Category Archives: Courage

When you can’t blog for a really, really long time.

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What do you do when you can’t blog for a really long time? Or as my kids would say, “A hecka long time.” It hasn’t been writer’s block exactly, but something that I’m sure writers go through – especially ones that write about their lives. What do you write about when everything feels so private? When it’s not all your story to tell? How do you navigate the waters of truth when your truth is just one of many?

And so I’ve been quiet.

And if you’ve been in courses with me, you’ve gotten windows into my process over the last couple of years. For those of you who have stuck around, thank you!

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What I really want to say is this: I’ve been feeling disconnected. From my voice. From the way I make my little ripple in the pond. From my community here.

And everything feels a little off kilter as a result. When we’re not connected to our purpose, it all just feels like going through the motions.

That’s it today folks. It’s not much but I’m hoping to break the silent streak. I felt better when I’m sharing and when I’m connecting with you. Thank you for being here!

 

My plea to the Universe: Show me that I’m not alone.

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Photo by In Her Image Photography

There is a soft, green, velvet couch in my living room. Last year, you would have found me there each morning with my hands to my heart, chanting a prayer. Every day I said the same thing through salty tears – please show me that I’m not alone. Please show me that I’m not alone.

I wish I could tell you exactly who I pray to- I could call it God, my guides, the angels, Spirit. It doesn’t really matter. Only that it helped me to do this one small thing. It didn’t take more than a few seconds for the hair on my arms to stand up, for the tears to start falling down my cheeks. It didn’t take long to feel connected to whoever and whatever was guiding me forward. As I contemplated the unraveling of my marriage, I would say, “If I’m going to do this, I need to know you’re with me. I’m not doing it alone.”

Every once in a while I would get little messages, like the day I sobbed outside a bakery in Berkeley while chatting with a friend. Where are we going to live? What am I going to do? How am I going to make it? She listened and soothed me with kind words and when I hung up, I looked down at my boots. Right below my shoe was a tiny discarded fortune from the Chinese restaurant up the street. It said, “No need to worry! You will always have everything you need.” I gasped.

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I took off my ring on the Bart train when I was riding to my friend Laurie’s house. I was nervous, so I did it quickly and zipped it into the coin section of my wallet. I looked down at my bare hands, which seemed so conspicuous. They seemed to glow bright with emptiness. I half expected someone to say, “So, you’re not married, huh?” (Which of course, no one did.)

I shopped for rings for months, searching for something that felt like just the right weight, had just the right stone. I wanted a ring that would be like an anchor to ground me, so that I wouldn’t float away. I decided on turquoise. And when I looked up the meaning it rang true – power, protection, intuition, healing.

I could tell you about dating and what these connections have awakened in me. I could tell you about the way I inhabit my body now and how I never noticed that I didn’t before. I could tell you about the days when I didn’t think I would survive it – the dissolving of my marriage – how I would call my friend Brigette (sometimes hourly) and cry, It’s too much. I don’t think I can do it…” and she’d say, “But you are. You are doing it. This is it.”

I heard on a radio interview that if someone is traumatized (like say you are kneeling next to someone who was just in a car accident) that it’s good to say things like, “You’re alive. The worst is over. Help is coming. Help is on its way.” As opposed to, “Don’t die on me!” like they do in the movies. This is apparently the worst possible thing you can say because all the person hears is “Die! Don’t die! Die, die, die!”

And so when people say, “My god. How will you manage? Are the kids going to be okay? If my partner left me I think I would die!” I want to grab their shoulders and say, “The worst is over. I’m happy. I’m alive. Help is on its way.”

 

The strange pull of what you really love.

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“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love.
It will not lead you astray.” -Rumi

The 2014 World Cup changed our lives.

Nico started watching with Matt, peering over his shoulder on the couch, asking about various players. Which guy is the fastest? What team is the best? Is Messi the goodest? He started playing soccer constantly. Talking about it obsessively.

He started wearing shin guards every day to school.
He wore cleats to bed.
He didn’t want us to cut his hair.
He put on his Messi uniform every day even if it was filthy.
He instructed me to write a number in Sharpie on the back of every single shirt he owned to make them “soccer shirts.” Otherwise, he refused to wear them. (I totally obliged.)

Years ago I read a story about Alfred Steiglitz, the renowned photographer from the 1930’s who was married to Georgia O’Keefe. In the article there was a photograph of Steiglitz at maybe 4 or 5 years old. He had fashioned a necklace out of a photograph and wore it around his neck.

Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love.

When I think of my life as a treasure hunt it makes a bit more sense- the way I am always feeling my way toward the light. The way there are people and colors and joys that are like sparks for me and I remind myself that it’s okay to not know exactly where I’m going. That I can get all the way home, even if my path is only lit a few feet in front of me.

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I’ve been painting lately. Little studies here and there. Strolls through the aisles of the art store. My heart skips a beat when I smell the oil paints and see those spectrums of color on the wall. The other day, I bought a big block of cold pressed watercolor paper and lots of paint – expensive, but I didn’t care. I lay all those tiny tubes of pigment on the counter with a hunger I haven’t felt in a long time. The way the bristles feel when they brush against my palm, the way the pigment bursts on the toothy paper like a shooting star with just a drop of water. It’s a kind of bliss for me, one that I forget is available as I opt for more practical things like laundry and email.

I write this as a kind of reminder to myself and also to note that there is something about color and paint and using my hands that has everything to do with where I am going.

What is the strange pull in your life?

I heard a great interview with Maria Bello yesterday on Fresh Air. She was on track to be a women’s rights attorney when she took an acting class. She knew instantly that was what she wanted to do. She went to her friend + mentor Father Ray Jackson in tears and said, “Father, I don’t know what to do. I thought I was supposed to be of service in this world; acting seems like such a selfish profession.”

And he said the words that would set her free: “Maria, you serve best by doing the things you love most.”

What have you always loved? 

 

There is a kiss we want with our whole lives.

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There is a kiss
we want
with our whole lives.
-Rumi

Dear sweet superheroes,

It’s been a long time and I’ve missed you. My life has felt so private over the last couple of years it’s been hard to share in this space. But I’ve missed you and missed feeling connected to this community so here I am with a special message for you.

I’ve been thinking lately about our knowing. That deep, divine kind of knowing. The kind where our body tingles or we get goosebumps. The kind where we JUST KNOW and we can’t un-know it anymore. The kind that speaks to us in dreams. The kind that whispers at first and then gets really loud.

I’ve been thinking about how long we can go ignoring our own truth.

Until our body begins aching, speaking to us through pain, panic, anxiety.

A friend said to me recently, “Try this on Andrea. Is it possible that what’s best for you is actually the best for everyone else? even if they don’t like it? even if they get mad? I want you to experiment with this. Practice telling your truth: I can’t make it. That doesn’t feel like a fit for me. This is what I want. And trust that what is authentically true for you is ultimately best for everyone.”

Matt and I separated last fall.

It was the most excruciating chapter of my life. Unbearable at times. There were moments when I literally had to chant to myself, “You told the truth and you didn’t die. You’re not dead. You survived it…” The terror of speaking the truth can feel so big. I was afraid my truth would kill him. Or me.

I spoke my truth imperfectly. A bit late. As best I could. It hurt.

The lessons are wide and deep and ongoing. My love for Matt is growing and changing in unexpected ways. There are so many stories I could tell you.

But today I am present to the deep knowing I am finally beginning to honor in myself. The divine kind of knowing. The part of me (that without all the fear of troubling waters) is crystal clear.

There is a kiss we want with our whole lives.

There is a kiss I wanted with my whole life.
And it wasn’t the kind of kiss you get from a lover.
It was the kiss from Spirit.
From Myself.
It’s the kiss of living my life’s true call.
It’s the kiss of my own heart.
It’s the kiss of joy.

 

Proof that kindness matters.

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When Jen Lemen and I spoke four years ago at WDS conference in Portland, Oregon we did something a little crazy. We hand wrote 500 blessings on index cards that we then taped underneath each seat in the theater. We took this job seriously, lounging on the couches at the Ace Hotel with Sharpies in hand, channeling each note with every cell of our being – What does this person need to hear? And we’d see what would come.

Turns out it takes a long time to write this many notes and throughout the weekend you could find us cosied up on our hotel room beds, on park benches across from the museum and at bars drinking cocktails late at night writing, writing… Do we really have to do all of these? I would ask Jen when I was losing steam. YES. She would say emphatically. We even enlisted some help from a couple of dear friends – Kelly Rae Roberts and Rachael Maddox – and they wrote their hearts out too.

On Sunday, at the end of our talk, we asked everyone to look under their chair for a special note written just for them. There were shouts of joy and surprise and more than a few tears… then they all rose to their feet and cheered. I think we got a standing ovation. It was an extraordinary moment.

And then. Four years later this happened.

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Through a serendipitous connection, Jackie shared the above story with me and I melted. So touched by this thread of connection between us. And then she started a thread on Facebook and other people shared their stories. My heart has been so filled up by this exchange.

It’s reminding me how much kindness matters.
How much the love we put into the world matters.
It makes me want to write love notes all day long.

More from the Facebook thread:

Nina Grenningloh Reyes: “My word was “freedom” and my note said this. Both of which I’m still working on daily. A rebel never gives up!”

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Jill Seeger Salahub: “This is a picture of it, Andrea, on my writing shrine, where I start every morning. And I don’t know if you remember, but my hand shot up at the end of your session, and I said “THIS ONE is MINE.” It absolutely was a message from the Universe. I was feeling a little out of place at WDS — it was great to meet IRL all the people I’d followed online, but I had no sense yet of exactly what I had to offer, and what I could imagine seemed so far away, almost impossible. Then I got this note, and it was absolutely the “how” I was missing — “make some space.” So I went home and did just that.”

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Sophia Habl Mitchell: “I keep mine pinned up right next to my desk. This was the final “message” I needed to leave corporate and start my own consulting biz. Four years later, my business is more successful than I thought possible.”

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Steve Errey:I still have mine taped to the back of my WDS journal, and I *love* it.”

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Angie BryantMy word was juicy. Ripe. Ready”

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Ellen Berg: “I taped mine in my journal. I realize now that the past few years have been bringing this seed to bloom. My hubby has his taped up in his office.”

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Gregory Berg:Mine is like a little beacon when I need the reminder! What a gift you gave to all of us, Andrea and Jen!”

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And finally, Mike Hrostoski’s pictured at the top of this post:
I have two since there wasn’t someone sitting next to me. They are both on my altar at home. For some reason, those two cards are some of the most valued possessions I have. Probably because that first WDS was the springboard to my current life.

Ready to put on your cape? Superhero School is here.

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I am creating a brand new life this year.

And this is the class that I most need.
This is the medicine that will get me through.
Your energy + mine weaving together. Sharing our stories and our wisdom and our discoveries.

Superhero School is kind of like Hogwarts for superheroes.

We will discover our unique superpowers + cultivate what I like to call the Universal Superpowers (courage, intuition, creativity, compassion, etc.)
We will discover our Kryptonite – what stops us from expressing who we are + being our most powerful selves.
We will grow our courage muscles + our ability to listen deeply to our intuition.

All of this of course is in service to something bigger – manifesting our desires, feeling more aliveness and joy, expressing who we truly are in the world.

I have spent that last 22 years studying with coaches, healers + spiritual teachers.
I’ve been mentored by SARK, trained at CTI, and have awakened my joy.
I’ve worked with thousands of women in my e-courses.

This program is different. It’s the deeper dive I’ve been wanting to take with my community for a long time.
This is me giving you everything I know. This is me sharing my full heart with you.
This is you + me + a beautiful community of women cultivating our superpowers together and creating lives we love.
This is each of us putting something at stake for 2015 (something that would feel like a miracle to receive) and creating it.

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Each month will be filled with:
-Audio lessons
-Discovery sheets
-Superhero missions
-Lessons from experts
Bi-weekly live calls with me!

You will discover:

  • More confidence, aliveness + inner glow
  • Your unique superpowers + how to cultivate what I call the “Universal Superpowers”
  • The power to manifest + create your life in alignment with your spirit and your desires.
  • How your intuition speaks to you and how to grow your capacity to listen and find clarity.
  • Serendipity (you will be magnetizing the people and situations that align with your deepest desires)
  • What you want, where you are headed, what you are creating.
  • Feeling connected – to yourself, to others, to your community, to your creativity
  • Your Kryptonite – what stops you from growing into the most alive expression of who you are
  • How you uniquely serve the world.

 

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$597 for this 3-month program.
The journey begins January 19th,2015

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A million invisible threads.

The view from my godparent's house, SF

The view from my godparent’s house, SF

For the first time in over a decade, I was not with my family on Thanksgiving day. Instead, I was walking in San Francisco for hours in the crisp fall sunshine, up and over hills with a dear friend I have known forever. Brigette and I acted like tourists, wandering along the Embarcadero, pit-stopping to use the bathroom at fancy hotels, taking selfies at the wharf. She would be embarrassed for me to tell you that we even stopped for lunch at Pier 39, right smack in the middle of the crazy hubbub of tourist attractions. I loved every minute of it – the creamy caesar salad we shared, the buskers painted silver pretending they were statues, the families speaking every possible language around us.

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As we walked through North Beach and over Nob hill we found a secret door. It led to an even more secret staircase and we wondered aloud what it would be like to live in the tree house apartments that lined the steep metal stairs just beyond it. We imagined that the door was a portal, like a threshold to a new world. We imagined that there were two-headed dogs that we had to fight our way past + that on the other side of that door life would never be the same.

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We eventually made our way to my very first apartment in San Francisco on Taylor Street. The one I found in 1997 – the year I started working with SARK and met Brigette. I told her the story of the channeler in Santa Barbara who taught me my first lesson in manifesting. A magical time in my life. (Audio coming for that story)

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Our last stop was Grace Cathedral where there is a gorgeous labyrinth. As I looped round and round the maze, I kept noticing an apartment building across the street. It occurred to me that my godparents lived in that building for 20 years – just a half block from my very first apartment on Taylor Street. Although I would only meet them years after I had moved, it seems we were destined to know each other. They were always close by. They were always in my orbit.

As I walked to their house near Union Square for Thanksgiving dinner, I saw something so clearly – that there is an invisible web of goodness. That there is a way that the Universe is conspiring on our behalf, that there are a million invisible threads that we can’t see but are there just the same. Sometimes, only years later do we see how everything connects, how it was all going to work out, how our lives are somehow always nudging us toward healing + wholeness.

I know this all sounds a little, something. It’s hard to find the right words.

But as I walked, I gathered up a kind of faith. Even though things are falling apart right now, I know that that web of goodness is there. I know in my bones that there is an invisible net weaving its way through my life, sending me just the right people + experiences. Loving me from afar.

There are moments when I feel like I can see it. Or at least feel its there. Maybe especially in the midst of things falling apart do I feel its presence. I feel more gratitude these days than usual. And not because of the holidays, but because I am awake to the love around me.

This is new.
And it’s possible there is nothing better.

 

 

 

 

 

When the sh*t hits the fan, call in the healers.

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When the sh*t hits the fan, I call in the psychics. And the healers. And the coaches. And whoever else will talk to me.

This has been a season of calling in the troops + wanted to share a list of some of my favorites. They are my go-to people when I need guidance, when I want to connect to my intuition, when I need to see more clearly where I am going. These women below are beyond gifted. We are so lucky to have them! (All of them can work with you by phone)

Juna Mustad, Relationship coach + intuitive
Juna is beyond gifted. She is a brilliant coach + also has AMAZING intuitive gifts. Her wisdom was life-changing for me.

Laurel Bleadon-Maffei, Angel readings
Laurel channels a tribe of angels on your behalf + works with your guides. The whole experience is love-filled and oozing with wisdom. I get angel readings from Laurel every couple of months + they have guided my heart + spirit in miraculous ways.

Liv Lane, Firecracker calls
She channels Spirit on your behalf. What could be better? I had a series of questions ready for her, and one by one, she shared the wisdom from her guides and mine. I felt deeply loved + guided throughout the call.

Carol Ferris, Astrological readings
Mind-blowingly good astrological chart readings. This was my first real foray into astrology + I was blown away by all that showed up in my chart. Things like, “You work for yourself and from home right? You couldn’t have it any other way.” It gave me so much permission to lean into who I actually am + where I am headed. Email her: rficf@easystreet.net

Isabel Faith Abbott, Hand Mapping
I have some really unusual lines on my hands + when I casually asked Isabel about them she gave me the most BEAUTIFUL, accurate + inspired interpretation of them. She just launched this offering officially + I am thrilled to be able to recommend her. So gifted in so many ways.

 

You are brave.

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Dear Superheroes,

I don’t know about you, but life has been intense over here and it has required every ounce of courage I can find.
Maybe you are in a place like that too?

As I was creating a structure for a new course recently, a friend suggested, “Write the course you most need right now. Let it be just the right medicine for you + it will be a gift to them too.”

When I noticed that Cultivating Courage starts soon I breathed a sigh of relief.
This is definitely the class I most need right now.

In this course, we practice doing one tiny, brave move each day for 30 days.

When we are practicing courage, it’s like a muscle that gets stronger and stronger. And when these brave moves are strung together? It creates a powerful wave of transformation, strength + confidence. We get our mojo back. We learn to trust ourselves. We see what we’re made of. When we flex our courage, we are rewarded with aliveness. As we build our capacity to be brave, we discover our confidence. The world opens up to us in new ways.

What would be possible if you were the bravest version of yourself?

Find out + join me.

More about the course here. Class starts Monday, October 27th, 2014.

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And one last thing: We are creating a habit of courage.

We are not taking ginormous leaps or doing superheroic acts of bravery here. We are simply practicing. We are strengthening our courage muscles so that when the sh*t hits the fan we are stronger. We trust ourselves more.

We are making courage our default.

Sending you all big love,
Andrea

P.S. Are you an alumni of Cultivating Courage? Email me + I will send you a coupon code so you can dive in again at a discounted rate.

 

Playing Big by Tara Sophia Mohr + 2 kinds of fear

I met Tara Mohr for the first time when we sat together at Spirit Rock meditation center for a daylong workshop with Rachel Naomi Remen. (We are both huge fans!) I adored Tara immediately and hoped we would intersect again. To my delight, we would continue to weave into each others’ lives in the following months and years.

Tara is wise and articulate and someone you want as your teacher. She’s got smarts and soul. And lucky for us, she put all that brilliance + heart into a book, Playing Big that you can pre-order this week.

I was grateful to get my hands on an advance copy + wanted to share one of my favorite pieces of the book – a teaching about 2 kinds of fear from the late Rabbi Alan Lew. Watch the video above! then read the rest of her post below.

Congratulations Tara! This book is empowering, beautifully written and a must-read for anyone who wants to play bigger in the world.

 

As discussed in the video, Rabbi Alan Lew explains that in biblical Hebrew, there are several different words for fear.

Pachad is “projected or imagined fear,” the “fear whose objects are imagined.” That, in contemporary terms, is what we might think of as overreactive, irrational, lizard brain fear: the fear of horrible rejection that will destroy us or the fear that we will simply combust if we step out of our comfort zones.

There is a second Hebrew word for fear, yirah. Rabbi Lew describes yirah as “the fear that overcomes us when we suddenly find ourselves in possession of considerably more energy than we are used to, inhabiting a larger space than we are used to inhabiting. It is also the feeling we feel when we are on sacred ground.

If you’ve felt a calling in your heart, or uncovered an authentic dream for your life, or felt a mysterious sense of inner inspiration around a project or idea, you recognize this description.

We often conflate or confuse the two types of fear, and simply call what we are experiencing “fear.” But we can discern them more closely, and in doing so, more effectively manage fear so it doesn’t get in our way.

Next time you are in a moment that brings fear:

1. Ask yourself: what part of this fear is pachad? Write down the imagined outcomes you fear, the lizard brain fears. Remind yourself that they are just imagined, and that pachad-type fears are irrational.

2. Savor yirah. Ask yourself: what part of this fear is yirah? You’ll know yirah because it has a tinge of exhilaration and awe -while pachad has a sense of threat and panic. Lean into – and look for – the callings and leaps that bring yirah.

 

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