Category Archives: Andrea Scher

Something Good


1. Wisdom from Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche,

Compassion is the spontaneous wisdom of the heart. It’s always with us. It always has been and always will be. When it arises in us, we’ve simply learned to see how strong and safe we really are.

2. Forgive yourself, and Turning passion on its head, from Seth Godin.

3. Note from the Universe,

When you understand, Jill, that what most people really, really want is simply to feel good about themselves, and when you realize that with just a few well-chosen words you can help virtually anyone on the planet instantly achieve this, you begin to realize just how simple life is, how powerful you are, and that love is the key.

4. Good stuff on Medium: The Price of Modern Life Is Depression And Loneliness?, and The Micro-Dwellings of Hong Kong, and Navigating By the Stars, and Seat 21A: A window seat reminder of humanity.

5. Heroes (Vocal Mix) by Cazzette.

6. Call Me Cupcake. Warning, this blog will make you swoon with 14 kinds of hunger.

7. Effective marketing for introverts from Paul Jarvis.

8. Of curtains and climate change and compromise on This (Sorta) Old Life. If everyone made choices so thoughtfully, so compassionately, we’d come much closer to easing suffering, in ourselves and in the world.

9. Bridging the gap from Life is Limitless. I’ve been following Caroline’s journey for a long time, since back when she quit her job, sold all her things, and started traveling. I am so loving the things she’s creating right now.

10. Hello, Wonderful with Mara Glatzel. I just got my first email this morning — so good. And there’s still time to sign up, 12 days of love notes. Even if you don’t sign up, you really should subscribe to her newsletter, because this: In Celebration of Your Quiet Revolutions and this: In Full Bloom.

11. You do not have to be good on Writing Our Way Home.

12. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön. She’s talking about meditation here, but I think it applies to all types of practice.

We’re encouraged to meditate every day, even for a short time, in order to cultivate steadfastness with ourselves. We sit under all kinds of circumstances—whether we are feeling healthy or sick, whether we’re in a good mood or depressed, whether we feel our meditation is going well or is completely falling apart. As we continue to sit we see that meditation isn’t about getting it right or attaining some ideal state. It’s about being able to stay present with ourselves. It becomes increasingly clear that we won’t be free of self-destructive patterns unless we develop a compassionate understanding of what they are.

13. Why I’m Done With Dreaming Big on Create as Folk. Amen, Laura.

14. Yoga, Meditation in Action, a podcast interview with Seane Corn at OnBeing, (thanks for sharing this, Tammy). “Breathe, and everything changes.”

15. Wisdom from Shanti, “At the end of the day, your feet should be dirty, your hair messy, and your eyes sparkling.” (Thanks for sharing, Dani).

16. Why We Tell Stories from Laurie Wagner. This, “The biggest boogy man was always you.” Oh how I adore her…

17. Good stuff from Viral Nova: Puppy Approves Of Her Soon-To-Be Baby Sister and This Loving Couple Built The Home Of Their Dreams…And Ours.

18. I Quit Eating Only Salad or Eating Only Cake — Because I am Worthy, Loved & Beautiful on Rebelle Society.

19. Why BMI Is a Big Fat Scam on Mother Jones.

20. On the Private Heart from Dani Shapiro.

21. “Authentic” versus “Cool.” (Thanks to Mary Anne for sharing).

22. Redeemed, Amitava Kumar interviews Cheryl Strayed.

23. Wisdom from Geneen Roth on Facebook,

Words like should, shouldn’t, right, wrong, good, bad, they don’t work. They don’t work, because that’s not enough of a heart inspiration. Because, unless you know what you want, you will flip and flop from one to the other.

So ask yourself: What do you want? Who do you want to be? What matters to do? And move towards. In order to truly change, it takes moving towards, not moving away, because moving away is not good enough.

24. On loving an addict.

25. Wisdom from Cassandra Clare. (thanks to Pixie Campbell for sharing).

Whatever you are physically…male or female, strong or weak, ill or healthy — all those things matter less than what your heart contains. If you have the soul of a warrior, you are a warrior. All those other things, they are the glass that contains the lamp, but YOU are the light inside.

26. It’s a mitzvah for others to help, a voice memo from Andrea Scher.

27. This Rescued Elephant Playing with Ribbon is the Best Thing You’ll See Today on Twisted Sifter.

28. 9 Rules Every Yoga Teacher Should Follow on Elephant Journal.

29. Tiny Home in the Woods. I want to go to there.

30. The hours become like a dream, the days like liquid one swelling towards the next from Christina Rosalie, truly one of my favorite writers.

31. 11 Ways to Solve Rape Better than Nail Polish.

32. 20 Vivid Hummingbird Close-ups Reveal Their Incredible Beauty on Bored Panda.

33. Fig Tart with Goat Cheese and Pistachios. Holy yum.

34. Zen garden kitty, on Reddit.

35. Meghan Trainor – All About That Bass. This song gets stuck in my head.

Something Good

1. No Time to Think on The New York Times, Sunday Review, (thanks to Jeff for sharing).

2. The most useful business advice you’ll ever get from me from Paul Jarvis.

3. Amazing images of nature from Bored Panda, This 144-Year-Old Wisteria In Japan Looks Like A Pink Sky and 10 Tree Roots Winning Their Battle Against Concrete.

4. Homeless man who sold sketches of his dog on the street and is now popular artist says his dog transformed his life on Dog Heirs.

5. Wisdom from Rumi, “There is a morning inside you waiting to burst open into Light.”

6. These Amazing Before-And-After Drawings Show The Real Value Of Practice on The Huffington Post.

7. On Illness, Belief, and Saying Yes, an essay by Andrea Gibson on The Body Is Not An Apology.

8. Turn on the f*cking faucet, a voice memo from Andrea Scher.

9. How to Create the Quiet (because it’s noisy out there) from Be More With Less. I adore the quote she starts with, can’t read it without placing my hand on my heart.

10. Can’t Hold On, a beautiful poem from the beautiful Sunni Chapman.

11. What I would tell you if you were here with me from Jennifer Louden.

12. If you love to read like I love to read, you’ll love this list from Lindsey, The Best Books of the Year, So Far on A Design So Vast.

13. Exposed by My Children for What I Really Look Like on Huffington Post.

14. A Note from the Universe,

Eternity is a really, really, really long time, Jill. I think we’ll be able to squeeze everything in. Relax.

15. Some Things Take Time: Slow Down and Stop Pushing on Tiny Buddha.

16. Living the Simple Life on Zen Habits.

17. This quote, shared on Positively Present Picks,

“You’ll become known for doing what you do. It’s a simple saying, but it’s true…The only way to start being asked to do something you want to do is to start doing that thing on your own.” ~Jonathan Harris

18. Everything You Can’t Do When You’re Not A Toddler on Huffington Post.

19. I Am Willing, from Jonathan Fields.

20. A quote from John Green about why we should make stuff, shared by Austin Kleon.

21. Shared on Happy Links from Rowdy Kittens, 100 Days of Good Karma: Day 8 (Don’t Wish Your Life Away).

22. Not Responsible For Other People’s Success, from Justine on Allowing Myself.

23. An Evening with Cheryl Strayed, at the Lincoln Center in Fort Collins. I’m in.

24. How To Become An Enablist – A New Ethos For Creative Collective Change from A Big Creative Yes.

25. Wisdom from Anne Lamott on Facebook.

26. The Cure for Writer’s Block: Start With the Last Thing You Learned, from Chris Guillebeau.

Something Good

ericpinksky041. New Architectural Watercolors by Maja Wronska on Colossal. These make me want to get on a plane, immediately.

2. Brightly Painted Stairway in Turkey Starts Revolution Against Drab Gray.

3. 5 Things to Do Before Breakfast for a Happy Day on Elephant Journal.

4. Beck’s new album, Morning Phase. I’m not a crazy Beck fan, but I am in love with this album, although it at first made me super weepy (it’s quite melancholy).

5. 30 Cats And Dogs Losing The Battle Against Human Furniture on Bored Panda.

6. What I’ve Learned as a Writer on Zen Habits.

7. Permission To Be Hungry by Meg Worden. Such an important message.

8. “What stands in the way becomes the way.” ~Marcus Aurelius

9. On Messing Around from Lisa Congdon.

10. Old stories from Kat McNally.

11. Treasure Hunt: Color Collecting is Andrea Scher’s new photography ecourse. It looks so fun.

12. 18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently on Huffington Post. There are things on this list that I regularly criticize myself for doing. That stops now.

13. Wisdom from Chögyam Trungpa

People have difficulty beginning a spiritual practice because they put a lot of energy into looking for the best and easiest way to get into it. We might have to change our attitude and give up looking for the best or easiest way. Actually, there is no choice. Whatever approach we take, we will have to deal with what we are already. We have to look at who we are.

14. How to Find Body Compassion on Magpie Girl.

15. On Desire and the creative kindness of limits from Hiro Boga.

16. 33 Ways to Be Childlike Today from Tiny Buddha.

17. Wisdom from Rumi, the poem “The Guest House,” a reminder I need again and again.

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

18. This wisdom, a Note from the Universe. I need to hear it at the same time I don’t want to hear it, don’t want to believe it even though I know it’s probably true.

Protocol Clarification: Jill, in the adventure of life there are no “brownie points” earned for suffering, sacrifice, or tears. Nor for anguish, altruism, or selflessness. In fact, you don’t even get any for generosity, gratitude, or compassion. In time and space there are no “brownie points,” period. Might as well just do what makes you happy.

19. The True Cost vs. Benefits of a Dog. {Infographic} on Elephant Journal. I love this, although in my case the cost has been much higher, and it says nothing of the emotional cost, of having your heart broken in the end.

this one has already cost me plenty

this one has already cost me plenty 🙂

20. 7 Questions I Asked Myself from Executive Coach Michele Woodward.

21. Shared by Susannah Conway on her Something for the Weekend list: What You Learn in Your 40s and “What should I write about?” 33 prompts to unlock new blog posts + stories that need to be told …

22. From Positively Present Picks: “The best journeys answer the questions that in the beginning you don’t even think to ask” (image) and 8 Things To Do Alone… For A Change.

23. To That Guy Who Made a Fat Joke about Me to My Boyfriend from The Militant Baker.

24. 18 New Life Hacks from viral Nova.

Life Rehab Resources: Mondo Beyondo

liferehabresourcesToday I want to share with you one of the resources that started it all: Andrea Scher, and more specifically her Mondo Beyondo class, a six week self-paced ecourse “full of powerful stories, exercises, secret missions and audio interviews — all designed to help you clarify your deepest dreams and begin to make them real.”

j7jgymyriam moon mb badge 383How the course works: You get an email each weekday that links you to that day’s lesson, with weekends “off” to catch up, contemplate, further connect with your classmates. The platform Andrea currently uses for the course, Ruzuku, allows course members to post responses directly to that day’s offering, and to communicate with each other through comments. And yet, you don’t have to. You can take the course, gain all the good without ever adding to the larger group discussion. It’s totally up to you how you want to participate. The Ruzuku platform also has the added bonus of making the course available to you even after it’s over, and Andrea also provides other ways for members of a session to keep in touch. I have made many friends that continue to be encouraging and supportive of my dreaming process, as I am to them, and I often return to the lessons for a refresher on the practice.

This course fundamentally shifted the way I approach my life, the way I see myself. When I first found Andrea’s blog, I was searching, knew that I had abandoned myself and my dreams but didn’t know how to find my way back. I was instantly drawn to her and what she had to offer, and signed up for my first session of Mondo Beyondo the same month I started this blog. I have since taken Mondo Beyondo Dream Lab, Superhero Photo, Cultivating Courage, and been a teaching assistant for Mondo Beyondo twice. I was also lucky enough this fall to take an in-person weekend workshop with Andrea. She has become a dear and valued friend.

For me, Andrea Scher has been the sun at the center of a universe of amazement and goodness, the shiny middle that all the other bright and precious things orbit around. She invited me to expand my idea of what was possible. She encourages me, is kind and honest. She is constantly admitting the things that are hard and messy, while still pointing out what’s beautiful and precious.

andrea_cherr_497Having been in Mondo Beyondo a few times now, what I’ve noticed is that people come to the course from all over the place, in their lives and the world. Some people don’t know what their dreams even are, some had dreams but they don’t seem to fit anymore, some are afraid to even let themselves dream, some don’t feel worthy of their dreams, some are afraid to try and maybe fail, some think it’s too late for their dreams, some know their dreams but don’t see how they’d be possible in the context of an already full life, some know their dreams but don’t know where to even begin to make them come true.

This course has room for all of these perspectives. And Andrea says it best in the course description that while this course encourages you to dream bigger, in the end it’s not about dreams coming true.

It’s about who we are becoming in the pursuit of our dreams. Are we becoming the most alive version of ourselves? The bravest, most authentic expressions of who we are? That’s how our dreams serve us. They tell us who we are and who we are becoming. They pull us toward a version of ourselves that inspires.

I confess, the first Mondo Beyondo list of dreams I made seemed utterly insane. It had things on it like “meet Brene’ Brown,” “have an audience of 1000 for my blog,” “become a yoga teacher,” and “meet and be friends with Andrea Scher.” That sounds crazy, right? And yet, most of those things have already happened, and the one that hasn’t will be starting this coming weekend when I begin yoga teacher training.

dreamwithfeathersWhat I learned through this course is having the dream is ultimately the only thing you need to start making it come true. Getting clear about what you want most, about what you value, is what clarifies the steps you need to take to get “there.” With what I learned in this course, I am able to form new dreams, get clear about what I want, stick with them and be flexible as they evolve, and either embody that dream or move on to a new one. I can manifest things for myself that I wasn’t able to even imagine before. I have the courage to try.

I have taken so many ecourses in the past two years. I often joke that it’s like I earned another graduate degree, a curriculum of my own design. Out of all those courses, Mondo Beyondo made the biggest difference, had the most impact.

And lucky, lucky you, kind and gentle reader: the next session of Mondo Beyondo starts on Monday, January 6th, and Andrea is offering a special deal, bring a friend for free! I know lots of people who took the course with a significant other, friend or sibling, and it seemed to be a good experience for them.

I adore Andrea, and am so grateful for her work, her truth and her light, which have been of such great benefit to me as I stumble along. Even if taking a course with her doesn’t work for you right now, I encourage you to check out her website, read her blog, follow her on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram, or read her Self-Compassion Saturday post. She is the embodiment of “something good.”

#reverb13: Day Nine

reverb13Reverb13 prompt: “Who inspired you in 2013? And why? What gifts did they give you? And how will you carry these forward in to 2014?”

I was and continue to be inspired by women who are doing the work I aspire to do myself. They are supporting people, mostly women, in a journey of recovering themselves — their creativity, power, confidence, authority, voice, joy, LIFE. The ones I’ve paid specific attention to this year are Susan Piver, Andrea Scher, Rachel Cole, and Laurie Wagner.

I felt like I was able to get a closer look this year at how they do what they do, how they move through the world, was able to spend time in person with each one of them. I noticed common themes of being flexible, being creative, having genuine compassion for others, practicing self-compassion, having a desire to serve, having authentic presence, maintaining healthy boundaries, being willing to process and attend to their own stuff, having a wish for security and making a meaningful offering rather than seeking fame, and honoring their own truth, needs, desires, and limitations. What I have learned from them will save me so much heartache in the future, but also enable me to experience more joy. I will go more gently, have more patience, savor the process.

Project Reverb Prompt: “Surprise | What surprised you the most this year?”

I have undergone a paradigm shift, and the new view has left me gobsmacked. I used to think that the way life worked was I would please others, provide what they needed, and in turn they would be so filled with love and gratitude that they would give me what I needed. That was the transaction. And yet, there were all sorts of opportunities for that interaction to break down — I was maybe guessing at what others wanted or needed and I’d get it wrong, or the other might not know what they needed and even if they thought they knew and told me, they might receive it and it doesn’t go how they imagined, they might respond with “meh…that doesn’t do it for me,” and I would have failed again. Or even if I managed to give another what they needed, and they felt love and gratitude, it might end there. They might not understand that they are supposed to give me anything in return, or they might just decide not to. Or, they might try and find themselves in the very dilemma I faced.

It was a flawed system in so many ways, but I attempted to live like that for so long, believing I had to perform, to earn what I needed, that someone else had to provide what I wanted, give me permission to have what I wanted or needed. Clearly I had to shift to taking care of myself.

The surprise is that I can be who I am. I can want what I want, have what I want, savor and enjoy it without feeling guilt or shame. I am allowed pleasure and joy and delight, and I don’t have to suffer to earn it. It is not a reward for how hard I’ve worked. I don’t have to earn the right to be here, to take up space and have a voice. I don’t have to wait for permission. I don’t need to apologize for myself. I can live my life responding to what I’m hungry for, rather than pleasing others, attempting to meet their demands and expectations. And, it is actually in this way, self-centered, that I can offer my best, be of true benefit. Kinda blows your mind, doesn’t it?

#reverb13: Day Four

reverb13Today, one of my prompts for Reverb13 is up. No big surprise, it’s about grief and loss. I wrote,

This past year, we have all experienced so much loss and felt so much grief — in relationships, through sickness and death, from mental illness or abuse, because of finances, even due to the need for healthy change.

It is good to honor those shifts, to fully feel them, so that we can let go of what needs surrendered, and remember what is worthy of our love and gratitude.

What have you lost, what are you grieving?

olderdexterI can’t talk about what I’ve lost in the past year, what I’m grieving without mentioning Dexter. His cancer and eventual death was the most significant event of 2013. I emailed Kat yesterday, (she’s hosting the Reverb13 I wrote this and one other prompt for) and told her, “Almost every day, I’ve been writing about Dexter, as I reflect back on this year, and it’s helping me to honor that experience but also to let go in a way I still haven’t. I’m so grateful for this practice.”

Another big loss this year is my husband’s parents and his aunt moved. For the past five years, they were here, close to us. We’d lived here for almost seven years on our own before that and were fine, but then they came and we had someone else to call when we needed help, a built in dog sitter (one who washed dishes and did laundry when she came over), people to gather with for holidays or just a regular meal any time. We’d come home from work to a container of homemade cinnamon rolls or oatmeal cookies, and there was always someone to help Eric take a load of stuff to the dump or borrow a ladder from. We got used to it, so now being here by ourselves again feels a little lonely.

Another loss is not going to Susan Piver’s Fearlessly Creative: A Meditation and Writing Retreat at Shambhala Mountain Center (SMC) at the end of the month. The timing is just off for me this session, and even though I can do a writing and meditation retreat any time for myself at home, and I can drive up to SMC whenever I want, I am really going to miss seeing Susan again. The other grief related to her is the Open Heart Project Practitioner level didn’t end up working out. We aren’t completely disbanded or adrift, things are simply shifting, but we had just completed our 2nd virtual retreat when we got the news and it was sad.

There’s grief about other family stuff, things I don’t write about here, other people’s struggles and secrets that aren’t mine to share, but can’t be ignored, are hard to witness, generate so much suffering. I practice remembering, as Anaïs Nin suggested, “You cannot save people. You can only love them.”

When it was happening, and immediately after, there was a lot of grief around the session I had with a new doctor where she told me I was obese and tried to put me on a diet, told me to do more cardio — all this after I explained I was a dis-ordered eater and was hoping to heal that behavior.

handpocketsbyandrea

this is what obese looks like — when I look at her, all I can see is how hard she tries, all the ways she’s denied herself, how worthy she is of nothing but love (photo by Andrea Scher)

Which leads directly into my answer to the next prompt: 20/20: Hindsight is the one thing we never benefit from in the present.  Is there one moment you wish you could do over? I’m not usually one to wish for do-overs because it seems to imply regret, wanting things to be different, and if that were the case, I wouldn’t be where I am now. For example, from the visit to that doctor came the Self-Compassion Saturday project and the real healing that is happening now, something I had to do for myself. Yes, what she did was awful, but it was the catalyst for something good. Or, I could wish that I’d let Dexter go hiking that day, the one where he stayed home with me and hurt his knee chasing a squirrel in the back yard — and yet, without a hurt knee, he wouldn’t have required physical therapy, and we never would have met Dr. Lindsey Fry and the support staff at Fort Collins Veterinary Emergency Hospital. They gave both Dexter and I such good care in those final months. So, rather than wish for a do-over, I choose to accept what’s happened, to be grateful for what I can, learn what I can.

The Besottment Reverb 2013 prompt is “Did you discover a favourite song or musical artist in 2013?” I love music as much as I love books and dogs, so I can’t give just one. These are my three favorite new to me artists I discovered, my three favorite of their songs.

One eskimO, Amazing

Mary Lambert, She Keeps Me Warm

Furns, Power

#reverb13: Day Two

reverb13I remembered yesterday that there are three Reverb prompt options: #reverb13 hosted by Kat McNally (two of the prompts in this set were written by me), Project Reverb, and Reverb 2013 hosted by Besottment. As I did last year, I’m going to look at them all, write about some or all, and publish some of that — which could be total chaos or a brilliant beautiful mess.

Two I missed yesterday:Where did you start 2013?  Give us some background on this year.” and “Did you try anything new in 2013?

I started 2013 with a dog who had terminal cancer, who was predicted to be gone months before, which meant that we had to be prepared for every day to possibly be the last, and I was was actively wishing an easy death for him every one of those days. I was also taking him to physical therapy because in addition to his cancer, he’d torn something in his knee. I was doing my first session as a teaching assistant for Mondo Beyondo. I was in the same place with my work, feeling like I had two jobs, overwhelmed, not sure how I was going to manage it all, trying to make sure I would at least “shower, eat, and meditate,” and writing small stones. I was feeling so happy to have found Kat through Reverb12, and had just picked my word for the year, “freedom.”

New things I tried in 2013: I went to California by myself three times for workshops, renting a car each time and using my Google Maps app to get around. I also tried letterpress and Nia for the first time.

Today’s Prompts:What made your soul feel most nourished this year?” and “What was the most memorable gathering you attended (or held) in 2013?” and “Shine: What was the best moment of 2013?

Nourishment: Creativity, practice (writing, meditation, yoga, and dog), meeting people in person that I had adored from afar (teachers, writers, artists, healers), self-care, self-compassion, rest, therapy, retreats (both in person and virtual), Open Heart Project, walking, hiking, being outside, eating food from our own garden, reading.

Most memorable gathering: This is a three way tie, the retreats I did at 27 Powers this fall were all amazing — a writing workshop with Laurie Wagner and Jen Louden, a creativity workshop with Laurie Wagner and Andrea Scher, and a hunger workshop with Rachel Cole. Brilliant teachers, vulnerable and beautiful attendees, laughing and crying and creating and being present, showing up, opening up, being at ease, getting flooded with magic and medicine.

Best moment of 2013: This was hard, to select a single best moment, but when I thought of one, it was the clear winner, and yet I think it’s going to seem like an odd choice to you. The day that Dexter died, when I was sitting on our back step and he came out and put his front paws on my leg, standing in my lap while I pet him, him as his full and alive and well self for a brief moment on a day when he’d been feeling pretty awful, the way the light was, how content and together we were in that space, on the worst of all days. I could list other highlights, successes or moments of validation, or times when I felt a rush of relief and ease, but this moment, one of the last ones with Dexter when he wasn’t suffering, shines the brightest. I miss him so much…

sweetdex