The saying is a Roman proverb, sometimes contributed to Confucious.
Recently, I felt like I was chasing more than two rabbits. The furry moppets refused to hang together and…well…I’m not as fast as I used to be. The constant changing of direction and gears seems to put a damper on my speed and hinder a razor-sharp focus.
So, sometimes it’s best to cut bait and walk away.
But, how do we make the decisions about which rabbits to chase and when to cut them loose? I guess it’s dependent upon our objectives and priorities. AND, do we even give consideration to such things? When it comes to priorities, do you spend time examining them, or just let the tail wag the rabbit-chasing dog? (click to Tweet)
When considering which rabbit to chase, I say if you’re supporting a family and need the income, that might be your first priority – the money – so you chase the biggest, fattest rabbit you can find. Continue reading “Two Rabbits”
Many years ago, I opened a volume of poetry and prayers and a colourful, folded, Post-It note fell out. On this paper I had written 5 things I wanted to accomplish. I’d written them, tucked them into the book and forgotten all about them. They incubated on the bookshelf for 2 years, then, voila, were rediscovered. DONE. COMPLETE. FINITO.
Has this ever happened to you? When it does, it feels like there’s some divine purpose behind it. I’ve experienced this phenomenon multiple times and when it happens, I’m always surprised at how my life has moved in the direction of the intent. The simple act, the intention, written on a piece of paper has a kind of power in itself. It works. Continue reading “You’re As Good As Goaled”
Lessons come in all forms. I’m a big believer in lifelong learning and occasional breaks, so we can recharge. I believe we should pursue “continuing education” no matter what type of work we do. Here’s a repost from a time I spent at an art retreat – when I learned so much more than art. Since it’s “back to school” season, I figure this is worth a revisit.
Life can get going pretty fast. It’s easy to fall into a pattern, partake in the same old activities, see the same people each day and do the same old thing. Some people call it the “Grind.” Well, you may be stuck in the grind, or you may be enjoying the way things are…no matter, you could probably use a break.
Retreats are a nice way of taking a break. I recently took one and found it was not only good for my head, but my soul benefited as well. Here’s what I took away from a break in routine: Continue reading “Lessons from the Classroom”
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.
No 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.
Michelle Andres is a coach, writer and artist who nudges, nay, shoves her clients in the direction of their dreams by helping them improve productivity and cultivate good behaviours while eliminating poor ones.
Tonight 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.
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.
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:
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 createit. 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…
Michelle Andres is a coach, writer and artist who nudges, nay, shoves creatives in the direction of their dreams 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!
“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
We 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?
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.
Don’t judge me until you’ve walked a mile in my Jimmy Choos,
Special thanks to the late, Jim Hardy whose wisdom has guided me through some challenges. May you rest in peace, Jim.
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.
My 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.
I had long decided I would take care of them as they aged. They informed me there was no need.
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,
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!
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 introspective, 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.
We 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,
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.♥
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 Thursday 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!
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
My best dreams are in colour.
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.
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.
A special thank you to Pat Lambrecht-Hould for graciously giving permission to use her artwork in this post! – Thanks, Pat!!!
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 onFacebook
Do you make New Year’s resolutions? The Opinion Corporation of Princeton says 62% of 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.
For 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 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
I was called to recount my past life in detail. My corporate life. When this happened, I began to behave like the person I was back then. I got edgy, sharply strategic, unsettled.
I am not a corporate type. It’s not that I’m not smart enough, aware enough, creative enough…I can do those things. It’s my soul. My soul does not agree with the treatment I witnessed as an internal corporate employee. I’m an artist at heart. A writer, a coach and communicator. I appreciate pure intention, honesty, flaws. The human aspect, with all its imperfections makes me joyful.
Do you remember who you really are? As a child you probably knew. You may still know. The point is, some of us lose ourselves while we’re busy being someone else. We become someone other people would approve of, someone manageable, someone neat, tidy and easy to understand. As you put yourself in that box, the real you may seep into the corners, away from your grasp. That’s NOT GOOD!
I pruned and trimmed my essential self to fit into the box of “acceptable.” Over the last year, I’ve been gathering the pieces and putting them together. This is work I’ve done with clients for years. I help people find themselves, create bullet proof game plans and execute those plans – showcasing their talents and brilliance. It is very rewarding work, because it honors the client’s authentic self as well as my own.
I’ve learned this….
Being someone else does the world no justice. It robs others of your true talents and robs you of a fully lived life. All the notions, all the stories around why you should be who you put in the box can be very convincing…and sometimes we need to really work at dismantling the stories. It can take boatloads of courage to get up, shake off the dust, gather up your pieces and bring it to the world! It’s the way it was supposed to be!