Tag Archives: Superhero Photo

An open love letter to Andrea Scher

Photo by Mara

I’ll admit, kind and gentle reader, I am afraid to write this post. I have avoided it for months, while at the same time silently writing and rewriting it in my heart, longing to say it out loud, to tell her. But what do you say to someone who has given you so much, altered your experience so completely? How can you ever possibly thank them? See…I’m right to be afraid, because every time I think about it, about how much I adore her and how grateful I am, I start to cry (now, for example).

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.

self-portrait by andrea scher

Here is just a short list of what she’s given me, what she’s introduced me to: Boho Girl, Susannah Conway, Kelly Rae Roberts, Brene’ Brown (!!!), Jen Lemen, Flora Bowley and the wonder of painting, Laurie Wagner, Rachel Cole, Mondo Beyondo thinking, and the joy of photography.

I’ve taken two of Andrea’s classes, Mondo Beyondo (which she taught with Jen Lemen) and Superhero Photo, and on Monday, June 18th, I’ll be starting Mondo Beyondo Dream Lab.

Horse or Dog?

horse or dog? picture I took of sam during superhero photo

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.

Mondo Beyondo fundamentally shifted the way I approached my life, the way I saw myself. In this post, (which Andrea wrote when she first introduced the course in 2009), she describes the concept of a Mondo Beyondo list, what that approach looks like and means. She says,

I had been making these kinds of lists for years but had never had a name for it, or ever formalized my mental list by writing it down. My Mondo Beyondo. I liked the sound of it. I also loved the idea of stretching yourself into this world of the outrageous. If your imagination could reach a bit farther with this exercise, then you were giving yourself a powerful gift: expanding your idea of what is possible.

image by jen gray

Here’s the list of what I’ve done because of Andrea Scher, things I can cross off my Mondo Beyondo List:

  1. Started writing this blog
  2. Bought a ticket to World Domination Summit (WDS, just a few weeks away!)
  3. Took a few classes with Susannah Conway, got a signed copy of her book (sent by her!), am taking a writing workshop with her at WDS, and attending an event on her book tour at Kelly Rae Robert’s studio (!)
  4. Met Brene’ Brown (holy crap, I even talked to her!), took a two-day workshop with her
  5. Signed up to take a yoga class with Marianne Elliott at WDS
  6. Went to a Fearless Creativity writing and meditation retreat at Shambhala Mountain Center with Susan Piver (oh how I adore that woman!)
  7. Hosted a Well-Fed Woman Mini Retreatshop led by Rachel Cole
  8. Started writing a book

Maybe for some people, this list wouldn’t seem that astonishing, but we are talking about me here: INFJ, introvert, highly sensitive person who suffered from depression, anxiety, and writer’s block for 25+ years, (maybe longer?). This list is huge, ginormous, crazy wild amazing.

andrea scher, taken by laurie wagner

I found Andrea Scher’s blog, Superhero Journal, at a time when I was so brokenhearted, such a mess, so stuck, so tired. I didn’t know how to keep going, where to even start. I was searching, my view clouded by grief, knew that I had abandoned myself and my dreams, but didn’t know how to find my way back.

The person I am today: writer, artist, warrior, brave, open-hearted, funny, strong, joyful, sane, is possible in part because of Andrea Scher. She invited me to expand my idea of what was possible. She encouraged me, was kind and honest. She was constantly admitting the things that are hard and messy, while still pointing out what’s beautiful and precious. She reminds me of this quote from Muriel Rukeyser, “What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.” Split open, and through the cracks, the light would get in (or maybe get out?).

Thank you, Andrea. I adore you and am so grateful for your work, your truth and your light, which have been of such great benefit to me as I stumble along.

Gratitude Friday

This post is a mashup of The Little Bliss List and Joy Jam, and as such is meant to celebrate: the little things that brought me hope and happiness this week, the sweet stuff of life, those small gifts that brought me joy this week. By sharing them, I not only make public my gratitude, but maybe also help you notice your own good stuff and send some positive energy out into the world.

1. Tiny spring flowers. How do they get them so small?! There are two huge beds of them as you enter from the south side of campus by the parking garage at CSU, tiny daffodils and tulips and a few others I can’t even name, all in miniature but such bright color, such big joy in my heart when I see them. I know the picture above looks like a regular sized daffodil, but it’s full bloom was no bigger than a quarter.

2. Susannah Conway is going to be at World Domination Summit in July, and so am I! She’s proposed a session called “Writing from the Heart” and I hope it gets enough votes to run, but at the very least, I am going to be able to tell her in person, right to her sweet face, how much I adore her. It was on my Mondo Beyondo list to do just that some day, and it looks like it’s going to happen.

3. Eating clean and drinking juice. After two weeks of this, I cannot tell you how good I feel, not just physically but emotionally. My brain works better, I am happier, I have more energy. So simple, so profound.

4. Spring. I know, I know…blah, blah, blah. But, I can’t help but mention it again–the weather, everything budding out and blooming, sitting in the backyard reading, watching Dexter roll in the grass and Sam chase the squirrels. Although, this is Colorado, so Spring weather this week meant it was 80 degrees on Sunday and snowing on Tuesday.

5. This week, I got the best (and most surprising) compliment: she called me “positive.” After years of struggling with anxiety and depression, thinking of myself as moody and dark and disgruntled, it makes me so happy that people are noticing and appreciating the change, the shift in me.

6. WILD. My writing group met today, and we had so much fun, even made Full Moon Dreamboards together. I adore those women.

7. Laurie Wagner’s Telling True Stories. Class officially starts on Monday, but there’s lots of prep happening already, lots of anticipation and excitement. To add to my own personal hysteria, I just found out that Andrea Scher, author of Superhero Journal, and teacher of Mondo Beyondo (the course that started it all for me) and Superhero Photo is going to be there too! I owe Andrea so much gratitude, that even after nine months, I still haven’t worked out quite how to communicate it–it’s just too much.