Monique Hohnberg is the founder of #RiseRegardless, a Twitter account that helps you create your best quality of life no matter the circumstances. Inspirational Leader, Photographer, Ocean Lover, Writer, Film Journalist, Teacher, Student, Wordsmith, Monique has just added to the list: Designer and Retailer!
Carrie: Welcome to Artist Strong Monique. You’ve been here before. For readers new to you and your work, can you briefly describe your creative activities?
The trials, triumphs, tragedies and paths we take fascinate me. I’m interested in the human condition and how we move through life. The Greeks did this with their myths, plays and philosophers. Of course, today it’s explored in different ways. For me, I’m a film journalist and love reviewing films. I’ve also worked as a film actor, and written/presented documentaries and short stories. I read a book a week.
Over time my interest in stories moved to the actual process of transformation/growth itself. This lead to the creation of #RiseRegardless.
I’m a visual person. I don’t make films anymore but do photography, which is a great passion of mine. Now with the launch of my inspirational products I’ve become a designer. It’s put me out of my comfort zone and been incredibly fun.
Carrie: What is #RiseRegardless?
#RiseRegardless is my Twitter account (@moniquehohnberg) where I help people create their best quality of life no matter the circumstances. My tweets are pocket rocket slices of inspiration, hope, insight, and challenging thoughts. It’s about making your life as great as it can be with your circumstances.
Carrie: What inspired your decision to spread the message of #RiseRegardless?
I’ve had many tragedies in my life, most of those to do with health. And as we all know bad health is devastating for other areas of your life too. I’ve had brain surgery, and subsequently many illnesses and things go wrong with my body. Eighteen months ago, my adrenals crashed. I spent most of each day in bed.
My book, to help people overcome a tragedy, was put on hold. Whilst in bed I was well enough to write 140 characters, which is the length of a tweet. During this time I went through another round of spiritual growth – tragedy does that to you. So, I decided to tweet about everything I had learnt. It was a way to connect with the world as I was very isolated. People seemed to love what I tweet about.
Carrie: You have some exciting news about #RiseRegardless. What can we anticipate looking forward to with your project?
My fellow tweeters tell me they say “Rise Regardless” to themselves throughout the course of the day. It’s become a catch cry or personal motto used everyday and for tough times. People say the quotes really help them with their journey.
This gave me the idea of helping people more. There is no point in reading advice and forgetting about it as soon as the day gets busy. And aren’t everyone’s days busy? So, I decided to make items that are powerful reminders to Rise Regardless. I’ve chosen products we use every day and put Rise Regardless on them combined with stunning abstract art.
Items include notebooks, smart phone cases, key chains, water bottles, t-shirts, mugs, and leggings. I’ve also made posters and postcards using my photography, each with a powerful quote. I want them all to be beautiful pieces of art as many products in the motivational marketplace focus on the message not the imagery. I want this marketplace to lift its game. View the products here.
Carrie: How did you decide which quotes and images to combine for your new products?
I worked really hard & went through 8 years of my photographs to find the best. Many are from nature, but not all. Each one is striking in it’s own way. Some images were made abstract to reveal details – light, texture, water movement, depth, reflections – about nature you wouldn’t normally see. I put these on water bottles, headphones, smart phone cases, mugs, notebooks and journals. They have Rise Regardless on them to keep you on track with living your best life. The notebooks can be used as a journal or for daily list needs. The ones with a quote are designed to create a laser like focus for your life.
For the posters, I’ve matched the image to the quote where possible. Some of these combinations are beautiful and others are artistic or cheeky. Each is a stand-alone piece of art for your office space or living area.
The quotes relate to an area you want to focus on. For example, if you focus on the quality of your relationships and social circle you might buy the ‘Inspiring Friendships Poster.’ The quotes chosen have resonated time and time again with my followers. They are universal, uplifting and inspirational. All of the posters can also be bought in a postcard size, that way you can buy a lot of them and rotate the messages if you want. Also, the Rise Regardless products are a great way to show someone you care about their life and journey, by giving them as a gift.
It was a fun but tortuous process finding the best images. Kill your darlings as we say. That is, choose the best photos, and not the ones you’ve secretly fallen in love with. Friends helped me too. Fresh eyes are vital in the creative process.
Carrie: What’s the most valuable piece of advice you could offer someone facing an obstacle in their life?
First, ask yourself the right questions. “What is the best way to work through this?” is much better than “Why did this happen to me?” or “What will I do?” Even though the solution may not appear immediately, the right questions always get you the best answers and move you in the best possible direction.
Think about what your reality is now, and not what you’d like it to be. It’s only when you understand the situation you can see a way through. Take action in tune with your highest self. This moves you through it quickly and with the least grief. For example, choosing actions based on pain, rage, jealousy will create more problems.
For long on-going challenges, I’d advise you to start a project that is juicy fun and gives you purpose. This increases the positives in your life, and gives you valuable time out from your burden. For me, I loved designing these products and it helped me get better.
Carrie: Do you have a favorite quote from #RiseRegardless? How about your community – do they have a favorite quote?
Mmmm…. The best ones have been used on my posters, postcards and journals. You’ll have to go to my store to check it out! 😉
Carrie: What has surprised you about this project & Rise Regardless in general?
I’ve had two big surprises along the way, with a few small ones thrown in!
I’m used to seeing myself as a creative person, but not as a self-help guru or inspirational leader. In January 2015 my followers were at 60, 000 and this more than doubled to 130, 000 by June. This, combined with amazing feedback, triggered an identity crisis.
I didn’t want to let go of the person I was and the idea I had of myself. Yet, I wanted to keep helping people with every fibre of my being. After some months of struggle I had a realization. I had to let go of my ego. It’s not about what I want but what I can do. I surrendered myself to the altar of humanity. When I did this I felt great peace. It’s my path to serve.
The second surprise came a month later when I decided to use my photography and creative flair to make inspirational products. Ha! An ironic twist. The joke was on me: my creativity was helping me serve.
Another surprise was 5 months ago. I told a childhood friend of mine, Rani, I was going to make t-shirts with Rise Regardless on them. Afterwards, I felt silly. I was still ill and how on earth was I going to manufacture t-shirts? Well, I’m still not at 100% health and I’ve managed to create these t-shirts while resting on the couch. I still can’t believe it. I created all the designs and Zazzle, where my online store is, does the manufacturing and shipping for me.
Carrie: What is one creative resource you can’t live without?
My belief that I can find ideas from anywhere. I get ideas from conversations, a film I saw, sitting on a bus, observing people. If I thought I’d only get ideas from, let’s say studying spiritual texts or self help books, it would make my life harder and less creativity would flow.
Carrie: Who/what inspires you?
This deep conviction inside of me, a knowingness is my true source of inspiration. This is what I’ve got to do today to improve my life, improve my health. This is what I’ve got to do this week, this month, this year. I never give up and always move forward with brightness in my soul. Furthermore, I only take on beliefs/thoughts that serve me. The rest is discarded.
Carrie: How do you define Creativity?
I’ve said before that creativity is expressing your soul, and thereby nurturing it. Also, creativity ‘changes up’ the day. It gets you out of the daily grind and habitual ways of thinking.
For example, I decided to get out of the house and take some photos at high tide. The ocean was smashing upwards against the rocks, a symphony of water and coloured light. But I had to time it. Wait for the wave to hit, click, and run like a jack rabbit to higher ground. Out of harms way, I began laughing. It was fun and a bit idiotic. A lady watching started laughing too (at me – which is fine!). It was a lovely connection and we then had a small chat. My spirits were lifted and an ordinary day turned into something special. Creativity helps you be alive and in the moment.
BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: How has creativity helped you through a difficult time? I want to know! Tell me about it in the comments below.
Additional Contact Information:
Monique’s Inspirational Products can be found here.
Contact Monique at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at #RiseRegardless or @moniquehohnberg.