Monthly Archives: May 2011

A Day in the Life

stinky flower from andrea scher on Vimeo.

really good things*

Some really good things:

Maggie’s post celebrating what she’s learned from Oprah. Check out the comments too… so much wisdom in there!

If you somehow missed this, you won’t be sorry you gave a listen. It is one of the SWEETEST things I have heard in a long time.

If you ever wanted to invest in Danielle LaPorte’s Firestarter Kit (now called the Spark Kit), today is the day! It’s her birthday and it’s a pay-what-you-can special! Happy Birthday Danielle!

On Sunday I went to a FABULOUS wedding. It started out innocently enough, in a small Greek Orthodox church in the Mission in San Francisco. But afterwards, we were all invited to participate in a 3- hour bicycle procession through the streets of San Francisco to the Cliff House for the reception. The groom was Gary Fisher who you might know if you have ever owned a mountain bike. (He is one of the inventors of the mountain bike) There was a wide range of options for every generation that attended the wedding- pedicabs, electric bikes and regular bicycles and let me tell you, there is nothing better than bicycling through the city with a hundred new friends in the sunshine wearing tuxes and fancy dresses! One of the highlights of my life for sure. I beamed the whole way and kept shouting, “This is the best day ever!!”

And speaking of weddings + good things, Matt and I were married 8 years ago today in Santa Barbara. I know I was saying the same thing that day as well, “This is the best day EVER!” There were no bicycles but there was a parade just the same. We had our guests play/bang on musical instruments in a kind of raucous and joyous cacophany of sound as they strolled up to the ceremony site. I’ll never forget it. Maybe for our ten year anniversary we’ll get on bikes! Happy Anniversary Matt! There’s no one better for me than you.

rockstar dreams*

When asked the other day what Ben wanted to be when he was a grownup, he replied, “A rockstar.” Clearly the kids got moves already. “Oh, and a runner,” he added.

I love that we are who we are from the time we are born. There are ways that Ben has been Ben all along… He has always been high energy (kicking his legs and flapping his arms wildly in his baby Bjorn) always averse to food with actual calories, preferring celery and pickles and dry burned toast. He has always been charismatic and lit up from the inside- a real sparkler from day one. In a world where Ben is a sprinter, music is the only thing that can stop him in his tracks. Music and water ground him. The rest of the time we take him to the junior high school track near our house and let him loose running laps.

We asked our students in Mondo Beyondo today what dreams they had when they were ten years old. For most of us, those dreams match our spirit the most. The desire to be a Solid Gold dancer, to write a novel, to heal people. It’s all wired up in us from the beginning. 

The trick is to have the courage to believe that whatever you thought was possible then is still possible now.

That those dreams from your ten year old self are still there to show you the way, to call you into being the most alive version of you possible.

Check this one off the Mondo Beyondo list*

Frank Ostaseski and Rachel Naomi Remen, Woodacre, CA, Canon PowerShot S95
I got to meet one of my heroes this weekend. Okay, my HUGEST hero. There is one book that sits on my nightstand year after year as a constant fixture. While other books flow in and out, My Grandfather’s Blessings: Stories of Strength, Refuge, and Belonging by Rachel Naomi Remen remains. It’s like my blankie. I often pick it up and open it at random, reading whatever story finds me in that moment, and it’s always just the right one. I think it’s called bibliomancy and traditionally done with the Bible, but I do it with Rachel’s books. I cry every time I read the introduction to the book.
One of the reasons it pays to share your Mondo Beyondo list is that others go to work on your dreams on your behalf. They write to you and say things like, “I know the director of that program you have been wanting to apply for!” Or, “you want to learn spanish? I know this really hot Spaniard who wants to practice his English.” ;) You know, stuff like that.

This time, it was my pal Juli who emailed me and said, “I remember that meeting Rachel Naomi Remen is on your Mondo Beyondo list. Can I gift you a pass to her workshop at Spirit Rock in May?”

Years ago, a friend told me a story about how finally, after years of wanting to meet Neil Young, he finally got the opportunity. He was given tickets to his show in Los Angeles and backstage passes. His dream was going to come true! The evening of the concert however, his back went out and he couldn’t go. He called me the next day and admitted he felt relieved. He said he even wondered if he somehow conjured up the injury so he wouldn’t have to go. There was something about meeting his hero that was terrifying to him. Neil Young might never be the same to him again.

And it’s true. You never know what you will find. Your fantasy of who that person is might be dashed. You might discover that in person they are no big deal. Just a person. You might find they are not nice or don’t look you in the eyes. You might realize that they matter to you but you don’t really matter to them (after all, they don’t even know you) You might discover they are much smaller in person where in your mind they loomed so large.

I remembered all of this as I walked toward the retreat center that morning. I saw her up on the stage and I realized that the author photo I had been staring at all these years was from ten years earlier. She had aged into a beautiful, but much older woman than I had realized. When she spoke, the first thing she said was, “I am very soft spoken, so I hope you all can hear me in the back of the room.” I expected her voice to be deeper, louder and more commanding. But she commanded the room with her quiet and her wisdom. She commanded with her presence, which was so powerful, and even in the way she moved slowly… She didn’t say a lot, but everything she said was like a precious gem.

As you can probably tell, I wasn’t disappointed. But then came the moment of truth. Should I say hello? Should I tell her that I want to have tea with her? Why didn’t I bring a book for her to sign? Is it dorky to want a photo with her?

I gathered my courage and she greeted me and held my hand while I nervously told her that her stories give me courage to share my own. I told her the thing about her book being my blankie and she laughed graciously.

When I think of Mondo Beyondo dreams, I often ask myself what the dream is that lives inside that dream. Often they are like nesting dolls, one sitting inside the other, each one waiting to be revealed. There is the dream of meeting Rachel, which is perfect as it is, and then there are other dreams that live inside- to be mentored by someone who resonates that deeply with me, to hear and share sacred stories that transform you forever and to write a book as beautiful as the one sitting on my nightstand.

*There is still room in the current Mondo Beyondo session if you’d like to join us. You can also still take advantage of our 2 for 1 special. It’s going to be a REALLY good session. I feel it.

2 for 1: Find your Mondo Beyondo buddy*

Hey guys!

Lots of you are excited about the 2 for 1 special for the upcoming Mondo Beyondo class and are wondering if there is anyone out there who could be your “plus one.”

We would love to match you up! (Not only will you get 50% off your class, but you will have a Mondo Beyondo study buddy too!)

If you are interested, just leave your name and email address in the comments and I will help connect you!
And here is the link to simply register.

Mother’s Day whispers*

Oh boy people. Feeling exhausted these days and at capacity in so many ways! Before I lay down with my new favorite book called Hope Will Find You (I am savoring every page) I just wanted to share this photo of me and Nico. He is six months old, almost crawling (which by the way I am NOT encouraging. Please stay right where you are little dude!) and full of joy.

I could learn a lot from this kid.

When I was pregnant, I had one dream about Nico. I couldn’t see his face, I didn’t know his name, but the dream told me that he was a receiver of life. He took all of life in, didn’t resist one bit of it, and knew deeply about pleasure, joy and what a gift it is to receive life fully. I see it in the way he relaxes in my arms, the way he lets me hug and kiss him (no arching and resisting involved) and the way his default mode is to grin and giggle about pretty much everything.

If I was a little angel sitting on my shoulder these days there are a few things I would whisper:
Everything’s going to be okay.
You can let go.
You are doing great.
I love you.
It’s okay to just enjoy.
You don’t have to wait anymore.

What would your whispers say?

2 for 1 Mother’s Day Special!

Hey Dreamers!

We’re always so excited to let you know what’s coming up at Mondo Beyondo! As always, the sessions are better when you’re with us. Our next session of Mondo Beyondo begins on May 16th and we’d love to have you!

In honor of Mother’s Day, we are offering a 2 for 1 special! This means that you can get a loved one in for free! (Just add your friend’s email address in the notes section in Paypal) This is the perfect Mother’s Day gift to give yourself, your mom or anyone else who inspires you to dream.

Add to Cart

We believe that spring is the perfect time to look at your dreams and to cultivate the ideal conditions for your truest longings to take root and grow. Will you join us? To make this session extra special, we’ve invited six amazing dreamers to share their stories and insight. This is one of the strongest interview series we’ve ever hosted on Mondo Beyondo-don’t miss it!

Sera Beak, author of The Red Book: A Deliciously Unorthodox Approach to Igniting Your Divine Spark 

Rebecca Walker, speaker, teacher and bestselling author of Baby Love: Choosing Motherhood After a Lifetime of Ambivalence and Black, White & Jewish: Autobiography of a Shifting Self

Mike Robbins, motivational speaker on Appreciation and bestselling author of Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken: Transform Your Life with the Power of Authenticity

Tara Weaver author of The Butcher and the Vegetarian

Karen Walrond photographer and author of The Beauty of Different

Kelly Rae Roberts, artist and author of Taking Flight: Inspiration And Techniques To Give Your Creative Spirit Wings

We hope you will grab a friend and join us!

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With so much hope and love,

Andrea and Jen

Wild Writing*

like sitting around the firepit at Laurie's house, Alameda, CA, photo by Stefanie Renee

For the last five years or more I have been taking Laurie Wagner’s wild writing course. It is truly one of the most poignant, rich and satisfying classes I have ever taken. It is also the very best way I know to get to deeper places in my writing, where I am able to reveal the truth of my heart in a vulnerable and powerful way. For any of the successes I have had in my writing on this blog, I owe them partly to Laurie and to this exceptional writing class.

Perhaps even more than anything else, I am craving exactly what Laurie so gracefully makes space for- intimacy, connection, and sacred space to do creative work.

I am thrilled beyond thrilled that Laurie is going to do her writing series at the Teahouse Studios this month right here in Berkeley. Would you like to join us? The Teahouse ladies and I would all love to sit around that table with you.

Here are more details from Laurie:
May 26 – July 28th 9:30-11:45 a.m.
Eight Thursdays
Classes limited to 9 women $280
Teahouse Studio in Berkeley, CA

What is Wild Writing?
Wild Writing is a really fun, super loose way to tell our stories and uncover the themes we want to write about. We begin with a poem and then we write as a group for 15 minutes, writing as fast as we can, pens never leaving the page. We write quickly to push past our cleverness and all the ways that we get trapped in looking good. We write quickly so that the mental editor doesn’t have time to come in and fix everything, we write quickly so that we might move into a less conscious, loose groove where, if we’re lucky we might stumble into the fertile material that lingers within us, conjuring up stories and memories that are waiting to be written.

This technique, while very therapeutic, is also a wonderful way to jumpstart any good writing project, and is a perfect class for anyone who is working with words, whether it be in a blog or in a book. Wild Writing will get you in touch with the core of what you really want to say, helping you hone your instincts and your intuition.

UPDATE: Laurie Wagner just launched an online version of the FANTASTIC writing course I have enjoyed for so many years. I cannot recommend it highly enough! Click here for more info and to register!

It’s official, spring has sprung!

ladybugs gittin busy, Berkeley, CA, Canon PowerShot S95