Category Archives: Good things

On being seen + feeling hungry for what’s true.

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Photo of Andrea Scher by In Her Image Photography

When the photos came through I held my breath. I feel so good in my body these days, happy with how I look most of the time. But being photographed? That was going to be a whole new layer of acceptance. Kind of like wearing a bikini.

Being seen is vulnerable.

Every single client I have ever photographed tells me the same thing: “I really don’t like getting my photo taken… “ And I always reply, “You and me both! Nobody likes this! But I promise to make it fun.”

Being on the other side of the camera, I had immediate compassion for my clients. Holy moly. Being seen can feel so scary! I noticed how I wanted to be a good client, how I wanted them to like me, how I was hoping they thought I was beautiful. I noticed the moments I was putting on a show and the times when I just felt like myself. I noticed what helped me get back in my skin + back in my body.

Movement is key.

If I sat in a pose too long I started to feel frozen, stiff and unsure. I think that’s why the above photo worked so well  – I was whipping my hair back and forth which was making me giggle. And there you go – something real and true.

I suppose that’s what I’m always searching for in my writing, in my photography and in my relationships. I’m feeling my way in the dark for something true.

What are the words that say it best?
What honors the experience I am actually having in the world?
What friends make me feel most like myself?
What makes me feel aligned with my spirit?
Where is the resonance?

That’s what I’m hungry for these days. And this is where I’m finding it.

Connecting deeply with friends.
Taking photos + capturing the beauty around me.
Riding my bicycle.
Going to my edges + watching myself grow.
Yoga.

If you are also hungry for what’s true, consider working with me soon!

1. Grab one of the last two spots open in the Opening the Creative Channel Retreat in Calistoga, June 8th-12th, 2014.
2. My photography course that’s all about collecting color. Will change the way you see the world! Starts June 2nd, 2014.
3. Hire me for a Bay Area portrait session or a Supersonic Session. (Just email me at superherosf@gmail.com)

 

 

Mudita. The practice of sympathetic joy.

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It’s easy to practice sympathetic joy with these two characters.

I was feeling blue the other day and logged onto Facebook. (Usually a terrible idea) But the first thing I came across was a posting from a friend in Los Angeles. “I don’t usually toot my own horn,” he said, “but I just won Teacher of the Year at my school!” I went on to watch the short video celebrating him and my heart swelled.

I immediately started a new thread:

I love it when people toot their own horn. My friends don’t do it enough! Tell me one thing you are proud of right now. Toot people! Toot!”

I watched as dozens of people share their victories: “I got an article published in the Huffington Post! I’m having my first art show in SOHO tonight! I got through another day. I’m home alone with two puking kids and I’m rocking it. I kicked cancer…” The whole range was there. And with each reply, my heart felt more and more full, a genuine joy moving through me.

And I remembered that there is a name for this – Mudita. Or sympathetic joy. The genuine pleasure you get from celebrating others. The deep joy that finds you when someone you love is happy. The vicarious joy you experience when someone shares a story about something great in their life.

It also reminded me of something important – that my heart is good. That my heart wants to celebrate others and to feel joy.  That my most natural inclination is actually toward well-being- both for myself and others. In a world where we are prone to not-enoughness- where we can go on Facebook and feel triggered, jealous, inferior… it was so good to allow the successes of others to buoy me, to literally pull me out of a dark place.

Their lights shining actually allowed me to find mine.

So I’ll put it out here as well. What are you proud of right now? Toot people! Toot!

 

 

 

 

This is what the ladies are sayin.

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Collecting Color starts again June 2nd. Please join us!

Dear Superheroes,

This is possibly the best photography class I have ever created! Spending the last few months in the practice of color collecting was a life changer for me. I promise it will permanently shift how you see your world too.

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Here’s what the ladies are saying!

“This class is a great little nudge that says: get out of your comfort zone, get out of the house, go hunting for color, go look for joy! We so often overlook the things that could make us smile every day and spark our creative self. This course is a great reminder that beauty and color surround us … sometimes you just have to look a little harder, but it is there. I will sign up again and again!”  -Allison Murray

“I love how I’m seeing ordinary things in extraordinary ways these days. All of a sudden anything and everything is a potential photo opportunity. COLOR is everywhere. I’m grateful for each lesson and what they bring out of me and my lens. I enjoy the quiet time I allow myself each day to explore. I’m amazed at how anything can be beautiful.” -Karen Iturralde

“This class has heightened my senses in the world by 100 percent. I have learned that no matter where you live, what the weather is like…color and beauty abounds if we engage actively in it. It energizes me, fills me with joy and wonder….and in turn I share it with the world via my pictures. It is a awesome way to stay connected.” -Kathleen Warner

“The treasure hunt has helped me get out of my head. That sounds funny to say, but I spend too much time worrying and stressing about things that really only happen in my head. Paying attention to the things around me and focusing on color has not only helped me see the world differently but also see MY world differently – in a more positive and vibrant way. Every time I look through the group’s photos I’m reminded of that feeling.” -Carrie Jesse

“I am now able to go out into the world and look with fresh eyes.  I see play, nature, joy, colors, and my own power and courage in the photos. I also use them as gratitude images. This practice anchors me to myself. – Katharine

“Loving the course! I’m treating it like a colorful gratitude practice. The prompts are the perfect daily nudge to help me take a closer look and be wowed by the beauty that’s absolutely everywhere. Thank you for helping me re-imagine my relationship with photography in such a yummy way.” – Lisa Bourdon

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The whole Mother’s Day enchilada

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Last night Ben gave me my mother’s day card early. He was so excited he couldn’t wait! which totally charmed me. When I gave him a big hug and thanked him, Nico started to sob. Like big, crocodile tears sob. And then he sputtered,  “BEN DIDN’T GIVE ME A MOTHER’S DAY CARD!” and sobbed some more.

“I have a surprise for you Nico!” I exclaimed and RAN to our back studio where I scribbled, Happy Mother’s Day Nico! Love, Mama on a piece of watercolor paper.
“Close your eyes and hold out your hands!” I told him.
And when I lay the card in his tiny palms he looked genuinely pleased.

And then Ben started to cry from the couch. “You didn’t give ME a Mother’s Day card and you got one for NICO!!”
Oy vey. Back to the studio.
Happy Mother’s Day Ben! Love, Mama

And when I gave him the card he looked happy for a split second and then he wrinkled his brow, “You just gave this to me because I got mad!” and started crying again.

This whole scene - comical, tragic, annoying, heartwarming, irrational, hilarious- somehow illustrates motherhood at this stage so well.

You don’t get to pick and choose. You’ve got to take the whole enchilada. The whole crazy package.

Happy Mother’s day everyone! Love, Andrea

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A Love List: What your mom really wants for Mother’s Day.

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Laurie listening to Ellen

Even though it’s a year later, I wanted to share this story again.

Last year I went to a birthday party for my dear friend Laurie. She had been going through some big life changes + we wanted to gift her something really special and from the heart. Sherry suggested we all make her a Love List.

A Love List is pretty simple.

1. Write down 10 things you love about this person.
2. Tell them what you admire about them, what you appreciate, why they inspire you.
3. Read it to them in person, over the phone, or put a stamp on it and send it off with love.

As I wrote my love list for Laurie, I was filled with gratitude. There was so much to love about her! and I felt so lucky to be counted as one of her dear ones.

She didn’t know we wrote these lists. We surprised her by reading them out loud, one by one after dinner, and watched the tears fall from her cheeks. She received each gift so beautifully… and we were all a puddle by the end. It was a gift to all of us.

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Lara and Sherry and Laurie

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Laurie and Lara

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Me reading to Laurie

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Me and Laurie

These photos + this night still move me.

And my greatest wish is that there will be more love lists made this year! It requires a teensy bit of vulnerability, but that’s what makes it all the sweeter.

P.S. To make it even easier for you, Sherry created a beautiful 10-pack of love list templates so you can create your own love lists easy peasy. Just $10 over at her shop.

 

 

Serious color collecting happening over here.

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Spools of thread at the dry cleaners, Berkeley, CA

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Grocery crates, Berkeley, CA

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Spools of thread at the dry cleaners, Berkeley, CA

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Vivienne McMaster, Berkeley, CA

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Field trip to the dry cleaners, Berkeley, CA

This is quite possibly my favorite class I have ever created! We are just starting week 2 of the Treasure Hunt: Collecting Color e-course. If you want to jump in, you are welcome to join in!

 

How I earned my white belt in desire.

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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.

 

 

Brand new course! Treasure Hunt: Collecting Color

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So excited to bring you a brand new e-course! That’s all about collecting color + bringing more joy into your life. Color makes us feel alive. And if we attune our eyes to color, we find it everywhere. More details below!

Let’s go on a treasure hunt!

Remember how much you loved treasure hunts as a kid? We’re bringing the joy of that time back. Further your creative practice with photography, get a spark of inspiration directly in your inbox each day and share the spoils of your hunts in an encouraging Flickr community for other treasure seekers.

Starting March 17th, 2014 we will spend 30 days living in full color. You can register here! (Just $49 dollars)

You will get:

  • A creative photo prompt each day
  • Creative musings & photo tips by Andrea to inspire your work
  • A warm, encouraging community space on Flickr to share your work and support your fellow treasure seekers! (I will be popping in there each day to view your work and support your practice)

Benefits of treasure seeking:

  • Jumpstart your creativity or add a new spark to your existing practice
  • Come away with a collection of creative images illustrating your life right now
  • A gratitude practice using your camera as a tool + beauty as your lens
  • A whole month of drinking in everyday beauty
  • Inspiring photos taken with your camera phone or whatever camera you love most

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

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“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.

Day-glo pink, gold + tangerine

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My painting in process

I like drawing, the feeling of the line that pours out of a wet paintbrush, black and inky.

I like day-glo pink against tangerine, with maybe a splash of turquoise, just the right shade.

I don’t like misspelled words.

I like the stars in a black sky in the country and the electric buzz of insects. I like the curve of Nico’s ear and the plumpness of his thighs.

I like extra virgin olive oil eyes and freckles sprinkled like glitter on cheeks.

I like my new pants- soft + squishy like sweats, but still stylish enough for these parts.

I like the magic hour and how the light looks just after a rain. When there are charcoal clouds in the sky and a burst of sunshine spills through. I like the streaks of pink and grey in the sky that hang over Monterey Market at night.

I like listening to (+ singing) that song from Frozen, Human, really loud in the car by myself.

I like being in the car with my boys and pulling up to our house but not turning off the radio- all of us rapt, making a silent agreement that you don’t turn off a good song even if you have arrived at your destination.

I like the ritual of vacuuming the house and setting the chairs out on Thursday mornings before writing class. I like setting out the mugs for tea, burning the sage and saying a special blessing to prepare the space.

I like painting on Wednesday nights with Mati and noticing how girly I’ve become in my art making – flowers, gold doilies, hot pink and polka dots.

I like the way I have softened over the last year, how I am learning to take in the love coming my way; how I am learning, slowly, how to allow more and more love to move through me.