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Blog

Absolution

Amber Adrian

You know what’s exhausting?

Trying to fix everything about yourself.

When I say it out loud (type it into a blog post, same thing) it sounds dumb. Like, dear god, woman, what are you doing? If that’s how you’re spending your time of course you’re drained.

But this fixing of the self situation is insidious.

We’re hardwired to believe that if we don’t enjoy how we currently feel or don’t have something we want, that means we need to fix something about ourselves or our life. Because if I had just done it right, been more successful, healed faster…I wouldn’t feel this way. I would have what I want.

Again, when you type it out loud (go with me here) it really does sound kinda stupid.

Which isn’t to say that I am stupid or that you are stupid, if any of this resonates with you.

It’s more of a “Hey, this pervasive societal plague of “Must Be Better” is stupid.” We’ve been trained to switch automatically into the Fix It gear when we aren’t enjoying something, be it a feeling or a life situation. If we don’t enjoy, we must require healing or our life must require a big change.

It’s a rather extraordinary act of rebellion is to say “You know what? I don’t have to fix anything about myself. I don’t have to get a job, start a business, get married, have a child, pay my bills, run a marathon, lose ten pounds, write a book, make a certain amount of money, or start meditating in order to be a worthy human being. I already am worthy. So are you. So are we all. I can just be in my experience from moment to moment, however it feels. I don’t have to do anything about it.”

But oh my god it’s hard.

Because we’re trained to jump. Trained to jump out of our bodies, out of our feelings, out of our experience and into something that feels better, whether it’s ice cream, a new sweater, red wine, a new job, a new project, a new relationship.

Because being where we are right now is hard.

But I’m finding that it doesn’t have to be hard. Who knew?

It can be incredibly easy to just take things moment by moment. To just notice and be curious about the thoughts and sensations that are happening right now. Without worrying about what’s happened before or what might happen later, because none of that matters even a little bit. Because nothing but the present moment exists.

I’m even going to put that sentence in a different font, that’s how much I want to visually represent the brain popping that happens whenever I remember it.

Nothing but the present moment exists.

Because I am the kind of person who wants exactly what she wants and wants it yesterday, it’s taken me a very long time to get to the edge of this. To get to the place where I don’t want to fix myself or my life any more.

Mostly because I simply don’t have the energy. I don’t have the energy to want anything I don’t have, I don’t have the energy to move anything around, I don’t have the energy to heal any more of the many things my brain tells me I need to heal.

It required complete burn out to get me here, possibly because I am wildly stubborn and will ignore nudges and signs until the proverbial cows come home to take off their boots and turn on the TV.

Frankly, I am thoroughly sick of moving energy around. I just can’t do any more shifting, processing, clearing, calling in, manifesting, transforming, healing or quantum leaping. It’s too exhausting to try to fix all the energy everywhere.

I’m too tired to do anything but be.

Be present with my current experience of my thoughts and physical sensations for a few seconds before going back to the (truly delicious) truffle potato chips.

($3 at Trader Joe’s, guys.)

“Hold not heal” is something Jeff Foster says, and I’m really happy I happened to hear him say that. Because I kept getting the “we are already whole and healed’ message, but I couldn’t quite figure out how to integrate that into the human experience of … everything.

Labels like healing and anxiety and emotional neglect and depression and codependency and all those oh-so-loaded concepts drag me down every time they float across my brain. So I’m done with those too.

It’s okay if my head is pounding, my brain is spinning, my body is shaking, my emotions are careening wildly. It’s okay. It doesn’t mean anything at all, except that I’m human.

Maybe anxiety is sacred. Maybe depression is sacred. Maybe all those other “you should probably medicate that and go to therapy” experiences are no better or worse than any other experience.

Maybe we can just let it all be okay. Let it all be safe. Maybe we can experience all of ourselves in each moment, and take a breath with it, without carrying it into the next moment. Unless we do, and that’s okay too.

My favorite way to return to the moment from wherever I happened to be - floating somewhere in the future or the past or the ether or in some precarious state of disembodied overwhelm - is to notice what’s around me. The leaves on the trees, the smell of star jasmine, the squirrel dive bombing my roof, the steam swirling up from my coffee, my butt in the chair, my feet on the ground, my hair touching my collar bone.

Just noticing these things grounds me in this moment.

When I’m actually in, I can notice what’s rising up in me.

Then I can hold it, be curious about it, love it. Or just fall into it. Fall into being held. Like when your muscles just give up after you’ve run twenty miles and you have to crash into the grass.

I give up on trying to ascend to some level of peace where there are no triggers.

Because - apparently - the universe just laughs at me when I try.

So I’m just going to exist in the triggers. While still doing things, because I’m tired of letting the triggers take me out.

When he was full of fear and anxiety about taking over the Tonight Show, John Colbert said, “It was my job to calm the fuck down and go back to work tomorrow.”

I love that. I feel like that’s my job. Notice what’s happening in whatever trigger shows up - or not, no big - and then calm the fuck down and go back to work. Every single day. Even though what my work actually is feels very vague right now.

(All my info points away from channeling and energy healing and toward writing again, but the kind of writing that shares my experience (rather than sells anything for anyone) and I’m not 100% sure how a person gets paid for that, and burn-out or no, I still have bills to pay. So that may mean a job? And blogging when I have time and energy? No idea, but I’m open to anything.)

In this moment, I fully absolve myself of having to change anything, fix anything, heal anything, do anything.

Me, trying to exist in the sun and shadows without being dumb about it.

Me, trying to exist in the sun and shadows without being dumb about it.

Let's Discuss Vultures

Amber Adrian

One of my major life challenges is How To Not Be Drained Always.

This shows up in work, in relationships, in going to the grocery store without needing a post-produce section nap.

I get drained because I want to help everyone feel better. So I let them in. Way in, energetically speaking. While that’s awwww sweet on some level, I'm ready to officially declare the Amber Buffet closed.

So much about how our energy intermingles and interacts is unconscious. Even for those of us who make it our actual job to know (raises hand), half the time it’s “wait, what the hell just happened?” after coming home from something only able to climb into bed and stare at Queer Eye for three hours straight.

I believe that energy vultures are just trying to survive, the only way they know how. When someone’s been drained their entire life, they will naturally be drawn to energy they can drain, just so they can get through the day. It’s unconscious, until we get a clue and start working on good boundaries.

I’ve been both the drained and the drainee. I’ve been both the vulture and the tasty roadkill.

Vultures are just doing their best to get through life. If you have some tasty energy on offer, they’re going to partake. Like any one of us would if we missed breakfast and Starbucks had banana bread samples sitting out. Obviously you’re going to take it. They wouldn’t offer it if you weren’t supposed to eat it, right? Right.

There’s nothing wrong with being a vulture. Vultures are their own perfect part of the food chain.

But it’s my choice whether or not to let the vultures feast on my carcass.

So I’m declaring again, here and now:

THE AMBER BUFFET IS CLOSED.

Hey, cool, but how do we close the buffet?

Good question.

I’m still working on it.

What I’ve been doing lately is simply paying attention.

When do I need to crawl into bed? When do I just want to watch Netflix and hug a pillow? When do I land face first in a bag of kettle chips? When do my thoughts circle endlessly on something that doesn’t help or doesn’t even feel like me? Those are all signs that my energy has been drained.

What precipitated the poaching? A trigger? A conversation? An internet troll? A social gathering?

Energetic hygiene - clearing, cord-cutting, shielding - is great for empaths and sensitive peeps. But ultimately, the best protection is connecting with your own heart, your own energy, your own light, and blazing it through your own field.

When you’re all wrapped up in your own light, outside intrusions can’t get in nearly as easily.

So I’ve been chanting “I nourish and cherish myself”, putting my hands over my heart whenever possible, paying attention to my breath, being as conscious of my thought patterns as possible, and doing whatever I can to bask in my own goddamn light.

These past six months, I’ve felt so drained that I couldn’t even find my own light. My rib cage was as dark as a haunted house on November 1st. So I finally had to stop everything I was doing and make myself my number one priority - over my business, over helping others, over money, over relationships, over everyone and everything.

ME ME ME.

While this may be a controversial opinion, I highly encourage any and all empaths and sensitive people, especially those who feel drained and overwhelmed, to adopt a ME FIRST policy.

When you’ve been giving so much of yourself for so long, a wild swing in the other direction is often needed. In the ME ME ME direction. When we’ve been offering our love, energy, talent, care, money to anyone and everyone for our whole lives without receiving enough in return (from ourselves, others, or a particularly wretched combination of the two), we need to put our foot down and declare THIS IS THE ME MONTH. (The Me Day, the Me Year, the Me Decade, whatever.)

Then you do whatever you have to do to take care of you.

For me that means writing with big pots of tea, scrubbing my house, going to the beach, quitting the soul-sucking task of selling myself, doing my best to break a sweat everyday, re-reading Harry Potter, taking off my shoes so I can feel the grass between my toes.

Plug yourself in so you can recharge.

Prime re-charging spot. The beach is like the empath genius bar. Just walk up and your connection gets fixed.

Prime re-charging spot. The beach is like the empath genius bar. Just walk up and your connection gets fixed.

On Overcoming Triggers and Downward Spirals (After Much Stubbornness)

Amber Adrian

Since I still don’t know what I’m doing with my life, business, home, relationships, writing - with anything at all really, thanks, quantum shifts! - I’m doing my best to just keep myself happy and in a relatively positive state. “Vibration” if you live in Northern California.

One thing that’s always made me happy is blogging. Just sharing my experience. Not in a “this is what you should do!” way - in fact, I would generally advise against doing what I do - but simply because talking about what’s true for me in this moment feels important.

Apparently that’s a real thing for empaths. We see and feel a lot and we get trained out of sharing it as kids and then we end up choking on unprocessed information as adults.

Blogging clears the throat chakra (apparently) and hot damn could my throat chakra use some of that.

So I’m going to talk about my week, because that's what you do on a blog.

First up:

The universe is trying to trigger the hell out of me. 

… and it succeeded with vigor on Monday. 

Mostly because my internet went out, which is the most first world of problems, besides maybe being denied your favorite flavor of green juice. But I still find it deeply aggravating. Mostly because it’s a solvable problem that somehow never gets solved.

Side note: One of the best descriptions of the United States I’ve ever heard is that we solve problems no one else can solve (internet and space travel) (the Russians might disagree with that, but I don’t think anyone from Russia reads my blog) and we can’t solve problems that are a major “duh” to everyone else (healthcare and guns).

Anyway, whenever my landlords call Comcast to fix something, my internet gets disconnected. This leaves me full of rage. Because 1. this keeps happening even though I’ve asked for a heads-up so I can make sure the Comcast guy doesn’t sail off on his merry way leaving me without a connection and 2. because I work from home and I need that shit. 

Rage was felt, triggers were acted upon, and if that was a universal test of my maturity and / or spiritual growth, I failed miserably. 

So I drove to Petaluma in high dudgeon to use internet that actually worked while simmering in my frustration and rage, because that’s always a great idea. Rage is good for the skin. 

HOWEVER.

Even though I massively failed the universe’s perverse little test and made life rockier for myself thanks to said rage and high dudgeon, some good things still arose:

Good Thing Number One:

While I was in Petaluma, I went into one of my dark Everything Is Bad, I’ve Done Everything Wrong So I Never Get To Be Happy, I Can’t Do This Any More, Let Me Off The Planet spirals. There was shaking, there was crying, it was not pretty.

I used to get stuck in these dark spirals for hours or days or weeks, 100% certain that I would never get out of it, that there was no light at the end of the tunnel and everything would be bad forever. Which is not a fun place to be, especially if you’re there for weeks. I rarely go that far down the spiral any more and I pop back out fairly quickly. This is big, and I’m doing my best to be conscious of how far I’ve come. Possibly even congratulatory, because while it’s not a sexy achievement, it is an important one.

During this particular dark hell spiral, I was able to recognize that there actually was dark energy spiraling above me and I was held in its thrall.

It freaked me out. I didn’t want anything to do with that dark energy, I was scared, get it away from me.

But then I noticed that I was feeling calm again. The relentless and wildly painful cycling of my brain had stopped. I felt peaceful.

Post-dark spiral peace is absolute bliss. It’s the best high on the planet and this, my friends, is why the world has drug addicts.

So I asked the person next to me if he was doing anything and he said he was. I replied that whatever he was doing was working and please continue.

When I asked what was actually going on, he said he was cycling the dark energy through his heart. He likened it to the obnoxious kid on the playground who just wants to be included. If you try to push the dark energy away, it gets worse. But if you love and accept it, it settles down.

Cue head explosion.

Because I knew this intellectually. But in practice I was too scared to welcome in the dark energy. Partly because I feel like I’ve been welcoming in dark energy my whole life and that’s part of why a reasonable portion of that whole life has been one giant festival of pain. *

*Slight exaggeration but not nearly as much of an exaggeration as I would prefer.

But maybe it’s because I welcome it in but then get scared of it and try to push it away. Maybe by fully loving and accepting it - and myself - everything gets easier. Peaceful.

I’m still chewing on this, but it was a profound experience.

And one that may not have happened if my internet hadn’t gone dark.

Good Thing Number Two:

Even as I was feeling righteously enraged by the egregious internet offense, I knew that there was going to come a point when I realized it wasn’t a big deal at all. Hot on the heels of that point would come the point where I feel rather sheepish.

Yes, that moment came. But no, I didn’t feel sheepish. I don’t have much shame any more.

At the appointed time - well, technically an hour and a half after the appointed time but still half an hour within the given window - a friendly bearded man with a thick southern accent showed up. He admired my hobbit house - he even called it a hobbit house, which is exactly what I call it, and this endeared him to me forever - and said he wanted one just like it. He had just moved to the area from Tennessee and this was only his third day here.

So I told him that there were hobbit cottages aplenty in Mill Valley and how to find one, along with where my favorite beaches and pizza places live. He labeled my internet line with a “Back cottage, do not disconnect” so that Egregious Internet Offense doesn’t happen again.

It felt like one of those encounters that needed to happen for some reason, obvious or otherwise.

So I was feeling good about the whole thing.

Then the universe tried to trigger me again, a mere day later.

Because the universe is nothing if not determined, and also I failed the first test so I guess it wanted to give me another chance? 

But this time I didn’t trigger. Hahaha, take that, universe!

Because I didn’t trigger, I just let the parking meter eat my debit card and calmly reported it lost. Then I calmly walked to the bank and a very friendly teller handed me some cash so I can eat and buy gas for the next week. When my card comes, I will calmly re-set up all my automatic bill withdrawals.

Like a goddamn grownup.

Then I went to my appointment and we worked on receiving (because I am apparently not very good at that) and forty-five minutes later, I got a whole bunch of free soup and bread. Because I was working at Arizmendi’s and it was closing in ten minutes and they had to get rid of all the unsold soup. So me, the college student sitting at the next table, and an elementary school teacher all got big containers of free tomato soup and fresh bread and it was great.

The moral of the story is: Everyone wants to help. Everyone did their best to support me through my (minor first world) challenges and since I’ve been deeply wanting to feel more supported, this was a much needed reminder that feeling taken care of can happen.

Even if the universe was being a bit of a dick.

Me, wearing a stolen hat and triggering only slightly.

Me, wearing a stolen hat and triggering only slightly.

Here's the Path. Now Walk It.

Amber Adrian

Who else has one hell of a holy-whoa full moon hangover?

If you are raising your hand right now, hi. You are my tribe.

Shifts have been rolling in, fast and determined, which is what happens when you let the feisty phoenix give your life and soul a fiery blast.

I’ve been feeling the shift coming on for the past few weeks, which is why I stepped back from anything that drained me, started drinking ridiculous amounts of water, and focusing on healing myself over everything else.

As much as I want kids, I’m really glad I didn’t have them this month, because they probably would’ve demanded things. Like love. And food. And it was all I could do to get myself food, much less love.

Fully surrendering the illusion that I have any brand of control over my life did not come easy. Wading through the muck that was floating to the surface was a Shawshank Redemption-style army crawl through the sewer of my soul.

I want control. I tried to wrest control. I did everything in my rather stubborn power to make the universe bend to my will.

And, sure, the universe will bend to me.

But not by doing what I was doing.

What I was doing just made the universe laugh at me.

(Rude.)

Because, as ever, I need to focus on what’s happening internally.

I had to fill up my own damn cup - by crying, moving through old emotions and energy that got stuck in my spleen sometime in mid-2007, roaming the seashore, and drinking green juice and eating potato chips. By meditating and reading Harry Potter. By connecting with my heart and higher self and watching Netflix.

The human and the divine in one big messy orgy of It’s Goddamn Time and This Shift Is Coming Like It Or Not.

Halfway through, I hated it and was mad at it.

Now that I’m on the downhill slide, I like it.

It feels good to move through something big and dark-feeling and come out the other side with your light back on.

Here Are Some Things I Learned (Again) And Hope To Remember This Time

(Note to self: Remembering simply requires daily practice.)

Connect daily with my light and heart and higher self. It’s all in there, I just have to tap in.

Sweat and yoga it out, every day. Move out anything that wants to malinger.

Notice and be present with any shadows or dark spots. Love myself through it all.

Love myself through it all. Yup.

Have fun. Best way to shift into a higher state of being and vibration.

Fill my own cup daily. Just ask what feels like a soul and body sigh of relief and do the thing.

Blaze my own light and vibration. It works even better than shielding and clearing, though do that too.

Be fully and happily in a “whatever happens happens” frame of mind - with money, relationships, work, and life in general. It’s always “this or something better” and as I feel it all here now, life will organize it for me, all the faster if I keep my grubby mitts off.

Feel what I want to feel now - instead of waiting for the love or abundance to give it to me, because it won’t. The universe is mirroring my internal world back to me. So I can just go ahead and feel loved and secure and abundant right now, and the outer world can do whatever it damn well pleases.

Now is the only moment that exists. So I’m gonna be in it and enjoy it.

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Taken in Mill Valley after staring at the ocean waves for awhile.

There’s the path. So we just gotta walk it and enjoy the motion.

No More Trying. Just Being.

Amber Adrian

I was talking to a friend tonight, and he said I was "looking, rather than creating."

I've felt too drained to create. So I've been looking.

Looking outside myself to find ease and fulfillment. Looking to other people, to money, to success (whatever the hell that is) to fill me up.

I know better. Of course I do.

But when you're drained dry, it becomes very hard to recall that hard-earned wisdom when you need it most. 

It's hard to self-source when you feel like you have nothing left. Even when that's not even remotely true. We always have access to this bottomless well of love and peace. Sometimes we just forget where the trap door is. 

It's why people who talk about this stuff tend to harp on endlessly about self-love and filling your own cup. 

Yeah, sorry about that. I know how annoying it can be.

Especially when you've been draining your own cup for so long, that you have no idea what this mythical overflowing cup even looks like, much less how to get one.

Which is why I feel so good about taking some time to just stop. 

Stop huffing endlessly on the hamster wheel of trying to make things happen and just allow whatever is.

No more trying. Just being. 

No more doing. Just feeling. 

I can't wait to see what unfolds.

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Trust Fall Off a Cliff

Amber Adrian

Yesterday, I got some scary-ass guidance.

It happened right here on this ridiculously pretty California beach, as I sat on the sand in my favorite place to get answers.

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I've been getting - and ignoring - a few messages for months. Since I'm also getting close to falling off the burn-out cliff, which would force the issue, I'm doing my best to pay attention.

Guidance: Take a month off.

Brain: I would love to, but I can’t afford it.

Heart: Take a month off.

Brain: Yeah, but money. MONEY IS A THING, YOU KNOW.

Guidance: You are not to worry about money.

Brain: EASY FOR YOU TO SAY, LIVING IN THE ETHER WHERE YOU DON’T HAVE TO PAY RENT OR BUY ORANGES.

Guidance: You don’t have to buy oranges either.

Brain: But I like oranges.

Guidance [sounding put-upon]: We’re getting off track again.

Taking a month off feels like both a soul sigh of relief (the feeling I always tell my clients to follow) and a red-alert-panic-button-you-gonna-be-homeless-crazy-lady alarm.

Now, I wouldn’t take it completely off. I’ll still be working with my current clients and groups and anyone who knocks on my door.

But I won't be searching anyone out. I won't be launching, sharing, marketing, newsletter-ing, or posting things of the Amber-Is-Sorta-Inspirational-(?)-But-Mostly-She-Seems-To-Be-Talking-About-Monkeys-Again oeuvre on instagram.

Not trying to make money, when humans do actually need money, would be full-blown surrender.

I would be required to trust the universe to send me what I need to be able to keep my house and my car and my oranges. Trust in myself and what I’ve already done, trust in my shaky nervous system not to go crazy with fear.

I’m not 100% sure I have it in me.

I've been getting guided to write more and take a month off for ages - and just haven't done it. Because, fear. Also: possible homeless and orangeless...ness.

But I can't keep touting "follow your guidance! follow your guidance!" to the world at large if I don't follow my own goddamn advice.

What if I did just follow my intuition and stopped doing things that drain me and just did things I love? What would happen?

We’re about to find out.

Imaginary Saber Tooth Tigers

Amber Adrian

I was born during the last gasp of disco.

To this day, if Got To Be Real comes on, I will dance in public. Whether dancing is appropriate or not. If inappropriate, I may restrain myself to shuffling my magenta Converse under the table, but some form of movement will always mark the occasion.

I’m forty years old, sliding rapidly into forty-one, and I’m still figuring myself out. I have a lot more knowledge than in previous years and decades, but virtually every week something new unfolds.

The unfolding of the self is goddamn relentless. Especially when you’re dedicated to the process.

Dancing makes me happy, that I know.

(Though I have to relearn it every few years, when it slips out of habit and my happiness levels decrease by approximately 22 percent. )

I need to be in trees or on a mountain or by the beach at least once a week for my sanity, that I also know.

Writing helps me find my center and my answers.

Color, bright color, delights me and I try to wear some every day. T-shirts with electric banjo-playing squirrels and rainbow jetpack-riding unicorns are always at the top of the laundry rotation.

Making myself stew - or anything else that doesn’t involve crackers or popcorn - feels deeply nurturing.

I decorate my house in the colors of the lower chakras: red, orange, and yellow. Plus turquoise. Coincidentally, the chakras I struggle with most.

I want to feed a giraffe, see the Northern lights, and learn to sing.

Tapping in as regularly as I’m able supports my perspective unlike anything else. I need to bask in that love and peace and anything-and-everything-is-possible, which is where I go when I channel. And it works best when I take other people with me.

Sometimes I feel like Neo in The Matrix - discovering just how deep the rabbit hole goes.

(Not so much with the sweeping black pleather jackets and jiu jitsu, though. Sadly.)

The longer I follow this channeling path, the weirder it gets.

First, it was "You get messages from an unseeable, unknowable source."

Then it was, "You can talk to Joan of Arc."

Then it was, "Yes, unicorns do drive past you on Harleys if you're in a bad mood." *

* because there ain't no one, in this world or any other, who wants me in a bad mood.

Then it was, "There are beings on other planets who want to hang out with you and put on a sweet light show."

Days when I write and move and channel and visit nature and make something just for the fun of it - those are the very best days. Because at some point, it’s not even about knowing yourself, it’s just about getting through the day with as much presence and joy as possible.

But my brain tries to talk me out of each and every one of these activities. Partially because my brain is a bit of a jerk, but mostly because I’m so used to not feeling good that when I do feel good, my brain gets concerned and does its utmost to nudge me back where things are comfortable.

As an empath and a person who doesn’t much enjoy discipline, I’m often wallowing in the energy and feelings and perspectives and thoughts of others. Which means, extra anxiety with a whipped cream topping of fear.

I used to get mad at my brain for spitting out anxiety-inducing sludge from the moment it comes online in the morning to the moment it passes out in the evening. Then I realized it’s attached to my tweaked spinal cord and constantly-in-fear-of-being-devoured-by-a-saber-tooth-tiger nervous system.

It’s doing the best it can, given the systemic information it’s being fed.

Holding energetic boundaries is difficult when your physical system is compromised. (That’s last week’s bit of unfolding fun.)

When I try to convince my nervous system that saber tooth tigers aren’t a thing in Mill Valley, California, circa now, my brain does its best to collaborate the story.

Sadly, nobody believes it.

Then I get mad because energy is my thing and why can’t I fix my own and ARGGHHHHHHHHH.

While healing is sometimes a quantum leap, it's more often a slow slog of small adjustments.

It's a day-by-day and moment-by-moment process of remembering to honor your feelings, follow the nudges, and point your brain toward what you want (rather than fears and worries) while enjoying the present moment.

I often wonder how anyone can do all this while also doing anything else. Anything at all.

So we have to nudge our brain into resting - by breathing, by moving, by making something, by stepping out into nature, by connecting with the quiet voice behind the brain hamsters.

I'm still learning how to do this - it's an evolution that unwinds through the lifetime of your soul (so, basically, eternity) - but I know it's happening.

Bit by bit, my brain and nervous system re-align and life starts to mesh effortlessly with spirit instead of imaginary saber tooth tigers.

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Trauma Tuesday

Amber Adrian

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I look fairly normal, right?

Nope!

Turns out, I’ve been a walking bundle of traumatized nerves my whole life.

I, hand-to-god, had no earthly idea.

While the world is a traumatic place, I haven’t been through any noticeable trauma (dead dads and miscarriage and breakups aside), so I assumed the word didn’t apply to me.

But there’s a whole subtle trauma underground. Emotional trauma, systemic trauma, empath trauma. They’re like the ninja turtles of trauma: Big, green and will karate chop the heck out of your throat, but no one quite believes they’re real.

After a charged but ultimately no-big-deal conversation on Tuesday night, I catapulted into a 24-hour period of shaking, must-flee, all-my-feels-are-like-fingernails-down-the-chalkboard-of-my-system panic experience.

Needless to say, it was zero fun.

It didn’t really cool down until I ran to the network chiropractor’s office the next day for the first slot they could give me, threw myself down on the table, and yelled “FIX ME!” Which they did.

In the past, I thought I was just being an overly-sensitive drama queen.

That’s the thing about emotional neglect and self-abandonment. (Two terms I don’t particularly care for but have been reading about anyway because they seem to explain a lot.) They’re more or less invisible.

We humans are deeply adept at normalizing and sweeping things under the rug - mostly because we don’t realize it’s an issue or know what to do about it if we do happen to notice.

It’s only been recently that I’ve recognized that this sort of reaction to a fight or any kind of harsh energy or emotion isn’t normal. Or maybe it’s all too normal and few of us really know what to do or how to talk about it.

After my system kicks into high-octane fight-or-flight (but mostly flight), I cease functioning in any normal fashion. I flood, my brain goes hazy, and I become one giant throbbing nerve.

Which is just as much fun as it sounds.

I’ve done a lot of emotional and energy healing, but my poor physical nervous system is so tweaked it can take me down in a hot second at the first sign of trouble.

This is why I have never allowed myself to do any kind of drugs or keep any kind of sleep aids or alcohol in the house, because in these flooded, panicked, in-severe-wracking-systemic-and-emotional-pain moments I will toss back anything handy without giving the first damn.

Which means that on Tuesday night, when I was mid-trauma-trigger, I didn’t have so much as a spare melatonin tablet.

So I went for a drive instead, which may have not been the best plan, all things considered. Luckily, it was after midnight and no one is on the road in Marin. I drove around Tiburon until I calmed down enough to go home, then I worked until I calmed down enough to go to sleep. Then I woke up with a pounding heart, a deep sense of dread, and no idea how to feel better.

The hardest piece of this is the Having No Idea How To Feel Better.

Suddenly, my attraction to energy healing makes sense. For the longest time, it was the only thing that helped me feel better.

To be fair, I have a much better idea of how to feel better than I did in my twenties. Sometimes I can even remember that the trauma spin cycle will eventually end, leaving me much better off. But it’s hard to believe, mid-trigger.

What I learned to do was avoid trauma-triggers. Which means it’s very hard for me to have an argument with someone or, really, any kind of meaningful relationship. Because something jagged eventually and inevitably crops up that requires normal-person communication and possibly a bit of a disagreement and my poor overloaded system just can’t deal. So I run away, silently screaming.

Empaths end up wrangling insane amounts of trauma. Because every human on the planet has been traumatized in some way or another, and very few of them have the privilege of the time, money, help, and knowledge needed to heal. So we just go around sucking it up, all day long.

Energetic boundaries are great, but - as I am currently realizing - very difficult to hold up when your physical system is compromised.

Add in inherited ancestral trauma, whatever you got growing up (because your parents got it growing up), and any of the things that actually happen to you in your life, and it amazes me that anyone gets out of bed. Much less holds down a job and goes to the grocery store in any sort of regular fashion.

Long story short, I had no idea my system was holding so much trauma, and now I know so I guess I get to do something about it.

Big hug to all the other traumatized bundles of raw nerves walking around out there like normal people. You’ve got this.

Ego Explained In a Holy Whoa Moment

Amber Adrian

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In the shower this morning, I was washing my hair and having a little chat with my higher self.

You know, as you do.

I was wondering why I triggered so hard over an aspect of my intuitive work. So I was feeling around and my guides were like, “I ain’t touching that one” and so I got nudged up to my higher self (wise self, small voice, whatever terminology lights your fire).

Here’s the booming, oh-holy-shit response I got:

“The ego triggers when you aren’t honoring your highest calling.”

Well done, higher self. That was a serious mic drop.

My first thought was, Wait a second. My ego goes the most apeshit when I AM honoring my highest calling.

To which my higher self replied, “Your ego goes apeshit when you’re pursuing your highest calling. Honoring your highest calling has a different flavor.”

Huh. Okay. Sure. Let's do this then.

And images flooded in:

Me, triggering when someone who hasn’t been doing this channeling stuff as long as I have gets tens of thousands of youtube views when I get, at best, dozens.

Me, triggering when someone who’s saying the same thing as me on Instagram gets hundreds of hearts and comments when I get crickets.

Okay, that’s far less mysterious than I initially imagined.

My ego goes nuts when I spend my time comparing myself to others rather than trusting and following my path. When I’m happily doing my thing, I don’t care what others are doing or what the response - to their work or mine - happens to be.

Dear Future Me:

For reference, “doing my thing” is writing and channeling and making things for the fun of it and sharing from the heart and resting and having fun.

Not scrolling through Instagram or Youtube and making up all sorts of stories about how I’m doing it wrong or aren’t as good as these other people or whatever other nonsense the brain hamsters spit out that day.

Love,

Present Me Who Just Talked To Our Higher Self and Wants to Help Us Remember This For Next Time, a Next Time That Will Probably Be In Two Hours Given Our Current Track Record

All that said, it’s totally okay for the ego to trigger! We be human and that’s what happens. No judgment needs to be made when the ego fulfills its function.

Life simply goes more smoothly and happily when we notice that the ego’s function is to demonstrate when we’re out of alignment with our soul and purpose.

Right. Got it.

Triggering is cool, feelings are cool, deep dives into the depths of suffering are cool. We just want to notice where all these things are pointing us, rather than getting lost in the experience.

Because all things - good, bad, indifferent, hideous and transcendent - are simply pointing us where we need to go.

Taking care to notice the message our soul is trying to send us through the feelings and experiences is what helps life really begin to move in a horses-and-sunsets sort of direction.

When Your Writing Coach is a Ghost

Amber Adrian

Six weeks ago, I was elbowed by the ghost of Mary Oliver in a bookstore.

She offered to help me with my writing, which was very kind, because she has the whole of the cosmos to play in, as well as any number of superior writers.

But she offered, I accepted, and here we are.

Her first assignment was to write a page a day.

So I dutifully made a folder on my desktop, which I labeled Mary Oliver and used to stash each day’s page.

Whenever this assignment drifts across my mind - like a tumbleweed attempting to cross a twelve lane highway during rush hour - I assume I’m doing pretty well. Sure, I’ve missed a few days here and there, but surely I’m a good student, one a ghost wouldn’t regret taking on.

Turns out, I haven’t been doing well at all.

I looked at the folder today. Between February 19 and today, March 25, I’ve written precisely eight pages. And that’s only if you include this blog post, which I most certainly am.

Why I need a writing coach is becoming wildly and brutally apparent.

One of the aforementioned pages was a conversation I had with her, which I will share with you now, even though it doesn’t portray me in the best light:

Me: I need to feel some more things first.

Mary Oliver: No, you don’t. It’s self-indulgent. The writing comes first.

[Me: Wanting to argue, but deciding against it.]

Me: This is showing me my inconsistency. You said a page a day and I’ve done maybe five pages, partial pages, in a month.

Mary Oliver: Are you going to let that stop you or are you going to do better?

Me: I don’t like the word better.

Mary Oliver: Don’t trigger, just commit to your writing, the way you know you’re meant to and you know you want to.

Me: I’m tired.

Mary Oliver: You’re being whiny.

Me: Yes.

Mary Oliver: Sigh.

Me: So what do I do? How do I move forward?

Mary Oliver: How do you want to move forward? I can’t tell you what to do and you shouldn’t listen to me if I try.

Me: I want to write fiction. I want to write that story that keeps playing like a movie in my head when I take my walks.

Mary Oliver: Then do that. Write those stories as best you can. Trust the one that is meant to come through will. Just keep going.

Me: I’m so tired.

Mary Oliver: I know. I used to get tired too. Just keep going. Nap if you need to, walk to the trees if you need to, but keep going. Just don’t give up. It’s not time to give up.

Me: Is this resistance?

Mary Oliver: Does it matter? Just keep going. Take care of yourself, because that’s good for the writing, but keep going.

Stop overanalyzing everything.

Do your utmost to show up consistently and trust the unfolding.

There are seasons in writing just as there are seasons in nature. There are seasons in your life just there are seasons in the life of an oak tree.

Allow the seasons. Allow yourself to rest when you feel fallow and bloom when it’s time.

You’ll bloom when it’s time.

----

Mary Oliver doesn’t seem to put up with whining, nor should she.

Whining is definitely not my most attractive trait.

It’s a tricky balance between being really gentle and kind with yourself and … not whining.

(Maybe that balance is only tricky for me.)

I want to be consistent. That’s why I started my Moose in the Kitchen blog oh-so-many-years ago. (Thirteen years ago? Fourteen?) That’s why I started writing this blog again even though I’m not sure anyone actually reads it.

I want to be in the steady flow of words, the one I was able to access so easily for so many years.

I want to finish things, things I’m proud of.

I want to stop beating myself up for being where I am, rather than where my brain says I should be.

I want the ghost of Mary Oliver to be proud of me, or at least feel fairly confident that she’s not wasting her time with me.

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To Be Weird Or Not To Be Weird

Amber Adrian

That is the question.

I wholeheartedly believe that we are all weird, in our own glorious way.

But when your weird takes the form of angels and unicorns and dead people you have serious conversations with, the question becomes:

How weird do I let myself be?

How weird do I let myself be in public?

If you’re me, pretty damn weird.

I have been ridiculously upfront about talking to Jesus and channeling Mother Mary and riding around on dragons.

Lately, I’ve had multiple conversation about maybe making the dragon an aunt instead of a dragon, so that people don’t immediately write me off. Most of us can imagine an aunt being wise but fewer of us are inclined to believe a magical reptile.

How weird do we allow ourselves to be? How weird do we allow ourselves to be when it comes to our work, work we’d like people to take seriously?

How vulnerable do we make ourselves?

How much do we push the unicorns on people who are magical animal-averse? Glitter skeptical?

How much do we bring other dimensions, other possibilities, into a world that might not be fully ready for them?

I don’t believe there is one right answer. I don’t even believe there is one right answer for one person all the time.

We’re here to help both the magically- and rationally-inclined people, the witches and the muggles.

So the question is really: How do we want to show up? What feels best right now?

I’ve been going hardcore with my weird for years now.

But as I watch people with the same message who are sharing it differently take their work to so many people, when my circle stays fairly limited, I wonder if I made the right choice. Or if it’s time to shift into something with more mainstream appeal so that the ideas can come through without so much attention being paid to the messenger.

Maybe the messenger just needs to be me - rather than Mother Mary, rather than unicorns - and that scares the living daylights out of me.

Maybe I’ve been hiding behind the dragons. If you’re going to hide behind something, a dragon feels like a good choice.

Maybe it’s time to come out. Instead of coming out as a witch or a channeler, coming out as just me.

Whatever I end up deciding, I refuse to give up my unicorn horn.

Whatever I end up deciding, I refuse to give up my unicorn horn.

Moving Mountains. Or At Least Not Tripping Over Things.

Amber Adrian

It continually cracks me up - in a haha, REALLY, UNIVERSE? kind of way - how the most spiritually powerful people I know are the ones who struggle the most with the real life human stuff, myself included.

Connected to the infinite? Easy, got it. 

Powerful healer? Absolutely, no problem, easier than breathing. 

Receiving guidance from the ethereal, otherworldly beings of light? Naturally, not a day goes by.

Paying rent? Shiiiiiiit. 

Enlightenment is easy. 401ks are hard. 

But I know that’s not actually true. 

It’s all just energy. Money is energy. Rent is energy. The same energy we wield so powerfully to the benefit of everyone else.

What any struggle I have with money is really showing me is where my energy is funky, where my head is working against me, where I’m getting tangled in my emotions. 

(The emotion tangle is a particularly wily beast for the highly sensitive people. We’re not just wrangling our own but everyone else’s, until we learn how our boundaries best work.)

It’s like a human being born in an octopus’ body. Being an octopus is awesome, but it’s not what you expected. You have a vague sense that things should operate differently, but walking down the street on two feet feels impossible when you have eight tentacles instead. 

A wise human-octopus would accept the tentacles and learn to work with them. An unwise human-octopus would get mad and frustrated and sit in the corner of the tank fuming. 

(It probably doesn’t need to be said, but I am not wise.) 

Embrace the octopus, Amber. Embrace the octopus. 

I joke about not being wise, but it’s actually more like being an octopus in a human world. Where everyone is a human but you. The octopus is remarkably sensitive and has simply evolved differently than we have. Sensitivity can make everything trickier to contend with until you learn how to work with the sensitivity and aim it in a direction that serves you. 

I’m still learning to embrace the human. I’m still learning to embrace the sensitivity. I’m still learning how to move through the brain and feelings tangle and toward aiming all my energy in the direction I want instead of letting it scatter to the four winds. 

The more I come fully into my body, and feel my energy drop into my lower chakras (for the first time in my life, really), the easier this all becomes. 

For a long time, it was like trying to drive a remote control car. I was so far out of my body that I was trying to move my body like a puppeteer would manipulate a marionette on strings or an eight year old would operate the controls for a tiny Porsche. I would run into lamp posts and trip over steps and couldn’t ever find a safe space in my body. 

Dancing grounded me. Running grounded me. Lying in the grass grounded me. Lots of meat and potatoes grounded me. 

Emotions ungrounded me. Fear cut the strings and I would go floating into the stratosphere. 

No wonder it was hard to be be human. I was playing PacMan on an arcade console rather than strapping on the virtual reality goggles. 

PacMan doesn’t really get much done. But he does an admirable job of eating ghosts. 

So, getting into my body has helped a lot. Learning to line up my energy, my brain, and my emotions behind what I actually want, rather than letting everything freak out all the time, is helping too. 

I still have a lot to learn. Or more accurately, a lot to practice. I’ve known all of this for years, but it has been epically hard to actually DO it. Because I was floating around outside my body, dropping in for brief moments, getting hit with something and popping right back out again. 

I need to practice not sending my energy - worry, fear, doubt - in the direction of all the things that don’t serve me.

I’m still learning focus. Empath overwhelm is a definite thing and can send you into the energy-emotion spin for days (weeks, months, years). There are so many things I’m capable of and so many things I want to do that I have trouble getting my energy behind one thing. 

When I focus my energy, I can move mountains. We all can. 

Walking on the beach is one of the best ways to come back into the body, come back down to earth.

Walking on the beach is one of the best ways to come back into the body, come back down to earth.

Down the Channeling Rabbit Hole

Amber Adrian

When I was eight years old, I asked what god was. 

I didn’t ask my parents or a teacher or a preacher - I asked the ether. 

Specifically, I asked my bedroom ceiling. 

Talking to the ether was my thing in those days, along with stacks of Babysitters Club books and imaginary friends. So it surprised me not at all when I got an immediate answer. 

I saw all the living beings in the world as points of light. As I watched, all those points of light converged as a massive light in the sky - and that was god. 

Obviously. 

So, visions as a wee sprout, check. But then clairvoyance and all other clairs started retreating into the background as I got older. 

Stuff crept through, of course. Being nudged out of the psychologist’s office when he wanted to prescribe me a bunch of drugs. Blogging my way through my late twenties and learning that I could write my way to healing and answers. My physical body saying “hell no” as best it could to a relationship that wasn’t good for me. 

It wasn’t until what I call the cracking open moment in 2012, around the time of my dad’s death, that this weird path really began to unroll in front of me. 

Kind of like the universe said, “All right, it’s time. Let’s give her a kick in the ass.” 

A few months later, one of my first teachers walked into my apartment in Santa Monica and said, “Oh, you’re an empath and a channeler.”

I nodded like I knew what she was talking about and then, as soon as she left, googled “empath” and “channeler.” 

Slowly, I began playing with the channeling - automatic writing at first, for friends and then for kind strangers who were willing to be my guinea pigs. Eventually, I graduated to spoken channeling and then group channeling and energy healing and energy healing on a timer - setting it up for people like I was preparing the coffee machine to dispense life-giving elixir in the morning. 

It seems that as long as I’m willing to say yes to whatever is coming through, the more I get handed. As long as I’m willing to keep barreling down this unknown path, the universe will keep handing me etheric superpowers.

So that’s cool.

For a long time, I didn’t know what energy I was channeling. I knew it was deeply wise and loving - beyond that I didn’t need much information. 

A few years in, I figured it was time to find out.

I was walking through my neighborhood in Mill Valley and idly asked, “Is there anyone specific I’m supposed to be working with?” 

Immediately, I saw seven figures in front of me, and I stopped dead on the sidewalk. It was a rather immediate answer, like they’d been waiting for me to pop the question.

So I saw them. But since they weren’t wearing convenient name tags, I had to ask who they were. 

The first guide to step forward was Jesus.

I admit, that threw me. 

Since I was raised in the Church of Hippie, I didn’t have any particular thoughts about Jesus, except that he seemed like a cool dude and super helpful to everyone, regardless of race, creed, gender or occupation.  Also, Christmas is the best because who doesn’t like cookies and presents and trees in the house?

But I had questions and wanted to do some double-checking, during which he patiently humored me. “Yes, it’s me. Yes, people call me Jesus. Yep, still me.”

Standing with him were Mother Mary, Mary Magdalene, Archangels Michael and Ariel, Brigid, and Joan of Arc. 

Sure. Okay. Why not.

So I worked with them for awhile - both for myself and with groups of amazing women - and, sure enough, it just kept getting weirder. Because etheric rabbit hole.

A council of magical animals stepped in about a year later. Giraffes, unicorns, lions, otters, dragons, a peacock, and a feisty phoenix.

A few years after that, star beings started waving at me. So I started channeling them too - and basically dropped dead because the energy was so high. 

While I call it channeling, because that’s the word that resonates for me - like I’m turning my super sensitive radio dial to different frequencies and sharing what comes through - there are tons of speakers and teachers and writers who are tapping into this universal source and frequency in a similar way without calling it channeling. 

It really doesn’t matter what you call it. 

We’re all simply tapping into that well of universal wisdom. 

Everyone can do this. We all have access to this guidance and the healing. But it can be so helpful to have other people translate it for us, especially when we’re learning. Especially when we’re floundering. 

(I personally spend at least five percent of each day floundering, often quite a bit more.) 

But it was first called channeling for me, and that’s what stuck. 

Since falling down this rabbit hole, I’ve talked to dragons and Joan of Arc, gotten dating advice from Mary Magdalene, had visions of my future babies, had visions of other people’s then-future-now-present babies, hung out with Jesus, gotten writing tips from the ghost of Mary Oliver, released the ghost of the dude my grandpa killed in a bar fight in the ‘40s, had etheric birthday parties with unicorns doing back flips on trampolines - as much weird, amazing stuff as I can handle.

Playing with all this keeps opening new doors, and I’m so excited to see what comes through next.

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Life is a Playground

Amber Adrian

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You have this body. A pre-assigned suit you were born with, that hurts when you bash it and feels good when you rest it and lets you taste cheesesteak and spot red balloons in that blue, blue sky. You can dance with it. You can run with it. Its finely tuned responses and firing neurons help you drive the car that someone else’s firing neurons helped invent. Amazing.

With your body comes your brain. Nothing in the human experience escapes the story we’ve invented. As much as those stories torture us sometimes, the brain is also where all the great stories come from. West Wing, Friday Night Lights. David Sedaris, Sarah Vowell. Jane Austen, Walt Whitman. Each brain filters its stories differently and sometimes people write them down, giving us all access to endless variations. That’s an incredible thing.

But the brain is noisy. Full of agitated, hungry hamsters. That’s okay. You learn not to judge what goes through your brain because that’s a big, fat waste of a life. I speak as one who’s wasted a solid 78 percent of her waking hours listening to the hamster brain. Hush, hamster brain. You can sleep now.

It’s why we like sex so much. There’s a moment, right at the good part, when your brain just…stops. It’s still. Almost the only time it’s ever still. This is amazing. It’s peace. For the six whole seconds before it starts up again, prodding you to remember that maybe you did that one thing wrong and your partner maybe isn’t the best person for you to sleep with and you have a deadline in two days… yup, there it goes. But for one minute, there was relief. Even grace. Sometimes love. It’s best with love.

Work and money. That’s fun too, if you look at it the right way. People are always making amazing things. For work, after work, during work when maybe they should be doing something else. Everyone is creating. The smart ones are getting paid for it. Money is just a game, really. A game where the prize is collecting enough to board planes and buy birthday gifts and eat toro sushi on dishes someone else will wash for you.

Then there are the monsters. The gremlins. The trolls. Most of them live in your head — worries that never actually happen, worries that do happen but weren’t nearly as bad as you thought, worries you never thought to worry on until they blindsided you on a Wednesday morning. Evil little gremlins that look like parking tickets, that cold you can’t shake, abuse, unbearable loss. But if you look at them and feel them and love the gremlins, as best you can, they evaporate. Not the illness, not the unbearable loss, but holding love in the midst of pain gives you just enough space to breathe again.

Here’s my favorite part — the people. The people you love. The people you hate. If you don’t hate anyone — and you probably don’t — there are the people who aggravate you or manipulate you or teach you how to hurt. So you learn how to get over that hurt. You learn that no one can manipulate you unless you let them. No one can hurt you unless you allow it. You resist that lesson because it means that maybe you didn’t have to hurt as badly as you did or for as long. But maybe you did. Because that’s how you learned. Don’t get caught in that particular hamster wheel. No regret. Keep moving forward.

Because you have the world. The great, wide world. Stuffed with elm trees and hot sand and endless stretches of concrete with grass poking out of the cracks. You can see as much or as little of it as you want. Every piece has its own microcosm, until it barely matters what you see and what you don’t. That patch of daisies on the corner of the cul de sac where you grew and lived and died has as much as the Amazon rain forest or the Great Wall of China.

Life is a playground. An astounding, incredible playground. I rarely remember this. Most adults don’t. Kids do. Kids are full of joy and rage and live everything fully and loudly. Until we teach them to forget, because forgetting is how you get through a world where most don’t remember. Twenty or forty or fifty years later, you begin to recall what you once knew. That making things just for the joy of creating is good. That running around in a circle until you fall down is fun. That blowing bubbles just to watch them drift and float is one of the best ways to spend an afternoon.

You remember that nothing matters as much as you think it does. And everything matters more than you ever imagined.

The Ghost of Mary Oliver

Amber Adrian

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Driving up the California coast to Point Reyes Station is one of my favorite things to do. I wander around, eat pizza, and occasionally buy expensive local tea or candles. I always stop in the little bookstore and poke around, because poking around tiny book shops in tiny towns is one of the great joys in life.

A few weeks ago, I was in the bookstore, post pizza and post glass of cabernet, and one of Mary Oliver’s books caught my eye.

She had passed away a short time before and I honestly didn’t realize how much of an impact her words and life had on people until everyone on my social media feed started posthumously quoting her.

I went to Barnard in the late ‘90s, conveniently coinciding with Mary Oliver’s tenure there. When President Obama spoke at Barnard’s graduation in 2012, I suspect my mom deeply regretted having me twelve years too early, but such things are generally beyond our control.

My own regrets surrounding my college years are fairly sparse. I only have two real disappointments and, weirdly, neither of them have anything to do with not going on a single date. I was a late bloomer in every respect and was too busy trying to navigate Manhattan as an empath who was still thirteen years away from learning what an empath was. Dating was simply beyond me and that was fine.

Instead, my two keen regrets were, and remain to this day:

Not accepting that Rolling Stone internship because I was too worried about money.

and

Being too chicken to apply for Mary Oliver’s small fiction-writing seminar.

I did take one of her big lecture classes, one you just had to sign up for before it filled. I don’t remember what the class was on - of the Virginia Woolf oeuvre probably - but I do remember writing a paper that had something to do with cherries. I was wildly proud of it until the mark I got didn’t reflect my excitement surrounding my cherry-driven conclusions.

To be fair, writing fiction scares me to this day. I don’t want anything bad to ever happen to anyone, much less people I’ve invented and so I control their fate and why would you do that to someone? But fiction where nothing bad happens tends to be deeply dull and no one wants to read deeply dull fiction.

Also, maybe I’m bad at it. I don’t like being bad at things.

But, god, what a waste. Can you imagine being one of seven or so students who got to work on their writing with Mary Oliver? Neither can I, because I was too paralyzed to grab the opportunity when it was offered to me.

All this flickered through my slightly cabernet-hazed brain as I stared at her book propped up on a table twenty years later.  

Gazing at her book, brain softened from the wine, Mary Oliver popped in and said, “I can work with you now.”

Startled, I looked around as if someone was standing next to me, but of course no one was. Thanks to my years of flirting with the unverifiable or maybe the wine, I didn’t immediately dismiss it.

One of my talents is jumping through dimensions, peering through veils, being a cosmic conduit, generally engaging with things that aren’t part of most people’s everyday reality.

But I rarely talk to dead people.

My father pops in every so often. My ex’s mother poked me pretty insistently a few months ago when she wanted to talk to him. (Luckily, this was less uncomfortable than it sounds, but there’s no way to text “Your dead mom wants to talk to you” to a former love without a little awkwardness creeping in.)

So when I heard the ghost of Mary Oliver offer to work with me on my writing, I did some checking - is this really her, are you sure this is a thing we can do - but I was basically on board.

When I did the double check on her identity, she just waited calmly for me to catch up.

When I asked “can we really work together” - tinged with the unworthiness that has colored most of the interactions in my life (sigh) - she replied:

“You have the potential. The potential.”

It was that slight emphasis on the second potential that sold me.

My own guidance knows how easily convinced I am that my work isn’t worth anything and I shouldn’t bother, so it rarely allows in any doubt, because it doesn’t want me to lose another year, five years, another decade. (Whoops.)

But this calm yet firm “You have the potential, but will you truly meet it?” just felt like her, even though how would I know? But it certainly wasn’t me or the energies I’m used to communicating with.

Maybe it was the glass of wine. That’s still an argument that can be made. But I prefer not to make it. I prefer to deepen into the trust I’ve spent years building around what I receive from the untouchable ether. Because all arguments of real or not-real aside, that’s simply more fun.

If the ghost of Mary Oliver is ready to help me with my writing, I’m ready to take it. Show me how, Mary Oliver. Show me what we can do together.  

“You’ll listen better now than you would have before,” she says. Which is also true.

Strangely, I’m far less intimidated by the ghost of Mary Oliver than I would have been by Mary Oliver in the flesh. It feels easier to connect, like she understands my own specific human frailty and will be kind about it, without putting up with it for long.

Or maybe it’s because I’ve always been better with the ethereal beings than with the real humans.

But maybe it’s also because this is what’s happening now, and we can only ever dance with what’s in front of us. Maybe this is also reminding me that it’s never too late. That maybe if we miss an opportunity at one point in our lives, that opportunity will circle back around twenty years later, when we’re finally ready for it.

There’s a lot of hope in that, and I feel like Mary Oliver wants to help us all lean into the hope and the possibilities that are here for us in this great, wide world.

“What if you didn’t need to suffer?”

Amber Adrian

Here, have a question that will implode your reality.

When my energy healer said this to me on Friday night, my brain went KABLAM. Like a cartoon frog being catapulted into outer space via rocket launcher.

That question is still sending ripples reverberating through my reality, a surprised green amphibian ricocheting through the continuum of Amber.

“What if you didn’t need to suffer?”

My god, what would I do with all that extra time?

Until the moment the question was asked, I didn’t realize how much of my experience was colored by suffering.

My thoughts, my feelings - basically the entirety of my internal reality.

The only time I’m not suffering is when I’m channeling, writing, dancing, eating, or maybe having sex.

But I want those times to be marked by joy, not the absence of suffering. My god.

I blame it all on my brain, of course. And that ever-pesky empath thing.

My brain throws a royal fit every time I expand. Since I’m expanding pretty much all the time right now, my brain is in a near constant state of flip-out. (Which is good, but when I’m mid-flip-out, I don’t remember that it’s good, so I just panic.)

Being an empath doesn’t help. Because so many other people in this world are suffering and I am picking up on it, simply by existing and doing things in the world. Things I can’t avoid. Like getting groceries. I do a pretty good job at being a hermit, but even hermits need potato chips.

What if I didn’t need to suffer?

What if I don’t need to suffer, just because everyone else is? What if I don’t need to suffer, just because my family did? What if I don’t need to suffer, just because the world says I do?

What if none of us need to suffer?

[KABLAM]

I know the answer is already floating around me. We always have the answer the moment the question is formulated. But my brain is still trying to catch up.

In this moment, I know the answer is breathe. Sink into your body, let your soul take the reins. Give your brain a break. This will allow a fuller understanding to come in, and the suffering to unravel and loosen and eventually drift away, leaving me in a different state of being.

When I was talking about this last night, I was asked: “What’s the opposite of suffering?”

I didn’t have a ready answer.

Peace? Joy? Neutrality?

Being?

I can’t think my way through this one. Thinking is more or less how I got into this mess in the first place. I can only be.

Trust the be-ingness of it all to unwind whatever suffering is woven throughout my experience, leaving freedom and, I don’t know, aliveness in its wake.

Some would argue that to be alive is to suffer. I would have probably been one of them. But I’m not sure I want to subscribe to that any more. I’m not sure it’s necessary.

What if we don’t need to suffer? What then? What opens up? What else can we experience?

The answers are still assembling, but I’m sure as hell ready to find out.

Cascade Falls in Mill Valley, California: a good place to go to not suffer.

Cascade Falls in Mill Valley, California: a good place to go to not suffer.

Geriatric Wonder Woman

Amber Adrian

Yesterday, I tried to go for a run. All I could manage was a geriatric shuffle.

One conversation with one human earlier in the day had totally sapped me.

I have to be so, so careful about the energy I allow in. People’s energy and emotion can hit me like a dump truck. If I’m not on my guard, the truck will flatten me. And possibly dump old spaghetti all over my head.

One conversation and I lost an entire day. Poof!

Geriatric shuffle instead of a nice productive run and climbing into bed instead of working.

At least I notice the drain now. That’s significant improvement from my days of WHY CAN’T I MOVE WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME. I can assess the situation and understand that I’m not shaking it off because someone else’s judgment was pointing a finger at where I’m judging myself.

I can look at that judgment, decide what I want to do about it, return to my truth and trust that everything is unfolding perfectly. (While also texting a friend for reassurance that I am not a shitty person.)

(I am not a shitty person. My friend said so.)

As I was army-crawling my way through the sludge, I kept reminding myself that just because someone else has a story and energy around that story doesn’t mean it has to be my story or my energy. They can have their truth, I can have mine. It doesn’t mean anyone is wrong, it just means we all get to choose how things look and feel for us.

What helped was imagining a shield of light on my arm - kind of like Wonder Woman’s bracelets - that I could swing up to send the energy deflecting back.

Pew, pew!

Unfortunately, the second I put the shield down, the energy zoomed back in and dropped like a wet wool blanket thrown on top of me.

Honestly, it made me mad. Mad that this happens to me, mad that it still happens to me even as I learn more about how energy works, mad that people hurl their stuff at me because it makes them feel better, even knowing that I used to do the same thing - and sometimes still do, if I’m in enough pain.

But I woke up today feeling so much better. Knowing that I’m allowed to make determinations about who I choose to spend time with based solely on whether or not my energy is drained afterward.

I want to spend my time and energy with those who nourish me, not suck the actual life out of me. Which in turn helps me be someone who nourishes rather than drains.

Being an empath is weird. The interaction of energy is weird. This is supposed to be my area, but I still have so much to learn.

I find this frustrating, as I would so much rather be perfect and know everything already.

But today, after I did a few sessions - including one high-frequency star session that knocked everyone on their asses - I started to wonder about the really powerful and intense experiences my clients were having as we sat on conference calls together. Why is that?

OH. IT’S BECAUSE ALL I DO, ALL DAY LONG, IS HAVE INTENSE EXPERIENCES.

Why can’t I go to the grocery store without crying? Oh, because I’m me. Why can’t I have a charged conversation without having to take to my bed, like a Victorian heroine in a melodrama? Oh, because I’m me.

BECAUSE ALL DAY LONG I’M HAVING POWERFUL ENERGETIC EXPERIENCES.

While this sensitivity to energy is a major pain in my ass, it also helps me help other people have their own powerful experiences - of release, of transformation, of their own divinity, of their own power, of feeling so much better about whatever the challenge is - BECAUSE ALL I DO ALL DAY LONG IS HAVE POWERFUL ENERGETIC EXPERIENCES.

Big sigh for not being a normal human, having normal human experiences.

The upside is garlic cheese fries on session days (they’re grounding! really!) and Netflix. So I can watch other people having intense experiences, while I sit in bed and eat popcorn with my stuffed therapy otter.

Prayer

Amber Adrian

Please help me live my life, rather than think about my life.

Please help me keep my eye on what I truly want, while being happy with whatever ultimately happens.

Please help me live in the motion of my body, rather than the swirl of my thoughts.

Please help instinct and inspiration take over as the voices in my head take a seat.

Please help me remember that joy is in the doing, no matter the outcome.

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And please help me remember to stop and look at the frogs along the way.

Winning, Ugh

Amber Adrian

Last week, I played my first real game of darts. I only lost by one point, which I’m taking as a win, despite the fact that it is, by definition, a loss.

Something that came up in the midst of playing darts in a pseudo-Elizabethan pub at 1 p.m. on a Thursday is that you can affect the outcome of your throw, even after the dart has left your hand.

So the question for me becomes, How do you truly enjoy a game, while also trying to win?

How do you keep your eye on what you truly want, while being happy with whatever ultimately happens?

I deeply want to sort this out for myself. Because of course I want to win. I am a human, and humans enjoy winning. We enjoy success and getting what we want. But, dear god, I don’t want to feel like I have to control everything always.

I want to enjoy every aspect of my life, no matter what it looks like. Because what’s the point of even getting the things, if you aren’t enjoying the journey there?

The reason I give up is because what begins to happen in my brain and body when it looks like things aren’t going to work out is so unpleasant that it’s unsustainable. Trying to win becomes so painful that it just isn’t worth it to me.

I always lose games. Always. Whether it’s darts, scrabble, card games, board games, I am consistently and always the loser. Because it’s just more fun to play the way I want to play without having to worry about winning.

Usually, I write myself to better answers than this - but it feels like I’m more in my head than my body, more in the swirl of feels than soul-led clarity.

Maybe that’s actually the answer - simply getting out of my head. Maybe joy is in the doing, no matter the outcome. Maybe life is in the motion of the body, rather than the swirl of the thoughts. Maybe allowing instinct and inspiration to take over and telling the voices in my head to sit down is the only real secret.

Something else that came up during this dart game is that we were both feeling glum about things that looked and felt like losses. But we were also playing darts in a pseudo-Elizabethan pub at 1 p.m. on a Thursday. Which is, in my opinion, the very definition of winning at life.

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After I took this picture, I got a bullseye. I took the picture too early.

Maybe that’s my answer - I’m taking stock too soon, rather than just letting everything unfold.

When Your Wings Aren't Waterproof

Amber Adrian

Being in a human body sometimes feels like roaming a crowded shopping mall on December 23rd.

People are shouting things, I’m being bumped into, all the emotion and energy is overwhelming, there’s a lot to do and I can’t manage to do any of it, and I just want to go home and crawl into bed.

Unlike the shopping mall, which you can leave any time, experiencing this from within the confines of your body means you can’t escape it. Not without some serious pharmaceutical assistance.

I don’t know what escaping the human body looks like - floating ephemerally through the Northern Lights maybe? - but I want it. Sleep sort of works, but I get yanked awake between 3 and 4:30 a.m. by Jerk Brain who wants to get a nice early start yelling at me.

I was feeling wildly uncomfortable this morning, like the expansion that’s trying to happen in my body and life is at complete odds with all the things my brain is screaming about - write the book, earn the money, throw food in the crockpot, go for a run. So my nervous system started panicking. Jerk Brain is really good at turning Meek Nervous System against me.

When I remember to check in before I get too far into the spin cycle, I can sometimes pull myself out.

Luckily, I got there before panic became meltdown this morning and heard:

“Your only job today is to breathe and keep finding home in your body.”

Well, that sounds doable. I mean, my breath is coming more sporadically these days. I’ve finally realized that I feel like I can’t catch my breath when I’m not fully in my body. This weekend I was asked, “Where do you go?” I didn’t have an answer - this person specializes in Let’s Stump Amber Questions - but I can only assume it’s to float disembodied through the heavenly ether. That said, I really like breathing and it’s apparently good for circulating oxygen and so I should probably do more of it more regularly.

So, okay. Today, I breathe. Consider it done.

Even being able to contemplate that “keep finding home in your body” thing is an improvement from yesterday when a friend asked, “If you weren’t being hard on yourself or looking backwards or forwards, is there a space you can sink into inside yourself that you can trust?”

And I thought, That’s a wonderful idea, I will try it. And then I tried it and everything in my body said NOPE UH UH THERE IS NO SAFE SPACE EVERYTHING IN HERE IS GOING TO TRY TO BITE YOU NOW. To which I thought, perhaps now is a good time for another meltdown. Because this is very uncomfortable and shows no sign of stopping and I do not enjoy.

I’m just in a process right now.

I don’t know what it is, I don’t know when it’s going to end, I don’t know what will happen when it’s over.

I just know that it can be wildly uncomfortable, it can incite my brain to riot, it can send my nervous system into unfamiliar rapid fire response, and make me feel like I’m going to jump out of my skin.

Mostly, it feels tender and raw. Like I’ve emerged from the chrysalis but my wings aren’t waterproof yet. If something unexpected or triggering happens, my responses are vintage Amber. Namely, panic and crying.

All my deepest wounds are floating to the surface. My biggest fears are a free-form barrage of terrible. (No one will ever love you enough to take on this level of crazy on an even semi-regular basis, which is really too bad because you’ll never be able to afford kids on your own, etc.) (Typical Jerk Brain stuff.)

If it happens at the end of the day, I feel safe crying and then watching a movie to help Jerk Brain return to Heh Heh Lake Bell Is Funny! Brain.

If it happens when I feel like I should be working because it’s day time, that time when most people are earning money and being good citizens, the panic accelerates because Jerk Brain suddenly has a lot of mean things to say to me, things that seem to be backed by reality. (Most of these things are about money and being productive and you’re already so far behind you can’t afford to be self-indulgent by having feelings or being human. Says Jerk Brain.)

I have no answers for any of this, besides the fact that I’m in a process. A lot of people are in a process right now. We’re shifting and integrating something new. What that means, I can’t say. How it will end, I have no idea. All I know is that I need to do my best to not get frustrated with the time it’s taking or the panic that ensues when I think about money and being a responsible human and all the things I think need to happen.

All I can do is move through each day the best I can, avoid taking on what isn’t mine, nurture myself through this wildly uncomfortable process of feeling and embodiment, and trust that my life has a path and I’m on it and doing a good job (no matter what Jerk Brain says).

All I can do is breathe, and feel, and sink in, and appreciate whatever floats in front of my eyes: blue sky, a dog carrying a pack, a toddler in a sparkle skirt and rainbow boots, my own fingers on the keyboard, the teal converse on my feet, the trees growing nimbly through the concrete.

I don’t have my own answers, let alone anyone else’s. My channel knows a lot more, but I’m giving it a rest while my body catches up. But I can write my experience, in case it’s useful to anyone else who feels like even the simplest elements of life - like breathing and being in a human body - are challenging right now.

I would also like to remind us all that great joy can be found in sending T Rex and giraffe emojis to your friends and loved ones. It helps more than you might expect.

Sometimes being in a human body is fun. That’s a good thing to remember too.

Sometimes being in a human body is fun. That’s a good thing to remember too.