Insipid No More

December wraps up the twelfth chapter and 12 months of The Artist’s Way for this creative. I would only recommend completing a chapter a month if you are ready to have your world rocked. I heard other participating artists talking about needing to stop part way through the year due to blocks surfacing that they had never experienced before. This was true for me as well. Every fear, every block, every experience was intensified sometimes to the point of being too difficult to withstand. On the other hand, I have never accomplished so much, had so many breakthroughs, and been so much at home in my creative skin as I have in the last year. I really came into my own. Artist’s Dates evolved from outings into taking advantage of many live stream courses. Artist’s Pages evolved into long meditations clearing the mind’s negative self-talk/sabotage. Mediation lead to a peaceful and a more positive creative!

Chapter 12 is entitled Recovering a Sense of Faith. This chapter reminds us to trust in our Creator–trust that the Devine’s plan for us very well may be in line with our own deepest desires.

I pondered back on a time when I had told myself such a clever lie that I even deceived myself. I believed that my artistic and creative talents were lower than a true life purpose. What I mean is, I believed that I needed to be giving some sort of service (for the greater good) in order to be living my true purpose. I believed that my creative pursuits were self-centered and indulgent. I guess I hadn’t considered I could live a life of giving back while being an artist. I had always had a great eye for home decor and visual art. I felt that I would be swallowed up in materialism and worldliness if I dedicated my life to my creativity. Deep down, I had known that I had so much talent and desire to be an artist, but had talked myself out of it on so many levels. I even told myself that I didn’t want to do it as a living because it was too special to me and it would be ruined as a passion. When we take so much time to talk ourselves out of something so important, we should recognize this as the red flag it is. The further I got away from these gifts, the less I felt like me. The final nail in the coffin for me was when bought into the idea of finding a career based on making money.

This happened to be in healthcare. What was dangerous for me was that it was a hungry monster with a never ending need for service. Luckily, that is when I discovered The Artist’s Way. I was heading for a degree in social work to be a step in my goal to be a medical social worker (the highest paid in the field of social work). The course brought me back to my authentic self, so doing it for an entire year made perfect sense. It had become my self-care. I had found a mode of healing. Art, creativity, the process had become not about creating bodies of work. It had become feeling and being alive.

This year, I learned that God is in the details. He is there wanting you to live your life to the fullest. He wants you to be on fire with purpose and excitement for living. Cameron points out that we have this idea that spirituality is about living a life of scarcity.. never being given permission to be truly aligned with your hopes and dreams. As you learn to have faith that the universe has your back all the while practicing your spirituality and creativity, you find you grow. Your ability to give back increases. Your talent increases. Your reach increases. Learning a craft, an art, or a skill is bonus! There is so much to gain and so little to lose.

If you are ready for the most amazing adventure, make your creativity a priority. Make creativity a regular part of your life. This isn’t about being a professional artist. It is about being fully alive. Finding your soul’s truest expression. Honoring your spirit, your voice. Honoring life.

“Adventures don’t begin until you get into the forest. The first step is an act of faith.” -Mickey Hart


This painting was created in Shiloh McLoud’s Awakened Woman live stream class. She teaches a visioning/intuitive/imagination process that is beautiful and empowering. “The Muse is the Voice of Your Soul.” -Shiloh McLoud.

Title: “Lady of Fire.” Going deep to talk with my muse.


July has been a very busy month with the sun out and all. The beautiful weather always gets the best of me and before I know it another day has passed and I have little to show for my time. I love the long, warm days where I can twiddle away my time in my garden and take long drives to farmer’s markets and what not. I do wish these days of summer could last.

So, what happens in my art goals is that I get stuff done, but don’t take the normal amount of care documenting. I also tend to let my Morning Pages slide quite a bit.

This month also seemed to be packed with lots of projects as well including finally launching Michelle Quesada – Mused Art (my artist page). So Saturday morning came and I noticed it was the LAST weekend in July and knew that I was running out of time to get my Artist’s Date in for July. Imagine my excitement when I saw that Shiloh Sophia was offering a same day class called Being Abundance. I have long learned that abundance is a state of being–as well as a fleeting state at times.

I had just enough time to get down to make a few stops to pick up a few essential items to create an abundance alter before her class began (candles, chocolate, peaches, and flowers).


I already had the other listed items for making the painting. I happen to be a huge fan of her style of art which she says she uses a style of Jungian-Shamanism or Visioning-Imagination. This really means that you search for meaningful symbols through guided meditative journeying. It truly leads to beautiful and meaningful art pieces. I had taken a class from her before and found her process fruitful.

Although the six hour class had several breaks (including lunch), she taught it live and walked the students through a painting from start to finish. In this type of process, she is the guide to assist you in connecting with your own answers. I think this is what I really love about the philosophy that she uses. There was journaling, processing, letter writing, medication, prayer, and symbol identification. At the end of the day, you came away uplifted as well as with a beautiful symbolic painting of your own. I received several symbols some of which were included in my painting of my lady of abundance. I realized that the message that I heard was that I am blessed and that I only need to open my awareness to the beauty all around me.


This was by far one of my favorite Artist’s Dates so far this year! What has really struck me is that there are so many opportunities that would have never been possible a few years back due to the world wide web. How lucky are we all to be able to have access to talented artists such as Shiloh Sophia and so many others! What a beautiful day and productive class for only $47! I will be heading back for more of her teaching!

Time Out

May was a great month for my Artist Dates, but tough for my Morning Pages. In the previous chapter of The Artist’s Way, you were challenged to stretch your Artist Dates out a little. So, when my husband had a business trip to Florida, I jumped at the opportunity (something that I have passed on for the last two years). I have been excited to explore new territory & it had been too long since I took a break. I took the month off from lots of stuff, and unfortunately, I also let my Morning Pages slide. By the end of the month, I felt really out of sorts and that could have been a contributing factor.

Fort Lauderdale and Miami are favorite spots for my husband & I, so going back would be good for couple time, yet when he would be at all of his business stuff, I would have time for adventures of my own. With the reading deprivation exercise of April, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a book. I found The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh at the airport prior to departure and blazed though it by the next morning. Image

The whole trip was magical & I felt tuned into beauty where ever I went. On the plane, even though I couldn’t sit next to husband (due to our boarding order and limited seating left), I sat by a chatty lady who reminded me of a book character in the making.

While in Florida, I limited my internet time and spent the majority of my time soaking up the sun and relaxing (that is, when it wasn’t pouring rain and storming). The up and down weather amazed me because one minute it was 90 degrees and the next you were receiving tornado or flash flood warnings. The tropical climate with its distinctive personality draws me back again and again.


I came back refreshed and feeling creative. As we landed back in Portland, Belinda Underwood, a beautiful, young musician was playing folk music in the airport and I bought both of her available albums as souvenirs of the trip.

Open to Receive

The Artist’s Way, Chapter 3: Recovering a Sense of Power

I am in an Artist Way group that is taking a chapter a month in the book. I find it so interesting to go through it at this pace because I have really slowed down to examined more closely the practical application of the material in my life. I loved going through the book in 12 weeks because it is its own type of emersion experience, but this way slowing it down, I have been able to read the chapter a couple of different times and really hone in on the lessons to be learned.

Chapter 3 is crucial in the process because it deals with anger and learning how to take back your sense of personal responsibility in your creative life. AND since we know that we are creative in EVERY aspect of our life, it is fundamental to making the life that you desire. The first couple months of Morning Pages can seem rather petty since you are becoming aware of the negative thoughts that you may be having on a regular basis. By slowing this process down, I remained in what I felt to be petty a good share of the time. I always used the end of the pages to write affirmations because I wanted to end my journaling on a positive note, but until I got to this chapter, I hadn’t really looked closely at where I was just handing over my personal power.

I am always struck by the crazymaker section in chapter 2 (people in your life that bring drama and distract you from your craft), and I believe chapter 3 gives the antidote for this issue. The four main topics are anger, synchronicity, shame, and growth. When you realize that the crazymakers are truly a distraction that you use to avoid your own vulnerability (practicing your craft authentically/knowing & expressing yourself deeply), you can realize it is you who you’re really angry with, can be open to God’s goodness and abundant giving in your life through synchronicity, release shame and live in a space free of it, and be gentle with yourself as you go through the growing and shrinking of your own creativity.

I had a major breakthrough this month with my more difficult relationships. I learned that God’s love is unlimited. I had misunderstood the source of my love for others to be coming from me. When we realize that love is coming from the same source of energy (God), it is possible to learn to tap into that unlimited source in every personal interaction. I think that in my own mind I felt that I could be used up and sucked dry. This is not a good space to live in. You end up feeling like people are there to take from you. It is a reason many people shut down who are more giving and loving by nature–they don’t feel that their need for a source of love is being filled and withdraw-the most extreme case in their social life. I learned that when you have people who seek a love source in you, you can simply tap into God’s love energy at that moment and since it was never really yours… you have lost nothing, but gained something very special. You are energized and both go away feeling uplifted and happy. People are more able to share their love with you as well. It’s amazing how much happier and energetic I have become.

I believe this is a lesson connected with many of God’s gifts and blessings. We must get out of the way and realize that we are really a receptacle. It is our own selfishness and ego that causes us to stumble and withdraw from the creativity source.. the love source. Our main job is to be open to the incredible power of love and creativity in our life–to be open and ready to receive.


Listening to & Hearing “Me”

Weeks 5-8: February Morning Pages 

The Artist’s Way, Chapter 2 Recovering a Sense of Identity

Reflecting back on February brings recollections of emotional ups and downs. Moodiness crept in especially on days that I missed my Morning Pages. I noticed that I have began to depend on them to keep insight into my own thoughts and feelings. When that was gone, I began feeling foggy and out of touch with myself. It was like a barrier is formed between me and the outside world. When I completed my pages, the barrier was in place and I knew what I liked and what I didn’t like. I was aware of my inner desires. I was able to set boundaries more effectively with the other people around me as well. I felt more intentional. Also, in February, I noticed that I was more aware of my own negativity and not in a way that is personally judgmental. It was just more matter-of-fact. I was able to lightly think it over and just let it go without giving it too much importance. I knew when it was time to go for help. Sometimes we don’t have all the answers! Sometimes we need to go to other people for wisdom who we know we can trust. I am happy to say that even though I had a pretty challenging month, I was still able to move ahead in my creative endeavors and met my goals. I stayed the course!

Natural Resolve

Week 3: Morning Pages

This week, Morning Pages seemed more natural. My son returned from a two-year mission and I had a lot of processing to do. My week was very busy (in a good way). It felt like I was living a “real life.” Instead of spending a lot of my free time working on my pages, blogging, or creating, I was visiting with a lot of other people. It was a week of celebration and reunion. Because my son had been away for two years, I was nervous about how things would pan out. Would he be different? What were his plans? Had he outgrown our family? Would he still want to be around us? Would he think that we had changed? Would he be disappointed? All of those thoughts were going through my mind and making me anxious.

The morning pages helped me to see which of my thoughts were rational. I could see that I was in my head a lot and needed to be aware that my thoughts are not me. Also, it helped me realize why I was feeling nervous and let it go. Affirmations were a great tool once again for this step.

The overall biggest difference like I said was that Morning Pages felt like second nature. They were there like an old friend. I could unload and tell my concerns without feel like I was burdening someone and do it again the next day. Morning Pages are more than blank pages to fill. They are a loyal companion for you through the good and the bad.

Week 4: Morning Pages

Looking back on the week I only remember a blur. Nothing in particular stands out to me in with the pages themselves, and I only missed one day. I did, however, notice an overall productivity all around me throughout my week.

Projects that were left undone for months and sometimes put off for years came together (a sort of tying up of loose ends). My patience for redundant situations as well as behaviors and attitudes wore thin. My attention somehow shifted. Anything repetitive became unacceptable. However, this was not a feeling of unease, but of decisiveness. I understood what was important and did not get in my own way with my tendency to hang back on important decisions.

I knew that in some instances that I was going to need to be strong–not to let other people into my head. Peoples’ opinions and judgements did not quite have the same importance to me. You know that space that can be fleeting for a recovering “people pleaser?” I felt brave, but not in spite of fear because the fear itself had vanished.



This year, I have committed to writing three long-hand pages of brain drain daily that Julia Cameron named The Morning Pages.

Week 2: Morning Pages

This week was hit and miss with getting my Morning Pages in. I think that the adrenaline had worn off from the mere pace of week one and my body was tired. I got my first day in and then over-slept the next three mornings. After the third time, a little guilt started to creep in until I set myself straight. The thing is, this tool is never intended to induce guilt. So, when I felt that inner disappointment rearing its head, I set it straight right away. I reminded myself that I am here to strive for excellence not perfection. I won’t get trapped back into the perfection cycle. No. Never. Every day that I get these pages in benefit me. Even if I am not getting the optimal benefit, I am benefiting nevertheless. I did try to figure out what was going wrong.

Reflecting back, I realized that the week was filled with resolving issues. My mind was alert and active and was able to analyze and execute tasks quickly. At work, I had to be prepared to be out of the office for an entire week, so there was much to do there. I finished with just enough time for my Artist Date.

I also had several ongoing issues that had been concerning for a few years that presented themselves during my Morning Pages. In the affirmation section, I was able to see what my part and realized the action that needs to be taken as well. A couple of years ago, I got into the habit of saving the last third or fourth of the final page to write an affirmation. I believe that my mind needs closure at the end of all of that brain drain. This week, my affirmations were quite special and on one particular day it was as though I was more of a scribe than a writer. I love those days when the flow is so completely clear. My resolve is strong and I am excited to see what comes from my new found understandings.