Photos from Bali + Superhero Photo begins Monday!

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Do you see the heart in the smoke above?

One of my great pleasures was teaching some photography while I was in Bali!
It lights me up to geek out about things like how to get that dreamy, blurred background in your photos…

This is one of the many things you will learn in Superhero Photo!

You can join me for 6 weeks of photo lessons + inspiration starting Monday, May 16th.

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P.S. Below is a slideshow from Bali. Get ready for some yummy color!

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http://www.andreascher.com/#!bali-retreat-2016/fg72t

 

 

The dark and the light.

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There are black and white checkered pieces of fabric wrapped around the trees here. Big swaths of textiles looped around the ancient banyans- limbs like octopus legs reaching out in all directions. The same checkered fabric is wrapped around the alters and carved stone statues. Even the curbs are painted in black and white stripes – a reminder of the light and the dark always being present.

“They’re not afraid of the dark here,” Juna told us that first night. We nodded our heads respectfully. “They hold both with reverence. They don’t suppress the dark or push it away like we do in our culture. They let it live in the light as well. Don’t be surprised if shadow stuff comes up for you here. It means it’s up for healing.”

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Maybe it’s because it’s so hot in Bali and we weren’t wearing many clothes, but the old shadowy voices arrived quickly. You’re too fat. You’re getting old. You’re not pretty anymore…. Body shame kicked into high gear. Your face looks puffy. Your thighs are rubbing together. Why were you so confident back home? The truth is that you are ugly, you’ve let yourself go, you’re not disciplined enough.

It’s embarrassing to write these words. I want to suppress this voice, this pain, and leap to the positive. I want to bypass this ugliness. I don’t want you to know this voice is alive in me. They’re not afraid of the shadow energy. They hold it in the light as well.

I admitted to Juna that these voices were coming up, hoping that naming them would help. I stared at her adorable washboard tummy and all her delicious beauty as the words poured out of my mouth. Shame washed over me. I should be over this. I teach classes in personal growth. People see me as confident. I shouldn’t be talking about self-loathing.

This is how we layer shame on top of shame.

“If the shadow pieces are arising for you, that part of you is emerging for healing.”

That’s the word I chose for the week – healing. I chanted to myself softly: Shine a light on this. Hold it with compassion. There is more to heal here. But how? I thought. I don’t want to give more weight to these thoughts. I don’t want to fortify them. Am I created a deeper neuro-pathway? I don’t want to create a deeper groove! Again, it’s tempting to turn away from them and find better thoughts. Am I supposed to do affirmations or something?

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My friend Susan traveled with me the following week. We had found a luxurious place to stay in Amed, Bali – one with real air conditioning! and a private pool just for us. I told Susan about the shadow voices and how they weren’t going away. She asked if I had tried to talk to that part, ask it what it wanted to tell me?

Usually this feels corny to me, but I decided to try. I closed my eyes and imagined that part of me, the part that felt ugly and unworthy. “What do you want to tell me?” I asked.

I could see immediately that this part was old and small… and compassion welled in my heart. The answer came quickly: “I’m the part that feels unlovable. I’m the part that’s trying really hard to do everything right and look good so that I’ll be loved. I’m afraid.”

Ohhhhh! I responded. You have it all wrong! Your love-ability has nothing to do with your beauty. It’s about your spirit- not about the lines on your face or how good you look in a swimsuit! I remember you… I know how hard you try. There is nothing wrong with you and you are totally lovable.

It seemed so obvious in that moment. This very young part of me that had collapsed being lovable with being perfect. It seemed like a reasonable coping strategy at the time – do it all right and be adorable and everyone will love you.

Healing happens in spirals and layers… that’s what my friend and mentor SARK says in one of her books. Because I feel better now, it’s tempting to believe that voice is gone, that I’ve somehow conquered it, that it will finally be quiet. I wish that were true!

What is different, is how I relate to that voice. We have befriended each other somehow. By shining the light of attention on it, by trying to understand it, I have offered it a kind of love. I have offered myself a kind of love. The healing is real even if it isn’t linear. I will come back to this moment again and again and again… but I will be somewhere else on the spiral. A layer away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I feel safe because…

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Dear Super-Friends,

It’s been an intense season around here -separation, mediation, grief over a beloved friend -there’s a lot stirring in this tender little heart.

I had a coaching session yesterday that helped me understand my world a bit better. I came to the session feeling profoundly triggered – aware of my separateness, fear/grief that I’m in this life thing alone and watching myself cling to external things for safety.

She asked me to repeat these words: I feel safe because… and fill in the blank.
And then again: I feel safe because… over and over.
I started: “I feel safe because I am in a healthy body. I feel safe because I am sitting on a squishy couch. I feel safe because I have wonderful friends. I feel safe because I am loved.”

And then the tears started to come and my body began to shake with sobs: I feel safe because I am eternal…

I stopped. I felt dizzy. My heart ached.

“That one made me cry…” my voice cracked.

“That’s because you just landed on the thing that’s the most true of all,” she said. “You are safe because you are eternal.”

And we sat there and let that land.
And more tears poured down my face.
And then I started laughing.
And then she started laughing.

“So what now?” she asked.

And my heart suddenly felt light. Lighter than it’s been in a long time.
And I said, “I’m safe because I’m eternal! If that’s true, then let’s have some fun!”

And it doesn’t take away what feels hard. Or complicated.
I still need to show up for my life and do the work.
I still need to find a new home for me and my boys. (If you have any leads on rentals in Berkeley, let me know!)
I still need to pay taxes.
I still need to move through the grief.

But there was a buoyancy that found me in that moment, a wisdom that filled me with lightness.

Then she asked, “When you imagine your best self, your most successful self, your happiest self, what do you see?”

And immediately my creative work came to mind. My artist heart. The place where I find so much joy – where it’s easy for me to find flow. When I take in the beauty + wonder of the world I feel connected again. Like I belong here.  And it always feels better when we do it together.

Would you like to step into some beauty + wonder- seeking with me?

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Superhero Photo begins May 16th, 2016: $99 Bring a friend for free!

My original photo course! It will transform the way you take photos + the way you see the world.

 

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Cultivating Wonder begins May 9th, 2016: Pay what you can!

Here’s what just a couple people have said about the course:

I am loving the class! I feel like I have been walking around with this special secret super power, and while everyone else is trudging through shopping and other madness, I am lucky enough to witness the beauty and wow of the simple everyday moments.

I feel as though having the assignments has served as a tuning fork in my life. I’ve been more present to enjoy the magic and wonder of life. My sense of creativity seems to be growing inside.

 

Superhero Necklaces

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I haven’t made them in years! But I have a tiny stash available for a few color-lovin peeps. You can find them here. Once they’re gone, they’re gone! Please order today so I can get it out to you before I leave for Bali.

Been thinking about hosting a Storybowl?

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I created a Storybowl How-To Kit! It might be the best thing you do this year…
These events are full of connection, joy and healing laughter. Your friends will love you for it.

The Great Jane Retreat

I will be teaching in Ojai May 20-22nd with a luminous crew of other mama-preneurs who want to bring more aliveness into their world. One of my she-ros Amanda Cadenet (from The Conversation) will be giving the keynote!

On the Superhero Blog

My favorite sound It might surprise you!

Francis Weller on grief + anger (Life-changing talk. I’ve watched it a dozen times)

My little dude, Nico

Follow me in Bali!

Bali has been on my Mondo Beyondo list for years. If you want a little vicarious adventure, follow me on Instagram and Facebook! It will surely be a lot of color collecting, monkey spotting + other joys. (My dream inside the dream is to swim with sea turtles. Keep your fingers crossed!)

Instagram
Facebook

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P.S. I love having you in my world. And the more the merrier.

For the above courses, you are invited to bring a friend for free.
Just send me their email address when you purchase!

 

My favorite sound in the entire world.

This sound makes me irrationally happy. It always has. So I decided to google it and found this recording!

Oh my god you guys. Please tell me it makes you giggle with pure joy.

What’s your favorite sound?

 

 

Francis Weller on grief + anger. Life-changing wisdom in this talk.

Listen in as psychotherapist and author Francis Weller, MFT discuss the communal nature of grief, the expressive virtue of anger, false happiness, and the two hands of grief and gratitude. Interview recorded at the 2013 Minnesota Men’s Conference. Give yourself the gift of this 13 minutes. Totally life-changing wisdom.