Category Archives: Good things

Turn on the f*cking faucet

Voice messages: My Grandfather’s Blessings

If you could come over to my house right now, I’d make you a pot of tea and read to you from my favorite book in the world – My Grandfather’s Blessings. Let’s pretend.

Gate C22 a poem by Ellen Bass

 

Gate C22

At gate C22 in the Portland airport
a man in a broad-band leather hat kissed
a woman arriving from Orange County.
They kissed and kissed and kissed. Long after
the other passengers clicked the handles of their carry-ons
and wheeled briskly toward short-term parking,
the couple stood there, arms wrapped around each other
like he’d just staggered off the boat at Ellis Island,
like she’d been released at last from ICU, snapped
out of a coma, survived bone cancer, made it down
from Annapurna in only the clothes she was wearing.

Neither of them was young. His beard was gray.
She carried a few extra pounds you could imagine
her saying she had to lose. But they kissed lavish
kisses like the ocean in the early morning,
the way it gathers and swells, sucking
each rock under, swallowing it
again and again. We were all watching–
passengers waiting for the delayed flight
to San Jose, the stewardesses, the pilots,
the aproned woman icing Cinnabons, the man selling
sunglasses. We couldn’t look away. We could
taste the kisses crushed in our mouths.

But the best part was his face. When he drew back
and looked at her, his smile soft with wonder, almost
as though he were a mother still open from giving birth,
as your mother must have looked at you, no matter
what happened after–if she beat you or left you or
you’re lonely now–you once lay there, the vernix
not yet wiped off, and someone gazed at you
as if you were the first sunrise seen from the Earth.
The whole wing of the airport hushed,
all of us trying to slip into that woman’s middle-aged body,
her plaid Bermuda shorts, sleeveless blouse, glasses,
little gold hoop earrings, tilting our heads up.

-Ellen Bass

 

Voice Memos: On Setting Boundaries

Some thoughts on the wobbly practice of setting boundaries. Give a listen and share your thoughts below!

 

 

Where You Can Get It: a poem by Maya Stein

 

where you can get it

A fire pit in Glenwood. Leftovers in Lincoln. A bike trail. A blueberry.
A tray of watercolors. A full moon. The bear hug from a kindred friend.
An offer of help. The road to Loveland. A cup of ice. A grin from Jerry.
Sawyer’s red hair. Clara’s fire-breathing dragon. The last poem at the end
of the day. Vacancy at the campground. The sighting of herons. The words
“Come in.” An old highway that takes you through a small town. A kitchen chair.
When someone understands you perfectly. A piece of pie cut into thirds. 

When it comes, tuck yourself into this brief and tender home. Lean into the air
of it, the permission slip, the romance of a moment’s sweet caress.
Grab more fistfuls of these tiny stars. You need more light, not less.

-Maya Stein

*For a backlog of 10-line Tuesdays, go here.  Or to follow Maya + Amy’s month-long tandem bike ride adventure from Boulder, Colorado to Beloit, Wisconsin you can go here.

 

 

Magic hour beauty + a new workshop in October!

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One of unexpected highlights of the retreat I lead with Laurie last week was the Magic Hour Photo Club. It was meant to be pretty low-key – I knew I’d want to be taking photographs at that hour and thought if anyone wanted to join me we could talk shop about geeky camera stuff. But nearly everyone arrived! and without any special lesson prepared I decided to share what I do best – demonstrate a typical portrait session.

This is where the fun began.

I asked someone to model and showed what I do to direct them – the silly things I say and do to get the person to laugh or to get something real + tender to come through.

For the person in the “hot seat” it was intense. Imagine 20 women with their cameras trained on you. So vulnerable. Except now imagine the most kind + generous paparazzi in the Universe. This paparazzi cheers and shouts things like, Look how beautiful she is! Look at the light coming through her hair! Oh my gosh, look at her smile! She’s glowing. And her eyes… Real. Authentic. An exuberant reflecting back of what we were seeing.

The effect this had on the subject was stunning. I watched each woman come alive. Rise up in the swell of support + genuine kindness. We saw each other with the kindest eyes. The eyes of mothers. The eyes of sisters. The eyes of friends.

I couldn’t help but feel like it was pure soul work we were doing together. Healing through art. Healing through love + connection. Healing through allowing others to see you. It was just some of the unexpected medicine of this retreat.

But the best part? The medicine didn’t end there.

The medicine was in the way we sat in a circle listening to each others’ writing and stories. It was everyone being in bathing suits in the pool together, even though many of us hadn’t put on a bikini in years. The medicine was in the way we painted on paper, watching the colors bleed together in a joyous brew. It happened when we danced and sweat during Nia class. It happened when we felt shy and sat down at a table full of new people to eat lunch. The medicine was in the beautiful food and the wine and the stories and the laughter. The medicine was in each of us, for each other.

If you see these photos + some part of your heart is whispering, I wish I could have been there! then please join us for our next retreat in October! We’ll be doing more portraits for sure. More details below.

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Opening the Creative Channel: October 10th-12th, 2014 in the Bay Area

Opening the Creative Channel is a gathering of kindred spirits who will share stories, gorgeous food + creative exercises. We’ll write, we’ll pull out cameras and pens, we’ll put words to paper, play with color and even take a field trip, all in the service of opening the creative channel and waking up our intuition so we can hear the sound of our own music. Only 20 lucky peeps!

I’ll be collaborating with my dear friend and writing teacher, Laurie Wagner. Besides being a great teacher, Laurie is also a coach, author of 7 books, a mixed media artist and a mother of two. She is also one of the kindest + wisest people I know. It will be love at first sight, promise.

Here are the details:

When: October 10th- October 12th, 2014 Saturday and Sunday
9:30-4:30pm each day.
Bonus: Friday evening we’ll meet up in for an opening circle + tea + cookies

Where: Laurie Wagner’s gorgeous home in Alameda, CA (close to SF + Oakland) See photo above…Doesn’t it make you want to pull up a chair and a make a friend?

What: A gathering of kindred spirits for sharing stories, gorgeous food, and creative exercises.  We’ll write, we’ll pull out cameras and pens, we’ll put words on paper, play with color and take a field trip to a magical place, all in the service of awakening our intuition and our joy.

Easy Peasy: No previous experience or expertise required. We are not here to create brilliant art. This workshop is about opening ourselves to the creative channel that lives inside each of us, and which, when we tune into it, allows us to hear the sound of our own music, find our authentic words and ultimately be free to live with more creativity, intuition and joy. You just need to bring an open heart + a willingness to share.

Your guides: Andrea Scher + Laurie Wagner

Who: Only 20 lucky peeps! Register now!

Cost: $475 This includes Friday evening + all day Saturday and Sunday. Catered lunch is provided + all the coffee, tea + snacks your heart desires. Plus, 20 of the most lovely humans you just met!

Why: Because we’re so much more alive when we’re turned to the channel of our own intuitive magic. To connect with other women in a fun, cozy and creative environment.

Refund Policy: The bottom line is we want to play with YOU! If it turns out your plans change, please know that your ticket is non-refundable, but you can always transfer it to a friend.

Where to stay? Any hotel in SF, Oakland or Alameda will be great. We’re happy to send over some suggestions.

We promise: Deep connection, creative play + lots of laughter. We hope to have you!

 

To register for the weekend of October 10th – 12th, click the Register button below!

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et’s hang out in real life!

I’m beyond thrilled to announce a LIVE in-person workshop coming up in October!

Opening the Creative Channel is a gathering of kindred spirits who will share stories, gorgeous food + creative exercises. We’ll write, we’ll pull out cameras and pens, we’ll put words to paper, play with color and even take a field trip, all in the service of opening the creative channel and waking up our intuition so we can hear the sound of our own music. Only 20 lucky peeps!

I’ll be collaborating with my dear friend and writing teacher, Laurie Wagner. Besides being a great teacher, Laurie is also a coach, author of 7 books, a mixed media artist and a mother of two. She is also one of the kindest + wisest people I know. It will be love at first sight, promise.

Here are the details:

When: October 4th- October 6th, 2013 October 11th -13th  Saturday and Sunday
9:30-4:30pm each day.
Bonus: Friday evening we’ll meet up in for an opening circle + tea + cookies

Where: Laurie Wagner’s gorgeous home in Alameda, CA (close to SF + Oakland) See photo above…Doesn’t it make you want to pull up a chair and a make a friend?

What: A gathering of kindred spirits for sharing stories, gorgeous food, and creative exercises.  We’ll write, we’ll pull out cameras and pens, we’ll put words on paper, play with color and take a field trip to a magical place, all in the service of awakening our intuition and our joy.

Easy Peasy: No previous experience or expertise required. We are not here to create brilliant art. This workshop is about opening ourselves to the creative channel that lives inside each of us, and which, when we tune into it, allows us to hear the sound of our own music, find our authentic words and ultimately be free to live with more creativity, intuition and joy. You just need to bring an open heart + a willingness to share.

Your guides: Andrea Scher + Laurie Wagner

Who: Only 20 lucky peeps! Register now!

Cost: $450 This includes Friday evening + all day Saturday and Sunday. Catered lunch is provided + all the coffee, tea + snacks your heart desires. Plus, 20 of the most lovely humans you just met!

Why: Because we’re so much more alive when we’re turned to the channel of our own intuitive magic. To connect with other women in a fun, cozy and creative environment.

Refund Policy: The bottom line is we want to play with YOU! If it turns out your plans change, please know that your ticket is non-refundable, but you can always transfer it to a friend.

Where to stay? Any hotel in SF, Oakland or Alameda will be great. We’re happy to send over some suggestions.

We promise: Deep connection, creative play + lots of laughter. We hope to have you!

– See more at: http://www.superherolife.com/2013/03/lets-retreat-october-4th-6th-2013-2/#sthash.5yqkasMG.dpuf

et’s hang out in real life!

I’m beyond thrilled to announce a LIVE in-person workshop coming up in October!

Opening the Creative Channel is a gathering of kindred spirits who will share stories, gorgeous food + creative exercises. We’ll write, we’ll pull out cameras and pens, we’ll put words to paper, play with color and even take a field trip, all in the service of opening the creative channel and waking up our intuition so we can hear the sound of our own music. Only 20 lucky peeps!

I’ll be collaborating with my dear friend and writing teacher, Laurie Wagner. Besides being a great teacher, Laurie is also a coach, author of 7 books, a mixed media artist and a mother of two. She is also one of the kindest + wisest people I know. It will be love at first sight, promise.

Here are the details:

When: October 4th- October 6th, 2013 October 11th -13th  Saturday and Sunday
9:30-4:30pm each day.
Bonus: Friday evening we’ll meet up in for an opening circle + tea + cookies

Where: Laurie Wagner’s gorgeous home in Alameda, CA (close to SF + Oakland) See photo above…Doesn’t it make you want to pull up a chair and a make a friend?

What: A gathering of kindred spirits for sharing stories, gorgeous food, and creative exercises.  We’ll write, we’ll pull out cameras and pens, we’ll put words on paper, play with color and take a field trip to a magical place, all in the service of awakening our intuition and our joy.

Easy Peasy: No previous experience or expertise required. We are not here to create brilliant art. This workshop is about opening ourselves to the creative channel that lives inside each of us, and which, when we tune into it, allows us to hear the sound of our own music, find our authentic words and ultimately be free to live with more creativity, intuition and joy. You just need to bring an open heart + a willingness to share.

Your guides: Andrea Scher + Laurie Wagner

Who: Only 20 lucky peeps! Register now!

Cost: $450 This includes Friday evening + all day Saturday and Sunday. Catered lunch is provided + all the coffee, tea + snacks your heart desires. Plus, 20 of the most lovely humans you just met!

Why: Because we’re so much more alive when we’re turned to the channel of our own intuitive magic. To connect with other women in a fun, cozy and creative environment.

Refund Policy: The bottom line is we want to play with YOU! If it turns out your plans change, please know that your ticket is non-refundable, but you can always transfer it to a friend.

Where to stay? Any hotel in SF, Oakland or Alameda will be great. We’re happy to send over some suggestions.

We promise: Deep connection, creative play + lots of laughter. We hope to have you!

– See more at: http://www.superherolife.com/2013/03/lets-retreat-october-4th-6th-2013-2/#sthash.5yqkasMG.dpuf

 

Beauty matters. Color matters.

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The amazing table. These people know how to cook.

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The gorgeous Honey at the table.

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Paper lanterns always makes it.

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Rachel Cole, doing her six words

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The color of radishes always blows me away.

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Cheese, olives, beets, oh my.

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The birthday wish over the most glorious pie.

One of the ways I consider myself lucky is that my friends love food. And they know how to cook it! They also know how to set a beautiful table.

This was a birthday celebration for our friend Kathryn in a magical garden in Oakland.  As I look over the photos today, I can see so clearly how beauty matters. How color makes a difference. How there is a unique kind of life force in everything on that table. And I love being able to capture it with my camera. Love being able to see where I’ve been so many days later. Love seeing the beauty in my life reflected back to me. It’s my very best gratitude practice.

 

P.S. The Collecting Color course starts again tomorrow, June 2nd! Please join us!

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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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