Michele LeMaitre: “Being resilient means that you allow for change and adaptation of a difficult situation and find ways to acknowledge, accept and move forward in a more positive manner”

Being resilient means that you allow for change and adaptation of a difficult situation and find ways to acknowledge, accept and move forward in a more positive manner. As we all know, times are tough right now. In addition to the acute medical crisis caused by the Pandemic, in our post COVID world, we are also […]

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Being resilient means that you allow for change and adaptation of a difficult situation and find ways to acknowledge, accept and move forward in a more positive manner.

As we all know, times are tough right now. In addition to the acute medical crisis caused by the Pandemic, in our post COVID world, we are also experiencing what some have called a “mental health pandemic”.

What can each of us do to get out of this “Pandemic Induced Mental and Emotional Funk”?

One tool that each of us has access to is the simple power of daily gratitude. As a part of our series about the “How Each Of Us Can Leverage The Power Of Gratitude To Improve Our Overall Mental Wellness” I had the pleasure of interviewing Michele LeMaitre.

Michele LeMaitre is a bubbly, multi-faceted entrepreneur, and an award winning professional artist, who invented a new 3D sculptural artwork process and style, representing the surface of bodies of water, with bold colors that change with the movement of your body. Her innovative Modern Art helps others view their worlds by changing perspectives of possibility. Mirroring her works of art, through reflective change, her artwork is a metaphor for resilience, self reflection and shifting one’s own perspective, opening up to all things possible.

Michele has owned several successful businesses, which allows her to have excellent hindsight in which to share both successes and learning curves. She is an advocate of the Bluemind movement, and ocean conservancy, which is reflected in her innovative works of Art. She is also a five star rated Airbnb host of her homes on Nantucket Island, a mother of three and a fun loving, independent woman who can be found in, around or under the water whenever possible.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive into our discussion, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about you and about what brought you to your specific career path?

I’ve always been an artist and a serial entrepreneur. I was blessed with undiagnosed dyslexia and executive dysfunction, which, in my youth, wasn’t even a thing so I naturally gravitated towards the arts. Up to early adulthood, I took many art course, photography courses and internships with the likes of Clint Clemens; I took painting classes, and live nude drawing classes at Worcester Art Museum, and went to college for fashion design, while also working in the sales world for companies like Neiman Marcus and Ann Taylor. After moving to France to attend the University of Nice -Arts and Science, I moved to Nantucket, 30 miles out to Sea, and managed a retail clothing store for several years. All of these experiences gave me insight into the business world, while also knowing, more importantly, that I did not want to work for anyone else. This led to becoming a CEO and Founder of the islands premiere Nantucket Estate Sales company for 15 years. Once I moved on from that successful career, I focused on my soul passion of a Fine Arts career, combining both my love of the Arts and the continued desire to own my own company. I became an award winning Fine Art Photographer, capturing abstract Ocean series, which was the catalyst for my newly invented 3d Art process and style of mixed media works that pertain to water.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

The power of believing in yourself and knowing your “WHY” is imperative to becoming a successful business person. Digging deep and knowing why you do what you do in your business career is the foundation on which you can serve others. Once I had the understanding that my purpose was to not only get my artwork out there, from a sales standpoint, but to actually connect with people, through storytelling, this was the key that changed everything in my business. People connected with the stories that I wrote about for each work of art, when posting on social media. Those stories engaged people, sparking a memory or feeling of being by the waters edge, and those feelings resonated with people. They began to feel an emotional connection with my work as well as personal connection with me. This has been a pivotal foundational move for my career.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why do you think that resonates with you? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“Acknowledge, accept, move forward. “ This has been my personal mantra for years now, and one that I strive to lead by example. I feel we must acknowledge both the positive and negative aspects that life throws at us, because in doing so we can then accept what is and what we need to do to change, to become better at what makes us tick as humans. We must keep moving forward, to continue to learn and share our knowledge with others.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story about why that resonated with you?

Dr Wallace J Nichols wrote a book called “ Blue Mind: The Surprising Science that shows how being near, in, on or under water can make you happier, healthier, more connected and better at what you do.” This book resonated with me on a soul level: It confirmed all of the thoughts and feelings I have had all of my life, as to the joy and calming health benefits of being on, in by or under the water. I have always said that water is my church.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Yes, having recently INVENTED a completely new 3D Style and process of mixed media, I’ve recently finished my largest work of art to date: It is a 9’ x 9’ piece that is titled “Current”, with bold colors that change with the movement of your body. This work depicts Ocean water, with bold colors flowing in a current, with fish swimming in the depths. Collectors and viewers of my work have stated that they feel a sense of calm and intrigue when viewing the artwork. This allows people to not only find a place of solace in my work, but feel an emotional connection to the ocean as well as a connection to water conservation.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My mentor and friend, Debbie White, of The Haus of impact, has been the biggest mentor, for whom I am deeply grateful for. I am currently taking her year-long brand strategy program, which has completely shifted my business. Before taking her program, I wasn’t sure how to truly connect my work to how it can be of use to others, other than a gorgeous piece of art that people really enjoyed. With this newly learned mindset change, I now allow myself to know that my work serves a purpose for others: It provides a sense of calm and makes my collectors lives more beautiful and engaging, through my work, and this is truly enough. Debbie helped me find my business soul and I now ripple that out, for others to embrace.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now that we are on the topic of gratitude, let’s move to the main focus of our interview. As you know, the collective mental health of our country is facing extreme pressure. We would like to explore together how every one of us can use gratitude to improve our mental wellness. Let’s start with a basic definition of terms. How do you define the concept of Gratitude? Can you explain what you mean?

Gratitude is being abundantly in awe of finding wonder and joy in even the tiniest of things in life. Finding wonder in all of daily life, from being in awe of how the extraordinary sun rises and falls, to gift us a new day to experience the vast colors of water: everything we experience can be viewed as measures of gratitude. Gratitude is appreciation. We have two choices in life: We can either wake up and be full of gratitude or we can be miserable. The choice is ours to make, on a daily basis. I chose gratitude every single day.

Why do you think so many people do not feel gratitude? How would you articulate why a simple emotion can be so elusive?

I feel there is a missing link between observation and the feeling of gratitude. Todays world is moving at such a frenetic pace, and we get lost in the “busy-ness” of life. I feel people without gratitude have chosen the more negative side of life, viewing the world from a negative standpoint. We must slow down, and take stock in our surroundings.

This might be intuitive to you but I think it will be constructive to help spell it out. Can you share with us a few ways that increased gratitude can benefit and enhance our life?

The way in which one can practice gratitude is to change your daily habits, by simply mentally listing three things you are grateful for each morning. This can positively impact your life and the way in which you view the world. The more you practice gratitude, the longer your daily list becomes and soon one will see the world from a positively grateful standpoint.

Let’s talk about mental wellness in particular. Can you share with us a few examples of how gratitude can help improve mental wellness?

Practicing gratitude can improve your health and well being because it allows you to stop and take in and appreciate all of the good in your life. This is about being mindfully aware of your surroundings and feeling that sense of positivity which puts you in a happier overall mood. This helps you be present in the moment. and observing, which takes focus. When you are focused, your heart rate lowers, leading to less stress and depression. Showing gratitude makes you even more optimistic. And again, there is a ripple effect to gratitude. Others pick up on your gratitude and start to notice things that they can also be grateful for.

Ok wonderful. Now here is the main question of our discussion. From your experience or research, what are “Five Ways That Each Of Us Can Leverage The Power Of Gratitude To Improve Our Overall Mental Wellness”. Can you please share a story or example for each?

I believe having interactions with Water, Art, Nature and Sound, along with Human Resilience, are five ways in which each of us can leverage the power of gratitude, to improve our overall mental wellbeing.

As Dr Wallace J Nichols states ,by simply looking at, being in, around or under the water, gives you a positive physiologic response. By lowering your heartbeat, breathing and cortisol levels, being around water reduces stress and improves your mood, creativity, compassion, and collaboration, and helps you remain present. Go for a swim, float in a lake, soak in a tub, drink a glass of water, or simply listen to the sound of waves on Spotify.

As Our Culture editor Ted Hall states, “The Psychological Benefits of viewing Art increases blood flow to the brain by around 10%”, which is mind blowing when you think about it in terms of cause and effect. Take yourself to a museum, or gallery. Purchase a piece of Art to hang in your home and watch how it can positively lift your spirits up, putting you in a good mood.

The ASLA says “Researchers are amassing a body of evidence, proving what we all know to be true: Nature is good for us and has both long and short term mental and physical health benefits. Take a walk in the woods or watch the wind as it blows through the trees. Feel the fog on your face or ground yourself while barefoot in the grass. Immerse yourself in nature and this will lead to wonder which leads to gratitude and mental wellbeing.

In PNAS, their analysis showed that exposure to natural sounds offers health benefits when compared with exposure to noise. Listen to the birds chirping, or the sound of the waves. The sounds of nature are abundant when you close your eyes and just listen.

Science Direct states that “Resilience is the psychological capability to recover from difficulties quickly”.

Being resilient means that you allow for change and adaptation of a difficult situation and find ways to acknowledge, accept and move forward in a more positive manner.

Is there a particular practice that can be used during a time when one is feeling really down, really vulnerable, or really sensitive?

Close your eyes and feel your chest rising and falling with each breath. Feel the air filling your lungs and think about the wonder of life, and of this amazing machine your soul is in: Your body holds both mystery and a natural order, which, when focused upon, makes you feel grateful for being alive.

Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that you would recommend to our readers to help them to live with gratitude?

There is an audible book titled “Wake up grateful” by Kristin Nelson and another book titled “Simple morning list: A morning practice of letting go, getting grateful and reminding yourself where you’re headed” — A morning companion and gratitude journal. There are apps like Headspace and podcasts which speak of being grateful. Yoga is a wonderful way in which to ignite a grateful mind, through body movement.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I’d like to amplify Dr Wallace J Nichols’s BlueMind movement because it is dear to my heart and is all about being in, around, by or under the water. I think this movement is catching on and my hope is to continue his work so that others will realize the positive mental wellbeing and calming effects water has on everyone.

What is the best way our readers can further follow your work online?

My website is www.TheWaterArtist.com.

Social: www.instagram.com/michele_lemaitre




Thank you for the time you spent sharing these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

Thank you.

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