A Life Saver

Life-saving poem

 

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

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)

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

 

Set Yourself FREE! 

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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.
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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!

 

Call of The Wild Hair

Wild hair of adjustmentMy parents got a wild hair. At the ripe, but not rotting, age of 75 years they decided to shake it up.  Last month during a casual phone call they told me there was a “For Sale” sign in their yard.  They have always lived within a 20-mile radius from me. I was stunned. It seemed the Deep South beckoned them. After several decades in California, my mother moved here at the tender age of 3, they would start a new chapter…a new adventure, consisting of alligators, gumbo and sticky sticky. “We love it there, “ they chirped.

Whatever.

I had long decided I would take care of them as they aged. They informed me there was no need.

Whatever.

So, as a fully-grown woman, I am now faced with the bittersweet loss. Really, as I write I am gazing through tears, but I’ll never admit it to y’all. No more Sunday bar-b-ques, no more birthday outings, no casual stop-bys. They leave Friday…the day this blog is published. Since they’ll be on the road, I’ll get a running start.

In my selfish moments I whine about my “orphan hat.” I mumble the phrase my old boss used to mumble, “I’m a better friend to you, than you are to me.” But it’s really not about me at all. Simultaneously, I beam with pride that two graying (sorry, Mom), bright, inquisitive oldsters can strike out in uncharted territory…well, Lewis and Clark WERE there first…where they will sip the sweet nectar of fresh, new adventures (click to Tweet).  I come from youthful stock!!!

I guess there’s a time in your life when you realize you only live once. Pipe down, you Buddhists! (click to Tweet). You still have an appetite for new things and are free of obligations to others. You have earned this time. The world is your oyster, or crawfish, as the case may be.

Most of us occasionally make small adjustments in our work, our homes and our lives.  If we aren’t quite living our dream, small adjustments can keep us appeased…at least for a while. Then there are the big adjustments, the ones that assure us we are fully engaged and following our joyful hearts. For me, a big adjustment occurred when I left full-time corporate work and decided to indulge that artistic tug, the pull to live a creative life. When I made the choice I KNEW I was aligned with my heart. Being a coach, I knew I had to do it. I had watched many of my clients take those brave steps. I want my parents to be aligned with their hearts.

Are you denying a big adjustment to avoid the fallout, the shakeup, the impact it might have on others? It’s scary and exciting to overhaul your life.

If you’re dissatisfied,but unsure, you might try some small adjustments. If you’re brave and willing and ready, take that bigger leap. Be aligned with your joyful heart. If you aren’t sure what that is, go seek it. There are people who can help you. So, what’s on your mind?  What’s not being said? Done? Let’s talk about it. Please, you are invited to leave a comment below.

Live with Mistakes but Not Regrets,

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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!

 

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,

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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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Willpower and Work – An Inside Job

temptationadameveYes, I’m a bad person. I know this because the book group I founded, brimming with incredible women, told me so. I got myself in a bit of a mess over a book about Willpower. I don’t really lack willpower, not really. I have it when I want it, BUT I didn’t want it for the current assignment. In the spirit of true rebellion I didn’t do the reading for last night’s gathering. I just blew it off.

I. Didn’t. Have. The. Willpower. To. Read. The. Willpower. Book.

Doesn’t that just suck? I mean, how embarrassing.

Not only that, but I whined and pleaded with these beautiful souls and we ended up changing the book. It didn’t take a lot of tears…seems others were more than willing to abandon the ship without much prodding.

Willpower pic dogsIn the past I’ve given tips for time management and overcoming procrastination. But, how do you gut up the willingness when the devil is tugging you in the other direction? (click to Tweet). This concept is vitally important to those of us who are the bosses of our own bad selves, walk to the beat of our own drummer, have the freedom to practice extreme avoidance and don’t have to report what we’ve accomplished to anyone at the close of the day.

What is it about willpower then? I’ll give you some tips (from someone who DIDN’T read the book) and I’ll go straight to the cliffs’ notes.

  • Self-control is a muscle and must be exercised…so practice.
  • Don’t try to practice willpower when you’re too stressed, angry, hungry or tired.
  • There are biological interactions that take place when you’re trying to exercise willpower that undermine even the most super-human of us…so you have to be willing to forgive yourself….sometimes frequently.
  • Too much self-control can be unhealthy…just like too much stress. Deductive reasoning would support that sinning is good for you (okay, I took a little creative license with that one).
  • Visualize – and CONNECT with the feeling you will experience when you’ve achieved the goal. Keep the connection in the forefront (this suggestion stems from my coaching career, I didn’t see it in the book. I guess the author forgot – or I didn’t read that far).
  • Get enough R&R to build up stores of willpower.

And that’s as far as I got. What have you got? Feel free to share your tips for maintaining willpower. How do you avoid the cheesecake or turn off the TV when you should be working? How do you drive yourself to maintain focus when you’d rather do something else?

Willpower and work…it’s an inside job!

BE INSPIRED!!!

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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.♥Coaching pic  - Version 3

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Bloom Before You Go to Seed

Disclaimer: The following content is not a judgment. It’s a musing…a simple observation of how life reveals itself in recurring themes, curtains of consciousness that run parallel and present occasional opportunities to transfer learning from one “universe” to another. I hope you enjoy the read.

There’s a restaurant I go to on occasion. I’ve noticed there’s some dynamic action, mostly around the bar, especially on group-of-people-with-drinks-at-nightclub-barThursday nights. I call it the “30 Something Death Gasp” phenomenon. Thursday is the night, kind of like a vampire calling, when all the 30 something singles go out in hopes of making their lives what they had expected, but haven’t yet created.  Well, at least they appear to know what they want.

You can hear the TICK TOC of the biological clocks. It smells like the place in in rut, but it’s the best fire roasted chicken in the world, so I continue to go and witness the “30 Something Death Gasp.”  The roasted artichokes are to die for, and well, let me be honest, I’m fascinated by watching this dynamic. The patrons at the bar seem to have identified their niche and are executing their PLAN.

Recently, at a business networking meeting, I was asked about my niche. Geez, I’m sort of a renaissance woman, you know? (Hahaha!) I do a little coaching, some corporate facilitations, write a bit and work in my studio, doing my art. Occasionally, I teach a mosaic workshop spiced up with some soul searching for the participants. It seems like everyone has a great time, but niche? I really can’t put my finger on it. I do know I have a PLAN. Several, actually. I know what I want — I want to create and to help.

I’ve watched people who’ve denied themselves the privilege of experimenting with new ideas, new mediums, new skill sets. They second guess their choices, wonder if it would have been different had they followed their calling. AND, what is their calling anyway? It has come to my attention I may have defined my niche in the chicken restaurant. I am the coach, the writer, the artist, the teacher for the 30-50 something “gaspers” that are looking for their calling, segueing into something of more substance, trying to embrace their purpose. I’m the coach for the “starting overs,” the “doing it differentlies,” the “it was always my dream to’s” that are looking at the acts of their lives and not wanting to be crying during the curtain call.

I love to help people identify and live their passion so they can BLOOM before they go to seed. I want to do it with humour, with fun and to be there to help celebrate the victory when the skies open and the angels sing (or whatever)!

How about you? Something you’ve always wanted to do?  Do you have a longing desire or calling? A strong, yet flexible plan? Go for it! It feels so good. Awaken and feed that passion and excitement. Even if you’re busy with other commitments right now, just a taste now and then can be oh, so satisfying (Click to Tweet). Someday soon, I hope you are able to sit down at the table and devour the feast – chicken, roasted artichokes, et, al!

Bloom….before you go to seed!

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

Is Darth Vader My Totem Animal? (and Other Questions from the Galaxy)

(This post was originally published last August. Today, in the studio, I was working on another piece…same topic…Vader. I had a repeat of this incident. I wasn’t resistant to doing this piece, not at all. However, I had the same visceral reaction. I guess sometimes the Universe really wants your attention. Still…I. Have. No. Idea. What. This. MEANS. Maybe Darth Vader is my totem animal).

What makes you happy at work? Lately, I’ve taken ownership of finding ways to pump up the the happiness factor at work for others. I’ve been excising little actions and shifts in thinking that can make being at work not only more bearable, but actually exhilarating and FUN!!! No one wants to be miserable all day and studies show many with jobs, in this tough economy, aren’t grateful for them…they’re stressed!

Well, the power of intention, living in alignment with your intentions and practicing authenticity came home to roost last week. As you may know – in addition to helping individuals and teams reach their full potential, I’m also an artist. So, this is the story of how I caught myself, completely unaware, doing the very thing that squelches happiness and joy from work. This is the story of a monsoon of realization, cleansing and awareness that jerked me from my obligatory place, back into joy and fulfillment. You might find yourself doing the same thing at work. I think there’s a cure.

I was in my mosaic studio working on a commissioned piece…a subject matter I’d never choose to do on my own – Darth Vader. I hadn’t taken “ownership” of this piece, not really. I couldn’t relate to it. Now, I strongly believe that my artwork should be created with joy. Art is something I do to connect with my joyful, authentic self. Did I mention I’m not a Jedi Master? Yep – I was going through the motions, get ‘er done, cut, stick – DEADLINE. All of that is fine, but I was missing an essential ingredient that made my art, MY ART. I was missing the abandon, the connection with self. I was missing the permission of the essential “meism” that is allowed to flow when I’m in the creating process. The piece was fine, but the magic was just not happening.

Of course, I wasn’t aware of the missing piece – pardon the pun – until some music played that sent an arrow right into the authentic core of my soul. I – the essential “I” – was not invested in this work. There was no reason for me NOT to be, but I wasn’t, and I was not privy to this detail.

The waterworks began. Why do I not love you, Darth? Why can’t I need see it’s not the “thing” but the journey that brings the joy, that creates the happiness? My dogs, who were sleeping out of shot of flying glass, quickly came to check on me. Weeping, bleeding (because you bleed when you do glass mosaic, or you’re not having fun) and open to the world. Dogs know such things about openness. They assured me I was back on the true path.

My Teacher - Darth Vader
My Teacher – Darth Vader

Darth, I do love you! Thank you for the opportunity to create, to open my joyful self, to be with you. Isn’t that how life is? Sometimes the best thing for you is not what you would consciously choose? The shift came upon me, I yearned to do my best, to make it beautiful, to please my client, to bring it all!

The difference was I was showing up. The real me. The me who wants to change the world through bringing happiness to workplaces, the wounded me who understands how hurtful toxic workplaces can be…I peeled away the layers, I opened to myself, there I was with Darth, and I was there…all of me.

How often does that happen at work? How dangerous would it be to show up, connect with your core, bring who you are and let it shine? How can you do that regardless of the “subject?” It’s a tough calling to be painfully honest with yourself. Once you begin to do it, you find it’s miles deep, vast, wide. It’s a rich field of possibilities…and JOY!

May the Force be with You

Be Brave and Be Happy!

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

Dreaming in Colour

            My best dreams are in colour. Painting blog pic
They last all night and segue from one luscious hue to the next…blending…running…shining through my mind. Texture is sometimes involved, but not always.

Last night, my sweet art teacher showed her face over and over in my slumber. I’m not stalking her, not really. Her work is just so beautiful…and it moves me. I’m AWESTRUCK. And in my sleep, my normally struggling creations are just like her beautiful, effortless ones.

Before I drifted off, I was looking at her work and set the tone for my blissful night. Colour, form, design. An incredible palette of paint running into itself. Her words, “Don’t just push the paint around…think.” In my dreams the colours never turn to mud. In my dreams it’s all beautiful, joyful and incredibly fulfilling.

By PatLambrecht-Hould
By Pat
Lambrecht-Hould

I used to have similar “all nighters” at a job I worked in the corporate world. I’d prepare in my sleep. Check and double check lists. Make sure all the documents were accessible. It seemed I was always perched on the precipice of panic.

I. Like. Art. Dreams. Much. Better.

What are you rehearsing? What are you poised to create? How are you practicing when you’re awake? Whatever your dreams, I hope they’re in colour, I hope they’re joyful and I hope they soon come true.

Sweet Dreams….

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A special thank you to Pat Lambrecht-Hould for graciously giving permission to use her artwork in this post! – Thanks, Pat!!!

Coaching pic  - Version 3Michelle 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 onFacebook

In A Nutshell

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? The Opinion Corporation of Princeton says 62% of2013 people make New Year’s resolutions and only 8% achieve them. Other statistics show people in their 20’s knock down their New Year’s resolutions more frequently…people over 50 complete them at less than half the rate as their younger competitors…oops….I mean counterparts.

Well, forget that mess. As a coach I’ve never made New Year’s resolutions…but I’ve done some Vision Boards and led Vision Board classes and that worked great. My personal boards take about two years to manifest. But, they do deliver.

Nutshell w wordsFor the annual buzz, what I really like is the “Nutshell” word. It’s one word that sums up what you want to create or become in the upcoming year. It should be positive, strong, and inspiring. You ought to be able to remember it. Last year mine was “Courage.” I evolved my business, showed off my art, blogged about my authentic self and basically lived with abandon. It was thrilling.

This year, I’m focusing on “Joy.” I’m going to focus on “Joy” because I’m lazy. It’s a shorter word. Less stressful. The way I see it, if I can create “Joy” all the stuff that makes me joyful will naturally fall into place. Actually, I probably just need to get out of joy’s way, and let her work her magic. The result – rewarding work, happy people around me and a life full of unicorns and blossoms. Yep – “Joy” it is.

I hope you take some time to find your Nutshell Word. What do you want to be? Healthier? Happier? Patient? Hopeful? Strong? What do your want to create? Financial success (I KNOW that’s 2 words) ? Faith? Tolerance? This is your opportunity for a definitive, fresh start. If you don’t create with intent, something will still happen. Being the control freak I am, I’d rather hold the reins. Put it right here in writing so the world can see…in a nutshell…what’s your word?

Re-create your life!

~ Michelle

Michelle ACoaching pic  - Version 3ndres 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 

The Art of Gratitude

Well, then. It’s November – my self designated “Month of Gratitude.” Most of us wait until that Thursday late in November to give thanks for our blessings and life’s sweet gifts. Last year, I began a personal tradition of finding one thing to be grateful for each day and posting it on my Facebook page. I invited my friends to share their thoughts and blessings as well.

It started innocently enough. What resulted was the cultivation of a new mindset. Each day I searched for the one precious item I could post. Was that the gift I would share? No! Wait! THAT is the blessing I should post. But, there was always more. I could only share one blessing per day, and no stone in my life was left unturned as I counted my blessings, large and small and savored their sweetness. By Thanksgiving, I was totally blissed out!

Truly, you don’t realize the magic, the goodness, the grace, until you begin to focus on it. Last November I “rewired” my thinking and had a fabulous month. So, I would like to invite you to play with me this month. “Stuff grows where intention flows” so hook into my Facebook page and share what you are thankful for each day. Cultivate the magic…it’s an art.

With Gratitude,

                                           ~ Michelle