Today on Artist Strong we welcome Monique Hohnberg, Creator of #RiseRegardless ™, a Twitter profile, which is a project aimed at helping others reach their best quality of life no matter how hard the circumstances. Monique is also a Photographer, Writer, Film Journalist, Tertiary Academic English Teacher.
“Endlessly fascinated by the soul and its yearnings – relating, struggling, loving, hating, falling apart, growing, interacting, thriving.
Lover of words and images.”
Carrie: Welcome Monique to Artist Strong! I found you on Twitter and had to share your story with readers. Thank you for joining us! Can you explain your Twitter Project #RiseRegardless?
Our society is very driven by outside measures of success. We look at CEOs and applaud their achievements. But we see a person walking with difficulty and think ‘poor them.’ What we’ve failed to understand is that the person may have worked twice as hard as a CEO to get out of the wheelchair and walk. We’ve only looked at the superficial outcome, and not the process or the beginning point.
Also, despite what motivational types tell us, we do not all start out life equally. Some of us come from wealth, others do not. Some of us are smarter or not. Some come from countries with amazing access to education and health services, or not. I’m interested in making the best life you can with the hand that’s been dealt to you. I’m not a fan of self help books that say you can get anything you want if you work hard enough. I believe you should go for it, but sometimes life says otherwise. I also believe we’re all priceless beyond measure regardless of one’s life journey which is why I focus on helping people no matter where they are at.
We don’t all have the money or resources to do the Eat, Pray, Love thing – travel the world, find yourself, learn to be happy. This does not work for a working class family doing it tough to pay off the mortgage, or the girl who is a ‘check-out chick’ because the atmosphere at home was too explosive to study. For me, it’s necessary … no make that vital that the nuggets of wisdom I provide can be used anytime by anybody. You may be only able to get your health to a certain level, but you can work on your quality of life by improving relationship skills, developing self love and mental fortitude.
People facing tough times, overcoming tragedy, living with illness and simply those who want a better life seem to love what my site has to offer. Being able to face it all with grace and define your own best life is my goal.
Carrie: What started/motivated your desire to create #Rise Regardless?
I have been through a ridiculous number of tragedies and health problems. I’ve had many low points, but each time I tried to make my life as good as it could be. At one time, I was mainly housebound and had very little ‘up’ energy. To give myself quality of life I got groceries home delivered. This freed up energy to go to a nearby cliff pool. Many times I was too tired to walk the 15 minutes there so I would drive and then just float in the water. Slowly over time I built up to doing laps. This break from staring at the four walls and being close to the ocean was illuminating for me. The solitude also brought about another leap of spiritual awareness.
Combined with that was my attitude of never giving up, which I have worked on over many years. I won’t say I was all zen about it, I did my share of venting. And so you should know, covering it with fake positivity isn’t going to help. So, anyway, #RiseRegardless is the culmination of a philosophy I’ve built up over 20 years.
Carrie: How has #RiseRegardless impacted your life?
#RiseRegardless has been experiencing explosive growth since I started the content in January 2014. Every time I get feedback from someone my heart glows a little warmer. I’m blown away by how many people tell me I’m helping them through stuff. To be of use to others is life affirming. I have been writing my book for some years, but no-one has read it yet. I put it on hold last year due to illness. So, I took to Twitter in October, 2013, and after a few months of messing around with style and content I found my voice. Then it all just took off. Wham, it wasn’t just me isolated with my book in my bedroom. I was connected and helping. Twenty years of experience just got useful.
On a personal note, I’m always observing life but I don’t speak about it at coffee catch-ups with friends, etc. I’d be losing friends non-stop for being a know-it-all! So, Twitter gives me a legitimate avenue for all my thoughts about life. And I am constantly thinking about this stuff.
Carrie: How do you think #RiseRegardless can help creatives?
In two ways…
My philosophy is to improve life, and creatives feel better when they are creating. So, they can use the content I provide to enhance that part of their life.
Also, use me as an example. Social media is a fantastic way to experiment with your work. There are no gatekeepers and people will tell you immediately if they like it. Being on Twitter exponentially improved my writing. Getting a complicated thought about life into 140 characters is hard. It distilled my thinking. If you’re a painter, poet, writer or whatever get on social media. I’ve seen some amazing paintings and photography, and they are being sold. You have nothing to lose.
Carrie: How can people participate in #RiseRegardless?
Look for resonance. If a tweet cracks you over the head and wakes you up then I’d suggest sit with it. Sometimes a week of incorporating that idea into your life works, other times it’s a longer or shorter process.
Consistently reading #RiseRegardless will help sort out issues in your life more quickly, keep you on your chosen path, help you see where to make changes in your life, help you overcome what you’re struggling with and so much more. It will raise your level of awareness which means life gets better.
I have community of hard core fans. You can find them in my lists on my profile page. The list is called Most Awesome Tweeters. Subscribe to the list and get to know the others in the group. They are all super excited about change and growth. Make some friends to share your journey with. Also, once I have more followers I will start a TweetChat (an hour long twitter fest of Q&A). I will also start my website soon, and a book is coming!
Carrie: Why do you think it can be such a challenge to #RiseRegardless?
Life can be really tough. We can be hit with career failure, a vicious divorce, chronic bad health, a car accident, no income, no spouse to support us. The list goes on. Then all we can do is truly accept where we are at and make it as good as can be – physically, emotionally and spiritually. As well as improving our life, the mind needs to develop strength and grace to cope with all the ups and downs. Some mental patterns that used to work for you will need to be reconfigured.
Many aspects of rising regardless are hard work, but the pay-off is enormous personal growth. Rising up is also acknowledging that what has been stripped away from you does not define you. In fact, you become closer to knowing your true awesomeness when the props of money, influence, status, etc disappear.
Carrie: One of your multi-passionate activities includes being a Film Journalist. How do you utilize creativity in this role?
Film journalism frees me. I get so excited about the stories we tell ourselves, the struggles and victories. The issues film characters struggle with are the same as what I explore on #RiseRegardless. Reviewing a film allows me to dive deep into that world. Also, interviewing a filmmaker gives me a chance to see their perspective of the world, which I love. When travelling solo I will deliberately hang out with people I don’t normally associate with as I want to see how they relate to the world.
I’m also a visual person. The artistry of films moves me greatly. More on that with the next question….
Carrie: You also love photography. Where do you find the inspiration for your photographs?
My inspiration for photography originally comes from my mother who is a painter. As a child we would be out in a dry dusty paddock in the Australian bush, and she would suddenly stop and explain the landscape as if it was a painting – colors, stories, composition, texture, light would leap out at me. The very familiar landscape was transformed. This paradigm shift happens as soon as I have a camera in my hand.
Carrie: If you ever feel stuck in any of your endeavors, what strategies do you use to get ‘unstuck’?
My strategy is brutal: bum on the seat. I’m only allowed to have breakfast, and then I sit in my pyjamas and work. The first break is a nice shower. Once I’m seated something will happen.
Carrie: What advice do you have for creatives who are facing obstacles to reach their goal?
When facing obstacles think laterally about your skill set. My health problems prevent me working in the film industry so I became a Film Journalist and I take photos. I had to stop working on my book and website for a while, so I jumped onto Twitter. You may not health issues, but time or financial issues. How can you work with these issues? Necessity is the mother of invention. And perfect your craft. Quality content opens doors every time.
Carrie: How do you define creativity?
Creativity is expressing your soul, and by doing so you’re nurturing it. That is, unless you like beating yourself up about what you’ve made. And once you get to a certain level of expertise your book, film, painting, etc will connect in a powerful way to another and show them a different world. The wow factor happens.
BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: How can YOU #riseregardless? I want to know! Share in the comments below.
You can find Monique at: