Social Media Has Made Me A Better Person

Social media has made me a better person.

Social MediaI know, you’re probably saying, “Whaaaaaat?” You might believe people let their alter-egos run like wild toddlers on “Fakebook” and other social media platforms, but that isn’t always true. I’d like to believe very few do.

Several years ago, I realized the person I was born as had been buried alive to allow birth for the person who would comply with expectations. It wasn’t really a tragedy, because I developed skills I probably wouldn’t have pursued if left to my own devices. I became an educated, professional who could run not only an entire life by myself, but also run other people’s entire days and businesses. But, one day I realized I needed to honor that silenced inner voice. It was a crossroads. I needed to bloom before I went to seed, so the gag-order was lifted.

I wrote a “coming out post” – birthing this blog, “The Art of the Well Authetic picLived Life” and mostly quit my corporate gig. I occasionally dip my toe back into the water, because it’s fun, refreshing and still part of who I am (and it can buy a lot of paint!), but I spend the bulk of my days pursuing more creative endeavors.

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7 Tips for Keeping Your Eyes on the Good

Good, gratitudeRamping down from the bustle of summer, autumn can be a time of reflection. With that comes a focus on gratitude – probably because of Thanksgiving.

In this blog, “The Art of The Well Lived Life,” I searched the term and discovered I’ve written over 16 posts that mention gratitude. In prayers, I’m always grateful. In retrospect, though I broke with tradition this year and didn’t share something I’m grateful for each day, I did feel grateful…constantly. Gratitude changes outlooks, it changes lives. (click to Tweet) But, that really can’t be the catalyst as to why we give thanks. Gratitude comes from a pure place, one that lacks expectation or return.

I find it curious that, as a society, we always look for what isn’t right. We look for the flaw, the problem, and often, even if there isn’t a problem, we are sometimes frightened into thinking there is one, often by the media. We worry. It solves nothing. We are, by and large, a neurotic mass of medicated, commercially addicted, woeful, empty souls. Is it because we don’t focus on gratitude? Is it because we don’t see what is good and right, but sharply drill into the things that could be better?

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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!

 

Bless You!

Bless You .Bless

Have a cold? No. Are you cold? Perhaps.

As 2013 comes to a close, I re-evaluate the year. Did I do the things I set out to accomplish? Am I closer to being the person I want to be? Did I backslide a bit? Maybe?

We create our own reality very close to home…right between our ears! (click to Tweet). Much of what we worry about will never happen. What we assume, it’s just a story. The practice of judgment makes us feel like we’re safe, like we understand our world.

Judgment makes us believe our lies AND it keeps us stuck…often. (click to Tweet)

On a recent, cross state driving excursion I found myself blaming the driver in front of me. All those people on the crowded road…have you ever noticed….they’re such BAD drivers! There’s the inconsiderate man who wouldn’t pull over to let me to pass, the downright rude young woman who cut me off, the clueless “older person” whose varying speed jacked up the cruise control. They probably don’t even know how to use cruise control. That’s sort of a techie option, eh? My frustration grew…then I remembered Pierre Pradverand’s book “The Gentle Art of Blessing.” One of my all time favorites, it advocates for a practice of blessing all you meet. The man crossing the street, “Bless you!” The person in front of you at the checkout line, “Bless you.” The person dawdling in front of you and jacking up your cruise control, “Bless you, as well.” Blessings to all…Namaste.  Blessings from the deepest chamber of my heart…sincere…authentic…where judgment cannot survive.

Blessing handsNo matter your religious or spiritual beliefs, you can unconditionally bless those in your world. Pradervand has found this practice changes lives. It changed his life. It changed lives of people he shared it with. It changed a life of a prisoner on death row! Slowing it down, seeing our sisters and brothers as our sisters and brothers (rather than obstacles to be dealt with) changes our energy, our perceptions and our world. I once even led a work team through the exercise in a large healthcare system, an experiment to see if we could change the way we treated one another. If you bless them, it changes YOU. And without scientific evidence, I’m guessing it will change the world.

I’ll admit, in this busy season I’ve fallen short and haven’t been embracing blessing. When I did,  it made for a much more pleasant long drive. My time was the same and the goodwill was bountiful. Today, I will continue to bless those I meet. I invite you to do the same and let me know how it changes your life.

Watch about the Gentle Art of Blessing  

Bless you along your way and into 2014….

Coaching

 

 

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.

 

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!

 

Rearranging the Room in Your Head

When I call this a “Confessional Blog” I’m not fooling around. This week I’ll share a recent experience and give you a tour inside my head; some insight into how my brain works.

You. Should. Brace. Yourself.

Sometimes I free up space in my head and go all conceptual, philosophical ninja on my defenseless self (click to Tweet). I do this without medicinal aids or the use of any hallucinogenics. That’s right, it’s all natural – like the Whole Foods of psychosis. I might be going out on a limb today, but hey, falling is a chance I’ll take. Remember, I vowed to live as fearlessly as possible. Here’s the story…

Following my breath into my yoga practice yesterday morning a strange thought came to me. Suddenly, I imagined I was not little Free from Doubtme, rather, I was Elizabeth Gilbert. You know, the best-selling author of  “Eat, Pray, Love” and her newest release “The Signature of All Things.” I’ve read Gilbert’s interviews. She’s a thoughtful, kind, down to earth human being. Yesterday, Gilbert herself planted her butt on my yoga mat; she took up rent in my cranium.  How did it feel?

Different

So, I began a little experiment. I was Georgia O’Keeffe. I was John Mayer. I embodied  Helen Frankenthaler and Hemingway.  For the record, Hemingway’s balance and flexibility suck wind. With each writer, artist or musician I noticed a subtle change in my body. It differed depending upon the person. It was always different than “I” feel in “my” body. Experiencing each of these people had one feeling in common.

It was…liberating.

I don’t know about you, but when I see people who are revered in their fields I make a big assumption. I assume the doubts, self-consciousness and challenges that go along with striving for that status have long fallen away for them. I assume they’re simply solid in their craft and their souls are free to pursue the world sans doubt. Surely they wake up swinging life by the tail! This freedom allows them to pursue and enjoy doing their best work. Their gifts are free to flow. Unfettered.

To be humble, I have a few…well at least one…well-honed skill(s). When I reflect upon my own experience of using these skills, I realize this “lack of doubt” may not be true of  ALL accomplished people. Perhaps some of them still struggle with insecurity, but surely some must have broken free of the bonds. How would life be different if we each stepped into that space? Not a place of arrogance or haughtiness – instead, a place where the voice of doubt is hushed, quieted.  A space where confidence is given permission to take the “mountain pose.” What would happen then? (click to Tweet)

Freedom from DoubtHow would I be different if I weren’t wondering if I’d ever “do it well enough?”

What if I quietly, internally, accepted I already “did do it well enough?”

How would YOU be different if you stepped into that space?

I had a discussion with a brilliant man about this. I have to say that… he’s reading this. He wondered if the doubt fell away, would the drive and fire be diminished? I encourage you to go deeper. The drive and fire are still alive, only doubt and self-consciousness are diminished. How would you feel? Stop. How. Would. You. Feel?

God has given each of us our own unique gifts. It’s criminal not to unleash them…practice them…share them with the world. Isn’t that why we’re here? It’s not in our benefit to play small, although our fears find gleeful satisfaction in keeping us tiny. It is not our responsibility to feed them.

I’m sorry you’ve read this far (you are still reading, aren’t you?) and I’ve offered no answers. My purpose, I suppose, is to start the conversation. Would you entertain the thought of how this freedom might change your life, your work, your relationships? No one is asking you to change who you are, only to consider rearranging the space in which your spirit resides (click to Tweet).

I look forward to your thoughts.

Please, don’t institutionalize me,

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!

Two Poems and a Quote

Gratitude Quote from www.michelleandresart.com

Happy Thanksgiving week sweet readers. I hope you and your families had a day filled with gratitude, love and the spirit of the Thanksgiving tradition. Those of you who follow me on social media know, I’ve made it a personal tradition to express gratitude each day for the month of November. I do it throughout the year as well, but in an effort to not drive you crazy, keep my gratitudes in my journals.

This week I offer you two poems and a quote. I hope you enjoy the read. I invite you to share thoughts on the poems, quote and the way you cultivate and nurture gratitude in your own lives. I sincerely thank you for spending some of your time each week reading my musings and know, for you, I am…

Deeply Grateful,

~ Michelle

In the life of aspiration and dedication
The gratitude-deer always runs the fastest,
Always achieves the most,
Always becomes the perfection-satisfaction
 of the highest and
 most fulfilling and fulfilled
 Supreme in us.
Gratitude is not a human achievement.
Gratitude is a divine treasure
 granted to us 
by the inner Pilot within us,
The Absolute Supreme.
                                                                       ~Sri Chinmoy

 

THE MOMENT
The moment when, after many years 
of hard work and a long voyage 
you stand in the centre of your room,
house, half-acre, square mile, island, country, 
knowing at last how you got there,
 and say, I own this, 

is the same moment when the trees unloose
 their soft arms from around you,
 the birds take back their language, 
the cliffs fissure and collapse,
 the air moves back from you like a wave
 and you can’t breathe.
“No,” they whisper. “You own nothing.
 You were a visitor, time after time
 climbing the hill, planting the flag, proclaiming.
 We never belonged to you.
 You never found us. 
It was always the other way round.”
                                                                                                                                                        ~Margaret Atwood

 

“Gratitude is the 
reflection of kindness and
 rests deep in the heart.”
                                                                                                                                      ~ Ken E. Hall

Wishing you gratitude and abundance every day of the year!

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 Writer, Coachdreams by helping them improve productivity and for 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!

 

My Lunacy (Luna, See?)

moon journalTonight the moon is full. There will also be a penumbral eclipse, though it may not be visible in North America. I’ve always followed the moon closely. She is a heavenly body symbolizing light, the feminine (maiden, mother and crone) and abundance. The moon controls her own cycles. She is the embodiment of planting, growth and harvest. The moon taps into our feminine qualities, all of us, not just women, but men, too.

Tonight’s moon, October 18, 2013 will be a “Hunter’s Moon.” (click to Tweet)

So, why am I going all loony for the moony?  Mostly because I spent last weekend with 55 other artists in a room with music, laughter, chocolate, flowers and Alyson Stanfield, The Art Biz Coach. We defined our dreams and took oaths with one another on steps we’d take to make our dreams materialize. It was fantastic. The friendships we formed will go far beyond the weekend and the steps we’ve vowed to take will become our everyday, powerful, business tools and rituals.

moon journal
Future Moon Journalers

Rituals. We had a discussion about the benefits of journaling, affirmations and gratitude. These activities are powerful and keep us on track. They do require some upkeep AND I have something additional to share with you. You may even want to try it.

I do a bi-monthly moon dance. Yep, I get all cozy, clear, conscious and talk to the moon. Twice a month. Like clockwork. My mind is clear. I get in a good space. I go outside, look up and let it fly. Don’t be alarmed. It’s not a cloven-hoofed ritual or anything, and it has good value.

I have a journal I use for the full and new moons. On the full moon, I let stuff go. It is a time of emptying, moving forward and past the concerns I’ve had. It doesn’t have to be fancy…usually just one, simple page. It may look something like this:

During this full moon I, with trust and faith, surrender and release that which no longer serves me.

  •  Doubts about my talents and how they may be used to serve others
  • Fear of vulnerability (this is PROOF, I’ve let that one fly! I’m sharing my journal with you!)
  • A sense of lack or scarcity
  • Pain from the past that keeps me from savoring joy in the present

Today I joyfully surrender and am open to receive life differently.

I might also include concerns for my children or other people in my life, my interpretation of how I was treated or an event that felt unjust. Basically, it’s stuff I hang on to. We all have it. It’s emotional clutter, feelings of doubt. Why drag it around like toilet paper on the bottom of your shoe? The moon will take care of it!

So, the full moon is a time to unload. It’s spring cleaning for the soul, but I do it every month! (click to Tweet)

The new moon ritual is a little different. New moons are for exploring possibilities, setting intentions and moving forward. New moons manifest new ideas, practices and habits. I don’t get too specific, that’s what my “To Do” list is for. Here’s an example of a new moon ritual:moon journal

I accept these things into my life now, for my highest good and the good of all concerned:

  • Joyful, artful living
  • Cultivating more compassion, patience and non-judgment
  • A career path that fulfills my purpose and brings joy to myself and others
  • Deep connections with my animal friends
  • Yadda, yadda, yadda. Still reading? Did you get that one?

I am open to receive these gifts or something better. With joyful gratitude ~ m

New moons set the stage for the next slice of life you want to create (click to Tweet).

Sometimes we do things because they feel good. Sometimes we do things because they work. You will be pleased to know, this practice fits both bills. Occasionally, I have to carry an action over to the next month. Sometimes I find myself revisiting these releases or manifestations. But, I have a chronicle. I can see where I’ve been, I can imagine where I want to go…and create it. Every month I see growth, change and it goes the way of my intentions.

Embrace your lunacy. It only happens 24 times per year (or so). Go ahead…

Moon Me,

Signature

 

Michelle Andres is a coach, writer and artist who nudges, nay, shoves creatives in the direction of their Art coaching, building your art business, belongingnessdreams by helping them improve productivity by helping them form good behaviours and 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!

 

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.

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!

 

Copeless…At the End of My Ropeless

My personal messSometimes life gets messy. My personal mess began with a leaking ceiling during a triple digit heat wave. The restoration company demolished the wet plaster, set up an industrial fan in the living room and the adventure began.

The reconstruction impeded my ability to move, actually walk, through the house. The only way to get from the bedroom to the kitchen was by going outside. Saws, roof noises, pounding hammers and strange people – our dogs were constantly barking and pretty annoyed.  I was…no, I felt… greatly inconvenienced and life became discombobulated. Oh, yes, that is a word; the perfect word. Discombobulated.

To make matters worse, the construction guys knocked off at 2:00 Friday afternoon and I asked when I could expect them back. Monday. To me, that looks like 2 ½ days of lost production. Not everyone has a sense of urgency just because I do (click to Tweet). I am repeatedly reminded of that.

Sometimes change feels hopelessAs I stumbled through the ruins of my once orderly domain, I became increasingly copeless. Okay, that’s not a word, but I like it. It sounds kind of like “hopeless” so it makes sense. An hour before I wrote this chronicle, I got locked out of my kitchen (first draft said my OWN kitchen, geesh)  and I couldn’t access the garage (my OWN garage). I seethed. I’m sure before the ordeal is over someone will get hurt. Pretty sure that someone will be me.

As a self-fulfilling prophecy I proceed to unravel myself and focus on every little irritation. The noise of the saw cutting the supports for the roof. The shaking, confused old dog. I can’t get to the rooms toward back of the house. The guys make a colossal mess (they’re working!). I know better, but I decide to choose that road anyway, because after a week of mess and noise and uncertainty, I don’t have the “skill” to take the other road, the road I hope is more frequently traveled. To make it all worse…I know better. But, I am copeless. At the end of my ropeless.

Isn’t this the way change goes in our lives? We rail against it. We twist and we fight, sometimes even when the change is something we wanted or know will improve our lives or businesses. We KNOW we can choose to see it differently…but, sometimes, we intentionally choose not to. Sorry, that’s just…well…a stupid choice.

What are you choosing to view in a copeless light?

In 2 weeks, I can guarantee you, it will all be water under the bridge. Yesterday’s news. (Insert your own cliché here). I’ll be enjoying a clean and comfortable room, with lots of lovely, natural light.  I’ll also be be carrying the mantel of shame for my poor behaviour. Knowing I could have chosen another way of seeing things. But, we all do it, we’re human. We do all do it, don’t we?

The art of choice is a daily, spiritual practice (click to Tweet).

So what’s messy in your life? In your business? Are you handling it like a skilled adult…or like a 2 year-old child? Here’s the short plan to restore grace and joy into my well lived life:

  •    Focus on gratitude, in the moment, every day.Change can lead to life improvement
  •    Extend forgiveness – others are not trying to dance on my raw nerves – that’s about me!
  •    Visualize the outcome – I know I am working toward something     better.
  •    Take care of myself – know when to ask for a break and make sure I eat and sleep well
  •    Be patient

I’d love to know I’m not alone in my little stumble from grace. Please feel free to share a story, ask for help or just point at me and laugh at the link below.

It’s ALL Good!

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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. Follow her on Facebook on Twitter

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Hangin’ With the Herd and Drinking with Baboons

“I never really have fit in” – I hear people say that all the time. “I was different. I was the black sheep,” they’ll say. After listening for some time, I realize…they wouldn’t trade belonging if it meant changing who they are.  I respect that.

Blessed are those who have discovered their herd (click to Tweet).

belonging to a group, herd, tribe

I went to a Techie meeting this week. During the networking portion the attendees all had their noses in their notebooks.

Very. Little. Interaction.

I watched as they came and went. They didn’t look like my herd.  I was a gazelle in a room of antelope. Not a lot different, but enough to know it wasn’t my herd. We just all happened to be at the same mental watering hole (click to Tweet). They moved with grace and ease. Shoulders back, eyes forward, confident. They understood the lay of the land. They presented a commanding presence.  I was pleased to witness their “belongingness.” They were brilliant. When I drank from their watering hole my mind expanded!

A friend told me she didn’t belong in the herd that raised her. Raised by wolves, she said.  Her family was not like her at all. They unfriendly groupdidn’t understand or appreciate the gifts she had to bring to the table – er –  watering hole.  That’s a shame, because she is bright, and intelligent and funny and talented. She positively shines and could add sparkle to any party or event.  When she found her artist friends, she found a home. She connected with her herd and now they support, protect and inform one another. They collaborate, champion and share. How powerful to be with your herd, or your “tribe” as I often call it (you can join mine at the sidebar of this page).  We can achieve so much more together than any one person alone.

Diversity, new peopleIt’s important to have a place you feel comfortable; a place you “belong.” There is also a risk in it. If  you spend all your time with the herd  you may get weak and possibly get “et”. It will do you good to wander down to the watering hole on occasion and drink with the elephants, observe the lions, commune with baboons (I do that all the time!).

There is richness, beauty and abundant learning in diversity (click to Tweet).

I’ve spent years working with, and coaching, teams and developing them into high functioning units. Diversity in teams is incredibly important. And, get this, that person who drives you crazy may be your greatest asset (click to Tweet). They force you to see things differently. To think differently and to learn. Appreciate them.

I know you can’t always be on high alert in the tall grass surrounded by unfamiliar beasts. HOW EXHAUSTING!!! Find your herd, your accepting, harmonious herd, so you can rest, rejuvenate and celebrate with them. If you haven’t found them, take a trip down the river and  try a few new watering holes. Enjoy the ride. Your herd is out there…somewhere. If you’ve found them, remember to cross pollinate…take a sip at a new watering hole and learn new stuff.

Go on Safari,

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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. 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!

Care and Feeding of the Muse – Aspirations of Inspiration

Woot!!! Dumpster loads of clean up occurred as a result of last week’s “The Urge to Purge” post. If you missed it, click on this link or find it in the archives on the website. You reported lots of offices, studios and workspaces got a much needed sprucing.

GOOD FOR YOU! 

Since that’s out of the way, let’s talk a bit about inspiration. It’s priceless, and sometimes, illusive.  Many people find inspiration in nature, music, emotionally or spiritually moving events, beliefs or from visual cues. However we get it, inspiration is like gasoline, we need it in order to work (click to Tweet).

Creative people are conduits (click to Tweet).  We look for inspiration, to create something which will, in turn, inspire others. We hope it will make them dance, think, laugh, cry or otherwise “feel.” In order to do this, we need to be inspired ourselves. Sometimes, especially as life becomes stressful and demanding, inspiration can be in short supply.

Below is a list of how some of this century’s greatest creative thinkers and doers tap into their wells of inspiration. What inspires you? I’d love to know, so feel free to share on the blog!

Inspiration graphic

Be sure to keep a sketchbook, notebook or camera on hand to capture moments or ideas that prime your creative pump. Above all, remember to focus on GRATITUDE for that which inspires you. If you find inspiration in ways not captured here…please do share. Happy creating!

BE INSPIRED!!!

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Michelle Andres is a coach, writer and artist who champions others to follow the path less traveled; the Coaching pic  - Version 3 path that leads straight to their joyful hearts.♥

 

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Poetry, Purpose and Pushing Up Daisies

Cairns in Oak Creek 2                   I Will Not Die an Unlived Life

                               “I will not die an unlived life.

                           I will not live in fear

                              of falling or catching fire.

                              I choose to inhabit my days

                                 to allow my living to open me,

                               to make me less afraid,

                             more accessible,

                               to loosen my heart,

                                  until it becomes a wing,

                                a torch, a promise.

                                  I choose to risk my significance;

                                   to live so that which came to me as seed

                                     goes to the next as blossom,

                                      and that which came to me as blossom

                              goes on as fruit.”

                    ~Dawna Markova

A special thanks to Dawna Markova, Ph.D, CEO of Professional Thinking Partners and author of the book “I Will Not Die an Unlived Life” for the nudge, nay, shove, to re-examine how we are spending our precious lives.

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Michelle Andres is a coach, writer and artist who champions others to follow the path less traveled; the path that leads straight to their joyful hearts.♥

Find her on Facebook or Twitter

Souler Power

Is angst the wellspring of creativity?

If you Google the word “wellspring” – this is the definition you find:

Wellspring – Noun

Kristen Kemper - Illustration
Kristen Kemper – Illustration

An original and bountiful source of something: “sadness is the wellspring of creativity.”

There are studies supporting creativity is driven by depression, mental illness, angst. I respectfully disagree.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe angst and times of emotional trial can lead to the creation of some incredible work. But, is it necessary to create good work? Emphatically, NOPE.

I’m drawing from the experience of my fully lived years. I’ve been highly creative my entire life. In my youthier youth I discovered excess negative emotions could drive my creative process. Tapping into the pain provided a jumping off place to create stories, poems and my life.  I not only felt things fully, but overy fully.

I’m thinking that typo may be a Freudian slip.

Ovaries may have had something to do with it. At such a young age, it’s often difficult to ascertain whether you’re experiencing baseline, valid emotions or are having a hormonal surge. Oh, come on….you know you’ve been there! Don’t judge!!! Anyway, I learned to rely on this state of mind to drive my creative process.

Then, in the dark hole of desperation, I gave up writing and poetry. For the next decade or so (please don’t do the math), I only produced the occasional poem because I was afraid. Afraid angst would be required to fuel the creative process. Mostly, I grew tired of being mired in drama, in lack, in introspective misery. I JUST WANTED TO BE HAPPY! Happy was the other, sunnier side of life. Happy was the unknown. I wanted to get me some of that Happy.

Woman with umbrella happy picAnd so….I became Happy. I was Happy. Still am. All you really need to do is want it, you know? It’s a choice, you simply DECIDE TO BE HAPPY (at this point I know you want to slap me). Regardless of what you think about this blog so far, that alone was worth the (perhaps) miserable price of admission. And, if the read IS miserable, use it to fuel your creative prowess. BAM – 2 for one… you  are  welcome!

Anyhou, I digress. Through the years, it’s become apparent to me that Happy can generate a ton of colourful, joyful, creative fodder. After the drama subsides we learn to look deeply at life with a set of more appreciative eyes. We’ve seen the good, we’ve seen the bad. With experience, we see life for more of what it is, than what we expect it to be (click to Tweet). We become friends with the hills and vales and learn to relish the landscape. We experience it. Observe it. Soak it in. This is the place from which joyful creation rises. This is also the place of honoring the journeys of others, deep forgiveness and non-judgment. I will not add wisdom, because that would be unwise. It’s where we see the beauty in the small, normal things…even, perhaps especially, imperfect things.

Most younger adults experience a lot of drama. It’s natural. They take every little thing to heart. The topic of knowing what is important to manage in life and what we can let go is addressed here in The Quicksand of Introspection. That discretion of knowing the difference comes from having trekked the landscape a time or two….and trekking takes time. 

If you’ve cultivated the habit of using negative, sad or agitated emotions to craft your creative forces, remember what Abraham Maslow said:

“To the man with only a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.”

You’re more creative than THAT!  You have other tools and YOU CAN CONTROL THE WEATHER! Be truly creative – seed the clouds for sunshine. You have it in you! Tell angst it’s time for a change of seasons. You can get plenty of fuel from the sunnier side of life. Souler Power. Appreciate the beauty, the goodness, and find joy in life. Then go, bring in the light, and create some audacious work.

Forecast is for mostly sunny with only an occasional cloud,

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Michelle Andres is a coach, writer and artist who champions others to follow the path less traveled; the path that leads straight to Coaching pic  - Version 3their joyful hearts.♥

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Butt in Saddle, Peace in Heart

Motivational quotes…pretty pictures…we love them, don’t we? Sometimes they go deep, layers and layers deep. This Hafiz quote struck me with its depth and profundity. AND, it’s National Poetry Month, so why not celebrate one of the World’s most beloved and widely read poets? Hafiz, or Hafez, was a 14th century Persian poet who has influenced the likes of Thoreau, Emerson, Goethe, me and maybe you.

Hafiz

Consider the words you speak. I’m often surprised and enamored with my own wit. Sometimes, snarky, stabbing remarks about observations are just too good to keep to myself. (Click to Tweet) But, even if I don’t say them, I may think them. What does that get me?

I noticed McDonald’s new McWrap. Well, now that was too good to keep to myself. McWrap? You want me to eat a McWrap? You must be kidding me. Say it aloud marketing people! What were they thinking? I am self-entertained…but my tirade leads to thinking of other’s perceived stupidity…to the nutritional value of fast food…to the allure and marketing intended to seduce all Americans (and beyond our borders) to violate their bodies to fill them with chemicals and engineered “food stuff”…to our healthcare system and the big pharmaceutical companies…STOP!!! Truly, friends…you can tell me if I’m the only one on earth who thinks this way.

 But there’s more…

My dear Hafiz, it’s more than the words we speak. It’s the thoughts we THINK! To disarm them, to tame them, requires a spiritual practice of looking at the appreciative side, being anchored in gratitude, embracing forgiveness and acceptance. Let me tell you…

it.can.be.difficult.

654px-Sacred_lotus_Nelumbo_nucifera

As Ghandi said:

“Carefully watch your thoughts, for they become your words.
 
Manage and watch your words, for they will become your actions.
 
Consider and judge your actions, for they have become your habits.    
         
 Acknowledge and watch your habits, for they shall become your values.
 
Understand and embrace your values, for they become your destiny.”
 
 

We create our reality and impact our very happiness through the perception that begins with our thoughts. Are my witticisms worth it? (For YOU, dear reader friends…irrevocably yes!) For my peace of mind, my thoughts really ought to be corralled.

What are you doing? What words are in your house? Time for Spring Cleaning? Time to re-evaluate? I invite you to share your ideas and experiences right here on the blog. Thank you for making us think, Hafiz…even if your quote did end in a preposition. STOP!!!

If our thoughts create your destiny it may be time to tame that pony and ride off into the sunset!

May your butt stay firmly in the saddle!

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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