peace of Mind”

Lightening the Load

Load of baggageThere’s been something on my mind lately. It has to do with lightening the load, letting the past go, forgiveness. Basically, it’s about not dragging your baggage behind you…forever.

I’ve wanted to write about it, but realized I’ve written something similar before and I don’t want to be redundant. Let me repeat that, I don’t want to be redundant.

Yet, I realize, life is a spiritual practice. Truly, it is.

Sometimes, I find myself repeating the same lessons over again. I suppose it’s either because I haven’t fully learned them, or perhaps I just have a short memory. Did I ever tell you that? Does it happen to you, too? Which, you ask? Whichever.

Anyway, lately I’ve been shedding stuff. You’ll remember I let go of the stuff with my neighbor. I’ve also let go of some past relationship baggage – where I’d felt wronged. Maybe, rather than feeling we’ve been wronged we should feel we’ve been “informed.” Seems easier on the soul. (click to Tweet)

I’m not sure what triggers that moment when we choose to drop the load and move forward. It’s strange, but we drag it behind us – the stories, the wrongs – sometimes for a long, looooong, time. They begin to feel like part of us, this extra weight. Maybe eventually we don’t even notice it. These things become part of our identity.

Maybe that’s why we refuse to let them go. We think things like, if I wasn’t a “victim” of so and so, who would I be? If I hadn’t had that bad employment experience, who would I be? If I didn’t have that difficult relationship with that awful person, who I make wrong so I can be okay being me, who would I be? I’m not sure exactly who I’d be, but I’m sure of WHAT I’d would be….lighter. I’m sure I’m okay without the bags.

Seems some of the bags I carry aren’t even my own; they’re the bags of those evil twins, judgment and expectation; the twins who steal our levity, our joy, our liberation. They keep us in the world of our stories, which may or may not be true…but who really cares? 

So, as I move ahead, I thought I’d share my inner-ramblings with you. Because, while I’m a bit crazy, I’m no more or less crazy than you are… and you’ve probably carried some bags, too. I think you’ll find, if you put down the bags, the colours are more vivid, the heart is lighter, life is sweeter. So….

Check your bags,

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Michelle Andres is a writer and artist. She Writer, Artist, Coachwrites this blog to share tips for a well-lived life and finely run art business…just for you! 

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 9.05.02 PMThe “2016 Art and Inspiration Calendars” are HERE!!! Buy one for you and one for friend while I still have some in stock! Each month features a painting and quote from the blog. The cost is $20 plus a shipping fee of $3.99 or they can be picked up in my R. Street Studio. 12 months of art and inspiration!!! You can order them at the bottom of my art page (see the tab at the top). 

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Fresh Start

Fresh StartWhen I hear the term “Fresh Start” I think of Paul Blanco’s Fresh Start program. It’s for people who have bad credit and need a car. But, today, I’m cashing in on a Fresh Start of another kind. The kind for people who are relationally bereft, those who’ve found themselves light on emotional currency, perhaps due to misunderstandings – which are the cause of so many of our ills.

I make a real effort to keep my relationships clean. I don’t like to have misunderstandings floating about or passive-aggressive dogs at the door. I tend to address those things as soon as possible, though most easily with people I trust.

Sometimes things get out of hand. For me, it’s often a tough call to identify the line between reasonable tolerance and where I have a reasonable right to set a firm boundary. You know, I don’t want to be the “curmudgeon on the hill” nor “the push-over that lives up there.” (click to Tweet) I think I’d rather err on the side of the curmudgeon, but fear I can more easily fill the shoes of the push-over. Boy, after I give too much, am I fun to be around or what? Continue reading “Fresh Start”

You’re Cracked – The Kintsugi of You

"Kintsugi bowl made by Morty Bachar, Lakeside Pottery  www.lakesidepottery.com
Kintsugi bowl made by Morty Bachar, Lakeside Pottery www.lakesidepottery.com

I love the look of Kintsugi. You know, the Japanese pottery with the intentionally decorated crack in it? The ceramic vessels have an incredible, gold streak adorning them, boasting their history and celebrating their imperfections.

People should be more like that.

There’s a theme that keeps popping up this week – the quest for perfection and the almost impossibility of attaining it. Some people believe it’s a “go-nogo gauge.” Whatever it is –their life, their work, their children, their relationships – it’s either perfect or a fail. That may be true if you’re talking manufacturing tolerances for pacemakers, but in most things…no.

An artist friend is preparing for a solo show and can’t seem to get his work “perfect.” I wonder why he tries so very hard. What I like best about his work is the interesting, varying, marks that make it unique. Some would call them imperfections – I just call them interesting. It’s what makes the work breathtaking.

I’ve yet to trust anything that I perceive as perfect. (click to Tweet). For me, that sort of glossed over, mass-production, lipstick, superficial crap is just not worth a second look. It’s esthetically unsettling. Show me some drips and bubbles and blemishes…there we go! And, if we’re talking about someone’s character or past, I have to wonder if those people who can do no wrong have plans to run for public office. I prefer people with a history…a couple unique cracks. But, maybe that’s just me. Continue reading “You’re Cracked – The Kintsugi of You”

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”

Don’t Push, Folks!

I don’t like pushy people.Pushy people

And, I don’t think it’s just me that feels that way.

Last week someone struck me as “pushy” and it set off a chain reaction. I’m not a spineless wimp…people who know me well will attest that I have a “mind of my own.” I’ve scrimmaged in the corporate shark tank, occasionally swimming away the spoils (click to Tweet). But, it is not in my nature to continually vie for my way. When I see other people doing it, I am often embarrassed for them. I certainly empathize with the poor soul who must “deal” with them. It’s just one reason I love my creative community. Many are deep thinking, deep feeling people. They tend to be self-aware and not pushy…not very often.

Last week I felt pushed. I was also in the mood to explore it a bit further, so I pitched a public question. “Complete the sentence – Pushy people are…..” It set off a firestorm.

  • Obnoxious
  • Drive me nuts
  • Need to be pulled
  • Cannot control their own lives
  • Make great shopping card retrievers
  • Are scared

Wait! Scared? That remark stoked my philosophical fire.

After a deep dive into the subject of strident “me-ism” I came to the following conclusion. This is my understanding of “pushy” – yours may vary:

“Pushy is, as pushy does.” Maybe it has more to do with the exchange of energy. For whatever reason (insecurity, fear) the pushy person has more energy around their action or response than the receiver. We then “perceive” this as pushy. If we don’t have enough energy to engage in the conversation, to respectfully discuss, to disarm, we then feel pushed. It’s all imagined. We are responsible to uphold our own boundaries. If I’m too tired or lazy (let’s face it, when the energy is low, that’s what it is) to engage in a conversation because it requires energy I’m unwilling to give, labeling them as “pushy” is a cop out. We can all be pushy if it’s important enough to us.

Some people have been rewarded for their nervy behaviour. Many might agree, this encourages them to push harder, push more often. As a coach, I’ve often observed clients overuse a strategy that has worked for them in the past. If it quits working, they may continue to employ it with an added, over-assertive push. Bad news.

Others have been shoved by the insistent pusher and swear off assertiveness. They recoil at the thought of being perceived as brash or  pushy and may not pursue their desires. They hold back, eventually loosing their courage. They lose their voice; grow resentful.

The perfect balance lies somewhere in between.

Aggressive pursuit is undoubtedly fueled by emotion, perceived value and is topic specific. Sometimes you need to push. Sometimes you need to give. Sometimes you simply need to understand (click to Tweet).

Difficult People - By Noel Sandino
Difficult People – By Noel Sandino

What about you?

Do you overuse, or underuse this behaviour? Are you getting everything you want while those around you are accommodating you? Are you finding people avoid you? Are you resentful of those who get what they want? Feel they’ll drain you dry? Have you lost your voice?

I think it’s worth at least a brief examination. Achieving your goals is important, but at the end of the day, our lives are built on a series of relationships (click to Tweet). A good balance of both is essential for the fulfillment and connectedness we all crave. And, when we see someone going off the rails, the best strategy may be to proceed without judgment, engage them in dialogue when our energy is high, and seek a mutually acceptable (or at least understood) answer.

Please, don’t push folks, there’s enough for everyone!

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

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The Pebble

“You can be walking on the most beautiful beach you’ve ever seen and if there’s a pebble in your shoe, that’s all you can think about.”  ~ Jim Hardy

Irritations, change your viewWe all have our pebbles. Small, sharp sticking points that demand our attention. As a friend told me, we can have the most incredible, full lives and we look for the one little thing that is out of place…then we focus on that.

Isn’t that the most inane thing you’ve ever heard? And, don’t you do it? Sometimes? Come on! I’m getting ready to confess, so slide on over in the shriving pew with me (click to Tweet). Yeah, you might need to Google that –  “shriving pew.”

Maybe the pebble is worry, a friend that you had a row with, an disagreeable political climate, or the brown spots on the lawn. Sometimes, there is nothing within your power to change the pebble. The thing you have to change is yourself. That’s my pebble. Usually, if I can take action to rectify something – brown spots – I am more at peace. It’s those pebbles that we can’t change that create the painful limp as we stroll along the beach of life (click to Tweet). This week I’ve found myself focused on my pebble. It gnaws, pokes, irritates me. This is no way to live a well-lived life.  My view is is myopic and, I’ll call it like it is, UNGRATEFUL.

Focusing on the pebble is like slapping good fortune in the face. What insolent children to have such an epic fail in “Gratitude 101.” Do the brown spots or worry suffer at all? Nope. Who suffers? ME. YOU. Not only do we reject good karma, we unwittingly end up punishing ourselves.

I’d like to think I’m smarter than this…but that jury on that is out having a European lunch break – and sipping a nice Chianti, I’m sure. (click to Tweet).

So, how do you let go of the pebble? How do you shift your attention to the stuff that matters. Are we using the pebbles as excuses?

Reframing irritation
Cairns are big pebbles – they mark the path (ironic)

Are they distractions to keep us from stepping fully into our joyful, well-lived lives, doing our best work? Brene Brown talks about waiting for the other shoe to drop. Sometimes, if things are really good, we can’t tolerated it…we wait for the storm to hit.

Not sure who I’d be fooling if I claimed to have the answer. Maybe the answer different for every person. Maybe it’s different for every pebble. Not sure.

This is what I do know. I will focus on gratitude. I will enlist my superior intellect (haha) to focus on not just the beach, but the ocean. Life is full of blessings…I will embrace and be thankful for each one.

But, WAIT THERE’S MORE…

I will be more intentionally of service and be more giving. If I focus on others perhaps I’ll forget the pebble all together. In that spirit, I am giving free 45 minute coaching sessions to the first 6 people who contact me via the “Coaching” form on this website. Just send it in, this podiatric patient is there for you! We’ll consider it a sort of penance.

So my prescription is SERVICE, GRATITUDE and A CHANGE OF VIEW. Do you have a pebble and a plan? If so, feel free to share it here, on the blog. I’d love to hear from you.

Until then,

Don’t judge me until you’ve walked a mile in my Jimmy Choos,

irritation

 

 

 

Special thanks to the late, Jim Hardy whose wisdom has guided me through some challenges. May you rest in peace, Jim.

Art coaching, building your art business, belongingness

 

Michelle Andres is a coach, writer and artist who teaches creatives business behaviours that boost their productivity and happiness…all the while honoring their unique and artsy selves.

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We’re Getting the Dog Finger Again!

 

Some of you have traveled the journey of “My Dog’s Life” and shed some tears reading my last blog post about my terrier Mystic 77who, at the time, was dying. You’ll recall my acceptance of a failed relationship and witnessing me swimming in a pool of guilt and angst. Like most things in life, that has changed.

Now, really, I don’t mean to jerk your emotional chain, but here it comes. Right around Easter she rose from the dead. Yep. She spent 3 days in what appeared to be the active state of dying. Family members and friends paraded through the house, wiped their eyes and paid their last respects. She was canonized. Mr. Wonderful (my incredible husband) struggled. Should he help her along in the process? “Do you need to just move on, girl?” Should we call Dr. Stamm?

I. Was. Switzerland.

Then…on Good Friday….one week ago…she rose from the dead and resumed her life.

I don’t get it. She got up, walked around, ate like a champ and basically said, “It’s on! I ain’t done, Jack.”  

What ensued was a test of my spiritual fortitude. Mr. Wonderful talked incessantly of her resurrection, the miracle, what the cause may have been and what the bright and shiny future held. He got her special food  (which drove the other two dogs crazy). He fawned over her, planned a spa day at the groomer and practically offered to get her a new car. Almost every conversation contained “dog topic.” I made an oath to myself not to feel even one pang of disappointment. And I didn’t (applause please).

I struggled with the state of my soul. I had been absolved of my sins during the “death.” I asked for forgiveness, made amends. Now, the chance to live peacefully together once again poked it head around the corner as if to say, “Hey, want to try again?” I was livin’ life on the edge. How long can a human being sustain pure thoughts, bury animosity and grind out a state of harmony? (Click to Tweet)

Sure, it took a few days for her to get back into fighting form. This morning, Mr. Wonderful claimed he got the “dog finger.“

You want a piece of me?
You want a piece of me?

That’s right, the willful disobedience is, once again, alive and well. She did the samba on the carpet with her dirty little fur body. I even got a report when I was away on business, there was a scrimmage with her sister in the kitchen. Switzerland.

Her behaviour has not changed. All the things she did that drove me crazy – she’s doing them again. My behaviour has changed. Aha! So THIS IS THE LESSON! My lesson. This is another chance of redemption. I can get it right. There is no end in sight, only the practice. (Click to tweet)  My practice.

It’s how life IS. I guess the point of the lesson is you don’t know when it will conclude. When it does, if you’ve learned it properly, it won’t matter how long it took. Be Switzerland.

(I invite you to start or join the conversation by leaving a comment below)

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Michelle Andres is a coach, writer and artist who champions others to follow the path less traveled; the path that leadsCoaching pic  - Version 3 straight to their joyful hearts.♥ Find her on Facebook or Twitter