Silence

Silence Cairns(This post is republished from 9/1/15 – still pertinent. I hope you enjoy. As always, your comments and thoughts are welcome. We learn through sharing.  ~m )

Silence is priceless. It’s a precious space where the feet of our souls, not the soles of our feet, find solid ground. In silence we can contemplate, innovate, be.

Silence provides a reprieve, walling out the chatter, the opinions, the judgment, the noise.

Silence provides a feather bed for deep discovery. (Click to Tweet) Continue reading “Silence”

8 Operating Procedures for a Well-Lived Life

I’m  not an expert at accessing joy. I’ve tripped into the well-lived life, for sure. I remember a few stumbles I’ve taken Life Manualalong the way, that made the trip more joyful, more meaningful, more full…but I’m well aware I have a long way to go. Basically, I’m half-baked.

I awoke Thanksgiving morning with a realization in my heart.

Life is hard for some people.

It’s just difficult. I am grateful I’ve found my way through…and grateful for the hardships I’ve endured that lent some perspective and, basically, gave me operating instructions for how to do life differently.

Still, my heart is sad for those in a place where they have no, or little, access to light and joy. I know it’s a journey they must take for themselves and they have to find their own road map….but I wish I could help every single one of them. Continue reading “8 Operating Procedures for a Well-Lived Life”

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”

Just One Thing

Just One Thing.

That’s not “just one MORE thing.”  It’s just one thing. That’s all you have to do to kick off marketing your art.One more thing

Last week I taught a great group of artists a workshop called “Marketing and Self-Promotion for Artists.” I offer an art business workshop each month through a local art venue. However, there’s a problem with marketing. The problem is there are so many ways to market, so many tried and true ways, that, if you’re a beginner, it’s easy to be overwhelmed. Continue reading “Just One Thing”

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

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Priming the Pump

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

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

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

Creative Inspiration
Mosaic Courtesy of
Gwen Day

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

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

The question is this…

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

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

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

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

Coaching

 

 

 

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

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

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

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productivity

I don’t read fiction.

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

If I start something I finish it.

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

I don’t sit and chill.

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

If I do it right, I bleed.

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

Enter Raging Rhinitis

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

 I. Got. Mugged.  

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

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

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

It. Felt. So. Good.  !  Delicious.

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

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

Sniff, sniff (but the good kind),

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

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

 

 

 

Life and Death in the Pot

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

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

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

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

My violet is on life support.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blooming on My Own!

Coaching

 

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

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

 

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,

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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

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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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The Urge to Purge

Clutter 2Clutter

You have it. That “stuff”  you leave in your wake, the constant reminder there is unfinished business, loose ends, a mess, you’re not perfect.

Well, guess what? You’re not perfect. I like you that way. I like me that way, too. We are proof of the human condition (click to Tweet).

That clutter, though…it blocks the creative spirit. It clogs the flow of new ideas, prosperity, harmony. Clutter sucks. It comes in various forms. There’s the physical clutter…on your desk, your dresser, the kitchen counter. It’s unsightly and makes you feel….ick. Too much makes it hard to breathe.

Clutter also comes in the emotional form. The figurative toilet paper you drag around on your shoe. Worries you have about what you can’t control. An off handed, insensitive comment someone made. Comparison to other people, their work, their accomplishments, their opportunities, their opinions, their stuff. Their CLUTTER! Clutter envy…gawd! (Click to Tweet)

Gutter clutter. That’s right! In. Your. Gut. From the movie popcorn, late night ice cream, stress cheeseburgers. You know you do it…occasionally. You clutter your God given temple with junk…to make yourself feel better. To relieve the emotional clutter. And it stays. Fatty deposits on your thighs, hips, belly. You pollute your body the same way you do your office, your studio, your mind.

Clutter 3There are so many types of clutter. Concept clutter. Financial clutter (better known as debt). Obligatory clutter (say “no” much?). Clutter occurs when we fail to take care of OUR business as we should. We do not make it a priority to keep our lives, bodies, environment clean. Guilt is clutter…so, please, don’t feel guilty about this. You’ll just add to the clutter. And as cluttered as we are, we certainly don’t want to be, ahem, HORDERS!

The clutter is okay. We are human. We clutter, but we also organize. Ewwww, that’s a bad “O” word, isn’t it? But, for the pain organization causes, albeit temporarily, organizing also creates a freedom. A clarity. A knowing – especially a knowing of where we put stuff!

So, how to manage?

First, make sure you have the tools to do the job. It depends upon what you aim to declutter. You may need file folders. A therapist. A nutrionist. A coach (I am one). A personal trainer. A dumpster. So, decide what you’re cleaning up and get the right tools. Create a system. Identify a “Home” for your stuff, a home where you’ll be able to find it upon demand. Create a system you LIKE. This is important. If the system is too complex or laborious, you’ll avoid using it.  Got it? Good!!!

Ready to get to work? If you’re a heavy clutterer, try one step at a time. It’s kind of like a 12-Step program for clutterers. If it’s easier for you, 15 minutes a day of decluttering. Start with the most obvious clutter. Seeing progress will be encouraging and you’ll gain momentum. If you’re bringing in reinforcements, like a professional organizer, a therapist, or a nutritionist, they can help you work this through.

If you’re the warrior type, you may choose to simply plow through the clutter. I tend to execute this way. Just take your medicine. It’sOrganized 7 a bitter pill, but it CURES! (Click to Tweet). I find plowing easiest because the process is fast. I don’t linger over each “object” and its fate because I build some momentum, which drives the process. Put on some rockin’ tunes, put your head down, GO!

If you’d like a specific model for executing each piece of clutter, please click here. You’ll get a lovely, simple document that helps you keep it simple – just for joining the “Tribe.” As you touch each piece of clutter, you’ll have an automatic, pre-ordained answer.

As a general rule, if you haven’t used something for over a year, it’s junk. UNLESS IT’S TAX RELATED. Keep business documents in a banker box…you know…just in case.  Label it with the year. Also, clutter that is not emotionally charged is easier to deal with. Address that stuff first. If you’re dealing with emotionally charged or “memory” clutter, the plow method works to build some rhythm. That way you won’t agonize over each object – at least not as much as you could.Organized 4 ever

Clean house! It feels good. It creates a path for new possibilities, mental clarity, abundance. It leaves you light and free. It creates a harmonious space for your to relax, enjoy life, employ audacious creativity.

Afterwards – Now, you have a system, please use it EVERYDAY to maintain your clutter free life. You may slip from time to time, and that’s okay. You’re human. But take care of your business – you deserve this! Embrace the urge to purge!!!

Keep it Tidy!

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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.♥

Find her on Facebook or Twitter

Look ! You got to the END of the blogpost. Congratulations to you!  It’s kind of like those out-takes at the movies after the credits roll. So SPECIAL FOR YOU – A 10% discount on all July Coaching Packages – use promo code – MOliver

 

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

The Quicksand of Introspection

Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”                             ~ C.G. Jung

Many creative types tend to be introspective. According to Merriam Webster introspection can be understood this way:

In-tro-spec-tion (n.) a reflective looking inward : an examination of one’s own thoughts and feelings.

Introspection is interesting, it can become rather obsessive and addictive. I’m introspective by nature…and when not being quicksand1introspective, I’m extrospective – examining the world outside me. So, while watching y’all I’ve noticed, introspection can be like quicksand. People get in, but have a great challenge trying to get out. Sometimes they can no longer interact with the world…going under…that’s bad. Still, it’s important, nay, essential, to understand oneself and our place in the world. It’s especially important to creative types because part of the art we create springs from that very introspection. But, as art critic and philanthropist John Ruskin said,

“A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small parcel.” 

And he should know…he looked at oodles of art and thought… A LOT.

So how do we wade through the quicksand and get out safely? I’ve made a “life-saver” observation while in a time of extrospection…EXPERIENCE COUNTS.

It’s a bit like when you start a new job or take on a new responsibility. You have any given number of balls and are expected to keep them in the air…at least the important ones. But, since you aren’t sure which are important, you juggle, like a caffeinated clown. As you gain more knowledge and confidence, you realize some of the balls can take a rest, and that you can take a breather. Introspection is like that. While some realizations may seem looming and huge, that doesn’t include every single notion we conjure. As you get older – ah, here’s yet another benefit – it becomes more apparent where to put our energy, what notions to tend to, what can wait.

As we gain experience we learn how to extricate ourselves from being mired in the quicksand of introspection.

Bridge b&wWe realize the value of extrospection and can lace the two together knowing how to bring the best of ourselves, our talents, our voice and the needs of others together, to be a formidable asset to the world.  It’s the gift, the payoff, for having gone through the fire in our youth.

So please, cherish your introspective time, enlist it to create, express and own who you are. Taking that time allows your authenticity to shine through in your work. AND also, take some time to observe the world, to extrospect. Find how you can help. Introspection and extrospection work so well together. The perfect marriage.

I’ll be waiting for my wedding invitation,

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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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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