Thursday, December 6, 2012

Where O Where Has Michelle Been?

Well, I've been right here. Immersed in Inner Alignment Mandalas and diving into my own spirit. Creating mandalas that make my heart sing and connecting with people who teach me new lessons everyday.
I've learned to touch a part of me that I never knew existed. OK, a part of me knew it was there, hiding beneath the surface, under years of disconnect and hiding from my own light.
The creative process I've been swimming in has healed me in ways I had no idea was even possible. It has connected me to powers that are greater than myself and I feel as if I am deep in gratitude for each day I am able to wake up and make my way to my computer or my art desk.
I'm excited by everything I do, even the most mundane tasks like setting up a newsletter to the most exciting, like watching a mandala emerge from a canvas covered in rich, deep color.
Lately I've been connecting to my intuitive side even more. I've taken the step from Intuitive Artist to Intuitive. I've been doing Intuitive Card Readings and I can't tell you the excitement that rushes through my body as I connect to my higher spirit and the spirit of those I am reading.
I've been getting clear messages that it is time to take this intuitive skill to the next level and truly connect with others to be able to offer healing and guidance. I can't tell you the honor I've been feeling in being able to combine my coaching and intuitive skills to guide people on their spiritual journey!!!

As a sort of "welcome back" to The Creative Healing Studio, I want to offer card readings to 3 of my readers. I will do an Intuitive Card Reading that I will record and put up on YouTube for you to view. There will be an opportunity for you to get clear on what area in your life you are seeking guidance in prior to the reading.

 The first three people to leave a comment below with their email address will receive a card reading. I am so excited to be able to share this with you. Thank you for all your support!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Having Fun in My Journal

I've been playing around a little here and there in my journal, just trying to stay loose and have fun. It's interesting that now that I am free to create everyday for my new venture, Inner Alignmnent Mandalas I feel like I need to do a little creative play on the side. Isn't that funny?

I guess it's just a way to stay balanced. The work I do with I AM is beautiful, deep, and spiritual and it is so fulfilling for me. I love every part of the process.

So I guess to keep me balanced I go for dripping, taping, gluing and otherwise messing up my journal pages. It's so fun. I actually ended up writing all over this page which I think is cool too.

So what do you do for fun? Does it involve art?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I AM Live!!!

The time has come to introduce you all to my new website, Inner Alignment Mandalas. It was created over the summer in partnership with my amazing friend Jill Chesrow! I am so grateful for meeting her and for being guided to create this new business with her!

Inner Alignment Mandalas is truly a partnership. Each of us have our own talents and together we have created something truly wonderful. I am intuitively creating custom mandalas for our clients and Jill is doing quantum energy sessions to clear, balance and expand their energy fields. These mandalas are really powerful. We've been making them throughout the summer and I've just been amazed at the energy they have.

Right now we are offering Custom Mandalas and Business Mandalas and we plan on adding prints, coaching and online programs in the future. It is so very exciting to be working on something that I  know is a gift and that I feel truly passionate about. I can't tell you how smooth everything has gone. Things have seemed to flow and fall into place. We have both felt very guided in this endeavor.

I would love for all of you to check out our new website. I even created a video! It was so fun. There is also a free download where you will get our I AM Love Mandala pictured above. If you like what you see I would love for you to like us over on Facebook and tell anyone and everyone all about us. It might sound kind of cheesy but I really want to spread the word because I want as many people to be able to benefit from this amazing energy!

Thank you for all of your support over the last few years to help me find myself and connect with my creativity. It has given me to confidence to call myself an intuitive artist and with that confidence I was able to find Jill and create this wonderful partnership. You guys are the best!!!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Thankful Thursday

In my previous blog I used to do a Thankful Thursday post each week and I've decided that today I am going to bring it to life right here.

I am thankful that today is my birthday. I have been overwhelmed with emails and calls from all my friends and family. I went to breakfast with my youngest three and I'm going to the movies later. I also managed to drag my kiddies shopping and since it was my birthday they weren't allowed to complain! Hee hee, I'm very tricky like that.

I have to admit that I've always loved my birthday. When I was young I was able to go to Dispensa's Kiddie Kingdom to pick out whatever I wanted! It was so exciting. I also got to go on the rides at the carnival. It was all very exciting.  I'm thankful for those memories.

I am thankful that my family got to get away for an 18 day trip this summer. We were able to go down to see my oldest son who is stationed near Destin Florida. It was the first time we saw him since he graduated bootcamp. We spent a weekend with him. I loved it all except maybe seeing his new tattoos!

After that we headed down to my dad's place where we took beach bumming to a new level. Pure relaxing! Just what we needed.

We were lucky enough to have another family we are close with travel down with us and the kids had a ball together. I'm thankful they are making such wonderful childhood memories.

I am thankful that I was able to get a little journaling done while on the vacation. There is something so wonderful about painting by the pool. I love it!

I am so thankful for my AMAZING chiropractor, Dr. Mnabhi who was able to work his magic on the most horrible case of whiplash I got riding one of the sketchy rides at Six Flags in Atlanta. I hit a curve on the roller coaster and my head skipped off the head rest and was flapping behind me as I barreled upside down. Picture a goofy cartoon with a long neck sailing a foot behind the body. That's what it felt like.

Thank goodness or "Thanks God" as he said (he's from Morroco) he has spent 4 years studying traditional osteopathy in Canada because otherwise the only thing he would have been able to offer me was muscle relaxers and a neck brace for a month before he could even help me! Luckily however he was able to get me almost back to new in only 4 sessions! Woo Hoo! I am over the moon about this!

I'm thankful that my boys are all going on a camping trip and I am going to be staying home. I have a ton of stuff to catch up on before school starts next week and they will have a ball on their guy's weekend.

I'm thankful that I have such a wonderful family and a fulfilling life. I am thankful that I am in a place these days where I am able to recognize it and to not miss out on the little things. I am thankful that even when things are a little crazy or aren't going "perfect" I'm still happy. Wow! When did that happen?!

I am thankful for my life!!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Two Year Anniversary!

Two years ago I started this blog and I had no idea what was in store for me. I only knew I had a calling to incorporate more creativity, color and vibrancy into my life.

I dove in with all my heart to learn…techniques, styles, anything…I just wanted to learn. I traveled around the country taking classes and I signed up for many online classes as well. It was a feverish desire to learn the secret illusive thing that would get me to where I wanted to be.

Then there was a bit of a shift. It started at the beginning of the year. I had chosen “responsibility” as my word for the year and I had decided it just wasn’t responsible to be taking all these trips when the money would be useful in other areas of my life. I took an online class and decided that it just wasn’t for me. I didn’t want to “do” anyone else’s style anymore. It just didn’t fit.
Meanwhile I was beginning to spend more time going inward, learning to listen to myself more than the outside world. I was introduced to the Akashic Records and it seemed like a lost part of my soul began to wake. I had this inner calm, a sense of knowing that even though things didn’t seem to be moving forward, they were exactly as they needed to be.

With this new found connection to my higher self, I began to see things unfolding in the most synchronistic way. Things I had secretly desired began to appear in my life. Things I didn’t even know I needed began to emerge and it is from this moment that I can look back and see the perfection in what has unfolded.   

My thinking mind had a plan…it knew exactly where I “needed” to go. It couldn’t seem to make it happen but it could clearly see the end point and longed to figure out how to get there. When I let go of the “plan” and began to trust and live from a place of connection with my higher self, things began to unfold in the most natural way. I suddenly became focused when previously I was scattered. I was able to work in complete flow, loving every minute of it. Things began to take shape and effortlessly bloom.

Is it what my thinking mind thought I wanted or needed?
Absolutely not!
It isn’t anything I ever dreamed of but it is a perfect fit.
I don’t know what the future will hold. I have given up trying to plan. I am letting go into a deep trust that is carrying me to places I never knew existed for me. Will it keep me here at The Creative Healing Studio? I don’t know…only time will tell.

It is with complete gratitude that I celebrate my two year anniversary here on this blog and it is with complete trust that I go out into the third year knowing that whatever happens will be perfect.

I promise, the secret will come out in August. ;o)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Energy shift

Have you ever noticed that you can be tooling along, enjoying your life with everything going great and you wake up one day and you feel totally different? You don’t know why. Nothing has changed, you just feel different. What felt great yesterday, feels annoying today. What brought you joy last week, makes you feel antsy or anxious.
It’s the strangest thing and I don’t know why it happens. I will sometimes sit and think about what could be causing it. Is there some unconscious thing happening? Am I getting sick? Am I having PMS? What the heck happened?

Energy is an amazing thing. It flows and it moves and it gets stuck at times as well. When things are fluid and free moving everything seems great but there are times that energy can get stuck. There can be a myriad of reasons and sometimes it’s helpful to work through it but other times it’s just OK to get the energy moving again and not worry about the why.
Here are a few ways to shift your energy.
Go for a walk- Get the energy moving through your body. Walk with the purpose of being in the moment. Feel how you are feeling as your body moves along the terrain. See the sights around you. How do they make you feel? Does your environment uplift you or does it make you anxious or drain you. Pay attention.

Create a light hearted piece of art- Get out some colors and doodle, smear the paint around and just have fun. Rip out beautiful images from catalogs and magazines and create your own beautiful image. Doodle on it with pens and write uplifting words to yourself. Have fun without any preconceived notions of how it will turn out.
Purge- Take some time alone and write out every thought that is going on in your head The good, the bad, and the downright ugly. Don’t censor yourself. Allow the emotions to flow. Stay in the moment with what is happening and if you notice a judging voice pop up, thank it for its concern and tell it you are perfectly safe and continue to let it all out. When you finish, you can burn the pages and watch them go up in smoke. You will feel lighter.

Practice gratitude- I know this is an old standby but it can’t be forgotten for the way it can shift a mood. Start simple if you can’t find much to be grateful for and see where your energy leads you. Try to feel the emotions that rise up. When you are feeling grateful for your family, spend a moment feeling how that feels in your body, let it grow and expand and fill you up. You will find that each swell in emotion will carry you higher into the next emotion of gratitude and it will grow like a wave that moves through the ocean toward the shore. Ride the wave.
Be present- Sometimes you need to have downtime. You can’t live your whole life in an elated state of mind. There has to be ups and downs. There has to be moments when you are out in the world and then there are times when you pull back within yourself to reflect. It is natural and it is healthy. Stay in the moment and experience it all.

No matter what, be gentle with yourself. Treat yourself as you would a small, sad child. Nurture yourself and be patient. This too will pass.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Friends are My Blessing

One of my greatest desires over the last few years has been to expand my friendships. I have quite a few friends in my area but they are the parents of my childrens' friends and they are wonderful AND they aren't necessarily on the same page with creativity and spirituality...OK, I'll be honest, they aren't even in the book!

I feel so blessed to have my dear friend Carrie that I met while attending the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I can't tell you how much she feels like my long lost sister. She lives in another state but we manage to email every day and talk at least twice a month.

I've also been fortunate enough to gain some great virtual friends that live in other areas of the country. We found each other in the sea of the Internet and I feel like they get me and I get them. It's a gift really.

My newest friend Jill is turning out to be so much more than just a friend. Again, I feel this deep connection with her. We are often on the same page with so many of our thoughts and life situations that it floors me.

We were brought together when we both took Laura Hollick's Soul Art Certification. I find it so funny that we had to go through a woman in Canada to find each other and we only live 45 minutes away! Gotta love synchronicity!

We have been cooking up something that is so sacred, that I can't believe I'm actually a part of it. I feel so honored that we have been able to come together and use our talents to create something that can really change people's lives.

We have been working on a spiritual and quantum level combined with our creativity and playing with soul art to get really clear. We both feel that what we have created was really destined to be and was simply waiting for the right moment. It's actually been gifted to us!

I am so excited about it and have been working hard on bringing it to fruition, as has Jill. We are so close and I just wanted to share my excitement with all of you and let you know that it is coming! I would love it if you would send us your loving energy to help lift us up as we reach the finish line...or more accurately, the new starting line.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Step Into Your Future!

About 10 years ago I was confronted with a critical healing moment in my life. I found myself in my early 30s, a mother of five children, in the hospital wondering if I was going to make it out again. At the time I was completely cut off from my spirituality and creativity and was under a great deal of stress as any mom will understand.

It was in that moment that my life changed forever. Something in me opened up and awakened. Something that I had locked down tight since I was just a little girl was bubbling to the surface.  I knew it was time for healing and that there had to be more to life that I was missing. I had absolutely no idea what that meant or how that could even occur and to be honest, it is only in hindsight that I recognized that awakening. In the moment, it was all still a bit fuzzy.

Serendipitously, I came across an online recording of Brandon Bays talking about the amazing work she does with The Journey and I was immediately hooked. I KNEW this was exactly what I needed so I signed up, purchased my plane ticket to Florida and set off for a weekend of something new.

The whole weekend was amazing. It was tough at times; highly emotional. There were a lot of tears shed and a lot of purging done but there was also so much profound beauty. I was introduced to myself as the soul that lives in this body. I met up with the silence that I never knew was missing but wondered how I lived without. I cleared out emotions I had stuffed and held onto for decades and felt 1,000 pounds lighter. It was completely life changing and only the beginning of a decade of growth and healing.

Now ten years later, I look back at that young mom and I have nothing but gratitude for her. I appreciate who she was and who she was trying to be. My heart opens up to her and thanks her for her strength and her ability to push through and get past the tough times so that I can stand here today.

The thing is, you never know what is in store for you. Just when things are at their worst and you feel like you will never feel better, realize that you may be at the beginning of an incredible journey that will take you places you could have never dreamed of.

It's at those times that trusting can be the hardest thing you could ever do but it's the most powerful. Trusting that you will find your way and that all you need to do is stay open and take the first step and wait to see where it leads. Isn't life beautiful?!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Is Time Passing You By?

Reprinted from 2009

Sitting in my office this afternoon I looked out my window at the tree in my front yard. My pumpkin colored wall framed the brilliant orange and red leaves. In the moment that I looked up, my breath was taken away. There was such beauty there with the deep orange and crimson colored leaves. Right here in the middle of the suburbs with the mini vans whizzing by.

The funny thing is that I am sure that tree has been that color for days now and in my rush to get everything done and to be everywhere I need to be, I never “saw” it. It got me thinking about all of the beauty that I’ve been missing as the days speed by in the life of the ever hectic mom.

How many days have gone by where I’ve missed the sparkle of the sun shining through my window for that brief moment in the middle of the day? When was the last time I really listened to the buzzing of the bees as they go about their busy work in my garden? I can’t remember the last time I took time out of my life to just go for a walk in the woods and breathe in the fresh air and admire the beauty of nature.

Then it really hit me. What else had I been missing? The greatest beauty of any mom’s day…the beauty of a child’s smile or their light hearted giggle? Have I truly taken time to savor all of those moments that occur spontaneously throughout the day? Do I give my children single pointed focus when they are speaking to me? Do I genuinely look at them; see them for who they are? How often do I savor my sweet boys, engulf myself in their scent and just be with them in the moment?

I have a 17 year old son who is graduating high school in January. As it seems every wise and “mature” parent will tell you, the time flies by. I can’t believe that he is a young man and no longer wants to cuddle and snuggle with me. I know I have had many beautiful moments with him and all of my boys and I want more. I don’t want to miss them.

As a mom of five boys I am acutely aware of how busy life can be and how much there is to get done in one day. I am deciding today to schedule in cuddle time, snuggle time and lovin’ time with my boys just as I do dentist appointments and grocery shopping. I am committing to practice giving my children my undivided attention. No more reading my email while they are talking to me or doing something else while they are trying to tell me a story.

I invite you to join me in this experiment to see how differently your days play out. I am willing to bet that not only will it bring you joy and happiness but it will affect your children in a powerful way. They will not only feel the love that you have for them but they will be learning how to be in the moment themselves.

As I sat here typing, my youngest son Aidan just came up to me and climbed into my lap. I immediately stopped what I was doing, wrapped my arms around him and began the automatic mommy rock. In that moment, I was overcome with the love that is always available for me but that I don’t always take the time to feel. It brought a tear to my eye. In about 60 seconds it was over. He jumped off and ran off to finish his homework. I looked up at that autumn tree and sent it a wave of gratitude for allowing me to see its beauty and the beauty that is all around me.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Before I started The Creative Healing Studio I actually had another blog that was more nutrition based. I shared recipes, food facts, and health tips on top of my insights and stories about my life and family.

Recently I went back and looked over some of those posts and I decided there were a few good ones I would like to share with my new friends over here.  I will most likely add some original artwork since I wasn't creating back then and only used boring photos I found on the web.

I plan to sprinkle them in here and there and I just wanted to give you a heads up. I hope you enjoy them!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Do you remember when I created my mosaic soul art? I really loved that project. I loved making the healing mosaic mandalas too. There is just something about creating art with healing and positive affirmations that lights me up!

 I originally made 9 of them and I have 5 left. I've put two of them up in my Etsy shop if you are interested. Check out the affirmations and see if they resonate with you.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Resting the Body, Mind, & Spirit

I sometimes wish I was the kind of person who gets reflective and deep when I get sick. You know, writing poetry, creating masterpieces, or even just journaling. But no, I'm the kind of girl who veges out on the couch and watches TV. I feel like I could get so much accomplished if I only could focus on my art or my writing while I lounge around on the sofa.

But then I think that I sometimes need a break too. I'm always thinking, learning, reading, creating, writing, talking, helping, or doing. I guess when my body needs a break the mind needs one too.

On top of that, I spend a part of everyday being reflective and diving deep into my own healing and growth so what the heck, another reason to rest the mind and soul.

So you might have guessed that I've been a bit under the weather the past few weeks. Let me tell you, it was a doozy! Three plus weeks sitting on the couch has caught me up on all the shows in my DVR from the whole season and then some.

I'm so glad to feel the creative urge alive inside me again. I've just been playing around a bit and I've been working out some new techniques that I'm super psyched about. I guess I'm just getting back in the groove again.

I'm looking forward to connecting with all you wonderful people here in the bloggy world again. I've missed all of you! I'm curious, what do you do when you're sick. Maybe you can give me some  pointers.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


For a while now I've been hearing from my friends and family that I should put some of my stuff on Etsy. They have kindly suggested it, sternly reminded me and exclaimed in exasperation, "What are you waiting for?"

Hmmm, I don't know. I thought I didn't really have enough items to sell and that maybe they were too personal or weren't "real art". Afterall, these were friends and family, they're biased.

Then I had a woman I never met before come to my house and she looked around at all my art and said, "You know, you really should put your stuff on Etsy."

And then a young girl from the neighborhood came over one day and saw something I had created and she said, "You know, you should make more of these and give them away...for money."

I laughed. OK Universe. I hear you. Thank you for telling me in so many different ways so that I might get the message.

So today I am happy to tell you that I have posted my first two items in my new Etsy shop. They are fabric wall hangings I created that I think are fun and whimsical and share my love of inspiring words and fun doodles.

I hope you will take a look and tell me what you think and if you like them please share them with your friends.

Thank you for all your support and encouragement. I am so blessed to have so many supportive and kind people in my life. Every one of you have lifted me up time and time again even when you weren't aware of it.

xo M

Monday, April 16, 2012

Through the Eyes of Your Inner Child

When I was a kid I remember having a lot of unsupervised time. I'm sure most of you know what I'm talking about. We spent a lot of time out of the house, by ourselves, without fear. We went out exploring empty fields, empty lots, parks, rivers, anywhere and everywhere in nature. There was a great sense of independance, freedom, and excitement in those excursions.

Today I went out for a walk and I came upon some wild strawberries in the field and it was like finding a little treasure. It reminded me of being a kid because in one of those empty fields we used to go to we would play hide and seek in the tall grass and I remember there being wild strawberries that we would pick and nibble on as we played and they were THE BEST strawberries I've ever eaten.

As I was walking today, as a woman in her 40s who origianlly had gone out for some exercise, I came across those wild strawberries and I was transported back to being a kid with all that freedom, fun and joy in just being in a field hanging out. It shifted my energy and I felt this increased sense of wonder.

I kept walking and I came upon a big open field and I found myself with an irresistable urge to plop myself down in the middle of a field of dandelions. So that is what I did! I was just lying there in the sun listening to the birds chirping, watching the butterflies flutter and feeling the breeze and the warmth of the earth on my stomach. 

I started exploring like a little kid and seeing the detail in the grass.  The 40 year old me would have just seen some grass and weeds but the little girl in me, began seeing the buds of the dandelions, these wispy fern like plants covered in a soft white fuzzy fur, little clovers popping out, giant ants busily working and a whole other world complete with vibrant color, texture, and the possibility for fantasy.

I would have never seen any of it or experienced the wonder of that moment if I wouldn't have plopped myself down in the middle of that field and reverted back to my childhood. Yes, I would have taken a nice walk in the sun and enjoyed my surroundings but I wouldn't have had that amazing sense of wonder almost as if the world was in technicolor. I was given the gift of seeing the world through child-like eyes and experiencing that pure excitement, joy and happiness.

I invite you to go out into the world and experience it with your child-like eyes. Do something you enjoyed as a kid. Act like a kid. Be silly, be carefree, be You before you became "you".

Friday, April 13, 2012

Personalized Journal for Girls

Remeber back in March when I told you about the journal I made for my friend Carrie? Well she has 2 beautiful daughters who were wanting to get creative too so I made each of them a journal.

This one was made for her youngest daughter Calli.

And this one was for her oldest daughter Skylar.

I've never met these girls but I went onto their mom's facebook page to look at pictures of them and I also checked out their pinterest pages to get an idea of who they are. I'm guessing I was able to intuitively connect with them as well because I've been told they are perfect for each of them. The colors, the subject matter, everything. Yay! It always feels good to make others happy!

I can't wait to see what they do in them!

Monday, April 2, 2012

LIfe's Journey

I had my first baby at 22. I wasn't a babysitter and didn't have any younger siblings so I didn't really know what I was doing with him. To compound matters, he was a colicky baby and cried and cried for what seemed like ages. In reality it was about  3 months.

At that time I got pregnant again. I was feeling really confident about it though. Over the last 3 months I had figured it all out.  I knew just how to hold a baby, I knew what they liked, what they didn't like. I felt like I had learned it all and the next one would be a breeze.

I'm sure all you moms out there are laughing right now and know the end of the story. My second son didn't like anything the first one did. I had to start all over and learn everything again. Feeling like I had arrived as a parent didn't make it true.

I feel like this is a theme that runs through my life. I have this feeling that I want to "get it" I want to be done with learning or be done with healing. I want it to be like switching on a light...Yes, I'm healed. Yes, I'm perfect and will no longer struggle to be a better person.

Well, I keep learning over and over that there really is no there there. There is no final destination that I'm suddenly going to arrive at. There is no point when I'm going to say, Phew, I'm healed.

Instead there is only a series of steps forward and steps backward. Hopefully with more forward steps that move me closer to feeling whole. There are daily tests that help me see how far I've come and how far I still have to go.

I've been noticing that I have gotten really good at reflecting on my thoughts and what is underlying them. I've been able to see the games my thinking mind plays with me and the triggers that pop up seemingly out of nowhere. I'm typically unable to catch these things in the moment but it is becoming easier and easier to do it after the fact and I suspect that soon I will find myself naturally having moments of clarity in the moment which will lead to tiny gaps in time where I will be able to choose not to act out of habit.

When that happens (and I know it will), I know it won't be the final stage in my growth. I don't know what I will need to learn or how I will need to evolve but I know there will be something new for me to work on.

Life is definitely a journey with a series of destinations to visit for a while. We don't move in and stay though. We keep on working toward the next destination.  It definitely makes it interesting doesn't it?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Suburban Inspiration

 I took a little break at a local coffee shop and looked out the window and saw this tree. It inspired me in all its winter hibernation.

I didn't have any paper or artistic tools so I pulled out a ball point pen and did a little sketch on the back of my receipt.

It was interesting to really notice how the branches grow. I guess I've never really paid attention to that before but there is some rhyme and reason to it and I know that any time I draw a tree in the future I will be able to draw upon this quick sketch.

Just showing a little inspiration here in the suburbs.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Insidious Stress Pt. 2

Doodle created on a Panera Gift card holder
Yesterday we talked a little about the effects of stress and today I want to share some tips for dealing with stress that I've incorporated into my life and have shared with my clients with really good results.

1. Breathe- I know it is simple and seems like a no brainer but I'm telling you it is powerful. Breathing really can change everything. It can affect you on physical, mental and emotional levels. By simply taking a moment to close your eyes and take a deep breath you are consciously making a choice to slow down. If you really want to calm your nervous system try practicing belly breathing for just a few minutes. On the inhale, allow your belly to rise and on the exhale allow it fall. It might help to practice it lying on your back the first few times to get a feel for it.

2. Prepare- Sometimes stressful times can be unpredictable but more often than not I've found that women have predictable cycles in their days or years. I personally am approaching my most stressful season. For other women it is summer or holidays or perhaps it is the morning rush or before dinner that stresses you out. Prepare for these stressful times when things are going smooth. Have meals ready to go in the freezer, take really good care of yourself when things are running at a slow pace so you are better able to handle stress. Schedule down time for yourself, pamper yourself. Begin to think about filling the well so that in times of drought you will have enough to sustain you.

3. Creative Outlet- The act of tapping in to your creativity can really melt away stress. It takes you out of your thinking mind and connects you to the creative flow. Doodle, create a collage, cook a new meal, rearrange your furniture, try a new hairstyle, take up a new hobby, or go on a walk and take a photo safari. Come up with simple creative tasks you can incorporate into your life.

4. Journal- Oftentimes our stress can be compounded by the thoughts in our heads. Let them out and set yourself free. Allow your thoughts to pour themselves out on a page without thinking about them or censoring them. Let the swear words fly! Be bold with your punctuation!!! Set every emotion free. When you're done you can even burn it and watch that negativity go up in smoke. It feels so good.

5. Rewrite Your Story- We all have our stories of lack, frustration, limitations, etc. Try an experiment where you literally rewrite those stories. Pretend you're writing a fairy tale and make it dreamy. Give it a happy ending and you might even try giving yourself the role of Prince Charming. Who needs anyone else to save us right?

6. Consult Your Future Self- Take a moment to connect with the future you who has already experienced what you are going through right now. Be sure you connect with the future you who has conquered the situation, who is thriving, happy, successful and living her dream life. Ask her for advice and support.

7. Use your calendar- This technique has helped so many of the women I 've worked with including myself when it comes to dealing with stressful times. If you have found that you have a recurring stressful time of the year like my stressful baseball season, go forward into your calendar and write yourself a note that will pop up prior to the start of that season. For me it usually pops up in March and baseball goes into full swing in April. I make notes about what made me crazy the year before and what worked. I make notes about ideas that I can try the next year and things to steer clear of. I know you think you will remember from year to year but the truth is we tend to forget but the calendar never forgets.

8. Experiment With Soothing Music- I'm a rocker. I love my rock music. I also love pop music and oldies, and blues, and well, I think you get the idea. I have a eclectic taste in music. I find music can really affect mood and I try experimenting with different styles of music. When you are stressed go for soothing music, classical, spiritual, inspirational. I've been known to put on chanting, meditations, and Gregorian chants to soothe myself. Explore and find some music that soothes your soul.

We can't run away from stress. It's a natural part of our lives. What we can do is to find techniques to reduce it and allow us to function holisticall and at our best. I hope there is a nugget here for you today!

Bring on Baseball Season! :o)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Insidious Stress Pt. 1

Ok, so I've had  bit of stress going on in my life lately. I used to be a complete stress addict and always felt like I was rushing around on high speed. It was so bad that I ended up with adrenal fatigue and had to make some changes in my life.

As a Holistic Health Coach I have worked with many women and mothers who need help dealing with stress and as I sat down at Panera the other day for a little stress break I started thinking about all the great advice I've given out and the advice I follow in my old life and thought I would share it with you.

We've all heard the reports on how stress is bad for our health. It raises cortisol, can contribute to high blood pressure, can lead to adrenal fatigue, etc. But there is another side effect to stress that I want to talk about today and that is how being under stress effects our behavior. When we are stressed out we suddenly begin making choices that we wouldn't normally make.

Food Choices- When we are stressed and under time constraints we typically don't have the time or the desire to prepare healthful meals that feed our bodies. We will just grab whatever is available and that tends to be processed food loaded with sugar, chemicals, and caffeine. These choices only add to the stress on our bodies.

Relationship Choices- Under stress we either don't have the time or energy to spend the quality time with our loved ones. This might mean brushing off our children or collapsing in the bed at the end of the night unable to be intimate with our partners.

Choosing our Words- When stressed out it is so easy to find ourselves snapping at the people we care about or even to the girl checking us out at the grocery store. Our filter can become defective and we could find ourselves saying things we wouldn't normally say.

Not Choosing Self Care- When time is tight and things have to be done yesterday self care can often be the first thing to throw out the window. We don't have time to take a walk. We're just too tired for that bath. Book? Are you kidding? As women we are really good at putting everyone and everything before our needs.

Can you relate to any of this? I know I sure can! I've been there and done that many times. I have to say that I get better and better at dealing with it every day and tomorrow I'm going to share my top tips for dealing with stress.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Looking Back

My son Liam with his new Basketball Coach
 Do you guys remember back in July when I wrote a post about my Soul Art process and how I used it to deal with an issue I was having with my son's sports coach? If you don't remember, you can check it out here.

While the issue I was having really spanned across all my children it was particularly difficult with my son Liam. He had a coach who coached him on baseball and basketball. I watched as my son faltered under this man. Let me tell you, this kid was confident. One of my girlfriends told me he said, "Whoever shows up to practice next is really lucky because he gets to play with me." It was sincere. He believed in himself and he wasn't afraid to show it.

Over the years this coach began to chip away at my son's confidence. It was gradual at first but began to snowball. I tried talking with the coach, talking with my son and encouraging him but nothing seemed to work.

Last year it all came to a head and everything changed. We got a new coach and said goodbye to the old one. We have tried new teams for him and each and every step we've made has been better and better.

We recently put him on a team with a coach that I cannot tell you how much we love. He is so kind and he is taking an interest in Liam. He is teaching him and supporting him. And let me tell you, he knows his stuff. He played basketball and football at Ball State and went on to play in the NFL for 7 years. He can get excited and he can yell but it isn't  done in a way that demeans.

I'm watching my son's confidence slowly begin to come back. He is beginning to take more shots and take more risks because he knows he won't be punished for his mistakes. He is excited to go to practice and thrilled for games. He even sprayed the logo on his head for crazy hair day.

And I'm sure you know that it isn't about the success he has at sports. It's more about the growth he is having in life. Learning to believe in himself and knowing what it is like when he is supported by an adult other than his parents.

So what does this all have to do with art? It occurred to me the other day that over the last year things have changed. I healed and came face to face with issues I was having through my Soul Art process and everything seemed to fall into place without me even realizing it. I am amazed and grateful to be able to look back and see the progress that has been made.

Art Heals!

Monday, March 19, 2012

This is one of my small canvases I started playing with when I was frozen with fear in my Flora Bowley class. I started the same way by spreading paint all over the canvas, scratching into it, dripping, playing and having fun. The very last thing I did was scratch the word home into a bit of paint.

When I came back to it days later I saw the word and knew I had to make a house. I started sketching it out and added a fun little tree. It reminds me of my childhood drawings. I have absolutely no idea where this is headed but I am having fun with it.

It's so funny to me how many different styles have been emerging from this class. I am all over the place. I have struggled with the fact that I am all over the place with my art but I guess I'm just going with the flow and just letting whatever wants to come out emerge. I'm not fighting it!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What are You Good At?

When I was a kid I can remember being around people who liked to brag about themselves and I hated it. I would roll my eyes and think they were so ridiculous. I never wanted to be one of those people who had to tell people how great I was or brag on endlessly about myself because I thought it was such a turn off.

What I didn't realize back then is that there is a difference between bragging about yourself and believing in yourself. In the process of not wanting to brag about myself I actually stopped believing in myself.

This showed up for me big time the other day when I was talking to my friend about something or other. She asked me point blank, "Well Michelle, What are you good at?" Holy cow. I stuttered and I stammered and I couldn't get a word out. I started laughing to deflect the nervous tension and I was shocked at how difficult it was.

I was able to stutter out a few things I was good at only when I put the word "sometimes" in front of it. Ha ha, how funny. Sometimes I'm good at this and other times I'm not. Well, I'm a realist I guess and it had to feel right for me but hey, it's a bridge right?

My frend and I already send each other a daily email filled with all kinds of positive affirmations and gratitude so we decided to add something we are good at each day. Of course I started out writing my "sometimes" in there but more and more I've found myself just writing "I'm good at..." It's getting easier and easier. Yay!

I recently went to get my hair cut with a new girl who was recommended by a friend. She has an in home salon as well as her own location. I didn't really know a lot about her when I went to see her. I simply trusted my friend and love her hair so I knew it would be good.

As I spoke to her I found out that she had been with a high end salon in a very posh town. She was the top earner in the salon and when someone called and asked for the best, they booked them with her. She was telling me all these stories about her past and at one point she said, "I not tying to brag but I worked hard to get that reputation and I'm proud of it."

Do you know that there was not one moment in that conversation where I thought she was bragging or talking herself up. It felt genuine and she exuded a confidence that was well earned. So that is what I am striving for. Believing in myself and my talents and earning the right to share them with others without the need to inflate myself. Woo! That feels good!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Personalized Journal

My friend Carrie is is always telling me that she wants to be more creative. She wants to paint and she wants to create. Her word of the year is "fun" and while we were talking on the phone the other day I was telling her how much FUN I have taking notes and doodling with my gel pens. I could tell she was intrigued.

She just had herbirthday and I decided that I would help her along with her creative pursuits. I bought a journal for her and decorated the cover. I sent it along with a set of gel pens.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Update From the Studio

I've been spending a lot of time in the studio painting away. I am enjoying Flora Bowley's class. I have to admit, it can be scary to paint like this. I know it sounds ridiculous but I completely shut down for about a week and couldn't muster up the courage to continue. I mean, if you look at the painting above you might be able to understand...what a mess! It makes me cringe just looking at it.

There is something about this process that makes my head swim. It is so chaotic and can be hard for my brain to handle. In my mind I know that every painting I've ever done has gone through an ugly stage but there is something about the chaotic nature of this style that throws me for a loop.

After  week of avoiding them like the plague I decided to suck it up and just get in there and do something. The good thing is they couldn't get any worse! :o)

This is how the painting has evolved. There was actually a step in between here where I just decided to pick my favorite color and splash it all over the canvas. I ended up with a beautiful wash of luscious reds. I felt so much better.

Then I went in and started adding some greens and yellows. While its not quite there yet, It makes me happy to look at it instead of crazy.

Here is a close up of one of my favorite little spots in the upper left hand corner.

My second painting is a little farther along. I liked the colors and the circles. It feels good. You might notice in the upper middle there are some words sprawled across the canvas. The day I splashed red all over the first canvas I decided to write myself some encouraging words and I just did it...all over the canvas. There was a moment when I thought, "Oh crap, what the hell am I doing? I'm going to ruin this!" Ha ha, I laughed. That's impossible and I let it go and kept writing.

It got me started and got me starting to flow. I had to do something to move on and it worked perfectly.

When I stepped back I saw a bird. My conscious mind thought, "Oh no, it's right in the middle of the canvas. That's not good composition." "Um, shut up and do it!" I said back to myself. And I did.

So that is where I am right now. There is still a lot of work to do but I'm happy.

In the week I was shut down with fear I decided to start a few other smaller canvases that I had lying around. This one started by simply dripping paint down the canvas. After it dried I was going to add some more to it and I put it up on the wall and knew there was a face there so I started painting it.

As I was fleshing it out I had this feeling of strength from her so I added it to the bottom of the canvas. I kept looking at her, talking to her, asking her what kind of hair she wants. Nothing was coming.

She finally told me she wants a big flower in her hair which I find interesting. That represents a softness and female energy that balances the hard strength I've been feeling from her. Of course I am going to give her a flower.

I have no idea how this is going to progress but I'm excited to watch it emerge.

Friday, February 24, 2012

I'm a Doodley Doodler

Oh my gosh! I love to doodle. I do it all the time. It goes back a long way. My notebooks where covered in doodles when I was a kid. My notes in college...doodled. I can't sit and not doodle. I've even been known to doodle in spilled water on the table. Weird I know.

I doodle as I watch TV, while I listen to audios, waiting for appointments and just sitting down for a moment. If you ever call me on the phone just know I'm doodling while we talk. Your words will probably end up in my doodles too. I can't help it. It's too fun.

Do you doodle? (ha ha, say that fast)