Category Archives: Inspiration

Make a list of things that make you happy.

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I posted this graphic on my Facebook page and was excited to see how many people shared it. So I decided to actually make my lists + invite you to do the same!

Let’s do this.

What do you notice?
What little adjustments can you make?
How can you honor the things that matter to you most? how can you sprinkle in more things that bring you joy?

My joy list + musings on how the lists compare



You are here to risk your heart.


Pink dahlia, photo by Andrea Scher

“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.” ~Louise Erdrich


Super-Friends Series: Laurel Bleadon-Maffei



Laurel Bleadon-Maffei, photo by Andrea Scher

Laurel helped me through one of the darkest periods of my life. She is the one I would reach out to during the times I felt most lost, when I needed reassurance and someone to guide me forward.

Her gifts as an intuitive are love-soaked and powerful – imagine getting a coaching session filled with pure unconditional love + laser beam intuition on how your path is unfolding. She starts each session calling in angels and guides… and I get full body chills + tears every time.

It was an honor to photograph her recently. I love you Laurel Bleadon-Maffei! (And if you want to see one of her “energetic updates” you can see one here)


Laurel Bleadon-Maffei, photo by Andrea Scher


Laurel Bleadon-Maffei, photo by Andrea Scher


Laurie Wagner: On listening to the sound of our own music



Laurie Wagner, photo by Andrea Scher

I’m starting a new series celebrating my Superfriends. The first is Laurie Wagner. She has been both my writing teacher and friend for more than a decade. So grateful for the way she has held space for me over the years to share my truth – both in writing and in life.


“If we follow our desire, our instincts, what we hear, what we’re hungry for, our whole earthly vibration rises. We might actually hear ourselves humming. That’s the music inside of us getting louder. That’s us tuning into our own unique and glorious frequency. The only thing we have to do is start listening and be brave enough to act on what we hear.” -Laurie Wagner, 27 Powers


If you think you’re too small to make a difference.


There was a blackout a few weeks ago in Berkeley. At first I thought it was the kids playing hide and seek near the power strip again. I grumbled my way to the plugs and turned the bright red little switch back and forth. And back and forth. Except that it never lit up red.

I got concerned when I noticed that the heat lamp for our baby tortoise Woody was off. And I wondered how long he could go without heat, being cold-blooded and all. Good thing he had buried himself under a mountain of wood chips before he went to sleep!

After putting the kids to bed I considered my next move. Too dark to read, nothing to plug in to entertain me. I savored the simplicity, the permission to crawl under the covers at 8pm and surrender to doing absolutely nothing.

The next afternoon Ben asked, “Do you know what caused the blackout?” His eyes were wide and excited.
“A squirrel!” he said. “He bit through the electric wires. 45,000 people didn’t have any power. Just a tiny little squirrel did that!”
“Did he survive?” I asked.
“No. He blew up,” Ben said with a nervous grin.

I considered the squirrel. What did his squirrel friends think?

“Larry! Always getting himself into trouble.”
“I told him not to chew the wires!”
“Did you hear what happened to Larry? He went out in a blaze of glory!”

It reminds me of a quote by the Dalai Lama: 

“If you think you’re too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”

And I’m not sure why I’m telling you all this. Maybe because I can feel how we are all connected. How that squirrel’s life and our own was somehow in his tiny little hands.


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


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.


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.


“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.


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? 


Wish tree in Portland



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Was delighted to find the sister tree to my wish tree in Portland, Oregon. Nicole Morantz created it after she saw mine… it thrilled me to come across hers!

Put this on repeat. Get ready for the full body chills. (Kinder by Copper Wimmin)

Push play when you need a dose of self-compassion.

Art Before Breakfast: An interview with Danny Gregory

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DANNY GREGORY is the author of seven books, including A Kiss Before You Go: an illustrated memoir of love and loss, An Illustrated Life, The Creative License: Giving Yourself Permission to be the Artist You Truly Are, and Everyday Matters: a memoir. Tens of thousands of creative aspirants regularly visit his weblog, He has created illustrations for numerous books and publications and is Managing Partner and Executive Creative Director of a global ad agency. Danny lives in Greenwich Village with his miniature long-haired dachshunds, Tim and Joe.
You can pre-order Danny’s book here!