Category Archives: Interviews

My money memoir

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Dear Superheroes,

I’ve just bared my soul about something tremendously personal: money!

It’s part of the Money Memoirs Series: a free, month-long gathering for healing and truth-telling about money, hosted by my dear friend and colleague, Bari Tessler Linden. Bari is a financial therapist who leads a year-long global money school, The Art of Money.

For the entire month of October, Bari has invited some of her favorite people to share the tender truth about their own money stories. We’re bringing our money stories out into the light. To spread a message of healing, un-shaming, and love, and to create a sacred doorway into the opening of her year long Art of Money program, which will happen in the middle of the Money Memoirs month.

Click through to Bari’s blog to hear my Money Memoir: my triumphs and challenges, how money has affected my relationships and career, and what I’ve learned from it all.

I hope hearing my story will inspire your own honest and loving un-shaming about money. And, I hope you’ll join me in celebrating everyone who shares their stories with Bari, the entire month of October. Please join us for this intimate gathering as we bring healing, humanity, and empowerment to our money relationships. Click right this way to hear my Money Memoir.

What’s up with the green smoothies? A cleanse + interview with health coach, Lacy Young

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Hey Superheroes,

We are doing something special this week!

If you’ve been following me on Facebook, you might know that I recently got a Vitamix. I’ve become a convert! and I’m starting to understand this whole green smoothie craze.

In an effort to understand the health benefits of all this talk about drinking our veggies, I called upon Lacy Young – a friend and wellness coach- to give us the full scoop. I hope you enjoy this series! I’ll be blending right along with you. XO Andrea

 

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Sweet + Gentle Smoothie Cleanse: the What, When, Why and How

Hi! It’s so nice to meet you! I’m Lacy Young.

I’m a health coach and the creator of the Campaign for Confidence. I grew up a mac + cheese eating, steak + potato loving, Betty Crocker cake baking kid! Loved every second of it. Fruit appeared in the form of fruit roll-ups. And veggies? Well, I would eat a salad every once in awhile if it were properly blanketed in ranch dressing!

My journey to health began as many do after profound sickness. My sickness had a big fancy name, Idiopathic Subglottic Stenosis aka suffocating scar tissue forming in my trachea. After 7 surgeries, countless pharmaceuticals (UGH Prednisone!), fifty extra pounds and deep sadness I began to return home to myself through whole foods.

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I literally started at square one. What’s a green? Why do I care? How do I make it NOT taste like fresh mowed grass?

As I discovered the answers to these questions and practiced a new way of eating, my life transformed so dramatically that I became a health coach + now support others on their journey to health! The magic of health coaching is that it’s about meeting you wherever you are and offering gentle, loving support, accountability + tools to reach your goals.

Your body is communicating with you all the time and cleansing is a wonderful way to tap into your body wisdom! I hope you’ll consider joining us on this 3-day smoothie cleanse! I’m so thrilled to be here with you!

To your whole health + happiness,
Lacy

What: Recipes, support and schedule for a FREE 3-day green smoothie cleanse.

When Is the Cleanse:
Anytime you want!

Why Cleanse:
This cleanse is designed to gently detoxify and keep your body cool this summer. This is NOT a starvation diet, and while you will be cutting out processed foods, white sugar and white flour, you will get to enjoy three healthy meals each day and snacks if you need. Rather than focusing on what you are leaving out, you’ll be focusing on all the goodness you are bringing in!

We all have toxic accumulations in our systems. They come from our food, skincare products and the environment (pesticides, chemicals, etc.). Accumulated toxins block our bodily channels and decrease the functioning of all of our systems, leading to varying symptoms and dis-ease. Really, all symptoms and disease are the result of toxins, but some of the earlier warning signs are:
● Digestive disturbances (gas, bloating, heartburn)
● Irregular bowel movements (constipation, diarrhea, mucous in stools)
● Feeling tired and sluggish
● Insomnia
● Bad breath
● Foul body odor
● Allergies
● Constipation
● Frequent colds and coughs
● Headaches
● Stress
● Dull or itchy skin, or skin rashes
● PMS symptoms (water retention, breast swelling, breast tenderness)
● Cold hands and/or feet
● Poor sleep
● Lowered immunity
● Depression and/or anxiety

How a Green Smoothie Cleanse Can Benefit You:
There are a lot of benefits to a green smoothie cleanse!

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Green smoothies are a REALLY easy way to get tons of nutrition-packed greens into your belly. Leafy greens are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and amino acids that are essential in keeping all of our bodily processes functioning smoothly.

When you mix food together outside of your belly, it is much easier to digest inside of your belly. This gives your digestive system a bit of a break. Eating this way for a few days in a row allows for a RE-SET!

You’ll be focusing specifically on green smoothies! Greens are the single most balancing food on the planet. I call them the ultimate Re-Set Button! Cleansing gives you a break on digestion and helps to ease any disturbances. We could all use a little more ease in life, yes? YES!

Your elimination may seem a little off when you start the cleanse because your body is working on processing toxic accumulations, but it should balance out by the end. With improved elimination comes clearer skin, better sleep and loss of excess weight. WAHOO!

Because green smoothies provide all the nourishment you need in an easy-to-digest form, your body can easily absorb and assimilate nutrients providing you with increased energy and vitality. The Sweet & Gentle Summer Smoothie Cleanse is a chance for you to reduce food cravings and help you develop healthier eating patterns! Stay tuned for the cleanse schedule + recipes tomorrow!

It’s so very nice to meet you!
Lacy

This one’s especially for the mamas.

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Hey Superhero Mamas!

This one’s especially for you.

If you feel overwhelmed and exhausted (hello, all of us!) and you are aching to live your dreams while still rocking it as a parent, I have a treat for you.

The (Free!) Radiant Mama Telesummit

Mama and fellow visionary Amber Kuileimailani Bonnici is hosting The Radiant Mama Telesummit~ Ignite Your Passion and Purpose to Create the Life you Desire. Sign up here!

Starting August 19th, I’ll be joining 27 other women authors, speakers and coaches sharing tips, advice and inspiration to help moms move out of Supermom into a life of more happiness and joy… 28 days focused on YOU.

My interview airs on Wednesday August 28th at 9:00a PST.  But sign up for the summit and you will get to hear all of the speakers.

With love,

Andrea Scher

Creative Superheroes Interview: Matthea Harvey

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The first time I heard about Cecil was over 10 years ago. My friend Matthea, who was visiting from NYC, told me she planned to write a children’s book about a little girl with a pet glacier named Cecil. I was captivated and continued to pester her about Cecil over the years that followed. Have you written the story about Cecil yet? This character captured my imagination long before the story was written and the book itself is even more wonderful than I could have imagined!

Matthea is a poet in every sense of the word.

She has published several books, teaches at Sarah Lawrence, has published poems in the New Yorker, but also in the way she lives her life. For example, Matthea’s wish when she got married was to have a striped dress, a striped cake and have topiaries all around the wedding site. For Halloween one year, she dressed as a bruise. Her cat is named Wednesday.

See what I mean? Her life is poetry. She is one of the most brilliant humans I know, and she is also one of the kindest. I love Matthea and I am a huge fan of Cecil the Pet Glacier. You will love them both too!

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What is your superpower?

Making dogs in the city stop and pull their owners towards me. This is a very useful skill since I love petting people’s dogs! Also, making robots out of things I find on the street.

What are your obsessions and how do they make their way into your creative work?

If you look at my children’s books and photographs, apparently I’m obsessed with ice. I wrote Cecil the Pet Glacier (illustrated by Giselle Potter), then The Little General and the Giant Snowflake (illustrated by Elizabeth Zechel) and for years I’ve been freezing miniatures in ice cubes and photographing them, but it was only last year that I noticed those connections.

Often it’s the reverse of how you framed the question—my obsessions make their way in sneakily from my creative work into my life! I’ll write a poem about something (say, robots or mermaids) and then those things come into my life, so it’s almost the reverse. After I wrote “The Straightforward Mermaid”, I was invited to go to the first international mermaid conference in Las Vegas, so I found myself at a pool party with lots of people wearing tails!

Other things I’m obsessed with: graphic novels, my cat, silhouettes and most recently, embroidery. I wrote the text for a soundwalk, Telettrofono, and in it one of the characters, Esterre Meucci, was sewing handkerchiefs, so I started embroidering what I thought she would embroider (real and invented patents by her husband, like a wave metronome or a bone xylophone).

What are the top 5 things you’ve learned so far as a creative entrepreneur?

1. If you love someone’s work, tell them. I dithered for about a year before I contacted Amy Jean Porter to see if she would do paintings for my book of erasure poetry, Of Lamb, and she’s now a dear friend and collaborator.

2. Do projects you love even if you they don’t make you any money.
3. Sometimes you have to say no to protect your time—I’m still working on this one.
4. If an artist or musician you respect asks to use your work, say yes! Ani Simon-Kennedy made this film inspired by my poem “The Straightforward Mermaid” and I adore it!
5. When writing or making things isn’t going well, go to a museum, walk around the city or get into bed with a book.

Tell us about a time when you had to practice courage.

This is something I have to do every day. Right now I’m finishing a book of poems, titled If the Tabloids are True, What are You? In it I combine text and image in a number of ways (photographs as titles, silhouettes as illustrations)… It’s scary to put myself out into the world as an artist as well as a writer, but I’m about to make the plunge! Joseph Quintela offered to make me a dress out of my book, Of Lamb, and I was both terrified and excited by the prospect (I usually wear all black and I don’t like being photographed). I screwed up all my courage, and said “yes.” He and Gabriel Don (who took photographs), came over, we drank some wine, and the result can be seen above! I’m so glad I said yes.

I believe that vulnerability is a superpower. Tell us a story about how embracing your vulnerability. What were the gifts on the other side?

I recently discovered that a children’s book that shaped who I am today (Fantastic Toys by Monika Beisner) was written by a school friend of my mother’s in Germany, so I was able to get her address—I used to lie in bed at night deciding whether I’d rather have wings, a glowing teddy bear or a heated sheep toboggan. I wrote her an effusive fan letter and sent her my recent books. When she wrote back to me I felt completely starstruck. She sent me her phone number and after a lot of deep breathing and battling of shyness, I called her and we had the most wonderful conversation.

What are a few things people wouldn’t know by looking at you?

That’s hard to say—I feel pretty transparent. Let’s see…I dislike the adjectives “quirky” and “whimsical” because they seem to only ever be used to describe work by women and gay men. Also, it might not be apparent that I’m a huge tennis fan or that I recently watched all the episodes of Torchwood. In one the first episodes, you meet “the last human being” and she’s had so much plastic surgery that she’s basically a pink trampoline with eyes and a mouth.

What did you believe as a kid that you no longer believe?

That I could shrink things with my eyes.

What is your current mantra? Tell us about the last time you used it.

In the midst of writing a series of poems called “The Future of Terror,” this line appeared: “I invented / a motto for myself: Never Say Mayday / While There’s Still Marzipan.” The other day was National Marzipan Day, so I thought of it then!

matthea_dress_300Matthea Harvey is the author of four books of poetry, most recently, Of Lamb (an illustrated erasure with Amy Jean Porter), and Modern Life, as well as a fable for children and adults, The Little General and the Giant Snowflake, illustrated by Elizabeth Zechel and a picture book, Cecil the Pet Glacier, illustrated by Giselle Potter. She teaches poetry at Sarah Lawrence and lives in Brooklyn with her husband and Wednesday the cat.

 

Creative Superheroes Interview: Danny Gregory

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Dear Superheroes,

I’m delighted to introduce our next Creative Superhero, Danny Gregory! He is the author of several books, including Everyday Matters, The Creative License and a brand new illustrated memoir, A Kiss Before You Go.

I met Danny years ago and was an instant fan when I picked up Everyday Matters. His work is breathtaking. When he came to visit SF in 2004, I took him to the most California style event I could think of – a chakra healing at Psychic Horizons. We had great fun there! and spent the rest of the day sitting on stoops and drawing beautiful old Victorians. Danny has a way of making art a beautiful and accessible practice. Enjoy this interview!

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What is your superpower?

I guess it’s the power to make things.

I feel compelled to fill my days with making all kind of things — drawings, books, ice cream, films, reservations — and to investigating ways to make other things. If I spend time just sitting at my computer, it’s because I’m trying to figure out how to light something or how to mix staining watercolors or how to cut PVC piping or cook delicious brussels sprouts.

I think this power has led me to my other power — helping make other people make things. People can be so scared of discovering their creativity, of making mistakes, of not having talent, and one of the main focuses of my own creative efforts has been books and films and blogposts and such that show people that it’s really just fun and that they should give it a try.  My ultimate gift to them is helping them develop the habit of creativity because you need to keep at it to build your creative muscles, at which point it really becomes awesome.

My arch enemy: that demon that sits in every person’s skull and works to convince us to give up before we start. And, ironically, convincing you that you suck takes a fair amount of creativity in and of itself.

What are your obsessions? and how do they make their way into your creative work?

I love diaries and journals. I love sepia ink and copperplate calligraphy and inkwells and fountain pens. I love debossed type and engravings and chunky handmade paper. I love leather book bindings and libraries with ladders and card catalogues. I love maps and diagrams and cross sections and step-by-step diagrams. I love children’s book illustrations from the 1940s with a single spot color. I love splotches and splashes and obvious evidence of error and spontaneity.

I put all of these influences into my illustrated journals, making them of the moment, yet timeless too.

What are the top 5 things you’ve learned so far as a creative entrepreneur?

I’m not really a creative entrepreneur to make money. But I am imbued with the entrepreneurial spirit when it comes to evangelizing on behalf of creativity, drawing and journaling. I feel a bit awkward and craven discussing my readers as ‘customers’ and my books and approach as  a ‘brand’ but for the sake of answering Andrea’s questions, I shall here.

1. Give away as much as you possibly can for free.   The best relationship you can have with your customer/reader/fan/ is a long term one based on trust and generosity.  So I give away ideas, lessons, advice, even the books I write. I wrote a novel and a memoir and sold them for as little as Amazon would let me, making 0¢ in profit, but getting my work out there to people who probably would have been glad to pay for it. Then, when my publisher puts out my next book, I know they will be interested in supporting me and helping me to share it with the world.

2. Get your customers to be your partners.  I solicit advice and direction from my readers all the time. I ask them to help me pick out my book jackets, to give me detailed feedback on my books. I ask them how they think I should promote my books, which magazines to send them to, how to get them out there. They feel like they are a part of my success.  And they are.

3. Turn your customers into a community.  Nine years ago I started a Yahoo! group called Everyday Matters (or EDM) and now it has four thousand members who regularly chat and share their own work.  They get together in person too, and have formed a global network of people who like to draw   Then I set up a Facebook group which now has three thousand members who post their work online every day.   Another group on Flickr has posted over 70,000 works of their art to share. I have EDM communities on YouTube and Vimeo and Twitter too. Amazingly, there is very little overlap between the membership of these groups except for their newly awakened passion for making art and sharing it with each other. That’s thousands of people who are linked together, achieving their greatest dreams, and I am lucky to be the overlap of all these circles.

4. Work hard and keep giving.  For a period, I was an inconsistent presence online and my relationships waned.  But for the past few years, I have answered all comments and details, have solicited advice, made entertaining and instructional films, hosted competitions, giveaways, events and more. I work on these things as soon as I get up in the morning, during my lunch hour, in little breaks through the day, and well into the night. I am always looking for inspirations, for ideas I can borrow, for new technology platforms I can extend to.

Writing books and running online communities is not “my job” — I am executive creative director and managing partner of an 800-person ad agency — but it is my love, and so I give it all the time I can spare.

5. Give of yourself.  I tell strangers online things about myself that my neighbors, colleagues and most of my friends don’t know.  I share my struggles, dreams and losses with them, I spill out my guts quite regularly.  And we are there for each other — they tell me about their crises, their addictions, their struggles, and I do what I can to help. And when Amazon announces that my new book is available for pre-purchase, many of them plunk down their money for a copy sight unseen. But inspiring a a forty-year-old person to start drawing for the first time since elementary school, allowing themselves to be creative, to even think of themselves in some private moment as an ‘artist’ even with a lower case a — that  isn’t about making my small share of the cover price of one of my paperbacks. It’s about feeling like I have a purpose on this planet and something to give.

Tell us about a time when you had to practice courage.

My wife died very suddenly. One minute I was at work, the next I was telling my son that his mom had been killed. Every aspect of our lives turned upside down in an instant but we had to carry on (What choice was there?)  So I don’t know if strictly speaking my response was courageous …. anyway, over the past three years, I have changed many things about my life and about how I see the world. I decided that Patti would want me to make the best of this situation, that I would turn it into a creative act rather than a submission. That’s why I  wrote my new book, to show how one can face death and trauma and turn it into an act of love and creativity.  Making art out of the my experience was a key to this survival. I looked for beauty in the everyday, just as I had when I wrote Everyday Matters, the book that chronicles how we got through Patti’s accident and subsequent paralysis fifteen years earlier by looking for the light all around us.

I believe that vulnerability is a superpower. Tell us a story about how embracing your vulnerability.  What were the gifts on the other side?

I think my journey with drawing has been all about this. For years, I allowed my inner voice to shit all over notions I might have had about being an artist or even being able to draw reasonably well. Then, by allowing myself to fail, to make crappy drawings,  and then to share those with strangers on the internet and in my books, I got over it. I still fall down a lot but I know I am capable of doing good work sometime and that keeps me going.

I am always struck by the many people who share their drawings on the Everyday Matters community, particularly those who have obviously just started and are struggling to see clearly and draw confidently, struck by their willingness to put it out there nonetheless, and struck by the generosity of all those encouraging voices that tell them it’s great and to keep going.  I think criticism can be marginally helpful at best but time and habit are the most important ingredients in developing the skill of drawing.   I believe anyone can draw and be pleased with the  results if only they’ll persevere and have fun doing it (which is why you persevere of course). If you are thwarted and discouraged before you achieve any sort of competence, it seems a real shame. So I urge people to be willing to be vulnerable and to realize that this is the source of all strength.

What are a  few things people wouldn’t know by looking at you?

That I had my second birthday in Pakistan and that we had a trained monkey and dancing bear at the party.
That I worked in a slaughter house when I was eleven.
That I was a WHite House intern.
That I once had thick flowing hair.
That I went to the ballet last night.
That I never watch professionals sports — except for boxing.
That I am a really lousy typist.

What did you believe as a kid that you no longer believe?

That my sister is an idiot.
That I should be a veterinarian when I grow up.
That marriages don’t last.
That artists starve in garrets.

What is your current mantra? Tell us about the last time you used it.

Last weekend, my beautiful girlfriend and I had just cooked amazing coq au vin for the first time, the setting sun was reflecting off the red stone of the NYU library across the street and bathing my living room in hot pinkness, my dogs were snuggled up together in a furry ball on the couch, and my phone buzzed with an email from Jack at art school with a photo of his first amazing oil painting, and I thought, “This is it. This is what it’s like. I am happy.

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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, www.dannygregory.com. 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.

Creative Superheroes Interview: Vivienne McMaster

I adore Vivienne McMaster.

Besides being an incredibly talented photographer and writer, she also has one of the best hearts you’ll ever find. She is brave and real and tells the truth about her life. She is full of color + joy. She is pure pleasure.

We first met when she moved to the Bay Area several summers ago. She answered my ad to share an art studio and I adored her from the moment I met her. I still miss our lovely photo walks and studio chats. Lucky for me, we swirl in the same circles and I get to see her a couple times a year.

It is an honor to feature her today as a creative superhero!

What is your superpower?

One of my superpowers is the ability to spread whimsy and wonder.

For the most part, we tend to need to keep our whimsy contained.  I wish we all felt wildly free to skip down a sidewalk or just stop and stare at a ray of light in awe for 5 minutes, but we have busy lives and often need to be much more ‘serious’ than we might want to.

I feel pretty grateful that in my work I get to invite people to join in creative adventures with me and to bring on the whimsy. It isn’t wimpy to be whimsical. It is a beautiful innate way of being that kids have and my superpower is helping people see that they can access that wonder anytime, at any age.

What are your obsessions? and how do they make their way into your creative work?

My Nia dance class.  Each week I show up in a room full of strangers that absolutely feel like community.  We all let our guards down and let our inner wild-and-free dancer selves out.  It completely seeps into my creative work in the way I view community and especially the place I go to both when I turn the camera on myself or towards someone else.  Embodying what Nia taught me, to be present in my body and that beautiful place of freedom I can find in both that dance class and taking self-portraits.  Where I am totally in control of the experience, but simply knowing I am in control allows me to relax into the experience and just show up.

Creative Awakenings.  Helping people discover that they are a photographer or an artist.  I truly love working with people who don’t yet believe they are creative and taking them on a playful photo adventure (be it online or in person).  I love seeing when people are proud of themselves and that absolutely drives my creative work.

Rainbows.  This has become a new obsession as they keep on appearing.  We’re knee deep in the rainy grey of winter here in Vancouver right now and it is so easy to forget the wonders of rain.  This past weekend I was walking with a friend in the rain and all of a sudden we turned a corner and there was not only a rainbow but it was also a very brief break in the clouds that brought in the most beautiful golden light that was contrasting with the blues of the unlit street.  It was like turning the corner into a magical world, into wonderland.  It was a beautiful reminder that whimsy awaits us just around the corner and that absolutely makes its way into my photo adventures.  Photography itself feels like a tool to keep open to wonder!

What are the top 5 things you’ve learned so far as a creative entrepreneur?

Be Yourself 

This has been a big lesson along the way.  There are parts of my identity and self that I keep protected, keep offline.  For a long time I felt like I had to share everything to ‘be myself’ but I’ve learned that it isn’t about spilling all the beans, its about letting your self be seen in your work.  For me that ended up being about letting my playful silly side be more seen.

Ride the Wave

Being a creative entrepreneur is a lot of showing up for yourself, for showing up in fear and vulnerability and it can be a mighty tender experience.  You’ve got to stick with the lows as well as the highs.  The lows will make your business even stronger as long as you don’t close up and run away when they happen.

Small is indeed Beautiful

I’ve learned that growing my business at the pace it is going is perfect for me.  That having smaller class sizes allows me to really connect with the participants, which is so important to me.  I’ve learned that my business is growing at exactly the right pace and while we all tend to want to something to ‘take off’ and be really successful, there is so much that is beautiful about a truly small business.

Create a Support Network

One of the best things I learned was that you don’t have to go it alone.  It makes all the difference to find one or two people who have a business that are different but who are at a similar stage in their creative business journey.

You’ve got to show up for yourself

It hasn’t been a strength of mine in the past to really show up for myself, so in a way this creative path is a total gift but a total challenge.  Its not completely a place of ease.  Parts of them are bliss, like taking photos, portraits or self-portraits, creating classes and teaching them.  But the act of putting it out there, of promoting them, of making it all happen don’t come easily to me.  I’ve got to show up in my own life and make it happen!

Tell us about a time when you had to practice courage. 

The story of how I found photography is a good example of this.

A few years ago I was robbed twice in one week and had to come face to face with the person breaking in.  While I was unharmed physically, I felt my sense of safety shattered to pieces.  It actually wasn’t in the robbery where I felt like I had to practice courage, but in the aftermath of it.  Every day after that I had to show up feeling more vulnerable than I had ever felt before.  I had to sit with my fear.

I did that daily, letting it do what it needed to do be that looking out the window 50 times before bed or double checking the lock repetitively.  I let these obsessive fears have a place in my life for a while.  I felt like I needed to rebuild that feeling of safety, even if it took looking out the window 20 times a night to make sure there was no one there.

Slowly the wall of self-protection was rebuilt and the obsessive need to guard my safety relaxed until I didn’t need to peek out the window or check the locks any more.  I’ve never had to show up in my own fear and deepest vulnerability like that, day after day.

As soon as I felt as though I made it through to the other side and I began to heal, I felt something incredible happen.  I picked up a camera and discovered my love for photography.  Having no interest in it what so ever before then, it really felt like it was a gift from the universe for getting through it and not running away from it.

What are a few things people wouldn’t know by looking at you?

That I live in a truly tiny one room apartment (like, really tiny).

That I almost always do a silly dance when I take a self-portrait

That I have a neon pink velour cape in my closet (okay, maybe they would)

That I’m rather obsessed with eating Kale almost daily

That I’m an introverted Leo

That I love running

What did you believe as a kid that you no longer believe?

Really early in my education (like grade 2) I started to believe that I wasn’t smart.  I was totally traumatized when kindergarten art and group work turned to tests, quizzes, desks in rows and ‘right answers’.  I just never felt like I could play the game and that my brain just didn’t work the same way other people’s did.  I really did believe that for most of my education.  People would tell me I was wise but I didn’t believe I was smart.

But I don’t believe that anymore.  In fact it makes a lot more sense with the work I do now as I always was smart just not within ways that were expected in traditional education.

Not believing I was academically smart has somehow lead me to a creative line of work where I do believe in myself and am committed to helping other people see their own creative wisdom.

What is your current mantra? Tell us about the last time you used it.

One of my favourite  mantra is ‘Playfulness is an anti-dote to fear’.  That the best way to get past fear is to diffuse it with some playfulness.  I use that trick on myself all the time.

The other day I was totally being attacked by my own self-doubt gremlins.  Feeling like I didn’t have something unique to say and I was quite honestly getting tired of hearing that negativity in my head and the way it made me felt.  So I took charge and attacked the gremlins with two playful techniques.  I put on my ipod with some music that chills me out and grabbed my camera and went for a walk.  It truly didn’t take much more than walking one block before I felt so much better.  There is some growing I want to do in my creative work and it is indeed scary, so I like to take my own advice when the fear gremlins attack and get playful, make a silly face into the camera.  Scare ‘em away by making myself laugh.  Fear and laughter can’t exist together, can they!

 

Vivienne McMaster is a photographer with a big heart and a spirit of playfulness.  She is part whimsical, part urban, and definitely quirky.  She teaches a wide variety of photography and video based e-courses and believes that self-portraiture and creative exploration can save our lives.  She shares colorful visual stories over at her website.

How She Really Does It!


Courage interview

So honored to be featured on the How She Really Does It radio show today! You can give a listen right here.

We talk about:

  • What courage means
  • Times when I felt like I didn’t have courage
  • How to build courage
  • Dealing with uncertainty + courage
  • Why I created the Cultivating Courage course

P.S. If it inspires you to take Cultivating Courage, I will be offering a session in the New Year. Class will begin Monday, January 14th!

Creative Superheroes Interview: Karen Walrond

photo of Karen Walrond by Justin Hackworth, justinhackworth.com

Dear Superheroes,

I’m overjoyed to introduce the newest creative superhero today, Karen Walrond! Karen and I first met at a Blogher conference back in 2006. I shyly tapped her on the shoulder and we hugged and shouted with excitement since we were both big fans of one another. She was wearing a superhero necklace and I couldn’t resist photographing her right there on the spot. Isn’t she gorgeous?

The greatest thing about Karen is she has a way of making every single person she meets feel beautiful and amazing. She sees your beauty in a way that makes you see it too. She is a generous friend and cheerleader and I feel lucky to have her in my corner.

When my new site launched, she immediately called me and screamed OH MY GOD!!!!!! DO YOU UNDERSTAND HOW BIG THIS IS???? into the phone. It made me laugh and feel so celebrated. Thank you Karen. So honored to introduce her to you today!

What is your superpower?

I can see beauty wherever I am, no matter who I’m with.  It’s the most awesome superpower to have.

What are your obsessions? and how do they make their way into your creative work?

I’m obsessed with photography and telling stories, and luckily they both are a big part of my work as an author, blogger, photographer and public speaker.  I’m also obsessed with making sure that people realize how awesome they are — and happily, I’m coming up with new and creative ways of making sure that people understand this.

What are the top 5 things you’ve learned so far as a creative entrepreneur?

1.  It’s not as easy as it looks.
2.  It requires as much time as it did when I was a corporate wonk — perhaps even more.  The good news is that I love every minute.
3.  Making a living as a creative is wonderfully fulfilling, but it also requires downtime as well.  This is one of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn, but I’m learning it.
4.  Even though I spent most of my adult life doing something else, none of that time was wasted.  It’s all fuel for my current life.
5.  Being creative – no matter in what capacity, even in jobs which might at first glance seem uncreative — is the only way to live.

Tell us about a time when you had to practice courage.

The time that most immediately comes to mind is when I quit my job as a lawyer.  It was very weird:  I had a great job, I was good at what I did, and I had a boss who respected me and my work.  To tell him that I had to leave, and it wasn’t for a better offer was a very strange and uncomfortable place to be, but it was my truth.

Happily, we’ve remained friends, and he has remained a mentor.  I’m very lucky.

What are a  few things people wouldn’t know by looking at you?

Most people wouldn’t realize that I love scuba diving, because in general, I’m a big scaredy-cat.  Most people don’t know that I speak pretty passable Spanish, and can be comfortable in any Spanish-speaking country.  Most people wouldn’t know that I’m deathly afraid of insects, snakes, feet, heights and what might be lurking under my bed at night.

What did you believe as a kid that you no longer believe?

I used to believe that my parents knew everything and were always right.  As an adult, I still think they’re smart and good people, but I’ve finally realized they’re also human, making their world the best way they can, like the rest of us.

I used to believe in little woodland people, like elves and gnomes and fairies, and that plants and trees could feel pain and joy and happiness.  I don’t believe in the woodland people anymore, but I kind of still believe it about the plants and trees.

I used to believe that I would never be the kind of perfect person that my parents wanted me to grow up to be.  Now, as a grown-up, I actually don’t care anymore, because I’m pretty okay with the person I did end up being. Happily, my parents seem okay with her too. :)

What is your current mantra? Tell us about the last time you used it.

Be grateful, do your best every day, and don’t sweat it if it isn’t perfect.   This is the latest mantra I’m working on, and it’s tough, sometimes.  But I believe it’s the secret to a joyful life, so I’m going to keep trying.

Karen Walrond is a (nonpracticing) attorney, writer, photographer, and creator of the award-winning site Chookooloonks. Karen is also the author of The Beauty of Different, a book that will convince you that the thing that makes you different might just be your superpower.  She loves dark chocolate, a good rum, and she’s wildly convinced you’re uncommonly beautiful.

Creative Superheroes Interview: Bari Tessler

Wow, you guys. We’re on a roll here. Today’s creative superhero is Bari Tessler! and I adore this woman.

I took her Conscious Bookkeeping class almost 10 years ago and she taught me so much about my relationship with money– where I hold shame and fear, the source of my “money style” and how to createa bookeeping system to match my values and spirit. I could tell she was onto something big… and I am so happy to see that she has blossomed her work into a super successful online enterprise as well.

If you have soul work to do around money (don’t we all?) she’s the one I trust. She is compassionate and gentle, wise and generous.

I saw her at WDS in July and we excitedly hugged. Then she stared at me with those pretty pale blue eyes with such love and presence that it made me cry, right there at the cocktail party.

I’m so honored to introduce you to another member of my soul tribe, Bari Tessler.

What is your superpower?

My superpower is the art of un-shaming.

We humans can shame ourselves and each other about almost anything. There’s a lot of un-doing that needs to happen here. In my professional life, I unshame through the lens of money, but it touches everything else in our lives. The art of un-shaming is about bearing witness, unconditional love, forgiveness, and moving forward. It’s about safe containers full of compassion, insight, intelligence, playfulness, creativity and big love.

Amazing things happen when we un-shame ourselves and each other.

What are your obsessions? and how do they make their way into your creative work?

I am obsessed with:
Chocolate. Oh, Chocolate, how I love thee. Chocolate is everywhere in my teaching, my copy, my daily life. I eat it every day. I invite my students to nibble on it during their money practices (try it, it really helps).

I am obsessed with listening to the body’s messages. The body knows everything. I first learned to listen to my body through my Authentic Movement Practice and went on to earn my masters in Somatic Psychology to understand how the body can help us heal from the deepest emotional and spiritual place. My body is my path. In my money work, I teach my students what I call the “body check in”. It is the starting point for bringing awareness to our money story and patterns (and just about anything else, by the way.)

I am obsessed with crafting a lifestyle for our little family on our own terms. Honing the subtleties of being a dual entrepreneurial family, working from home, working on the road, working in and contributing to each others’ businesses. And parenting. Oh, I’m so in love with parenting my little guy. This obsession informs almost every choice I make in my work – it all feeds back into creating and designing a life that helps us thrive.

The list goes on. I am so lovingly obsessed with . . .
Picking up the bones of our past. Grieving. Forgiving. Shedding the old. Birthing the new.
Learning practical systems and skill sets, like bookkeeping (who would have thought?!). And incorporating those practical solutions in a sacred way.

Lighting candles. Listening to music. Nibbling on chocolate. Doing body check-ins.
Creating pyscho-spiritual practices that bring in our dreams, visions, and next steps.

I have put all of these obsessions into my work, and my Conscious Bookkeeping method (Money Healing, Money Practices and Money Maps). These “obsessions” are the foundation of my 3 doorway method of my money work. I live them, I teach them, I return to them, always.

What are the top 5 things you’ve learned so far as a creative entrepreneur?

1. Know your strengths and what you suck at. We all have both. For a long time, my mantra to help me remember this was: “All I have to be is myself. Nothing more. Nothing less.” Bring on a team to fill in your gaps. Collaboration is where it’s at.

2. You can run a business from a deep + intuitive place, and be successful. This one is easy to forget, and essential to return to, again and again.

3. Your business model can, and must, change with you and your life. For example, I went through a phase of working all the time to grow my biz. I had a business partner, a team, lots of services, and lots of overhead. Then I became pregnant with Noah, and chose to work only 10 -15 hours during my son’s first 2 years. My entire business model had to change. I scaled back to a team of one (me). I spent my time on the most fun, simple and lucrative aspects of my work. I shifted from being a locally based business, to 100% online. In the last year or so, the desire and energy to grow and revamp have returned. I’ve stepped into a growth phase again, and hired a small team to support the growth. The point is to always stay awake to how your business can support your life, and when it’s time to shift.

4. Infuse everything with the spirit of experimentation. Be playful! No one really “knows” much of anything. Trial and error. Leaps of faith. Flirting with possibilities.

5. Bring together your support team. Find your teachers, your business coach, your therapist, your acupuncturist, your dance teacher. Find your people, and tap into their love and wisdom.

Tell us about a time when you had to practice courage.

During my home labor, it took a tremendous amount of courage to put on my orange sundress after hours of terribly painful contractions and tell my midwife and husband that we were going to the hospital. It went against all of my ideals and plans for a perfect home water birth. I had to face my fears of going to the hospital. I had to listen to my intuition; I knew something was off, and my body was sending very clear signals. Yes, that took a lot of courage! And it saved both of our lives.

I believe that vulnerability is a superpower. Tell us a story about how embracing your vulnerability. What were the gifts on the other side?

Several years ago I landed my dream gig with a publishing company. I was given the opportunity to record my work and method, to be sold as a multiple CD set. It was very fancy, and I was over the moon excited.

Long story short, I fell flat on my face. Massive failure. I sat in the recording studio with nothing to say. I felt so naked and inadequate. So vulnerable!

This threw me into a bit of a tailspin as I let myself sink into all that vulnerability and doubt. I questioned everything and considered giving up my work and my teaching altogether.

Somehow, I found some courage (courage is always partnering with vulnerability!) to name and honor who I am and who I am not. I sunk my teeth into the vulnerability of seeing where I sucked! (Teaching to an empty recording studio, for example.) And in the face of that failure, it was so vulnerable to honor myself and continue moving forward and shaping my work.

I came out of that painful experience crystal clear that I need live students to teach at my best. So, I tapped into my strengths and produced a Home Study Program with live recordings from an amazing group of students. I collaborated with a phenomenal team to write a comprehensive workbook and so many resources to accompany my teachings. Bingo: Vulnerability + Failure led me to my vibrant creation, built on my own terms.

I came out the other side with so much more strength and confidence than I had had before. I came out with clarity about my path, and the knowledge to set myself up to thrive.

What are a few things people wouldn’t know by looking at you?

This is tough. I think of myself as such an open book, and am very revealing about who I am and how I do life.

But! Here are two tidbits I don’t usually broadcast:

I dislike wearing thong underwear but I do it for my husband every once in awhile as a gift :)
I shaved my head just as I was turning 30 years old so that I could challenge my beauty beliefs.

What did you believe as a kid that you no longer believe?

I thought I was too sensitive, and that I had to become tough. I have always had strong feelings and strong sensations. I’ve always been super sensitive to the energy around me. I used to think it was too much for me to handle (and too much for the rest of the world to handle!).

Thank god I’ve learned that this sensitivity is one of my greatest gifts, and it influences everything I do.

What is your current mantra? Tell us about the last time you used it.

Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude.

Every day I use this mantra – without effort, it shows up. Reading books in bed + cuddling with my son, opening my laptop to do work I love, hiking just outside my door on the beautiful mountain, holding my husband’s hand. It’s everywhere in my life. Yep, there it is again.

 

Bari Tessler, M.A., is a Financial Therapist and the founder of the Conscious Bookkeeping Method: Tools For Financial Transformation™. She offers online money programs as well as private Financial Therapy for women, couples, and creative solopreneurs.

Bari holds a Masters in Somatic Psychology from Naropa University. She originally worked as a body-centered therapist, leading authentic movement groups, working in Hospice and later ran a bookkeeping practice.

In 2001, Bari founded Conscious Bookkeeping, based on her 3 Doorways for Financial Transformation: Financial Therapy, Values Based Bookkeeping and Life Vision Planning. The business quickly grew from a one-woman operation into a team of six other accounting, psychology, coaching, and investment professionals. Then, with the birth of her son in 2008, Bari successfully evolved back into a one-woman rockin’ show as a mommypreneur, updating her business model to honor the importance of spending lots of time with her family.

Her teaching combines practical action steps, a wealth of therapeutic experience, and game-changing inspiration to help her clients transform their relationships with money, body, mind and spirit.

To learn more about Bari and her work, go here: http://baritessler.com/

Creative Superheroes Interview: Tara Sophia Mohr

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Hey Superhero readers,

This interview series is quickly becoming one of my favorite things to do– share the work of my Superfriends with you. Turns out there are so many talented women in our midst!  And Tara Mohr is no exception.

I met Tara 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 coming months.

Tara is wise and articulate and someone you want as your teacher. She’s got smarts and soul. And great taste in shoes. ;)

I look forward to taking her course Playing Big sometime soon. (Next session begins in October) If you are wanting to play a bigger game in your life, check it out here. In the meantime, check out her Creative Superheroes interview below!

What is your superpower?

I think we all have many. Here are a few of mine:

Fusing left-brain/linear/logical/organized thinking with the swirling inner world of the heart and spirit.

Calling women into playing bigger.

Dancing with the divine through writing.

What are your obsessions? and how do they make their way into your creative work?

  • Putting the heart back at the center – of everything. Using the mind in the service of the heart, rather than putting the mind in charge.
  • How women hold themselves back and how we can stop. How women’s long-marginalized voices can bring our world back into balance. How women have gotten cut off from our bodies, how higher education tends to shred women’s confidence to bits, and what we can do about all that.
  • Compassion as the natural expression of wisdom.
  • Creative expression as a fundamental part of being human – not as something special only for “artists.”

What are the top 5 things you’ve learned so far as a creative entrepreneur?

1. Feed your creativity, give it space, and show up at the blank page/canvas/dance floor every day, and the creative wellspring will never run dry. But you gotta show up, and play around for at least 15 minutes for the waters to start flowing.

2. We are naturally drawn to teaching what we need to learn–not what we are already perfect experts in.

3. I, and most women I know, underestimate our “readiness” for that next bigger step. We are better off if we stop assessing, “Am I ready to….appear on that TV show, write for that publication, give that big speech?” and instead follow our creative impulses and aspirations. Those desires will take us places our egos are sure we aren’t ready for, and we’ll do just fine (actually way better than fine) when we get there.

4. I need a lot of community and allies to sustain my ability to do solo work.

5. The joy has not come from external success milestones -- celebrities loving my work, media appearances, hitting the right numbers, or even heartfelt notes from readers. Always, always, always, the joy comes from the work itself.

Tell us about a time when you had to practice courage.

Going on the The Today Show. Going on LIVE television in front of 2 million people will get your inner critic talkin’. I was flooded — FLOODED — with fear. I was sure the hosts wouldn’t get my work and they’d be critical of it. I was sure my message wasn’t honed enough. I was sure my wrap dress was going to come unwrapped.

Because I had the tools for dealing with the inner critic and fear–the tools I teach in my programs–I knew the voices of the fear weren’t telling the truth. I acknowledged the fear, waved hello to it, and was able to walk forward onto that stage, where I got to talk to 2 million women about their owning their brilliance. Oh yes.

I believe that vulnerability is a superpower. Tell us a story about how embracing your vulnerability. What were the gifts on the other side?

Pressing the “publish” button on the essays and poems I write is a near daily practice in vulnerability. For years, that vulnerability felt like too much. After years in highly critical university writing workshops, where creativity was subjected to grades and competition (both creativity-killers, of course), writing felt too vulnerable, unsafe, to the fragile artist inside of me.

Over time, I nourished that fragile artist back to health enough that she could begin to conceive of writing again, and even conceive of sharing her writing.

Now she gets to write almost every day, and she is happy and well cared for and feels safe again. The way she handles the vulnerability of sharing her work is by knowing that in the end, it doesn’t matter what they think. She is writing for the joy of it. She is writing for the communion with that thing larger than herself that runs through her fingers when she writes.

What did you believe as a kid that you no longer believe?

Most of the things I believed as a kid I believe now too: the mega healing power of love and compassion. The utter insanity of war. The pathological marginalization of the heart in our culture, and its many costs.

10 years ago – I couldn’t have said that I still hold the beliefs I held as a child. But I’ve spent the past few years reclaiming my childhood ideals – ideals I got talked out of in years of fancy college education and graduate school. Maybe this is an arc we all travel in life, leaving and returning to the truths we knew in childhood.

What is your current mantra? Tell us about the last time you used it.

Breathe & observe.

When I hear in my head those old familiar negative judgements about myself or other people, I try to step back from the thoughts to an “observer” place inside, and watch them. I might say to myself, “Oh, there it is again–that old feeling of being an outsider.” Then I breathe and watch it and experience it – but as the observer of it, as a person in a chair watching a movie in front of them. This is classic mindfulness work, and it helps get us out of our old unhelpful thought patterns.

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Tara Mohris an expert on women’s leadership and wellbeing. She’s the creator of the Playing Big leadership program for women, the new session of which begins in just a few weeks. A columnist for Huffington Post and the author of Your Other Names: Poems for Wise Living, Tara’s work has been featured on The Today Show, USA Today, Ode Magazine, More Magazine, MariaShriver.com, Whole Living and numerous other publications. Click here to get her free download, the 10 Rules for Briliant Women Workbook.