Monthly Archives: May 2012

Sometimes the internet surprises me

Let’s face it. Most of the stuff on the internet is a big rabbit hole of distraction. It’s rare that something totally blows me away. Here are a few things that have inspired me lately:

Theo Jansen’s Ted Talk about his work is fascinating. Part kinetic sculpture, part brand new creatures powered by wind. Amazing.

You’ve likely seen this by now, but if not, grab some Kleenex and push play! This is the best proposal EVER.

And my favorite song covered in the most creative possible way.

Dreams + Divine Timing

Striped plant up the street, amazes me every time.

Some dreams take a long time to percolate. I love the idea of trusting in the divine timing of dreams- the notion that they always arrive at exactly the right time. But who has that much faith? Usually, I wonder if I’ve missed my chance, if I’m falling behind, if I didn’t strike while the iron was hot, or if it’s just too late for me.

It always makes sense looking back. “You can’t connect the dots looking forward,” Steve Jobs famously said, “only backwards.” You can see how you weren’t ready, or this needed to happen before that, or you needed to cultivate a particular skill first or meet that one person… It always makes sense looking back. Nothing is lost. No time is wasted.

Dreams pull us toward a new version of ourselves. If our aim is to fully become who we are, then our dreams are like a moon pulling the tides. Even before we achieve a dream, we are becoming the kind of person who makes those kinds of dreams come true.

What if every single thing you did, every experience you have ever had led you to this moment? I wrote a letter recently that was incredibly hard to write, but I have never been more proud of myself than I after I put my pen down. I felt peaceful. The kind of peace you feel when you’ve told the truth, with love and gentleness. I felt like my entire life (every book I have ever read, every course I have ever taken, every painful experience, an entire lifetime of dedicating myself to personal growth) prepared me to write this one letter.

How do you know when it’s time to step into your dream?

  • When the signs are everywhere.
  • When that nagging thought won’t leave you alone.
  • When doors are opening by themselves.
  • When there is serendipity in the air.
  • When you ask yourself: If I only had five years to live, what would I want to do? and that dream is right there on the list.
  • When you have prepared enough (you really have) and you just need to be brave and take the leap.
  • When you’ve got nothing to lose.
  • When you find you are jealous of others who are achieving your long-held dream. (This means you are closer than you think.)
  • If these people are your friends, then you are dangerously close.  Celebrate them and begin.

P.S. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Mondo Beyondo is a great first step to take in the dreaming process. If you feel like it’s time to get clear about what your dreams are and/or take those first brave steps, I would love to have you join me in September! You can register here. OR… The Dream Lab begins on June 18th, an experiment in focusing on rest, play and kindness and what kind of magic unfolds when we gift ourselves these simple, essential gifts.



The Law of Least Effort or Why Rest is Productive

Self portrait on the green couch, shot with iphone 4S

A Jedi mind trick for the rest averse

I’m terrible at resting. I am in a near constant state of anxiety about getting it all done, falling behind, missing out… The endless treadmill of not enoughness is always nipping at my heels. And I suffer for it. But I’ve found a clever way into rest, a Jedi mind trick of sorts. A way to convince myself that rest is productive, which it totally is.

First I had to appeal to my value of efficiency. I am a fan of expending the least amount of energy possible for each task, maximizing output in the process. If I go out on errands for example, I’ll go to several stores in the vicinity. Train ride into the city? A perfect opportunity to get my reading or journal writing done. Do I sound annoying? or familiar? or annoying because it’s so familiar?

At best, I am ambitious and energetic and feel passionate about life. There is so much to create! to enjoy! to see! and my penchant for efficiency is really about freeing me up for the fun stuff. I have a fairly sane work schedule, usually compressing my full time job into a part time work week and spending the rest of my time with my family, seeing friends, exercising, whatever it is that’s important to me. At worst, I don’t know when to stop. I haven’t cultivated a gentle voice inside that says, It’s okay. You’ve done enough for today.

The Law of Least Effort

The first time I heard about the law of least effort was in Deepak Chopra’s book, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success He argues that it’s not about applying more effort, but about applying the right effort at the right time. In other words, it’s not that more effort equals more results but that right effort equals right results. It is also about creative flow. When we rest we are more easily able to access new ideas and insights, to see solutions and solve problems with deeper clarity and calm.

For example, when looking for a life partner, some people cast a wide net, figuring that the more bars they go to, the more dates they go on, the more they put themselves out there, the better. This might work for some, but when I was looking for a partner, this method exhausted me, discouraged me and drained my energy (I never enjoyed bars and clubs) I chose instead to follow my intuition, only go out on dates that really excited me, and trust that one day I would be in the frozen food aisle when Mr. Right came strolling along.

This is all to say that rest and creative flow are connected. That you can actually do less, and achieve more.

Rest and Creativity

How many great ideas have you had in the shower? or on a long walk? Clarity often comes when we give ourselves space to rest, space to breathe, room to allow our heads to be a in a different mindset.

Rest provides a powerful connection to our truest voice, our creative flow and our deepest wisdom. The practice of conscious rest is a type of clearing, a way to make space for new thoughts and dreams, a space for clarity and insight to find us, a place to get present and relish the blessings in our lives.

If our goal is to live our lives in flow, it pays to stop and take a sabbath or a breath in our week and allow that space. Wayne Muller calls the sabbath “a sanctuary in time.” No matter how you choose to create a sabbath, whether it is a no screen day, a morning hike, or a simple candlelit meal with friends, know that you are honoring the quiet in you, the listening that is necessary to live in the flow of life, to practice right effort.

Creating a sanctuary in time is a gift we give ourselves and our families. It does not take away from the ways we work hard to serve the people we love, but instead honors the conscious way we want to be with them.

Dream Lab

If the idea of cultivating a practice of rest (and play and kindness) appeals to you, please join us for this summer’s Dream Lab! We will be exploring the themes of rest, play and kindness all summer in fun and easy ways. It will be easy to keep up (promise!) because we have designed the course with the intention of making space for more rest and joy in our lives.

The summer Dream Lab begins June 18th!


I love Rachel Naomi Remen + How we Serve

Self-portrait in the rear view mirror

Rachel Naomi Remen

If you don’t already know Rachel Naomi Remen’s work, you should probably head to your nearest bookstore and buy everything she has ever written. Both Kitchen Table Wisdom and My Grandfather’s Blessings: Stories of Strength, Refuge, and Belonging have a permanent post on my bedside table.

Whenever I have asked myself what my hugest Mondo Beyondo dream is (the one that’s scary to even say out loud) it is this: To write a book as beautiful as My Grandfather’s Blessings. This book is like sacred text to me… like a wise friend that counsels and comforts. Every time I pick it up, there is more to discover, more to learn, about what it is to be human and how we can love and serve one another better. I cry through nearly every story.

I recently listened in on a live call she hosted with Frank Ostaseski (founder of Zen Hospice and the Metta Institute) on the topic of A Life of Service. I transcribed my favorite part of the call below:

How we Serve

We don’t serve with our strength- that’s helping people.
We don’t serve with our expertise — that’s fixing people.
We actually serve with ourselves. We serve with everything we are.

Our wounds, our own wounds, are the source of our compassion for the wounds of others. They make us gentle with the wounds of others, and able to trust the mysterious process by which we heal. Not as a theory, but as a lived experience.

Because we too are wounded, no wounded person needs to be ashamed in our presence or a lesser person.
No wounded person is alone.

Our loneliness recognizes the loneliness in others, despite the masks that everyone is wearing.

And it gives us the courage to reach out to others and to be present with them as they find their way out of places of darkness and constriction.

We are enough to make a change in the lives of others.

Service is not something that you learn. It’s something that you are.
-Rachel Naomi Remen



My life on Instagram.

My life on Instagram lately, all shot with iphone 4S

Happy Monday everyone! Here is a little collection of my recent life via Instagram. If you already follow me, you might recognize some of these shots! If not, please find me over there (My IG name is andreascher)  I love my iphone and post regularly on Instagram (and also forward to Twitter and Facebook if you prefer those sites)




Sponsor Spotlight: Unconventional Guides + LeahCreates + Lasha Mutual

Spring has most definitely sprung. What will you do with all of the newness of this season? Maybe some of our wonderful sponsors can help! If you’d like to become a sponsor, we’d love to have you. Just send a quick email to Amber at: [email protected] to get all of the details.


Chris Guillebeau – Unconventional Guides

Unconventional Guides – Practical Resources for World Domination

Unconventional Guides is a very small business designed to help people achieve their big goals and do more of what they love. The goal is to empower our customers to take control of their careers and passions away from gatekeepers and put it into their own hands.

Whether you want to share your book with the world, break out of the 9-5, build an empire or simply become your own frequent flyer master, the online store is stocked with resources for artists, entrepreneurs, travelers, and aspiring rockstars of all kinds. Everything in the store is backed by a 100%, rock-your-world guarantee for a full year, and more resources are on the way. Viva la revolution!


Leah Shaver – LeahCreates

LeahCreates makes websites for creative entrepreneurs (artists, yoga teachers, coaches, etc). My designs are clean and professional, with a whimsical edge. I pride myself in making my clients’ personalities truly shine through their web presence. I have several website offerings, starting at as little as $750. All are built on the WordPress platform so that you can manage your content (including a blog!) on your own.

Additionally, I offer web presence consulting and content strategy so we can make your web presence truly work for you and your business. Visit me at


Lasha Mutual Fine Art


Lasha’s deep interest in Buddhist philosophies, meditation practices and imagery have informed and shaped her artistic work. One of the most popular and meaningful figures in Tibetan Buddhism – and for Lasha personally – is White Tara. Lasha’s affinity with this Buddha has led her to embark on an artistic journey of creating 108 White Tara paintings. Each unique painting is hand-painted using watercolor, gouache and pen and ink, on 10 x 10 inch watercolor paper.

Original White Tara and Buddhist Deity paintings & Giclee prints are available for purchase at

Visit Lasha’s online gallery at or follow the series as it unfolds on her Facebook page.

Guest post from the fabulous Jen Louden

shot with my iphone, by Andrea Scher

I’m so delighted to have Jen Louden guest posting today! She is my favorite kind of teacher- wise, real, and just like us. Enjoy!

Transforming Creative Shame into Creative Joy

I got my creative mojo dented and bruised early in life and it almost killed my spark.

I was shamed in the ordinary places – a careless 5th grade art teacher whose offhanded comments left perpetual bruises. A small-minded professor at USC film school who had room for only his own insecurities and beliefs. Having an undiagnosed learning disability didn’t help my creative confidence (When a childhood friend heard I was a writer, he said, “But you can’t spell.” Still stings.).

Yes, I can make a list of the usual suspects. But truthfully? I have to admit I did the most damage to myself.

I shamed myself for not being more talented. I framed my early efforts – at writing, acting, art-making, filmmaking – as hopelessly awkward and bad.

But here’s the thing – of course they were less than perfect! Of course I made missteps, stumbled, and fell a time or a dozen. I am not a natural-born genius or artist or actress (most of us aren’t). And thinking that I had to be perfect right out of the gate in order to enjoy a thrilling, fulfilling creative life was a nearly fatal error. It cost me so much, it makes me tear up just thinking about it. That poor lost young girl! – and then, that poor lost not-so-young girl.

Those years of lost creative pleasure, the bouts with depression, and the horrible feeling of being bad, and thus alone… oh poor baby. Sadly, I imagine many of you can relate. It makes me want to become the Superhero of Protecting Creative Innocence. (Hmm… What kind of outfit would that require?)

I healed my wound of creative shame – and continue to do so until this day – in a whole bunch of juicy ways. Before I share a few of my alchemizing moves with you (disco music optional), I want to point out the most obvious and important: creative shame is not real. Unless you allow it to be.

Nobody – and I mean nobody in this entire vast universe – has the final word on what you create. Nobody can pass a writ, write a law, emboss a seal, that says “This painting, this poem, this photo, sucks and, furthermore, so does this person.” There are no acting police, watercolor Gestapo, or board certification processes for your creative spirit.

Getting this truth into my bones has been so game-changing, I teach it at all my retreats, and remind myself of its truth everyday. Everyday. It doesn’t mean I also don’t say – many times a day! — “I can make that better,” but the power to decide lives in me now. And the decision to do so, and how well I can or cannot, has nothing, NOTHING WHATSOEVER, to do with my worth as a human being.

Tattoo that truth on your creative heart, if need be. Perhaps you might also find these healing suggestions helpful:

Let go of product. You have to step away, often, from producing for a reason, especially if you generate your living from your creativity. This is a game-changer for lots of women I have coached. Have creative play in your life that has nothing to do with product, nothing to do with money. For me, that’s painting. I even stopped showing what I paint on my blog (mostly) because sharing made my art part of my “brand” and I wanted to keep something close to my heart and private.

Rest in the facts and let go of opinions. Facts are “I wrote 322 words this morning.” Facts are “I made seven pairs of earrings.” Facts are “I sent out invites to 307 people to my photography show.” Opinions are “What I wrote sucks” or “These earrings are weird, no one will buy them” and “Who the hell is going to come to my show?” (Me, me!) Keep bringing yourself gently back to what you can create, do, affect, not what you can’t and never what other think about what you create.

Relationship trumps war. Your critical voice, and other not-so-easy-to-be-with parts of you, are just that – a part of you. To be at war with yourself by wanting to kill or cut off those parts of you increases your creative shame and decreases your creative joy. Those mean voices almost always arose for a reason – to protect you. Work to know these parts of yourself, through dialogue in your journal. Help them feel safe and heard, while never allowing them “drive the bus” of your life. You always have the final word as the conscious adult but you do so with respect and love.

Be witnessed. In the last 20 years, I have started a writer’s group, a conversation salon, a women’s spirituality group, and a business-centered Brain Trust. I was part of a women’s group in my former hometown for 5 years – and we met weekly! My Brain Trust has met daily (virtually) for 6+ years. Creating a safe space with a group of peers has done more to heal my sense of not being a good enough ______ (fill in the creative blank) than any other single practice besides regular meditation and yoga. The profound power of being witnessed and accepted just as I am, plus extending that same grace to others, witnessing their stories and struggles, it has dissolved the story of being special in my brokeness.

The s/hero’s journey is about going into your darkness and claiming the creative gifts that have been lost or devalued. By doing this, you find what you must then share with the world, as well as the energy to do so.

Jennifer Louden is an author of 6 books, including the self-care revolution starter The Woman’s Comfort Book and The Woman’s Retreat Book, a coach, a retreat creator, and she has a new short course starting Tuesday on creating your own Mastermind group. Jen first met Andrea when she worked for SARK and thought she was very cool way back then.

Best. Day. Ever.

The room decorated for our guests

Deep joy

Once, while riding my bike through San Francisco in a gigantic bike parade for a friend’s wedding, I shouted at the top of my lungs, “This is the best day ever!!!” I couldn’t think of any other possible thing I would rather have been doing in that moment. I was giddy, elated, totally content.

This kind of deep joy is rare, and when it comes, it is a huge gift. But that’s how this Sunday was, during the workshop I led with Kelly Rae Roberts at the Teahouse studios.

Best. Day. Ever.

The tables from above, before our guests arrived

It began with a simple conversation. Me, calling my dear friend Kelly and asking her when she would come and teach at the Teahouse. (This is also a ploy to get her back to the bay area for a girl’s weekend) “You and Mati have both been asking me that! but I don’t really want to teach. I just want a good excuse to come see you guys and have a really fun weekend being together.”

So we hatched a scheme… and the plan was simple: We would create the kind of experience we were most craving in our own lives — Connecting with women in deep and real ways. Not on the internet. Not via text or email. The kind where you break bread and tell each other everything. We didn’t want to teach so much as share stories and connect, laugh and cry in equal measure. We wanted minimum preparation, total faith in serendipity and trust that just the right people would show up. We wanted beautiful food and even more delicious conversation.

And guess what? It was beyond our wildest dreams. It really was.

I fell in love with each and every person there. I was blown away by their stories. We laughed a lot and we cried too. We declared our superpowers. We talked about transitions and motherhood. We talked about creativity and vulnerability and finding our tribe. It was open and inspiring, powerful and brave. It was, above all, real.

I learned that if you bring the real, others will too.

Mati Rose painting those beautiful words

We also brought a lot of intention to the day. For every person on the roster, we chose an adjective for their nametag. Since we didn’t know the people who were coming, we had to intuit what they most needed to hear. We made them goodie bags and wrote them love notes. We decorated the space. Mati painted the words, “Show the world you magic” on the wall. We covered the tables in vintage fabrics. We hung up twinkly lights and tied aprons together to hang on the wall. In the end, it was like living inside of a Kelly Rae painting! And all of that prep, it felt like ritual. It felt like connecting with each soul who was coming, before they even arrived.

vintage aprons all in a row

I am still processing all of the goodness packed into that gorgeous day. For me personally, it was also a really important day of discovering my sweet spot with teaching. As I have said on this blog before, I am very anxiety prone. Public speaking gives me panic attacks and I have often wondered if the suffering I experience each and every time (often for months before the event) is worth it. Maybe there is another way?

I think I found my answer.

I teach through telling stories. I can tell a good story! It is in fact one of my superpowers. I’m not interested in giving lectures, being an expert, or giving advice. I want to share my life in a way that sparks something in you — delight, inspiration, a nugget of wisdom. I want to connect with you by showing you my real self.

I didn’t have a panic attack the night before our workshop. (This was a first for me) And I didn’t feel afraid throughout the day. I only felt tremendous gratitude to be someone who got to sit in that circle. It was pure joy, and my body knew it.

Thank you to everyone who showed up this weekend (both for Sunday and for my Saturday photo workshop peeps as well. You guys were so much fun) It was an honor. And we will do it again. I think I found my sweet spot.

Kelly Rae and me

Nico Boon is 18 months + Mother’s Day

checking out his feet

Nico in his brother's shoes on his new scooter

Nico, eatin blueberries

Nico in the kitchen

I adore you Nico Boon

Okay. So I’ve written this post three times and deleted it each time. What can I tell you about my precious Nico Boon? What can I share that feels real and true to where I am right now in this moment? Right now, I am typing furiously, listening to Nico hem and haw in his bed, praying he will fall asleep so I can get this post up and finish the rest of my work.

Honestly, this Mother’s Day, all I can think about is how intense it is to be a parent. How I am deeply, crazy in love with my kiddos and also terribly overwhelmed by the task of parenting them! They are delicious and beautiful and hilarious and maddening and take me to every possible edge. Edges I didn’t even know I had, they take me there. They are my healers and my teachers and I am called to grow and change because of them. This can be a painful process but I am grateful for it.

I recently discovered the book, The Highly Sensitive Person and it has helped me so much. Just understanding that I am a highly sensitive parent, gives me more self-compassion. It helps me understand why I need a lot of breaks and quiet time in order to come back to parenting with a fresh heart. My threshold for overstimulation is low, so getting help is a major act of self-care for me.

As we enter this weekend of Mother’s Day, I want to offer the same kind of self-compassion to you as well. Is there a place in your life where you are less than kind to yourself? Where your self-talk is, well, not so nice? Can you soften around something you are beating yourself up about?

In the best way we can, let’s celebrate ourselves this weekend.

I am going to be teaching a photography workshop on Saturday and another workshop with Kelly Rae Roberts on Sunday. A weekend spent with other women, being creative, playing, sharing our hearts and our best stories. My most favorite thing to do!

How about you? How will you celebrate?