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Blog

Magic Hair

Amber Adrian

Sometimes the thing we judge the hardest is the thing we want the most.

(Obviously, not everything we judge is some deep desire. As hard as I've worked on my own judgey tendencies, I hardcore judge mean people. Hard. Core. If you are mean, I will judge you, end of story. Or at least end of story until I float away on some ascended cloud which I estimate will happen approximately never.)

Here's what I'm talking about:

When I was in my early 20s, I lived in the Presidio of San Francisco. It's a national park near the Golden Gate Bridge and people could live in it and I did and it's still one of the best choices I've ever made. One of the nearest neighborhoods was the Marina, a land of women who look like golden Thoroughbreds in pricey yoga pants.

One of my favorite past-times was to sit outside in the Marina and try to guess how much each woman spent on grooming per month - whatever I estimated it took to get skin that glowing, hair that shiny, and nails that perfect. I would cast my predictions in an admittedly judgmental tone of voice.

I hope none of them ever heard me because, wow, rude.

It took me something in the range of two decades (two actual decades) to realize that I wanted to feel safe looking that polished and pretty. That I wanted to be able to spend that kind of money on myself.

My highest standard of self-care was to spend twenty minutes getting ready for senior prom, wearing a dress I bought in a Venice Beach stall. Being Not High Maintenance was a point of pride. Spending the smallest amount of money possible on my appearance was an ingrained frugality, experienced by many of us who were raised by parents who were raised by parents who lived through the Great Depression.

But then, some nineteen years later, I learned the magic of the blowout. I learned that getting manicures elevated my mood - and, weirdly, my productivity - by a startling percentage. I learned that facials are awesome and massages are even better.

I want to be one of those people who does that kind of thing regularly. I want to be one of those shiny Thoroughbred women. I was kind of ashamed of that for awhile. I'm still a little uncomfortable writing about it. For all the reasons that may or may not be running through your head as you read this.

Taking good care of myself still feels downright revolutionary. It still feels like a splurge I'm still not quite worthy of. And that is straight nonsense.

If I want it, I want to have it.

If you want it, I want you to have it.

If we judge it, but secretly want it, I want us to have it - even if it takes decades to get there.

We are worth it. And we are goddamn allowed to have it.

So here's a picture of my first official blow-out. My afternoon post-blow-out was like a movie montage. I'm convinced my hair was magic that day, and has been every other day since that I've had it professionally wrangled or done my best with the mousse and curling iron.

Hooray for magic hair and significantly less judgment!

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Back to the World

Amber Adrian

I've been in a very galactic headspace for the past four years.

Talking to unicorns and dragons, archangels and ascended masters, playing in all sorts of dimensions - and then coming hope and napping a lot. I'd take people on dragon rides and ask Mother Mary for advice on their behalf. Chakras, crystals, sage, mystic otherworldly adventures - you name the California neo-hippie cliche and I was all over it.

Whether you want to call it channeling or divine guidance or just Amber Was All Up In Her Crazy Imagination and Holy Whoa Look What Came Out, it was a lot of fun.

But I'm finding myself returning to earth now. Wanting to ground all those divine downloads into my real ass life. Wanting to be a part of the world again, even as I observe what the world appears to be doing these days.

But it's like having inter-dimensional jet lag. I don't always know how to reconcile where I've been with where I am with where I'm going.

So I have to go back to all that stuff I downloaded from the ether and integrate it into practice - in a way I was always too exhausted to do when I was making a daily trip up the dimensions. I want to make the channeled wisdom more concrete, blend my human self in my divine self, and help others do the same.

I don't know what that looks like, but it seems I have to start with all the things I already know how to do and trust that to lead me where I want to go. Which means I guess I have to start a goddamn meditation practice? Which likely involves reframing discipline so it doesn't sound like a dirty word-slash-terrible idea and rather That Thing That Will Help Me Pull Possibilities Out Of The Ether And Into Reality.

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You Can't Fail At Being Spiritual. Because You Are Spirit.

Amber Adrian

I went to see a guru a few weeks ago, because he was appearing across the road from my boyfriend's house and when a guru appears on your virtual doorstep, you might as well say hello. So we crossed the street to watch an Indian spiritual leader in action.

We sat with hundreds of followers under a gigantic tent and listened as people asked him questions for two hours.

One woman got up, crying, because she felt she was failing spiritually because she always fell asleep in meditation.

The guru was very kind and had the same reaction I did which was, Let yourself fall asleep! Don't worry about it!

But what broke my heart was how harshly we judge ourselves around being "spiritual." And how many hoops we make ourselves jump through before we consider ourselves enough in the eyes of god.

Heart. Breaking.

We are always, always, always enough in the eyes of god. Or spirit. Or the universe. Or the flying spaghetti monster. Whatever.

The phrase "practical spirituality" keeps running through my head. Not every human is cut out for a daily hour of meditation. But anyone can use stop lights as their moment to pause. Any one can make doing the dishes a meditative practice. We can live our lives as a meditation.

I do this approximately 15% of the time and I teach this stuff, so I'm not saying it's easy.

But the point isn't to be perfect, because we ain't none of us perfect.

The point is to continue grounding into a practice, whatever that practice is. Your practice can be dancing, walking, meditating at stop lights, petting your dog, pulling weeds in your garden. Whatever returns you to you.

Devote ourselves to ourselves, and allow that to be enough.

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Sweating Out the Inner Mean Girl

Amber Adrian

I joined a gym last week. For the first time in nine years.

It’s one of those gyms where you go to a class and sweat in tandem with a whole bunch of other people while hooked up to a monitor so you can obsessively watch your heart rate ascend and descend.

Watching my heart rate move into the orange zone and then not give up when I normally would in order to keep it there is one of my better addictions.

One of the unintended consequences of draining myself dry was that I had no energy to do the things that would’ve given me more energy - namely, working out, eating well, and not being mean to myself.

I’m nailing the working out portion of the equation. Yes, that was a bit smug but I have enough gross gym clothes in my laundry basket to merit a wee bit of smug and I take my wins where I can get them.

I ate two whole vegetables yesterday so that nutrition thing is creeping into reality.

But the Not Being Mean To Myself plan remains elusive.

Being mean to myself is a fall-back reaction, a trigger tactic so ingrained that it takes me hours to realize I’m even doing it. It’s the bastard step-child of shame, anger turned inward, and is absolutely no bueno.

Weirdly, I feel like I HAVE to do it. Like, if I’m kind to myself I’ll get lazy. Or if I’m loving to myself, the entire world will implode. Wounding? Trauma? The human condition? Who knows. All I know is that I’d like my inner mean girl to chill the F out.

If I could solve one thing in the world it would be Humans Being Mean to Themselves.

(I’m pretty sure that if we solved Humans Being Mean to Themselves that would also solve Humans Being Mean to Others, and that seems an efficient use of time.)

My current solution is, when I notice that I’m being mean to myself, to stop whatever I’m doing and try to focus on my breath, focus on dropping all my thoughts into my heart. If I feel better and that catches the spin cycle of internal mean girl, I am free to continue on with my day.

If it doesn’t work, then I stop whatever I’m doing and do something soothing. Take a nap or a shower or go for a drive. I’ll tap into my wiser self - the quiet bit below my own private Regina George - and ask for help. Then I do whatever that voice says.

This actually works fairly well, but will kill an afternoon, after I’ve done all that resting and driving and meditating. Which is why I work for myself, so that I can halt the Being Mean To Myself Spin Cycle without getting fired.

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is catch that mean voice in the act, because we’re so used to it being mean inside our heads that we just accept it as normal or as fact.

One of the best ways to catch that voice in the act is to simply pay attention to how you feel in those thoughts. Am I feeling better? That’s probably my wise self voice. Am I feeling worse? That’s Cady Haron after she learned to use lip gloss.

I’m old enough to have gone through a number of I Exercise and then I Don’t and then I Start Exercising Again cycles. So I know that when I start clearing my body out, whether it’s with kale or lots o’ sweating, old feelings and thoughts will rise to the surface. Saying hello before they melt into the atmosphere.

So I like to think that I’m sweating out my inner mean girl, that she’s rising to the top of my consciousness as I watch my heart rate climb to frankly dangerous levels while my feet frantically try to keep up with the moving belt below me. Like, if I give my inner mean girl a hockey stick she can leave her aggression on the field instead of dressing it in pink.

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Nobody Told Me About The Ghosts

Amber Adrian

I really wasn't prepared for the number of ghosts my life story would contain.

My dad called my brother from the Great Beyond. (Fact.)

A dude my grandfather killed in a bar fight set off my smoke alarm 72 years later so I would help put his spirit to rest. (Unverifiable Fact.)

My boyfriend and I got back together after his long-dead mom showed up in my kitchen and told me to text him. (Fact.)

For a few years after he died, my father would randomly turn on my stereo and play songs he especially enjoyed. (Unverifiable Fact.)

I'm not sure who needs to hear this and it's possible that I'm hazy on the definition of "fact", but there are so many things in this world that are unverifiable and also true.

Things we can sense but not see, feel but not know, know but not understand.

Allowing all my extrasensory perceptions to just exist in my world the same way Netflix does (this may or may not be real but it sure is entertaining!), the same way my car does (I will now be taken somewhere I need or want to go), made everything a lot easier.

If you've been sensing things or hearing things or seeing things or knowing things, things you can't explain, you aren't alone.

So many of us have dragons in the house, ascended masters riding around in the back seat, fairies popping out from behind trees, and archangels doing a bit of light housecleaning.

Totally normal.

xo - Amber

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P.S. If you’re going to talk about it, it helps to hang out with people who respond to announcements that there are tiny unicorns in the trees or wood nymphs up a hill with "I THOUGHT I felt something up there!" rather than a call to the nearest psych ward. And sometimes the only way to find those people... is to talk about it.

Filling the Cup

Amber Adrian

I was shopping tipsy with a friend at Scarlet Sage on Thursday. There was a pitcher of post-birthday mimosas at lunch, which makes right after lunch the best time to go places where money can be spent.

We took the whole day to do whatever we wanted, whatever sounded fun, and called it our Fill The Cup Day - something I highly suggest to all people, especially the ones who are feeling drained or burned out. So there was yoga and tea and birthday lunch and poking through a witchy San Francisco apothecary.

As we pored over candles and oils and tarot cards, I picked up a tincture for grief and a broken heart. And I realized that, for the first time in eight years, I didn’t need something like that.

It was a big moment for me.

My 30s were basically one big grief cycle. Breakup, getting fired, dad dying, breakup, miscarriage, breakup, breakup, breakup. Most of those grief cycles took between six months and two years. That’s a decade, right there.

I got a reading last week and she said a few things that really resonated, aside from “You’re too sensitive to do energy healing, stop.” (Which I’ve finally done, after resisting for seven months.) She said, “People want to work with you because you understand pain on a very deep level.”

“Understanding pain on a deep level” is really not the thing I wanted to put on my resume. It was a long and expensive lesson and it does nothing for my ego. She also said, “You’re self-worth has taken a beating lately” and - after all the grief and sinking self-worth - my ego could really use a boost. Instead of being pan-fried and served on a bed of wilting spinach heart break.

I’m finally out of that extended grief cycle - and it feels like the next decade will be a lot more fun than the previous. But shift like that asks a lot. Big change, moving through fear, and a fair amount of uncertainty.

Which involves creativity and bravery and doing things differently and training my brain to approach life in a more positive way again - and I’m worried that my well of bravery is empty.

But it’s not. There’s plenty of energy and creativity in there - and it feels good to be directing it at me and my life, rather than pouring it into everyone else. But many more Fill The Cup Days will be required.

Visual representation of our Cup Filling Day, missing only mimosas, yoga studio, and new pink nails.

Catsby, Take the Wheel

Amber Adrian

Last week, we went to Mendocino to celebrate my 41st birthday.

Celebrating my birthday translated to eating lots of s’mores ice cream and wandering past Wild West-era buildings, cheerfully postulating about all the murders that probably happened there, like the morbid waffle cone-slurping ghost hunters we are.

But there were also things like fancy birthday dinners, massages, and the biggest bath tub I’ve ever had the pleasure of sitting in, courtesy of a hotel built in the 1880s that was definitely haunted. I also got to open a lot of birthday presents that delighted my hippie little heart. (Crystals and things you can set on fire featured prominently.)

Lately, I’ve been at loose ends. I know my work is changing, but I don’t yet know how. All I know is I can’t keep doing things the same way, which means I’ve torched all sources of income without knowing what’s next.

Doing it this way is recommended by no one.

Whenever we talk about it, I say something like “All I want to do is write books and blog about my adventures.” Which leads him to ask, “What have you written lately?” Which forces me to reply, “Nothing.”

My excuses for not doing what I want to do are legion. Even legendary. Usually revolving around money.

I can’t blog about Mendocino because money. (Lies.)

I can’t write a book without knowing what I’m doing next (meaning, know where money is coming from). (Lies.)

Not doing things because of money or lack of confidence has been my excuse since the dawn of time. Or at least the dawn of Sentient Me. I didn’t take the Rolling Stone internship in 1999 because I felt like I needed something that would pay me so I could afford my text books. I didn’t apply for the semester-long writing workshop with Mary Gordon because I was scared I couldn’t write fiction.

Twenty years later, those same excuses are still cropping up with alarming regularity. Which is just embarrassing at this point.

So it’s time to write.

Because it’s fun. Because writing has always been my desire. Because I’m always happiest when I’m writing regularly.

As focus is one of my biggest challenges (I have seven projects I really want to do) (SEVEN), I’m asking for the perfect project to catch my attention and imagination.

Because money always trips me up, I’m asking that the more I write, the more money shows up in ways that feel good and even fun.

Hey, it’s always good to ask for what you want.

In the mean time, I’M GONNA BLOG MY ADVENTURES (sorta) by telling you that Mendocino is a solid choice for a nice weekend of ice cream and coastline and bookstore cats. In case you’re feeling the need for a getaway adventure.

If you go, eat a waffle cone at Frankie’s (I like s’mores ice cream, he likes ginger), stare at the water, buy a book at Gallery Bookshop & Winkles, make sure to pet Catsby while you’re there (I couldn’t catch him), and let your soul drink in the coast of California.

Here’s to adventures and doing what we really want to do without letting our excuses grab the wheel.

When Jesus Throws You a Birthday Party

Amber Adrian

A Jesus party would have burritos. And margaritas. There would be unicorns on trampolines and dragons with parachutes and infinity otter pools.

So you walk in. Some ascended master - maybe Quan Yin, maybe Joan of Arc - greets you at the door and hands you a drink. It might be a cocktail glass full of rainbow or a ‘50s era champagne glass filled with clouds (the clouds taste like minty whipped cream). 

A giraffe will join you. The giraffe will tell you where the liveliest part of the fiesta is raging - maybe the dragons are offering rides to the flaming waterfalls, maybe the otters are particularly snuggly in the Lemurian pool, maybe Mary Magdalene is teaching belly dancing, maybe the unicorns are head-banging with a considerably more cheerful Kurt Cobain. 

Next you’ll be greeted by a lion who points out the quieter sections of the festivities - a cuddle room, a place to bask in the violet flame of Saint Germain as you feel any woes leave you, hammocks by the sea. 

You get to choose precisely the experience you want - maybe you’ll rage with the peacocks, maybe you’ll take a nap against a meditating lion, maybe you’ll watch the phoenix fireworks.

We have everything here, you just need to choose what you want. 

Left in front of a marble dais, you get to ask for what you want - naming something mentioned or creating something entirely new. Step onto the dais and you’ll be whisked there instantaneously. Continue to stand in front of it and a party map will appear, with a glowing golden ball to light the way on the map and then jumping out to give you something to follow, if you would prefer to walk and observe the other experiences. 

(You can also place another drink order here, Jesus makes a point to remind you. “Have you tried the wine? The fish buffet is also stellar - we didn’t have sushi in Galilee but holy dragons, do we have it now.”)

Browse the party or jump right in. Stop for food at one of the buffets - Jesus lays out quite a spread, though Mary Mags would like it noted that she does most of the manifesting. Jesus mostly just shouts out “You know what would be great? Ice cream burritos!” in the middle of doing something else and she puts it on the list. “It’s not a gender thing so much as a personality thing,” she assures anyone who’s worried. “We’ve got the divine masculine / divine feminine things sorted. But I do have to warn him away from eccentric wasabe usage. Dude loves it, but it makes the unicorns hork.” 

Jesus parties last for days - sometimes weeks. You flow with your own energy, resting and rejuvenating as needed, dancing and singing and bouncing up and down. 

But you are always held, you are always loved, you are always in charge of your experience, and you always, always leave a Jesus party happier and more at peace than you walked in. 

Even if you wake up with a rainbow hangover draped over the dias while wearing half a peacock. A unicorn will simply show up and point you toward brunch, where Jesus gestures with his mimosa, Joan of Arc pours the coffee, and Mary Magdalene strokes your hair as you gaze into the dawn. 

Giraffe ride on my 40th birthday.

Giraffe ride on my 40th birthday.

It’s my 41st birthday on Thursday, so I wanted to post this random ascended master party I channeled awhile back, just for fun, just because it was a party I wanted to attend.

The Crafty Key-Eating Ether

Amber Adrian

My house key vanished into the ether today.

I left home this morning, reattaching my house key to my key ring (sometimes I take it off because my car keys are bulky, as is my unicorn keychain) as I walked down the path.

I got home this evening to find that my house key was nowhere to be found.

My car key was there, my unicorn with glowing horn was there, my house key was not.

It was swallowed by another dimension, presumably a dimension that also houses a lot of unpaired socks.

Because I am intrigued by the hows and whys, I’ve been wondering how it happened. Did I not put the key on the ring? I remember starting to put the key on the ring, but I don’t clearly remember finishing. Maybe it only went on half way and fell off later. Maybe it fell off while I was handling it and I was so unconscious, so swallowed by whatever I was thinking, that I didn’t even notice.

Or maybe the ether just ate it, the way it ate my iPhone in 2013 when I left it in my car during dinner and got back to my car to find it still locked, no sign of forced entry, but the phone was just … gone.

Maybe my 2013 phone and my 2019 house key are having a good laugh at me right now, from the dimension with all my socks.

Either way, no house key.

As to the why: first off, is there a why? Maybe, maybe not. If not, if this is just the random whim of the universe, okay, fine. It’s a rather innocuous whim when all’s said and done.

If it’s not a random whim of the universe, it must mean either the universe or my subconscious doesn’t want me to be in my house tonight. (By the time I drive to Petaluma to borrow the nearest set of bolt cutters, there is no way I will be driving back.) Or maybe it wants me to write this blog post? I have been getting lots of blog blog blog guidance and I’ve kind of been ignoring it and we all know what happens when I ignore guidance. (Spoiler: lots of annoying things.)

The only reason I’m writing this now is because I’m sitting in the nearest home-like placed - namely, a Starbucks with water, a bathroom, and sandwiches. Waiting for traffic to clear and my blood sugar to stabilize, thanks to a chicken sandwich the cashier kindly heated up for me, so I can drive to Petaluma and the bolt cutters that will free my house.

(If the bolt cutters thing doesn’t make sense, perhaps I should explain that I live in a glorified garden shed, albeit a Mill Valley garden shed in back of a million dollar garden and with a deck overlooking a stream, and the lock is a padlock. Finest home security available, yo.)

But as blog posts go, this one ain’t exactly revolutionary. And I can’t imagine why my house is off-limits, because I really like my house and I’d really like to be inside it right now.

So, either I am supposed to be blogging or in Petaluma or paying more attention.

It’s not the clearest lesson I’ve ever received, but maybe I just wrote this blog posts too early. Sometimes the answers to questions posed take longer to land than we prefer.

Me, outside a lot of houses, because that feels appropriate for a key-devouring ether post.

Me, outside a lot of houses, because that feels appropriate for a key-devouring ether post.

Life Happens in the In-Between

Amber Adrian

I’m sitting on my deck, listening to the stream and wind chimes. My zen frog statue sits happily in the balmy air. I’m wearing a blue t-shirt emblazoned with a giraffe in sneakers.

I may be leaving my little garden cottage in Mill Valley soon. I may be here for many more years.

My work may be completely changing. It may simply be in a rest period between two eras.

Yesterday, my network chiropractor said, “It’s like being in mid-air. You’ve let go of the trapeze but haven’t caught the next bar yet.”

That’s exactly how life feels. Things are moving now, differently than they have over the last ten years. I can see possible directions, but nothing has landed.

We’re floating in the in-between.

Everything is possible in the in-between. Potential unfurls in front of us like rainbow streaks through oil on asphalt after the first rain.

I’ve always had this sense that I’m waiting for my real life to begin, like it’s some fairytale just beyond my reach. Whether that’s something I came in with or the effect of too many Disney movies and Danielle Steele novels on my impressionable young brain, I can’t say.

But even the Disney movies know this: the adventure comes before the happily-ever-after.

Because life is happening now.

In fact, now is the only time life is happening. Life is not happening in the past and it’s not happening in the future. All we have is this moment, this one, right here.

Happily-ever-after never comes. 

Because that’s the end, and we don’t end.

So I pause every so often throughout the day and take a deep breath and notice what’s here now.

I feel my butt in my red deck chair, my slippers on my feet. Watch the sun float through the leaves to form lacy shadows on the ground. Notice the energy in my heart, the thought forms swirling around my head, the way my ankle hurts a bit for no good reason.

Life isn’t later, life isn’t what happens when I’ve finally checked the boxes on my list. I know that but I haven’t always felt it.

I don’t have to create some magical experience for myself, I simply have to notice all the magic that’s already here.

Yes, a nearby bathroom when you really have to pee counts as magic.

We’re just living life. It’s all happening now, even when you’re floating mid-air. Especially when you’re floating mid-air.

Life happens in the in-between.

Summer solstice sun, filtering through the trees. Seen by living life.

Summer solstice sun, filtering through the trees. Seen by living life.

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 Late Show, Stephen 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.

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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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