Category Archives: Courage

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

andrea_sunburst circle_superhero school

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.

you_are_brave_600

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.

 

Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 10.02.33 AM

 

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

sign me up_hot pink button

 

 

 

 

 

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.

magical_door

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.

apartment_taylor

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)

grace_labyrinth_500

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.

rear_view_2014_800

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.

you_are_brave_600

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.

button-register-blue

Screen shot 2014-10-16 at 2.50.51 PM

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.

 

3_bloggerpromo_minimal3

How to let go.

pink_dahlia_closeup_800

When I arrived at yoga the other day I saw her sitting on her mat at the front of the room.

She was young, too young, and maybe that’s where my irritation began.

Or maybe it was because she was far too skinny and I prefer a yoga teacher with a little more meat on her bones, someone who is a bit more plump with life + age. Even her voice irritated me (a bit too California) and as we stretched, I wondered if her features were too big for her otherwise pretty face. (I know, grumpy, grumpy thoughts) These harsh judgements ran through my mind like ticker tape until she suggested we sing, to repeat after her, a prayer in Sanskrit.

And this is when I woke up.

Her singing voice was nothing like her speaking voice. It was pitch perfect, so beautiful, that all of us opened our eyes and watched her. Her eyes were closed in concentration + her hands were folded into prayer at her heart. None of us repeated the words, not wanting to interrupt the perfection of her song. We were rapt.

In one of the recordings I have of Eckhart Tolle, he is asked how you drop a certain way of thinking or change a belief, and he responded, “You just drop it. Like you would a bag of groceries. You just let it go.”

And so I did.

And when she said (during a thigh-burning squat pose) “Feel the heat. That’s where the transformation happens…”
I believed her.

 

 

 

How I earned my white belt in desire.

ben_kitchen_syrup_700

As Ben lay his head down on the pillow, he said to me with unbridled excitement, “I can’t wait to get my white belt tomorrow!”

My immediate thought was this: He’s not getting his white belt on the first day of class! He’s going to be so disappointed when he finds this out…

“Ben, I don’t think they give out white belts the first day of class. Don’t get your hopes up, okay?” His face immediately crumbled + squished into a cry and tears pooled in his eyes. “I’m not talking to you!” he shouted. “You just ruined all my happiness!”

And this is what we do, right?

With love in our hearts, we try to protect our kids from sadness and pain. We try to shield them from what we think will hurt more – being blindsided by disappointment. It’s vulnerable to want something. Especially if we don’t know if we will get it. We would rather say to ourselves, Well, it probably won’t happen. Or, It would be nice if it happened, but I don’t really care. We get so good at protecting ourselves that often our desires never even make it to our radar.

I could see in this moment with Ben that I really was ruining his happiness. I was squashing his delight. I was telling him in some subtle way to not want what he might not be able to have. Probably because I couldn’t be with the vulnerability of it.

Could I have just let him have his excitement?

 

The next day we went to karate class. And after breaking a board in two, Ben earned his white belt. ON THE FIRST DAY OF CLASS.

And me? I earned a valuable lesson in desire. (Maybe even a white belt)

We want what we want. We will get it or we won’t.

But it takes courage to want something. It leaves us vulnerable and that’s why it feels scary.

But to desire is our birthright. And maybe even half the fun. Maybe even half the joy.

 

 

Underneath the mess everything is marvelous. I’m sure of it.

plum_blossoms_sc_800

“What I want is to open up. I want to know what’s inside me. I want everybody to open up. I’m like an imbecile with a can-opener in his hand, wondering where to begin – to open up the earth. I know that underneath the mess everything is marvelous. I’m sure of it.

I know it because I feel so marvelous myself most of the time. And when I feel that way everybody seems marvelous… everybody and everything… even pebbles and pieces of cardboard… a match stick lying in the gutter… anything… a goat’s beard, if you like. That’s what I want to write about… and then we’re all going to see clearly, see what a staggering, wonderful, beautiful world it is.” -Henry Miller

I have had this quote tucked away in my special cigar box for over 20 years. The cigar box is full of sacred items – old photographs of family, love notes, birth certificates… And this.

Photography is one of my ways in. It’s my superhighway into the marvelous. I see those pink petals against the fog and my heart leaps a little. I look through the viewfinder and get that zing in my belly just before the shutter goes click. Even on the hardest of days, the beauty of the world can pull me back. I can literally see the world through a different lens – one that honors the miraculous. The bright green sprig of life bursting through a crack in the sidewalk, the way the white petals fall like confetti onto the concrete, the impossibly long lashes of my boys.

Underneath the mess everything is marvelous. I’m sure of it.

For many years, gratitude practices eluded me. I didn’t feel grateful. I just felt ashamed… for all that I was blessed with and how sad I still felt.

What I was still able to do however was appreciate beauty. And this saved me. Those glittery beads of dew on the grass, the clouds I found in puddles of water, the inside of a dandelion. They saved me from being swallowed up by grief.

When we can catch glimpses into the marvelous, it is a gift. Be on the lookout today. And if you are in a place where gratitude is hard to access, see if you can find some simple beauty. For me, it was the most powerful kind of medicine.

You are beautiful.

you_are_beautiful_525

This sign sits on the wall next to my bathroom mirror. It’s the first thing I see when I get out of the shower in the morning and as I dry off I read those words- You are beautiful.

Sometimes a voice in me says, “Ha! Yeah, right.” Other times it makes me smile. Some days, I make a practice of trying it on. What if that were true? What about that feels true? 

When I was 9 years old, I remember my gymnastics coach telling my mother that my legs were chunky and that I needed to lose weight. (I was a competitive gymnast and was as strong + athletic as can be)

I remember a close family member calling me thunder thighs, maybe once, maybe more? And I remember the warm wash of shame that flooded my cheeks and the immediate desire to hide my legs. Like, forever. (Which I mostly did)

I remember when my best friend in high school told me about something revolutionary she discovered – If you eat too much, just throw up! and it’s like it never happened. Then she showed me exactly how to do it in the school bathroom stall. It made me feel relieved, like no matter what, there was an escape hatch. There was no mistake you couldn’t undo.

I used to think that if I was just perfect enough, I could be worthy of love.

Yours truly, photo by Sasha Wizansky

Me, La Paz, Mexico, photo by Sasha Wizansky

My body has changed since the above photo was taken 15  years ago. My washboard tummy has been replaced by something much more smooshy and mama-like. There is an extra layer of flesh that never disappeared after boy #2 and I find myself sucking it in for photos. I even suck it in for myself in the mirror! (How funny to deny my new reality even to myself)

And then there are the disappearing boobs. The ones that were once perky little scoops (a term my friend and I affectionately coined upon discovering we were boob twins) and now are, well, slightly melted scoops.

But here’s the irony.

Those words – you are beautiful- have never felt more true.

How is that even possible? How can I be feeling beautiful for the first time in my life?

At the beginning of last year I had a remarkable angel reading with Laurel Bleadon-Maffei. She shared a lot of wisdom with me, but the thing that stuck was when she said this – If you want something new to come through you, you have to stop looking back at what you’ve done in the past. If you could take the next 6 months as a kind of sabbatical, I would suggest that, although I know that might not feel realistic on this plane. But think of the next 6 months as such – Daydream. Walk in the woods. Sit at the beach. Allow the next thing to find you. What is it that you want to bring to the world? Let your higher self and your knowing speak to you.

For me, this was an entirely new approach to creativity. And it required a kind of trust I wasn’t so sure about. Really? Walk in the woods for the next 6 months? Daydreaming sounded so flaky. The part of me that tends toward Type A felt threatened- everyone is going to get ahead of me! I’m going to fade into obscurity! I’m not going to make any money! I’m going to WASTE. SO. MUCH. TIME.

But here’s what I discovered. Walking in the woods allowed the words to come when I sat at my desk. Going to yoga class made space for great ideas to find me while I relaxed in savasana at the end. Having coffee with friends sparked inspiration + helped me shape my fledgling ideas. Having little adventures made space for delight, rejuvenation + fun stories to share.

There is a way that putting a little yin in my yang helped my creativity find me. I didn’t have to pursue it so much as be awake + alive + ready to receive. It also made space for a deeper knowing to come through. It felt like a distinctly feminine approach to creativity.

andrea_selfie_2013_400

Putting a little yin in my yang helped me to integrate my feminine. I learned to embrace my softer side. The part of me that wants to wear pink. The part that is willing to be vulnerable. The part of me that can hold things with so much more compassion.

It’s compassion that has helped me embrace my imperfect, very  human self. It’s compassion that has turned me from feeling unlovable (broken, damaged goods) into something beautiful + cracked + holy.

Self-compassion (and the wisdom of age) has allowed me to see my own beauty. Not the perfect, magazine kind of beauty, but the real kind. The kind that stays with you a lifetime. The kind that is your essence. Your magic.

 

*In honor of Susannah Conway’s birthday a collection of us have come together to talk about aging in empowering and beautiful ways. So honored to be part of it!

 

 

It’s time to own it.

painting_feet_550

Painting in progress

When I was in my early twenties (and just starting to paint and sell my work) I lived in Santa Barbara with my dear friend Chris. I was in a fearful place around money, my talents and my ability to make a go at a creative life. My inner critics were having a field day. I’ll never forget when Chris stopped me, looked in my eyes and said (more frustrated than I had ever heard him), “When are you going to take for granted that you’re an artist? And start creating from there? Stop trying to prove it!”

He said this in a moment of utter exasperation – probably tired of hearing my fears and self-diminishing chatter.

If he was Madonna, he probably would have said, “Darling, just fucking own it.”

And all these years later I can see it. Of course I’m an artist. Why all the drama? Why did I waste so much time trying to prove it? It’s all I’ve been doing since I was a little girl – drawing, painting, making jewelry, choreographing dance routines. How could I ever have questioned it?

And yet. We do this.

Even now, I can see that I’ve owned being an artist, but as a writer? I still need to own it.

How about you? Where in your life would owning it shift things in a profound way?

Is it your beauty?
Your talents?
Your ability to write?
Your voice?
Your ability to be a leader?
Your joy?

Take a moment and consider where in your life you need to own it.
Where have you been trying to prove your worthiness?

What if you took __________________________ for granted and started to create from there?

(Fill in the blank in the comments)