Monique is the Founder of the worldwide phenomenon #RiseRegardless with 220, 000 Followers on social media.
She began tweeting from bed, ill and isolated. Her brand of inspirational and thought-provoking ideas captured the world’s imagination.
She has spoken worldwide about how to Rise Regardless, Twitter and her art. She is a Writer, Photographer and an Encouragement Leader. She loves the ocean and the Australian bush.
Carrie: Welcome back Monique! Please, for those who don’t know you, tell us a little about your creative work.
Hello Carrie, it’s great to be invited back! I have a lifestyle and personal development website called riseregardless.com. In it I write about my life, personal development, film reviews and travel. It was launched in January 2017 and it’s been incredibly successful.
It got to no #1 on Oprah’s #supersoulsunday Instagram feed and has had 5.9K views in it’s first 5 weeks. My intention was to serve my tribe by creating great content. And I seemed to have hit the mark. It’s super exciting!
Also, I’m on a mission to turn my life into art. I recently returned from some weeks out in the Australian bush where I packed up Mum’s farmhouse in searing heat (50C or 120F). I wrote about it on my blog, which you can read here.
I’ve been doing a photo essay about it, which I’m delighted to share with your audience!
Carrie: Can you tell us more about your photo essay?
I took photos of what interested me visually or told a story. This is my childhood bedroom so it is a memory I wanted to preserve. The one curtain not tied shows it has been abandoned and no longer cared for. The white represents the searing heat we were experiencing.
You can see the white paint that has fallen off the basketball hoop and out there it is all about the sky, the heat, the weather. So, I wanted to capture that in this shot. There was also the old woolshed, tilting precariously, where 4000 sheep were shorn each year.
It is an overwhelming task to pack up 45 years of life for my mother. And I wanted a shot of the lime green kitchen stool which could seat 3 or 4 children in a row. It would tip like a seesaw if the balance wasn’t right. It’s sat there on the verandah gathering dust for years. Now it’s gone. To the tip.
I also wanted to show how we lived and the shot of the back gate leading to nowhere – the back of beyond, the never never land – sums it up for me. You can see the rain gauge which is the lifeblood of farming. Did we get any rain? How much? Make sure you write it up on the calendar. It can mean the difference between crops and animals dying or living.
In summer it is a struggle, and constant watering, to maintain a green and pleasing yard. There is only a small square of paving that separates civilized living from the middle of nowhere. It was my home. And it will be in my blood forever.
Carrie: How has your creativity helped you through difficult times?
Creativity is great for difficult times. When I’m creative I enter into that flow state. I feel at peace and totally consumed by what I’m doing. Creativity is time off from the struggle. It gives you head space.
It’s important because your body relaxes and switches off the adrenals. These are usually switched on far too much in difficult times. Switching off puts the body back into healing mode both physically and mentally. It leads to the place where your mind goes when in creative mode is strong and vital part. It’s expansive and lateral. When under duress your mind is in flight/fight mode – which is solely geared towards protecting you and surviving. So, creativity opens us back up and settles the spirit.
Carrie: What advice do you have for creatives struggling with personal obstacles outside of their art?
When life is full of problems it can be hard to see a way forward. Deliberately creating something to look forward to creates balance in life. It can be anything really – plans, projects. Hope for a better future is vital and gives you so much energy.
Also remember that even though you are going through a storm, there is a life that is full of abundance, flow and peace. It’s your job to work hard to get to that place as fast as possible.
And while you are in the midst of struggle think about the best way to deal with it so it doesn’t overwhelm you. Don’t go from one drama to the next in constant freak out mode. That’s a sure way to burn yourself out. Practise patience, acceptance and a fierce loving strength.
Carrie: How has social media and the internet helped you as a creative?
It gave me a voice. I had this idea that what I wanted to say would be of use to the world. I had no idea of how useful! Back then it was just a little speck of an idea. Social media let me give it a go without any barriers to entry. I created an account, learnt how to use it and started. Simple really. It took a few months of experimenting with my writing. I could see instantly what worked and didn’t work. The social media like button doesn’t lie. Feedback is crucial. It will exponentially improve your work.
I don’t think creativity should happen in a vacuum. Be brave and get your stuff out there! Even if it’s showing your friends when they come over for a cup of tea. Or take photos of your project and put it on Instagram. Just do it. It will open up a whole new world for you.
I put my photography on social media and it was well received. This feedback nurtured me and gave me the motivation to do more. It improved my confidence. If we sit alone at home and stare at our art we see what needs to be fixed and improved. This is an important process of becoming good at it. The problem happens when we ruminate on it. This kills our confidence. Share your art. Do more. Keep moving. Keep creating. Only good can come of it.
Carrie: What kind of projects are you working on now?
Building my website and adding more content to it is my main project. I’ll also be creating a course very soon on ‘How to Overcome that Stuck Goal.’ I’m super excited about it. I love helping people improve their lives. If anyone is interested sign up to my website to get notification of start dates.
I’m doing a road trip up the east coast of Australia to Byron Bay and Brisbane. I’ll be sharing my adventures and photos about that on my website. I’m also studying with the internationally award winning photographer Aletheia Casey for the next few months. I’m very excited to see where that takes me. I love her work and it will be a privilege to work with her.
Carrie: Do you have a specific workspace? How would you describe it?
Oh, my workspace is not ideal! It’s in my bedroom. It’s a beautiful architectural designed desk so I feel good when I’m sitting there. But I’d prefer to have a space separate from my clothes and bed. “Needs, musts” is the term that comes to mind. There’s no point getting annoyed with it, as it’s the only suitable place at present.
Carrie: What are important strategies or choices you make that help support your creative process?
Belief in myself. Believing in that little voice inside me that said go ahead and do it. I had a number of people who did not believe I had what it took to be an Encouragement Leader. They were quite upset with me. You have to remember I had been seriously ill with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for 16 years. All they saw was an ill person. I had been labelled a victim and an invalid. Now, I’m a personal development leader with over 220,000 followers and a popular website.
So, my advice is trust that feeling inside you. Don’t be swayed by others’ opinion. A little flame can be snuffed out so easily. Nurture it until it becomes a big fire. Until the feeling becomes a fierce knowing. In your lifetime you will form new identities (mother, father, artist, manager, new career path). That new identity starts on the inside with a thought that you follow through on. It all depends on which thoughts you pay attention to.
No-one can know what you are capable of. They can only see what you have done. It’s a mistake to confuse the two. You have so much potential and awesomeness inside you. I could go on about this forever. I love building people’s confidence up so that they say yes to life and themselves. I love doing that.
Carrie: What do you do when you feel creatively stuck?
I love this question Carrie!
When you work on a piece of art, be an article or painting or whatever, there are a few distinct processes to it. I find that if I edit in the early stages then I do not get my best work. This has to happen later. Why? Because the editing process is where you look for faults – it is also where the perfectionist trait hangs out. Now many famous artists have a perfectionist streak. But I believe they know how to use it more effectively than others.
What I’m saying is that if you use the editing/perfection part of your brain in the initial stages you block creativity. Great art that transforms the audience and blows people away has its birth place in your soul. You access your greatest creativity, inspiration, longings, understanding of the world in the flow state.
When you create do you ever feel like your heart is singing? I do. I love that part of creativity. I’m using very different parts of my brain in this state, then when I am editing and perfecting. The editing and perfecting is where I ensure my idea is realized well. You need both processes to make your piece is powerful and resonates.
I realize I am talking in absolutes here and the creative process is far more complicated than that. But I believe that a lot of stuckness (not all) comes from shutting ourselves down with editing/finding fault too soon in the process.
The other part of stuckness can come from either a lack of inspiration as we have used up all the creative juice from a big project. In this case we need to chill out and go and do things we love. It can be particularly revitalising to do things you love that are not related to your field.
There is a third stuckness and I’ve left this to last. This is when you have an overall belief that your ideas suck, or you are not good enough. This kills creativity every time. Let yourself off the hook. Art is a process and is a source of joy, not self condemnation. Revise your relationship to art and your creative process.
Being stuck is in part to do with not trusting yourself to create something of interest or value. Every human being has the potential to master whatever they put their mind to. You don’t have to be good every time, but you do have to have the belief that you’ll get there eventually and you’ll enjoy the ride along the way.
Carrie: What is one creative resource you can’t live without?
My technology – Macbook Pro, IPhone and Canon DSLR. I was recently out at my mother’s farmhouse which is 6.5 hr drive from Sydney. It’s remote. And I needed to do work while I was out there. These tools allowed me to create a great blog post about being in the Australian bush and packing up the farmhouse. I did, however, have to drive into town to find an internet connection to upload it. It was Sunday morning and the only place that had free wifi was McDonalds!
Carrie: Who/what inspires you?
Anybody who transforms themselves into something different from what they were before. If they can do it, so can I. Whenever I doing something that is way outside my comfort zone I listen to music to help me. It helps keep my confidence up, stops the doubts from creeping in. Doubts get loudest and way too real just before the breakthrough. Before the launch of my website I listened to “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys nearly everyday.
I also tell myself regularly, “Who am I not to be amazing?”
Carrie: How do you define Creativity?
Creativity expresses your soul, and thereby you’re nurturing it.
Additional Contact Info:
Monique can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
To find her on any social media platform do a search on #RiseRegardless.
She hangs out mostly on
Find out more about Monique’s adventures and philosophy towards life
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