Mich Lundgren

Here or There, with Raven

Just before the world changed in the face of coronavirus, I had given myself permission to explore more freely, without consideration of income potential. During that time, I found myself on Rev.com, where (to my absolute and overwhelming delight) I was transcribing an episode of Minnesota Bound’s Made for the Outdoors.

Be still, heart, I’m trying to think words.

If you grew up in Minnesota, with no cable but a big love for the great outdoors – you know Ron Schara and Raven. That man’s cadence makes my entire soul swell with emotion. There’s never just one thing for me – and that’s true here, as well. My mom put books in my chubby toddler hands, she brought me to college and the clinics, and gave me music, and all of Video Update’s best middle section indie crap. I am well honed.

There’s no single thing, certainly. Still, there at the top of the pile is Ron, in waders, and sun-baked. He made me love a story – about anything, which truly is at the root of my everything. Have you ever cried over a non-fiction account of a species of fish? Do you not weep at the lifecycle of a mayfly? If not, you have no idea what you’re missing. To be so moved by the painfully beautiful, in the most – so so most – mundane parts of the world. Or so they seem. This is what the voice can do – it can bring the world into sharp focus, in ways we never thought to look. My heart beats to this tempo, it is precisely this that made me a wanderer, a romantic, a storyteller, an artist.

While I was giddly transcribing the episode, I was entertaining daydreams of someday working for Ron Schara Productions – not as a faceless, nameless transcriptionist behind the (perfect, ok, perfect) captions of S5E5, but as a real life somethin’ or other.

But that’s a silly dream – I don’t need to work with the man himself to be inspired by him and to act on that inspiration. I can’t sleep tonight – that happens after sleeping off the sick for days on end. I’m bursting with excitement for the coming spring, and for all of the many projects that I’m excited to pick up again, now that the sun will start inching back into my life again. I can’t wait to lose myself somewhere, in waders, smiling, sun-baked – and telling stories.

Bremer Shenanigans

Note : There is still some time to book a fall family session – BOOK HERE

You know when you meet someone, sometimes, and you just know you mesh? That’s how I feel about Mandy. Little butterflies from the first meeting – I want to know this person. I suspected she might be a little weird and delightful. Even better than that feeling, is spending time with them and having it confirmed – YUS. A little weird, a lotta delightful. Cup filled. These guys are the best, it was so fun to just hang out, act silly, make memories.

I also love the way they love each other – with ease, with laughter.

Hastings Halloween

If you or your business are featured in any of these images, and you would like a
copy of the file, please message me here or on Facebook

We had SO much fun this Halloween. Not just on the day, but putting together costumes was also a blast. Rylan and Callie decided to match, and the fox head (Ry’s favorite animal) happened after, as a result of our reading His Dark Materials – so Rylan went from a wizard to being Callie’s fox daemon/familiar LOL. Shawn found this mask and decided he wanted to be an 80s slasher film villain – if you haven’t seen the ridiculous video we made, it’s on Instagram and hilarious to us.


I desperately need to get behind the camera again. I have missed it SO much. Whenever I go thrifting, I see so many things I would love to shoot with a model, but I don’t have anyone I can call up these days to go be weird with. So I just pass them by. Hopefully in the coming months I will be able to build up more of a community and WILL have those friendships that allow for shenanigans and art. I’ve been talking for years about wanting to do an art co-op (like…a decade of years) and I’m finally just going to START, just show up in the studio and invite others to join us. It’s very scary – anyway, onward to the magics.

Downtown

Callie ran to hug the Grinch like she was running into the welcoming arms of her long lost bestie. Which is. I mean. Reasonable LOL. This kid is so delightfully strange, though we seem to have a steady track record of weirdos in this family.

I love living in a small town, so much. I love knowing people as we walk down the streets, bumping into neighbors, and friends, and strangers with potential. I love that I asked the owner at Vintage Inspirations if we could borrow a broom, and she was right on board – that was better than the broom itself, which was also super freakin cool. I just feel lucky and happy and in love with life.

Tiffany’s costume was simple and amazing, so I had to make her stand in bushes. The compositions are terrible and yet she looks powerful AF lol and I had to mess with the edits a bit because they were just neat.

And then, the chaos of us:

Artspace Fall Celebration

For attendees – if you would like to download images of you, please contact me!

Estrella Carter hosted a really fantastic event for the Artspace community – the stuff of dreams, really. I was thrilled to be invited to take photos of the event, and after I made the rounds with the camera, the kids and I had a blast. I am so excited to see this community come back to life again, and for the chance to be a part of it.

The donut challenge is now my favorite thing. As funny as the kids were – I don’t think I love anything as much as I love adults being silly. This goofy game filled up my soul bits.

For the kids, nothing really compared to the bouncy house, and it was the place to be. Again, it was so nice to see kids of all ages come together to be delighted by this simple joy. There were also lots of opportunities to make art – because of course!

Estrella’s family also provided some delicious fall foods, and there was so much good music and conversation. I’m just … well first, a little sad that winter is coming, because I want a hundred more days like this one. But also, so inspired and content after getting time to connect again, after too long feeling isolated. I’m very thankful.

Evolution, Embraced

[et_pb_section admin_label=”section”] [et_pb_row admin_label=”row”] [et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text”]

I have a total inability to commit to “a brand.”

This used to really bother me, but I took a step back and realized that in my photography, I refuse to commit to a style, and in my clothing choices I am all over the map, I love every genre of music, read books and watch documentaries on every subject under the sun. I am a dynamic and ever-evolving human. Expecting that in business I would ever be content to stay committed to a single logo and vibe…absurd.

In establishing better systems for myself, I recently decided to tackle the total chaos of my Dropbox account. Thousands of disorganized files were sorted into a simplified system. While doing this, I had a lot of feelings regarding the many various business names, vibes, and logos I have used over the nearly two decades I have been an entrepreneur. There was some shame, some regret, some amused embarrassment. There was also delight and a lot of warm & fuzzies as I recalled how I felt at that point in my life, the work I was doing.

I noticed that there was a pattern – I would hop between playful, soulful, and stripped brands. The stripped brands were always after feeling flaky and pulled in too many directions by my whims, and feeling like it would be better if I just had a simple text logo and everything beneath it could change – that never worked, either. It’s boring!

When I first started creating my new container system for my work – this series of sites all rooted under my main site, I thought it made sense to have a single brand, all the same colors and a slightly different vibe for each container. It all did, and still does, come back to the concepts of weaving – as the ideas of weaving together the bits of ourselves, our histories, our stories – those are themes that have always been present. It’s not a concept I dreamed up out of the blue, it is the theme that is (lol) woven into all I do. Even in my darkest periods, I fell back into themes of unraveling. The clarity in these themes became apparent with the creation of Family Mythology, my genealogy container, the idea of the thread that connects us, the stories we weave – a mixture of truth, fiction, misunderstanding, and wishful thinking. These stories shape us.

It did not, but should have, hit me at first how perfect it all was. My grandmother’s maiden name is Weaver. This is a part of who I am.

I originally could not think of a name for my photography container. I played at the ideas of crafting our own legacy, and after much headache settled on Modern Legacy – even though I hated it. Then inspiration struck last week and the Weavers logo fell out of me and into Illustrator. It was beautiful and perfect, and I was in love.

It also didn’t match the intended branding I’d planned for all of my containers. It forced me to rethink everything. And like that, everything burst into life, as I broke out of the box I was trying to put myself into, and realized that these containers can be anything I want, and they can change at any time, as needed, as I evolve.

This is the trouble, I think, with the solopreneur – we don’t realize that we are whole humans, not just a brand – and when you are the brand, it will inevitably need to change in totally unpredictable ways, as we do, as we grow.

I will talk more about the specific brands on my branding website – this post isn’t really about the brands themselves, as much as the realization that I need to stop feeling icky about evolution, sticking it under the label of flake. I am committed to growth and development – it makes sense that I embrace how I am shaped and reshaped by that process.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column] [/et_pb_row] [/et_pb_section]

A Place for Everything

In 2016, thousands of people downloaded planners I had designed. I couldn’t use the planners myself, I was only good at organized thinking in theory. In practice, I couldn’t maintain a simple intentional habit to save my life. How many planners, notebooks, systems have I purchased only to forget they exist within days?

I started really pushing into habit development around then, but it wasn’t until 2018 that I was able to implement and diligently maintain a daily practice. For a time – but then something would happen, a minor roadbump, a major depression – and the habit was abandoned. I’ve been struggling to reestablish habits since the beginning of the lockdowns, which threw me completely off course. I could manage for a few days, but overwhelm would set in.

In March I started taking meds for (previously undiagnosed) ADHD – the immediate effects were amazing, I started experiencing life in a brand new way, free of the fog, exhaustion, and pure chaos that was my constant. Then I adjusted to the meds, and those benefits started slowly slipping away. We upped the dose, and after the same outcome, we took a bigger leap up. In May, I started at 60mg, which is still lower than the Vyvanse ceiling, and still avoiding Adderall, which admittedly scares me a bit.

It’s been three months. Three months of calmly and blissfully putting things in order, cleaning up 36 years of disorganized existence. Almost every day I wake up smiling, ready to embrace whatever the day has for me. Some days are still gloomy or unmotivated, and those days are powerful – because I am still capable of functioning, still able to manage my thoughts and not spiral into anxiety, and able to remember clearly that it’s just a day, and tomorrow will be good again.

All of that was not really the point of this post – such a rambler.

One of the things I’ve been able to do is adjust my thinking about routines and organization – something I’ve been in a lifelong struggle to master. I realized that so much of what I’d tried to create in the past was built around the Pinterest-worthy systems of should. I wanted things to be pretty and perfect – but that’s not how I function, that is not who I am. I’ve instead begun to adapt systems to how I actually think and live. I will talk a lot about that here.

I’ve come down to the core concept of containers to manage systems, and it is being applied in all areas of life. Yes, it makes sense if we are talking about tangible (or digital) items – but this concept is also applied to the less tangible thoughts, habits, relationships. A place for everything, and everything in its place.

I think my favorite, and obvious, container solution I have implemented is an inbox & processing system for all things. For so long I would spend hours creating a perfectly organized system for something, and then when I was actually doing a task I would forget the system existed. I would create a file structure for saving documents, but when I was actually working I didn’t want to spend the extra 30 seconds finding where it went, and I was focused on the next thing – so it just went wherever it landed. There are some areas where I have built processing into the routine, no longer allowing myself to put it off – putting away laundry is the best example. But for most things, I’ve created spaces (inboxes) for things to be processed when I am in processing mode. Rocks collected, bookmarks, files downloaded, photos taken, items purchased. There is a place for everything, including the things out of place.

One thing I still need to develop a system for is how to manage my ideas, which I am more full of than ever. Part of all of the system creation I have been doing is also tackling the messes of the past – and with the ideas system, I plan on sorting through the piles of notebooks, multiple google doc accounts, and very likely even old messages with my best friend. Out of curiosity, I did a quick search of our Facebook messages – over 400 instances of “I have an idea” – how many were immediately forgotten or abandoned? Most.

As a person who loves to be spontaneous and live according to my whims, I believe deeply in systems. Having systems in place that support your lifestyle, and the simple functions that are involved with living, you have more time and freedom to do whatever the hell you want. For me, it’s not about rigidity, rather it allows for more stress-free adaptability. When I know everything is taken care of, it’s not a big deal if things don’t go according to plan. I know nothing will get out of control, and I have a roadmap back to order.

The sites that I am currently building (I am hoping to launch this week!) are another system, for the less tangible. For so long I thought of my website as a finished thing, that I just needed to build it and they would come. In reality, I never used my websites, I always hated them as soon as they were done, and nobody ever (not ever) found me through them, it’s not why they existed. They existed because I thought they should – you just should have a website if you are an entrepreneur. The ability to give a web address to someone, plug it into my profiles, was the only real benefit.

Now, however, I see them totally differently. I see them as freedom – I get to just create, to do the work I love, and I am building the containers (websites) and systems to help me organize and share that work, instead of letting it collect dust tucked away in a forgotten folder.

Everything feels so wildly different these days. I am so excited for all aspects of life.

Timey Wimey Stuff

Recently I started saving vintage photos to use as references in drawing. I’ve always been a bit of a history nerd, but since I started doing genealogy, the interest as reached levels of obsession – and using old photos of my own family as drawing references are what started me on the genealogy journey. I love how so many of my interests just follow the thread of curiosity from one to the next.

I used to think I knew a lot about history. There’s something different about studying the past from the perspective of regular people, not the stuff deemed important by the powers that be. I knew nothing. It seems every time I start researching one topic, I come back up with a dozen questions that should have been answered in the history books. Even vintage photography tells so many remarkable stories about how people lived, struggled, loved.

I originally started collecting the photos because it’s easier to find the kinds of subjects I want to draw in vintage photos. However, it has sparked so many other curiosities – and it’s one of the reasons I want to get back to my camera and photography, Ilove that we can tell stories through images, that they speak so clearly and yet hold so many mysteries.

Life’s a Beach

For the past few weeks, we’ve headed to Wisconsin to spend time along the river. Last summer we didn’t have our own vehicle, which made me reluctant to drive anywhere not essential. More than that, I was just generally depressed – I’m sure covid played a role, but I was mostly just tired of my own bullshit.

This summer has been absolutely amazing, just immersing myself in life, spending time soaking up the sun and my kids in all of their chaos and joy.

One thing I haven’t been doing enough of is taking photos, even with my phone. I can honestly say I don’t regret it, I’ve been so caught up in the moment that I simply forget. I am going to try to do better, however, and am putting systems in place to support that desire.

We’ve been doing a lot of rock collecting, learning about the rivers and creeks in our favorite places.

Just blissed out.

The Way We Emerge

[et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ _builder_version=”4.9.0″ background_color=”#FFFFFF” hover_enabled=”0″ da_disable_devices=”off|off|off” sticky_enabled=”0″ da_is_popup=”off” da_exit_intent=”off” da_has_close=”on” da_alt_close=”off” da_dark_close=”off” da_not_modal=”on” da_is_singular=”off” da_with_loader=”off” da_has_shadow=”on”][et_pb_row column_structure=”3_5,2_5″ _builder_version=”3.25″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” custom_padding=”||6px|||”][et_pb_column type=”3_5″ _builder_version=”3.25″ custom_padding=”|||” custom_padding__hover=”|||”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.27.4″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”]

Early on with art, my voice started spilling out onto the page. While I had no skill, I very quickly and obviously had a style, and more importantly, I was expressing myself in the work I was doing. The style was not consistent, and there were many times when it was put aside as I learned to play in a new way.

That has been the case recently, as I have worked very hard to improve my skill with more realistic subjects, hoping that if I can master realism, and grasp form and light better, that I can then take that skill and apply it more intentionally, creatively, and freely to my personal style and voice. As an aside, this is a common theme this year, this idea that having a correctly formed and solid foundation and routine or rhythm, is incredibly useful if you want to have a spontaneous, freedom filled life. Once you get the basics in place, there is so much more room to play.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”2_5″ _builder_version=”3.25″ custom_padding=”|||” custom_padding__hover=”|||”][et_pb_image src=”https://michlundgren.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/211491400_1216011175506830_922029528895959182_n.jpg” title_text=”211491400_1216011175506830_922029528895959182_n” _builder_version=”4.9.0″ _module_preset=”default” custom_margin=”-1px|||||”][/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row _builder_version=”4.9.0″ _module_preset=”default”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”4.9.0″ _module_preset=”default”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”4.9.0″ _module_preset=”default”]

I still have so much to learn. I have been working from (very cool vintage) references lately, and I love it, but also, I miss my voice. I miss feeling like I am creating and not just copying. A couple of days ago I pushed into that and decided to draw one of my old doodles, but in the more realistic style I’ve been working to develop. I have done three so far, and I feel like……an artist. Not because my skill is amazing, but because I am actively working to improve my skills, but mostly because I am expressing my unique voice creatively, and clearly. 

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row column_structure=”2_5,3_5″ _builder_version=”4.9.0″ _module_preset=”default” custom_padding=”1px|||||”][et_pb_column type=”2_5″ _builder_version=”4.9.0″ _module_preset=”default”][et_pb_image src=”https://michlundgren.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/210909818_4455729001124258_4624817821655488700_n.jpg” title_text=”210909818_4455729001124258_4624817821655488700_n” _builder_version=”4.9.0″ _module_preset=”default” custom_margin=”6px|||||”][/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”3_5″ _builder_version=”4.9.0″ _module_preset=”default”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.27.4″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”]

I have always wanted to illustrate children’s books, tarot cards, and journals – to bring stories & ideas to life through art. I’m just so happy to be working my way towards those daydreams. I am also so completely content and at ease with exactly where I am in the process, which is such a beautiful feeling. 

I was talking with my friend Erica today, about how I used to always clear out to make space for new things to manifest, I would box things up, purge everything that felt old or stale (which I often would regret later), and deep clean the kitchen. This was especially true of any time I wanted to move on to a new home. It always worked! It did not work this time, and I am glad – because I now find that I want the opposite. 

I want to fill my life with so many things that I love, to fill up the present with so much absolute joy of right now, that walls crumble against the weight of our expansion. I want to grow organically into the spaces, ideas, and connections that are meant for us, collecting bits of ourselves along the way. I feel like that in art, that I am so in love with now that next can only be better, as it all continues to bloom. 

 

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Creation & Destruction

This morning I woke up from a bizarre dream, confused. On mornings when I am maintaining “alignment with my intentions” and actually sticking with beneficial habits, I visit with my tarot cards. I’ve been using the same set of The Wild Unknown cards since 2016, a gift to myself after my first truly successful launch. It’s beat to hell now, bent under the weight of hundreds of questions and struggles. I love these cards, and the reliable wisdom I find there.

In the dream, the part that I remember, there was a woman who died on a bench under a bridge, looking out towards a river. She remained there, as officials had decided it was too dangerous to move her body, or as a reminder to others of the danger, I’m no more certain of governmental motivations in sleep than I am when awake. I was walking with the kids, and in the way of dreams, there was an instant knowing the events surrounding this woman. It had (in dream world) been all over the news, that she had wandered into this zone with a “diminished magnetic field.” Objects, including humans, that were sensitive to this energy and happened to wander in, were immediately cut off from any sense of direction, or control over their own propulsion. Some settled, some drifted. On the top of the bench behind the woman’s shoulder was a dead fly, which in the waking life is a minor tik tok celebrity, thanks to my friend Binky featuring it’s internment on her local grocery store’s shelf. RIP. In my dream, the fly had obviously been lured in by the woman, and had met an equal fate.

As we stood, a poodle, with the rear the shape of a seahorse, and the ability to fly (what can I say, muh brain, folks) crossed into the “zone” – and immediately started lazily spinning, no longer in charge of itself. The kids caught it, and were snuggling him, just as I woke up.

After pondering the strangeness of it all, I reached the obvious conclusion that I was struggling against a pattern of gaining momentum, and then losing energy or focus, tumbling out of control. I turned to the cards to explore this idea more, using my standard daily spread, a 4 point compass.

North – Energy: Reversed Seven of Pentacles

East – Focus: Reversed Daughter (Page) of Wands

South – Message: Reversed Nine of Wands

West – Voice: The Tower

You can click the links above to read more about the individual cards, if you’re interested. The themes in the first three were clear enough, as always. It is almost laughable, and spooky, how directly relevant they can be. My interpretation of the dream matched their message precisely, lack of direction, control, momentum. However, the Voice containing the Tower card surprised me. This card is one that causes anxiety in many who practice tarot, as it represents sudden, unexpected change, often accompanied by destruction. I’ve always embraced that – I have a long history of burning my life down to make room for new growth, so the hint of upheaval ahead is not something that scares me. However, this wasn’t really about change ahead. Where the Message card in my spread is the “what I need to know/expect,” the Voice card is, “what I need to speak.”

What came to mind was the place of destruction in my patterns, and what its absence means for my patterns, now that I’ve given up my love affair with easy strike matches. What can I say about this?

Mixed Metaphors, Ahoy

Before returning to Minnesota, I knew I was done burning things down. In the spring of 2018, we spent a month in Houston, which was initially supposed to be our relaunch into fulltime travel. During that trip, I realized that whatever gypsy existed in me had been satiated, healed. I no longer felt an irresistible urge to run, and in its place was a quiet voice, calling me home. There was a sense of loss, as that vagabond nature has always been a core of my identity. Who could I possibly be inside of a normal, stable life? I spent the next six months, back in Arizona, figuring out what I wanted my life to be now, in the absence of “anything but permanent.”

I came home already committed to staying the course, to building something for keeps. That part has never been a challenge, the certainty is unwavering. I don’t even know if its fair to call it commitment when it isn’t even a question. It’s nothing rigid or forceful, it’s just a fact. Do you have a commitment to blinking?

But.

I have spent my life using fire as fuel, destruction as a catalyst for change. Since coming home, I have really struggled to build enough momentum to create anything substantial, which I so desire, which I actually need. I get excited, but I lose my way in the space between. What used to be scorched earth awaiting my new vision, is now filled with strong roots and blooming distractions. There is no urgency in my life. I may not be content – but like that weird snuggled up seahorse-poodle in my dream, I am comfortable, cozy, safe.

The funny thing is – when I was in the build & burn cycle, I didn’t have much control over my direction. I had ideas, took frantic action, watched my ideas come to life. Then, inevitably I would realize I had made a critical error and would lunge for my trusty matches. Now, I know where I want to be, but I don’t really know how I want to get there. Maybe it’s not even that. Maybe….I am afraid that if I build here, in this safe & comfortable, rudderless place, that I will accidentally ruin everything. Maybe part of me still believes the fire is my nature, that I am the fire, and that with any friction I will simply combust. Am I sure there are no embers lying below the surface, waiting for a strong breeze to rile them into an inferno? Ok, Drama.

Imagine that you have spent your life on a ship, filled with holes, in a raging sea, and under assault from all directions, including from yourself, standing on the deck, compulsively starting fires whenever you’re not baling water or sinking under.

Then suddenly, you’re on dry land, with a sneaking sense that you are safe. How long do you just…sit, eat plump fruit dropped from rich trees, stare at the clouds, and just fucking breathe. How long before you stop scanning the horizon for threats? At what point do accept that you are ok, that everything is ok, and you can do whatever you want. At what point do you stand up, brush the sand off, and decide to build a house, seek out other inhabitants, explore what the island has to offer beyond safety and comfort? When is it safe to trust yourself with matches?

Name*
Email Address*
Phone Number*
How do you prefer to be contacted?*
Message*