Blog Thoughts: Unfold Your Myth
It is just a day like any other day...but on this day we can go inward in some of the worst ways whether our lives are in a joyous state or in a place we so desperately want to escape.
Today I am reminding you of your power.
Today I am reminding you to pause.
Today I am challenging you to unfold the myth you believe about yourself.
It is your story, your footsteps and your voice.
It is just another day to wake up and consider the myth.
It is just another day...
I challenge you to talk to ANYONE today about the myth. Chances are the person next to you is thinking the very same thing.
3 Minute Retreat: Self-Realization
Self-Realization: fulfillment of one's own potential.
Are you living fully to your full potential?
The reality breathes truer than you realize that we each have something to offer this world within our personal values and self-understanding.
One doesn't have to be grand, famous or have the wisdom of the Dalia Lama. One just has to believe in who they are and what they have to offer through their own self-awareness and authenticity.
We all walk in the footsteps of others, there is something to be learned from experiences and people connected to our journey. But it is our inner wisdom that is guiding us to our full potential.
What are you holding back today?
If you took a leap into the unknown of acceptance, you may just find the path of your own potential that you have burying within your insecurities.
Take a moment…
Re-Story as an Act of Reclamation
Re-Story as an Act of Reclamation
I am going to walk you through two different ideas, the not so obvious and the obvious. A new year is coming our way. The unrealistic rituals of starting off the year with plans, ideas, transformative health regimens and on and on suffocate the media around you. I am going to propose an idea of re-story as an act of reclamation. What does that mean, exactly?
I am going to challenge you to take back your story.
I am going to challenge you to own your story profoundly.
I am going to challenge you to walk into your story.
We don’t change and transform our lives in a day, or on one particular day. It is unrealistic. We are on a journey. It begins at birth and ends at death. Everything in between is the story. I am sure each one of us could offer a dark road that we have walked along the way. We can equally share a joy that was a time in our life that allowed us to thrive in peace and happiness. That is life, ups and downs with lessons in between.
The stories that are harder to see, breathe into and live are ones that we may need to re-story. By walking into this process, we embrace an act of reclamation.
I write of my story often. The darkness in my life has been filled with great pain. I have been called to take the deeper and more painful stories and bring them to the light to continue to be of service to others healing journeys. It is not an easy call, but essentially it is who I am and have been on this journey for some time.
I am going to re-story as I begin to share a different part of the journey to own the strength, the love and needed healing within darkness. I am going to shed the shame in hopes of restoring the hope for others.
How are you walking through your life?
Are you running from your story?
Are you hiding from the darker lessons for fear of the pain they hold?
What if you were to re-story your journey?
You have the ability to walk through this life on your terms. There will always be pressure on either side of you suggesting that you are doing it wrong; suggesting a better quicker way to happiness.
The truth is that you are the only one that can live your story in your body and walk the path that was intended for you. You get to choose how you take those steps. It is not a race to achieve an end result on a particular day or time. And the end result is not something you can predict. Life is forever changing with no set point. When you embrace this truth, you live fully as you intended.
Let me say that again; you get to choose.
Today, I challenge you to push aside all the outside messages that you receive daily from countless sources and go deep within your own soul.
Today is the day you change your self-talk to lift you up.
Today is the day where you reframe the old stories that you have told yourself and create stories that support your life in this moment.
What do you want your story to say about you?
What makes you happy?
How can you live within each step of your personal journey with truth?
You are your greatest source of wisdom. Don’t deny yourself the lessons within because they don’t fit into someone else’s plan. Step out of the race and find your own lane.
Blog Thoughts: Embrace Real
Blog Thoughts: Embrace Real
What wise words. This thought came to me just the other day when a young person I know pointed out someone walking on the street and made a comment that didn't seem fitting. I decided to start the conversation, 'Why do you think this person is threatening to you?' Their response, "Just look at them." While I was taken aback by their thought process, I entered into the conversation gently that not everything or everyone is what it seems on the outside. People have stories.
There are countless stories in the world to back this up. One of my favorites you most likely have seen on the internet of the famous violinist playing his million dollar instrument in the NYC subway and not one person noticed him. We tend to lean towards that which looks safe; we shy away from those who may make us feel uncomfortable for in reality they are challenging our thinking.
Some of the most generous human beings in the world are anonymous; they give humbly of themselves and of their time freely for no benefit. Growing up in San Francisco, the homeless problem was severe and worse now. I have many friends who dedicate their lives to this ministry. The stories of these men and women would have you stopping in any thought pattern instantly. They are human. They have lived lives often of service. Their circumstances don't define them.
So, the next time you see someone that catches your eye, remember their real is a gift you want to embrace and learn from today.
Blog Thoughts: See. Trust. Be
Blog Thoughts: See. Trust. Be
Winter is here. It is the hardest time of the year for me and countless others. How you frame it, is going to help you walk through it. It is just a season that will pass.
There is beauty where you least expect it if you pause to be with it, see it and embrace what it offers. It can be a time to reflect on your journey; what is frozen will soon thaw. What can you say in your life regards to this idea?
There are simple pleasures in winter where a cup of hot cider tastes better than any other day of the year; a moment to be aware of our senses and encourage us to do so in all things. Resting is a gift. When we rest, we are able to see, learn and essentially grow. In other times of the year, it is incredibly hard to do so; this forced stillness if offering you something. Can you see it?
The roar or soft crackling of a fire can be mesmerizing. Many local places will have fireplaces this time of year if you don't. Take a moment to marvel at the beauty; better yet build one in your backyard. There is no greater beauty of a fire under the stars and that cider will bring it to life!
While this time of year is challenging, no doubt. Find at least one bright spot as we make our way to the new year. Hold it. Be with it. Find gratitude; then share it with someone else who is having a hard time finding their bright spot today.
Blog Thoughts: Pause & Breathe
A little reminder this Monday in the calm after the storm. These holiday seasons bring big highs and bigger lows. We need to remember more than ever to breathe, to care and to pause enough to listen to what our heart, soul and most importantly what our body needs. Walk it back out and remember yourself in this day. That could mean eating a balanced meal, taking a walk on the trail, and at its best resting for a nap. More than what is normally asked of us comes this time of year whether gathering in large groups with family or friends, to facing the aloneness that is real, sitting home reflecting on loss and grief; highs and lows. Today, no judgment wherever you are on this path. Just remember to pause and listen. Tomorrow is another day, then another, then another and we keep going. I see you.
3 Minute Retreat - Seek
"What you seek is seeking you." -Rumi
What are you seeking?
Do you take the moment in time to consider it?
Life is so full and busy every day. We make excuses for not listening, for not stepping up to the unknown that calls us within our soul. If we acknowledge it, it somehow means we must go after it. And if we must go after it, it means taking a risk.
If we pause to consider for a moment that it is not just about what we desire, but that something bigger than us is calling us to listen; life may just present us with something meant for us we didn't know about beforehand.
Do you stop to ask yourself what your purpose in life is?
Do you stop to ask yourself what makes you happy?
Do you seek?
Just for today in the simplest of ways, I am challenging you to pause; ask and answer the questions. Then listen to Rumi and seek.
Blog Thoughts: Self-Care
These words are thrown around a great deal, but they could never be as important this week as they are other days. Yesterday, I wrote about Sanctuary Within the same context, we need love often when we don't even realize it. This time of year, as we begin to come out of the darkness, it is even more necessary to create safe places where we can embrace and accept love. It is good to remember those who we can call and check in with for a brief time when it gets to be a little too much. We need to remember what small steps, activities, or tools we can access in a moment where we need a pause. This time of year, we need self-care, and foremost what will help us in the immediate moments when we can't do it alone. I see you.
What do you think of when you hear the word ‘Sanctuary?’
I think it is different for everyone.
A safe place.
A place to rest.
A place of protection.
They are wildlife sanctuaries, places of protection for animals near extinction. They are sacred places in the church, a place of reverence, respect and holiness. And then there is the Sanctuary within.
These very different variations can come together in you. The life around us can be very difficult on most days. How do you treat yourself as a Sanctuary? You can become extinct, you need protection at times from that which doesn’t bring you peace. You are gift that needs a sacred space to rest within.
We can create this Sanctuary for ourselves in our own private spaces. Finding ourselves in nature can be one’s greatest Sanctuary. I can get lost in the woods and embrace myself with a peace that I cannot find anywhere else. Other times when I can’t go anywhere, I create my Sanctuary in the safety of my home with candles, music and space that is only my own.
Yes, we must live in our responsibilities whichever they may be. But we don’t need to let them own us to the point we forget about the care of self. We don’t need to allow them to break us down. We come before our responsibilities. If we don’t take the time to protect our peace, then we cannot be peace to others.
Our Sanctuary allows us to pause in the comfort of who we are at our core; it reminds us we cannot begin each breath without first pausing in breath and rest.
Where do you go to find yourself?
Sometime sanctuary could be simply creating a space around you in protection of that which you cannot control. Wherever you are stop, close your eyes, and imagine a place of Sanctuary and regroup in any moment.
You have to find what the meaning is for yourself. You must go deep within. I do know one thing for sure, we all need to create this place on our journey.
It is about taking a step back to notice.
It is about taking a step back to listen.
It is about taking a step back to see.
And then taking a breath so that we can keep walking forward.
What will your Sanctuary look like today?
Our stories make us who we are; good and bad. Some people have stories they don't want to remember, stories they don't want to consider how they helped mold them into who they are today. Some stories aren't pretty, some stories bring sadness, fear and endless emotions. I don't necessarily think that those stories should be forced into the present, but we need to allow room for them when they need to be remembered. Those stories carry character and wisdom that led us to the steps we walk today. So, remember to every so often voice the stories with respect for the lessons they taught you, the courage they gave you and the wisdom that is endless within their existence.
To all the people who are sharing that they will be there for you if you ever feel so depressed that life seems easier to leave…
They can’t hear you; they need you before.
When a person has reached the point of no return, they are not listening to anything around them but the negative voices in their mind.
I know because I have been there.
I couldn’t see the light people wanted to offer.
When a person finds themselves in a suffocating darkness that pushes them to escape from life…
They can’t hear you; they need you before.
I know because I have been there.
I couldn’t accept the love, let alone be able to feel the love.
When a person is so desperately lost in their mind fighting unknown demons and sadness….
They can’t hear you; they need you before.
I know because I have been there.
I couldn’t see or believe in my worth.
Your intentions are pure, good, and kind, but they do not need you to be good and kind in that moment they are facing, for it is nearly impossible for them to receive something they do not feel they deserve.
When they are sitting alone with their mind, they sadly can’t hear you; if they do, they are ashamed by their feelings and don’t know how to ask or receive the help that you graciously offer.
They need you to notice BEFORE they reach that point.
They need you to notice when they begin to withdraw.
They need you to notice when they keep turning down invitations.
They need you to notice when they stop showing up to work.
They need you to notice when they stop doing the things they once loved.
They need you to notice when it surpasses their anxiety and introvert ways and has become more, so much more.
They need you to notice, to speak up, to be present in the moments before they can no longer tell you.
I am one of the lucky ones who had people in my life who noticed.
I have not spoken of this before; it is humbling to share, but necessary.
Not everyone fits the ideal family photos.
Not everyone has a partner or best friend by their side.
Not everyone has people.
I am grateful for those who saw my darkness before.
I am grateful for those who were patient as I tried to re-ignite the light.
I am grateful for those who were so persistent in helping me see my worth.
I am grateful for those who stuck around after all was said and done.
Depression is chemical.
Depression is not a choice.
Depression is not something that you just get over.
Depression is not something that you can turn off by will or intention.
I have been on both sides of this equation; I had the gift of working on a youth suicide hotline and being a Bridgewatch Angel in San Francisco. The Bridgewatch Program is exactly what it sounds like. We walk the Golden Gate Bridge on the high holidays being aware of others. Sadly, these times in life, despair and mental health struggles are at their worst due to how life is built up around us.
We all need to be Watch Angels every day; we all need to pay attention more.
Do you stop in wonderment?
Wonderment is a state of awed admiration, respect.
Every day we rise in the morning with our mundane routines. We walk through the day from one thing to the next, not often taking a moment to look up from our coffee, our computer, walking down the street running errands to no end.
We fail to notice.
We fail to see the life around us.
We fail to pause.
We fail to see the old woman crossing the street and consider the long life she has led; what amazing experiences she has been able live through.
What if you helped her across the street and asked her about her life while you walked? Imagine the stories you would hear if you took that moment in time!
We are constantly in a hurry rushing that we pass by the little girl in the store reading a label to her mama with pride as she has begun a new skill on her journey. Her mama stands bursting with love watching her daughter discover what she can do as they shop. But you missed it as you made your way to the register thinking only of your next task.
What if you stopped and said, ‘good job!’ What if you were able to see the awe in a small child learning to read?
I often remind myself when I am feeling overwhelmed to slow down and see life through the eyes of a child. My children are teenagers today, but their experiences are so different from my own. I treasure the evening dark long car rides home from weekly choir practice as my daughter can’t stop talking about her day’s experiences.
A child sees everything for the first time with this awe, admiration, and respect for what they are seeing. We forget that as we age.
A lovely friend took this beautiful photo of her granddaughter. I think even as it was posted to social media, we may have paused for a moment then kept scrolling. I stopped. I sat in awe with this child. I imagined all the wonderful ideas going through her mind at this moment. This may have been the first time she ever saw a sky this beautiful, this big and glorious. You can feel it just looking at her staring up at the wonderous sky. I then paused myself to honor the beauty that had been captured.
When was the last time you experienced such awe?
Every day we wake and there is a sunrise; some mornings they are indescribable. Then other mornings I found the roads covered in fog sifting through the mountains as if dancing.
Did you see it?
This reality is around you every day, but you have to pause to find it. You must remember you were a child once upon time.
What if you woke tomorrow with the eyes of a child; see the world again for the first time.
Blog Thoughts: Let there be room.
How often do we push through each moment?
How often do we rush through our day without acknowledging?
It is uncomfortable to pause. It can bring uncertainty and worry to consider not knowing. But in that is the gift, it is what is truly meant for us in the present moment. We can miss it, for we are too caught up in wanting to know the way, the path and all that we have planned out for our life.
Why not allow room to just be?
Why not allow room for something to come to you?
You just may be able to embrace the gift today in what is meant for you, instead of what you are trying to force onto your journey.
Blog Thoughts: Stories
Living as a minimalist has its countless gifts. One particular I treasure are stories. We have a photo wall in our home and memory books. I don't do photo albums but rather these books I have been putting together since they were born. They are filled with my favorite quotes, essays and I hand write stories of what has been going on in our lives at that moment. The photos in the books are not many, but 1-3 of our absolute favorites from an outing, occasion, or holiday. We savor the stories rather than need to fill the books up with what we feel can be more. The wall we find even more rare as it can be one photo favorite from the month. Sometimes, we don't find one. Other months we savor. The tradition, which has been so wonderful as they grew, is to find a photo and tell the story. If there was a tragedy tomorrow and we lost our home and all our mementos, it would be okay. For, I have taught them to remember the stories that will be forever with them in their memory and hearts. I hold these practices close to my heart. I have been blessed in my life by many experiences and travels. I have the memories, that is all I need. Take a moment today, tomorrow and this season to gather and tell the stories.
3 Minute Retreat - Listening
Today this is me listening to the thought process and asking you to do the same.
Do you know how to really pause and listen?
Is your thought process crowded with life plans that don’t mirror your soul?
I saw this leaf on an early mountain walk with my dog this morning. It struck me as I walked by it, but I kept walking. It was cold and wet on the mountain; I was not really wanting to linger. But I couldn’t let the imagery go. I walked back over the bridge to the leaf and just stared at it for a good minute or more, then took this photo. I thought about bringing the leaf home, but that is how painful the imagery was for me that I couldn’t face it.
What do you see?
I was first struck by the vibrant color. It has been raining and foggy for days. The leaves have been long gone for us as we anticipate snow in the coming months. Though, this leaf presented itself to me.
There is a hole. It is imperfect. Though, still beautiful.
I have been struggling for several months if not longer in the direction of my work. I believe strongly in listening. It presents the path to you. Listen to what is around you and it will call you to where you are meant to be.
I have been not listening. I have been running.
It is easier to not listen and run, isn’t it?
Are you like me in this moment?
I have always been honest in my life and work. I speak truthfully to no end in order bring life to others with the story I have walked through. I have been holding back.
I have been holding back because I felt like this leaf. I felt the hole was too big, too torn and worn out to bring life, healing and especially beauty. I felt scared to share the story that was in the place of the hole.
I am still scared.
But it is time to share the story. It is time to give voice to the hole and all it represents. It is time to no longer hide behind the pain but to embrace the pain to heal myself and others who are likely walking alone.
I will tell you right now, it is not going to be taken well by some people. It is going to be hard and difficult before it can release me, if that is even possible.
I wish to be true to who I am. I wish to be true to the person I knew I could be when I walked away from that which was killing me one day long ago. I wish to honor what was once my mission before I let fear rule me.
I wish to be true to who I am.
I wish to be free.
Are you being true to who you are?
Are you free?
Are you listening?
(Coming soon a new talk, ‘Meeting God in the Sacred Body, a story of Survival.’ If you wish to understand more, watch this brilliant talk.)
This one hit home today.
Do you extend your hand to others?
Do you practice what is most certain opinions we hold of others?
I love my work. I love what I do. If you know me and my work, you know that I don't turn people away. I show up in life, in faith and most importantly in what I put out there in the world. I get judged more often than you would imagine for the choices I make in my work, how I mother my children and the simplicity in which I live. There was a time where it cut me to the core. I held onto others opinion about me. I measured my worth by those thoughts, words or ideas that one believed I didn't attain. But, then one day, I remembered something so important. I have a life. I have people in my life who love me, who respect me and who believe in my journey I walk in love, work, life and faith. So, why would I hold onto these empty opinions of others who are not walking in my shoes?
That said, I don't turn away from people just because it would be harder to be a presence, to lend a hand or to sacrifice a part of myself for them. I don't give up on people who are hurting, struggling or can't seem to take a step without help from others.
Imagine if we all turned our back on the wounded, sick, hurting or less fortunate? What would the world look like?
Today, ask yourself, 'Will you be an innkeeper to someone in need?'
Blog Thoughts: Patience
I keep sharing thoughts around the holiday season, for it is so very important. While it may seem all jolly, there are many more who struggle deeply this time of year. We are slammed with the idea of family time, but we need to speak more to chosen family and beyond the barriers of traditional family. In that starts with healing. Many of us are walking healing journeys that need to be honored. Healing is a journey not a destination, it is a constant. We can't magically turn it off for a holiday season, and in fact it is so much worse this time of year. Our wounds, our darkness and our pain are intensified beyond what we can often breathe through on most days. So, be patient. Be patient with yourself. Be patient with those in your life around you. Be patient with the strangers you meet daily. Walk together through the natural flow of the journey and trust we will all make it through.
Blog Thoughts: You are...
I love this. It is not an easy concept to embrace for many of us. We do live in a world that is always asking us to prove ourselves. I know I feel it. I know my teens feel it. I know the people in my life feel it. So, a little sentimental today as my first born is turning sweet sixteen I am reminding me, her and you that YOU ARE VALUABLE BECAUSE YOU EXIST. Don't let anyone ever tell you different!
I don't know about you, but I just rolled my eyes when I read this. It sounds so much easier than the actual task of doing so. I mean, sure we all wish we could just accept our current circumstances whatever they may be, let go of those things in our life that only continue to wound us and rely on faith...something we cannot see. This is the foundation of 12 step that has helped countless folks overcome their addictions and struggles. Looking back, I remember sitting in a meeting or two when battling my anorexia scoffing, rolling my eyes and mumbling a few choice words at the sentiment. But, true to its statement, when you are able to take these three steps, you will feel a sense of freedom, you will acknowledge a newfound gratitude and find yourself walking a step or two in the right direction. As always, I practice what I preach, and this is a hard one lately. I think we all continuously have something that falls into line with this action statement at any given time. So, let's walk together today and try to honor our journey and ourselves in standing up in who we are at this moment.
3 Minute Retreat - Courage
I believe we all access our courage more than we even recognize. This world is a tough place to live in, we need courage to walk through some the most difficult and even the easier situations throughout our days. I loved these six definitions of courage! How telling truly how courage can show up in many distinct aspects of our lives.
Have you noticed that when our fears, our doubts, our lack of worth is questioned, we then in turn question the very thought of our courage? We go straight to looking within and criticizing our weakness.
What if we put all of that energy into embracing our true worth, our strong self and the part of us that does show up to take on our life's journey?
What if we allow the courage within us to come alive in us creating action statements, building strength and envisioning hope?
What if we trust our fears, make friends with the fear and access our courage to go down new paths that will bring us life?
Today, look at where you have doubted your courage and allowed your fears to define your choices. How do you want to change this pattern?
Blog Thoughts: Living Intentions
Do you live with intention? I get asked often what this is. I custom make weekly and monthly intention bowls. I normally sell them at events and retreats, for by the end it is very clear. Many years ago someone introduced the idea to me to pick up a stone, commit an intention or gratitude to it, place it in my pocket and go about my day. It seemed odd at first, until I saw the gift and grace that it offered me throughout the day. Our lives are full and busy. We often don't pause to consider anything else let alone breathe. Well, as I moved about, I would feel the stone in my pocket, and it would bring my focus back to that very intention and gratitude. It reminded me of presence. I additionally added the candle, for at the end of the day, week or month, I light a candle as a release and letting go. As we enter this cold month of December that often gets overlooked by rushing from one event, one party or day to the next with more stress than what it is about; try committing a gratitude, placing it in your pocket and remembering to pause in gratitude. And if so inclined, you can message me for pricing on some really unique boxes I have available!
Andrea creates, builds, and offers her teachings and hands on life tools based on her journey healing her body image after a 14yr battle and life of trauma. Her vision always is to help others live a full life with the journey they are given.