Garden Party

“We’re all mad here.”
“But, I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”
                                                             
                                                       ~Lewis Carroll – Alice in Wonderland
 

Mad, Fearless artArtists are an insecure bunch. Not all, but many seek constant reassurance and direction. Newer artists may do it incessantly. They’re liable to make a career out of “what do you think?” and lose the spirit that had them fearlessly making art in the first place.

Some time ago, I made a vow to liver fearlessly…Freudian typo.
This was not entirely possible without reconciling myself to a certain degree of madness. While the decision to live fearlessly included putting myself and my art “out there,” it did not preclude the insecurity that would accompany “spreading my wares” before the masses, showing artwork publically, and the challenges of defining and refining my artistic “voice.” I also didn’t count on the Ego voicing Her rather paranoid concerns. As the stakes got higher, Her inflated decibels were on a mission to drown out reason. My motto – Starve the Ego, feed the Muse. (click to Tweet) Continue reading “Garden Party”

Much Ado About Much To Do

A lot to doI was exhausted last week and I’m still exhausted. It sounds so trite and whiney and passé….but, its true. Hmmmmmffffff!

I like to believe I’ve learned a few things in my life, one of them being the benefit of balanced living, but when opportunity knocks – you should probably answer the door. And, when you say you’re going to do something, you’d better darned tootin’ do it – especially if you’ve made that commitment to someone else. Between the two, a person ends up…well…busy.

Lucky for me, opportunity’s been beating down my door lately…and for that, I am extremely grateful. Also, lucky for me, some people value whatever “that thing” is I have to offer, so they request assistance from time to time. The challenge becomes how to take advantage of cool things that come my way, while still trying to maintain some semblance of balance. I have to say THIS to balance:

“When you depart from me sorrow abides and happiness takes his leave.”                                                                                                                                                                                                      

                                                                             ~William Shakespeare

Oh, and gratitude…let’s not forget that. Gratitude may (and should) be the MAIN focus of it all.

I’m over-committed; I should be committed. (click to Tweet) Continue reading “Much Ado About Much To Do”

Travel Light

It’s 2015.

A brand new start.

How many times can we begin again? The possibilities seem endless. But, even with the permission to begin anew, some of us feel the anguish of past mistakes, regrets for what we may have (or may have not) done,  or are blistered with disappointment as we take stock of our lives.

I understand the need to reflect on our pasts. Reflection is okay, but I recently saw this:

Identity, new year, light
Image courtesy of www.mooreminutes.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think it’s sage advice. And, don’t go flogging yourself with the “social measuring stick” either. Your path is uniquely yours, holding the mystery and gifts that are close to your heart. Just because you may not know your purpose, or recognize your gifts, it doesn’t mean they aren’t there. How will you find them when you’re carrying more bags than The Beverly Hillbillies?

Continue reading “Travel Light”

Bone Tired

Bone TiredThis is a re-post from May. I’m not “Bone Tired,” but this time of the year, I reckon some of you are. I hope you enjoy and take a deep breath ~m

I’m bone tired.

It’s been a crazy couple months doing the thing I love most…and I am still bone tired.

It feels like August. You know about August? After the dog days of summer you just don’t have it in you, no piss, no vinegar. Plants are turning brown…who cares? Dog-hair dust bunnies on the floor…keep on shufflin’. Bone Tired is the kind of tired where you send out a search party for your energy and your sanity. (click to Tweet, if you’ve got the energy) Has anyone seen my memory? Thirsty, but too tired to fill the cup. Yep, parched and I guess it suits me. That’s the kind of tired I am…bone….tired. Continue reading “Bone Tired”

A Gypsy Soul

Gypsy soul, travelI have a gypsy soul.

I want to live in Virginia…Charlottesville to be exact. It boasts historical, white-spired buildings, beauty abound and some nice culture.

I can also picture myself in Paris, sipping espresso at a café. I’d write in my journal and nosh on a croissant in the morning…take in a museum in the afternoon…paint until the sun rose. I’d have stimulating conversations with my circle of friends at the brasserie.

Perhaps Carmel by the Sea would be nice. It may be a little cool for my tastes, but the flowers stay fresh year round, there are plenty of specialty shops, boutiques, good art, divine food, and they do have a few sunny days. Hmmm…romance. Continue reading “A Gypsy Soul”

Hangin’ With the Herd and Drinkin’ With Baboons – Again

A little repost from July 2013 – I believe you’ll still find it relevant. 

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

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

diversity, tribe

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

Very. Little. Interaction.

I watched as they came and went. They didn’t look like my herd.  I was a gazelle in a room of antelope. Continue reading “Hangin’ With the Herd and Drinkin’ With Baboons – Again”

Don’t Touch the Money!

 

Expectations

“Don’t touch the money!” There’s a saying I’ve heard from golfers, especially when things are looking particularly promising. “Don’t touch the money” is the warning.

I’m an artist and my husband is a golfer. There are many parallels between the two endeavors. Sometimes, at our dinner table, we banter about golf and art…truth. Consider this:

Technical Skill  –  Swing vs. Stroke

Innate Skill  –  Athleticism vs. Creativity

Mental Game –  Both require courage and a good dose of faith

Dry Spells –   I’m a spaz vs. I’m a spaz

The Journey – Both improve with practice and you can’t be further along than you are.

Happy Accidents  – Hole in one vs . Wow!!! How the Hell did I do that???

Anyhou, when playing an important golf match, it’s important not to get too sure of your skill. You think you may “win?” Don’t touch the money…don’t for one second assume you have it in the bag, because that is precisely when you pull your putt…or in the case of art…blow a large painting.

This week, I stepped back into painting joyful abstracts. I had a great thing going; you know how it is. You’re stroking the ball…er…brushstrokes are going down quite nicely.  A well-intentioned admirer steps into your studio and gazes at your piece in process. You are happily working away, your mind is free, you’re in the flow then, they utter the words of doom.

“I think that will be the best work you’ve done to date.”

Dammit! NO!!!  In my case, I didn’t actually touch the money,  but with encouraging words and undying support, my admirer opened the purse and jingled the gold – RIGHT IN MY FACE.

With that comment the stakes changed. My outlook changed. Mostly, my attitude changed.  I began to push my will all over that canvas (click to Tweet). In a moment, I was out the zone and standing staunchly in the “mine field of expectation.” BOOM! Every stroke. BAM! With each brush stroke I hammered home the possibilities of what could and clearly would not be. My painting was being dismembered focal point by focal point…stroke by stroke – HA! That was a golf pun!!!

“Golf and art are such delicate, mental endeavors that you cannot dare touch the money lest you end up a pauper.” (click to Tweet)

We may find ourselves in a deep pit, a fitful, homicidal, canvas burning rage (or is that just me?) – trying desperately to get back to where we were before; most often, to no avail.

When this happens my best advice it to stop. Our emotions show through clearly in our work. Trying too hard? Stop. Frustrated? Stop. I know it sounds cliché, but tomorrow is another day.

A set of freshly rested eyes can work wonders. A more relaxed attitude serves us well. In the scheme of things, it’s one painting, one round of golf. It doesn’t have to be our legacy. That will happen when we aren’t trying quite so hard. Because, whether you are aware of it or not, the way you live your life is creating your legacy. (click to Tweet that, too). Don’t touch the money and the riches will come in full.

You Are Already Wealthy, 

Coaching

 

Michelle Andres is a writer, artist and coach who nudges, nay, shoves, her clients in the direction of their dreams, helping them to overcome non-productive behaviours and enjoy    Writer, Artist, Coach                                             more success in their lives. 
 
                          Follow her on  Facebook and on Twitter

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Hold On To Your Hat

Wearing too many hats Sometimes, life gets crazy. You know what I mean. We artists have to wear many hats. Of course, we want to stop the “Glorification of busy.” It seems to have become either a disease or a badge of honor in our society to be “too busy.” Well, I say, “Poop on you people.” Are you the same grouchy, inflated, overworked egos that don’t have time to enjoy these beautiful spring blossoms or take a moment to swing at the park? Please, please, don’t get so busy you forget how to be civil or have a run of fun now and then.

Seriously, this week I’m busy…mad as a hatter. I’m in the middle of moving a studio, preparing for a couple art shows, an open studio event, and I have an April vacation scheduled, so I can’t drag my feet. But, 

Today I picked up the keys to my new studio space. The professionally crafted sign was picked up. I scored a cool wall decal, compliments of my friend, Tony. Everything is going to be very nice…then…I noticed the walls. Being an “art studio” the walls were full of holes, and scabs where they had been repeatedly patched. They were dirty. I’m preparing for a studio warming in this space. What’s a girl to do?

After much, well, some, no, a little thought, this girl added ONE MORE THING TO THE “TO DO” LIST. (click to Tweet)

That’s right. Tomorrow morning, I’m painting; because presentation is everything. Remember – quality of work should not suffer for an overcommitted schedule?

What is your work as an artist?

Wearing many hatsCertainly the medium of your choice is your work. You wouldn’t produce shoddy artwork and expect people to respect you. But, your work involves so many aspects beyond your art. As I said, we wear many hats. Your work includes the presentation of your art, how you manage your “Gallery” in your studio and online, how you handle monetary transactions, how you follow up purchases and handle commissions. Your work includes marketing, research and getting your tax receipts together…yes, it’s March 21st and yes, I did say that. (If you’ve already file – hats off to you!) Your work involves photographing your treasures, cataloguing them, managing your inventory and keeping an eye on the calendar for upcoming events and submissions. You are a project manager, a program analyst, a public relations expert and an accountant. Your work includes the environment you provide for people in your space (event planner) – while you may or may not agree, it does. Your work includes the quality of interactions you have with potential collectors and gallery owners (sales guy/therapist).

If you cannot afford to hire someone to do the tasks above for you…responsibility for that work falls squarely on your Studio beforeshoulders. Are YOU busy yet? By the way, if you’re having an open studio see my tips and make it an “event.” If it’s old hat to you, don’t bother to read it.

Sure, spring fever has me tightly in its grasp and I’m dying to don my sun bonnet, but because I produce my best art, I must show it in the best way possible. I must practice the same diligent eye for detail I have in my artwork with the rest of my business. It doesn’t take a lot of money, just some attention and <sigh> time.

Sometimes you just have to suck it up and go the extra mile…because it’s the right thing to do. In the meantime, the swings will have to wait and I’ll sniff a bloom or two on my way to grab the paint can and roller.

It’s beginning to feel like old hat now, 

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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Bless You!

Bless You .Bless

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Watch about the Gentle Art of Blessing  

Bless you along your way and into 2014….

Coaching

 

 

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

 

Follow her on  Facebook on Twitter

 

For a free gift that will help you boost personal productivity “Join the Tribe” and subscribe to this blog!

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

 

Endings and Beginnings

(Note: This may be the least humorous, most content rich post I’ve ever written. I’ve provided links to previous posts as resources for you.  I hope it helps you create a blueprint for making your dreams come true in 2014…should you choose to create one! Please, as you link to the other posts, feel free to comment on them and share them…Thank you for helping The Art of the Well Lived Life GROW! I am grateful for your readership.  ~ m)

I’m feeling a lot of pressure this time of year. It’s all good stuff, but it feels like none of the balls should be dropped, lest they shatter New Beginningslike a delicate Christmas ornament and shatter to pieces the dreams of a hopeful child…yep….pressure.

The fact that time marches on and I’m smack in the middle of the path has me a bit concerned (click to Tweet). Nature calls…not like THAT, silly! The moon was full the other night, so I felt the need to have a final, good, scrubbing for 2013 and not track any dirt into the pristine promise of 2014. Here’s more about how I journal in accordance with the moon.

Also, Solstice is peeking her head around the corner and I adore her! It’s tomorrow! *LET THERE BE LIGHT! * Days will get longer. Hope springs from light and warmth and new growth. Many consider solstice the dawning of the new year. Whether you celebrate December 20th or January 1 – it’s staring you in the face! In the midst of all the celebration and fervor, have you considered what you want to do with your 2014? It’ll happen, whether you plan some audacious strides or not.(click to Tweet).

new pathI encourage you to take this time to consider what their ideal year would look like. This may easily consist of more than your business goals…you might like to review the Life Balance Wheel and see if you have any gaping holes that will swallow your best laid plans like a sink hole in Central Florida. (Of course, you aren’t planning a sink hole! I mean swallow the PLANS! Never mind…)   Once you know which areas you’d like to bolster,  create a list of the things you’d like to do next year to make it happen. Make your goals S.M.A.R.T. – if you don’t, well, that’s just not smart, and I don’t want to call you stupid or anything…you’re an adult, you  can draw your own conclusions.

There are lots of ways of backing those goals into your calendar. Identify and engage  resources and support groups to help you achieve your goals, or hire a coach to help you find your way and overcome your demons (hint, hint). I have some screaming deals on artist’s coaching packages (click to Tweet).

And FINALLY, because so much is about attitude…don’t forget your “Nutshell” word. That single, guiding word that will be your compass for the upcoming year. Where are you in your journey? What do you want to express? For example, last year mine was “joy.”

Just a few things to think about between baking, wrapping, traveling, finishing the year end books and anything else that may be on your plate. Don’t forget – when it’s all over it will just be you…and 365 days you’ve been given to make your dreams come true. Manage your time wisely.

Cheers!

To New Beginnings!

Coaching

 

 

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

 For a free gift that will help you boost personal productivity “Join the Tribe” and subscribe to this blog!

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

 

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)

Tweet:

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

 

Set Yourself FREE! 

Coaching

 

 

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

 For a free gift that will help you boost personal productivity “Join the Tribe” and subscribe to this blog!

 

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

 

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,

Signature

 

Michelle Andres is a coach, writer and artist who nudges, nay, shoves creatives in the direction of their Art coaching, building your art business, belongingnessdreams by helping them improve productivity by helping them form good behaviours and eliminating poor ones. Follow her on Facebook on Twitter

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The Pebble

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But, WAIT THERE’S MORE…

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

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

Until then,

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

irritation

 

 

 

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

Art coaching, building your art business, belongingness

 

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

Follow her on Facebook on Twitter

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Hearing Voices

I think of myself as fearless.

But. I’m. Not.

Fearless Idiosyncratic fashionistas About 8 years ago I publically declared my intention to become a crazy old lady in my later years. That statement liberated me. It made it possible to be creatively fearless and do stuff that would make the faint of heart run and hide. I put my art into the public eye with reckless abandon. I wrote my thoughts and confessed feelings that I shouldn’t publically admit (still doing it…you can’t stop me…yes, you could…please be gentle…don’t hurt me). I felt free to live with verve. I would be like the Idiosyncratic Fashionistas (more here).

When we don’t care about what other people think of us; when we do not beat ourselves with the social climber’s measuring stick; when we simply do our best and our heart knows it is good enough (for now)…that’s when the magic happens (click to Tweet)That’s the place where we give ourselves permission to flourish. It’s the fertile learning ground, the joyful happy place, the vast creative field where innovation and daring meet. We are authentic, courageous and fearless when we live and work from there, like children. Deep down, I know it is my obligation to protect this place in myself.

Lots of times fear creeps in.  It does so like the fog …on little cat feet. Thank you, Carl Sandburg. We don’t hear it coming. We raise our heads and there it is – BAM! IN YOUR FACE!

Yesterday, I spent some of the afternoon sketching and painting. Drawing is somewhat new for me, so I’ve chronicled my journey Fearful voicefrom the start and am pleased with my progress. I cavalierly posted a picture of a botanical on Facebook. A friend replied, “Love it! You are getting so good.” Promptly I removed it. I knew the rocks weren’t right. Shame. Shit. Shame. Nothing had changed but the voice in my head. The seeping self-judgement…thief of joy. 

I’ll bet you do it, too. Sometimes? You do, right?

For a lot of artists their work springs from joyful self-expression. For a lot of people their best comes when they embrace whatever work they do with joyful abandon. THIS IS WHY YOU DO WHAT YOU DO. It feels good.

Then…here comes the voice; the fear of judgment. Worse yet, we turn our judgment to others and compare ourselves to their goodness or a golden standard. Suddenly, mine is not good enough. I am not good enough. It doesn’t matter who you are, or what your dreams – you fill in the blank:

  • My art is not good enough
  • I’m not a good enough parent
  • I am not smart enough
  • I’m not a good employee
  • I’m not pretty/handsome enough
  • My voice is not good enough
  • I’m not a good daughter/son
  • My house is not good enough
  • My writing is not good enough (then why are you still reading?)
  • My clothes are not good enough

I’ll spare you the pain, because the list goes on and on. Know what? Sure, you could be doing better. That’s why it’s called a journey. There is always room to improve – that’s the BEAUTY of it! (click to Tweet)

It’s the voice that must be controlled. Silenced. Replaced with the cheerleading voice.  Some  coaches call the negative voice the Gremlin, and everyone has one.  Shame researcher, Brene Brown talks about it, researches it extensively. She says only sociopaths don’t feel shame. Whewwww! I dodged that bullet!

So in the spirit of being a crazy old lady, because I know better, because I choose courage, because I made a commitment to work from a place of joy and abandon, I am sharing. This is why I do what I do.

From shameful voice to fearless
Shameful Botanical Print

 “I will not let the voice of fear rob me of my best life” (click to Tweet). 

What about you? You make a choice to listen to a voice. Do you choose the fearful one, or the champion?  What is the price?  This blog is a safe place, a tribe, where you can share. I find most people are supportive and wonderful. Those who aren’t have their own work to do. Do not go down without a fight…be brave…be happy.

I have no doubt, you are good enough,

Signaturef

 

 

 

Michelle Andres is a coach, writer and artist who teaches creatives business behaviours that boost their Art coaching, building your art business, belongingnessproductivity and happiness…all the while honoring their unique and artsy selves. Follow her on Facebook on Twitter

For a free gift that will help you boost personal productivity “Join the Tribe” and subscribe to this blog!

 

Copeless…At the End of My Ropeless

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are you choosing to view in a copeless light?

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

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

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

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

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

It’s ALL Good!

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

For a free gift that will help you boost personal productivity “Join the Tribe” and subscribe to this blog!