Monthly Archives: February 2013

The magic wishbone + how we really get our wishes.

Michelle Allen, Leigh Standley and Flora Bowley, Manzanita, OR

Recently, I attended a miraculous weekend retreat with a group of friends. We spent five days sharing stories, making collaborative paintings, taking gorgeous beach walks and coaching each other around our businesses + creative work.

We called it the “Radiate Sessions.”

Each person had a turn bringing something to the group they needed support with or guidance around. We created a loving circle around them and radiated pure possibility (plus all of our best collective wisdom) straight from our hearts to theirs. Whether it was your turn or not, you were transformed. Whatever medicine was being offered was somehow just what the rest of us needed too.

Kelly Rae Roberts and Mati Rose McDonough

We ate a lot of cheese, Kelly Rae, Flora, Mati, Hannah, Jess, Michelle

Photos at the magic hour are a requirement for any retreat, Manzanita, OR

Photography lesson by Vivienne McMaster

This retreat was incredibly heart-opening for me. The kind where you feel cracked open in the best way… crying lots of cathartic tears and expressing the most tender parts of your soul. While I feared that Zoloft would numb me out, it has done quite the opposite – it has calmed me down enough to feel the deeper layers of my heart -the unprocessed grief of the last 6 years, the profound love I have for my family and new hope for what’s possible in the future. My radiate session was about where my work is headed, but what these women really helped me do was open my heart.

The Wishbone

As we left the house on the final morning, we all scrambled to get the sheets in the dryer, the dishes in the washer, and all of our bags packed and out the door. When I did a last scan of the house, I noticed that we had left one thing behind- a wishbone sitting on the kitchen counter.

“Who wants to do the wishbone with me?” I asked.

I haven’t wished on a wishbone since I was a kid, but as Leigh and I put our hands on each side of it I remembered the rules – that when it breaks, whoever gets the bigger piece will get their wish.

“Wait!” I said urgently, concerned that only one of us would get their wish, “Let’s make wishes for each other!”

So Leigh closed her eyes, and I closed mine, and I thought of the most wonderful secret wish for her. As we leaned backwards my worry returned, Oh no! What if she doesn’t get her wish?

At that moment, the wishbone broke. And something miraculous happened.

The center of the wishbone flew into the air, leaving two perfectly even pieces in each of our hands.

We all gasped.

For all the magic of the weekend, the wishbone moment is the one I keep coming back to. And I think it’s because the message was so beautiful and so clear:

That when we want the best for each other, when we don’t want to win if it means someone else will lose, when we know that my joy is yours and your success is mine, we all get our wishes.

And that my friends, is something to celebrate.

P.S. If a retreat like this is calling to you, stay tuned. I was so inspired by this weekend that I am planning my own intimate gathering for the end of September. If you want to be the first to know, email me here: [email protected]


Take a Seat – Make a Friend

If you haven’t seen this yet, have a look. SO good! (by Soul Pancake)


All my secrets for taking great photos.

Me taking photos of Jessica Swift, photo by Vivienne McMaster

I want to teach you everything I know!

If you’ve hung around here for any length of time you know that I LOVE taking pictures. And take them daily. It’s part of my creative practice, but it’s also my tool for appreciating the world, for staying awake + not missing the beauty.

I’m here to show you how to see + capture the magic in your world, how to compose creative +playful shots and do so with a minimum of technical expertise.

Easy. Peasy. Promise.

Join me for the next session of Superhero Photo, starting March 4th.

You can find out more here.

Just 99 dollars for 6 weeks of inspiration, juicy lessons and all of my best secrets! I’m really proud of this class + would love to have you!

Get ready to be inspired! And take some awesome photos.


When the “Voice” speaks to you + going gluten-free

Self-portrait with Jessica Swift + Vivienne McMaster

About a year and a half ago, during an exceptionally stressful time involving a sick parent, I noticed I had a bald spot on the side of my head. It was underneath a lot of hair (phew!) but was nonetheless impressive. Egg-sized + bald to the skin people! I was shocked when I saw it and started googling like crazy. (Always a bad idea) Soon after, I developed a secondary symptom of mottled skin on my face.

At the doctor, they diagnosed me with Alopecia Areata and suggested some injectable steroids, which didn’t feel right to me. So I went home and hoped it would correct itself eventually… It didn’t.

Months later I opened the fridge and a voice, THE Voice, the one with the capital V spoke to me: “Just quit sugar.”

And just like that, I did.

It was rough for the first few days. I was exhausted. Then I was ravenous! Without all the sugar, I didn’t know what to eat and I was hungry all the time. What was great is that I was reoriented to a whole new range of foods- much healthier, much more protein.

Within 2 weeks, my hair started to grow back. I don’t have any grey hair but the first hair to grow in this place was bone white. It was as if I was struck by lightning! My body also shifted around and went back to it’s pre-baby configuration. A bonus! ? I have continued the (mostly) no sugar ever since and have felt great.

And then….

This weekend the voice returned. This time it said that I need to experiment with going gluten-free. So here we go! I asked this question on Facebook as well, but I’d love to hear if you have taken the plunge as well? How has it helped you/changed you?

The question underneath every other question.


Me and Ben, photo by Jen Downer,

It’s possible that one of the few places I’ve found, where love feels so pure,  is the love for those boys. The little ones with the big ocean eyes and long, thick lashes. The ones with yogurt smeared on their sleeve, denim torn at the knee, pot-bellied and pale-skinned. Those boys are so delicious I can feel my heart leap inside my chest at the sight of them.

“Mama loves you?”

This is Nico’s newest, and possibly most adorable question for me these days.

“Mama loves you?” he asks. And I say, “Yes, mama loves you…” and he wraps an arm around my neck and squeezes so hard that my left cheek and his right cheek touch with a glorious smoosh.

Last night when I was putting Ben down in his room, I heard Nico talking to Matt: “Mama loves you?” and Matt saying, “Yes, and daddy loves you too.”

“Daddy loves you? Benda loves you?” Nico continued to ask.

And I can relate to this question, that is perhaps underneath every other question.

Will you pick me up from class?
What should we have for dinner tonight?
Do you think we’ll go on vacation this year?

Maybe we are really asking- Do you love me? Am I lovable?

Ben has been sulking on the couch these days. When he gets upset about something, he runs into the living room and sits on the couch. After a minute or so he shouts, “Isn’t anyone going to come hug me?”

And I am learning, that when we are hurt, when we run away and hide, we really just want to be found.

And so I remember more these days to ask, “Do you need a hug?”

And he almost always says yes.



Registration is open for Superhero Photo!


Nico Boon, gleeful on his bike, shot with Canon 6D

Photography is more than a hobby — it’s a way of seeing the world.

And it’s not about technical skill, or having the latest lenses + gadgets — it’s about chasing light, capturing delight, and shifting our perspectives — literally and artistically. You’ll uncover a few of your own creative superpowers — like courage, intuition, play & trust — as you wake up & witness your real life. And capture it!

Anyone with a camera is invited to participate. (Point and shoots + camera phones are totally welcome)

Join me for this 6-week adventure. It’s a whole world of color, artistry & self-discovery — it all begins on Monday, March 4th, 2013!

Here’s what you’ll discover, inside:

  • Fresh themes, every week.
    Impromptu self-portraits, hidden treasures, composition, color, and more.
  • No-sweat technical lessons.
    Superhero Photo is focused on play & self-expression, but you’ll learn the fundamentals of aperture, lighting, post-processing, and more.
  • Treasure hunts!
    Download a collection of creative photo prompts, to inspire a spontaneous photography adventure.
  • Interviews, galore.
    Inspiring chats with super-talented photographers, like Tracey Clark, Vivienne McMaster, Anna Kuperberg, Andrea (Hula) Jenkins, and Tara Whitney.
  • Community cheerleading.
    A warm & encouraging community space on Flickr to share & admire our work.


“Superhero Photo altered how I saw the world. I got down on the ground, climbed on chairs and tables, went out in all colors and weights of light, looked close and far away, and went on treasure hunts. I took some of the most magical pictures I ever had, and I haven’t stopped taking them.”- Jill Salahub

 Please join me! Class begins March 4th


Super Sponsor Spotlight

Our Superhero Journal sponsors are, well, super! So take a minute to check out all of the amazingness they are offering up in February. Also, if you’d like to see your e-Course, Etsy shop, blog or business on the sidebar or in an upcoming Super Sponsor Spotlight, we’d love to have you. Just send a quick email to Amber at: [email protected] to get all the details.


Inspirational Card Deck Swap — Jessica Brogan

Inspired by Christine Mason Miller’s book “Desire to Inspire,” the “Inspirational Card Deck” Swap has drawn hundreds of participants from around the world over the past year. Demand has grown, so I am offering another round early this year!

Here’s how it works: Following the guidelines, you alter a deck of playing cards in any way you want (people get so creative!), and you add your favorite Inspirational Quotes about life and creativity to each card. You send your deck to me, I work my magic, and you receive 52 unique artist’s cards back in the mail! Guidelines, FAQs and Photos of past swaps at this link! The deadline for postmarking is March 29th so you have plenty of time to participate!


Travels with Her — Maureen Clancy

Have you ever felt I’m not good enough?
Has it prevented you from doing and having and being all that you want in your life?
Tried pushing this feeling away, only to have it get bigger and louder?

Here’s the thing. You can’t get rid of it. It’s part of you. I know. I’ve been there. And, in the last 10 years, I’ve guided hundreds of clients through having a new relationship with this part. I love love LOVE seeing the miracles that can happen afterward.

Travels with Her: A 4-week Journey with your “I’m not Good Enough” Part will change everything. At the end of your journey, you’ll have:

  1. A new relationship with your “I’m not good enough” part.
  2. Specific tools to use when this part gets loud.
  3. A community of women where you’ll be encouraged, validated and safely held.

You can participate from anywhere on the planet. It begins Monday, March 4th. Join me on the journey. Visit to sign up.


Up & Running — Shauna Reid and Julia Jones

Up & Running online running courses

Running is more than a workout. It’s a portal to mind-body alignment.
It’s a source of community. It’s soul-searching & goal-setting.
It’s where wisdom meets wonder, with the wind in your hair.

And it’s not just for the skinny, the svelte, or the superhuman. It’s for YOU.

At Up & Running we offer e-courses for super-new and seasoned runners tackling 5K, 10K, and half-marathon runs, all with expert coaching, unlimited support and a vibrant members forum.

Join us for our March courses and we’ll get you on your feet, out the door, and into the world… registration is now open!

“Up & Running has really been the best thing I have done for myself in years, and not just for the running. My confidence and happiness in my own skin has increased so much and I love what my body can DO, rather than obsessing about what it looks like.” — Philippa, UK


Chris Guillebeau – The $100 Startup

Imagine a life where all your time is spent on things you want to do.

Imagine handing a letter to your boss that says: “Dear Boss, I’m writing to let you know that your services are no longer required. Thanks for everything, but I’ll be doing things my own way now.”

In The $100 Startup, Chris Guillebeau shows you how to lead a life of adventure, meaning and purpose – and earn a good living too. Here, finally distilled into one easy-to-use guide, are the most valuable lessons from those who’ve learned how to turn what they do into a gateway to self-fulfillment.

You don’t need an MBA, a business plan or even employees! It’s all about finding the intersection between what you love to do and what other people will pay for.

The $100 Startup is packed with 300 pages of action to get you on your way. Or come meet Chris and a fun group of independent-minded people in a city near you on The $100 Startup Tour. There may even be cupcakes…

Back to square one.

Meta self-portrait, shot with iphone 4S

Maybe I should have knocked on wood, or crossed my fingers, or whatever one does to ward off the evil eye. I said it, then wondered if it was true, or if I’d be punished for saying it.

“I like myself,” I told a friend. We had been at our meditation class and after hours of inspiration and inquiry, I shared this insight – “I just realized,” I told her, “that my old stories, the ones about being fat or stupid or unworthy of love, they’ve expired. I don’t think that way anymore. I like who I see when I look in the mirror.”

Maybe I should have added “these days” or “lately” or “at this moment.” Maybe it shouldn’t have been such a bold pronouncement. It felt transgressive and I immediately wondered if I should take it back.

And then yesterday, a dear friend got upset with me. And when someone gets upset with me, I panic. And I immediately want to say the thing that will make it better, that will smooth it over. You can have anything you want just don’t be mad at me. Please.

And when she didn’t answer her phone, I texted. And texted again. And then nothing.  All night there was nothing except the ache in my stomach, terrible like a rock, and it was hard to sleep and hard to wake up and hard to ignore the terrible, horrible ache.

But here’s the thing: Where I go in my mind is like a superhighway to the darkest dark. I’m a horrible person. I don’t know how to be a good friend. I should just be alone. I should be blotted out and erased.

And I thought about what I said last week, and maybe I spoke too soon. And maybe what I should have said was, “I like myself most of the time. Except when I am triggered. Or pissing somebody off. Or making mistakes.”

And that puts me somewhere back at square one all over again.

Update: Just want to share that I had a beautiful conversation with this friend today and I am not only feeling relieved, but more connected to her for having had this process. When we are in tender territory, our minds can go crazy with stories… most of which aren’t true. I will remember this next time.

The Art of Money

Just wanted to let you know that the amazing Bari Tessler (interviewed a few months ago as a Creative Superhero) is currently registering for an incredible year-long class called The Art of Money.

I took Bari’s 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 create a bookkeeping system to match my values and spirit. All these years later, I can see I have more work to do around money. Perhaps you will join me in my journey with Bari into the The Art of Money?

Either way, here are Bari’s free gold nuggets of wisdom:

NUGGET #1 – Money Shame. We’ve all got it. Let’s work with it.

NUGGET #2 – Bookkeeping Love + Empowerment (Part 1)

NUGGET #3 – {VIDEO} Introduction to Money + Enneagram  

NUGGET #4 – Bookkeeper Tells ALL + 16 questions you gotta ask (Part 2)

NUGGET #5 – Cash flow, Earning, and Entrepreneurship, Oh My!

NUGGET #6Spend money on your money relationship?! 5 Steps to a Solid Money Decision.

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’ll be learning with you.