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Blog

The Ghost of Mary Oliver

Amber Adrian

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.”

Started, 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.

unnamed.jpg

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.

Trust Walk Hangover

Amber Adrian

Last week, I went on a trust walk.

I didn’t know what that was either. But when someone I sort of know says, “Meet me at a random park and let’s do a trust walk!” I am the type of person who says, “Hell, yes!”

One of the advantages of the empath / sensitive situation is that knowing who to trust is not my problem.

One of the disadvantages of the empath / sensitive situation is that a simple ninety-minute trust walk laid me up in bed for a day and a half afterward, about which my trust walk guiding friend said “What? That’s not a thing.”

Things that aren’t usually things do tend to turn into things with me. I don’t really know what to say about that except that I am a delicate peony and hopefully the delicate peony benefits are worth it to the people I care about.

I keep trying to describe this trust walk thing to people and keep doing a semi-terrible job, but I’ll give it a whirl for you.

A trust walk is when you get blindfolded and led around a place with nature.

When you’re in the dark, when your sense of sight is taken away, your brain starts operating differently.

We don’t often realize how much of our time and energy is spent categorizing the things around us. Even as I look around the room where I’m writing this, a room where I live, I notice the steady stream of thoughts, “Oh, there’s my red chair that an ex-boyfriend bought me; there’s my dragicorn staring into a bowl of crystals; gosh, I’m glad I tossed that rug in the washing machine, it really needed it; there’s my tiny refrigerator, maybe one day I’ll have a real kitchen again; there’s my bowl of fruit, I hope the ants don’t find it, crafty bastards.”

When we’re out in the world this reaction is intensified. We’re constantly classifying things in our head - noticing a lamp post so we don’t walk into it, reading the energy of the person walking toward us to decide how open we want to be (smile and make eye contact or eyes forward with a quick step?), tracking where we are so we can get where we want to be and then back home again.

It’s a steady barrage of information and stimulus that, when shut off, completely and utterly changes your experience of the world.

The first thing I noticed when the blindfold went on was that my brain quieted. It didn’t have its usual obvious input and so my senses automatically softened and widened - to hear the sound of the water and the dog collars jangling nearby. To feel the energy of the trees around me and the ground beneath me.

The second thing I noticed was that when my friend tried to guide me physically, it did not work at all. I couldn’t walk in a straight line and we both kept running into things. But if she walked a bit ahead of me and I could just track her energy and her voice, my path automatically straightened out and she could guide me verbally around things like mud puddles and trashcans.

The third thing I noticed was how much my energy tends to whirl above my head or stick in my heart. When my energy started to drop from my heart down into my torso and then into my pelvis, I realized that it hadn’t really ever been there before. It was like my entire center of gravity dropped.

Grounding myself and my energy has always been a huge challenge. Getting anywhere near my body took years - the first energy healer I ever went to said she had to yank me off the ceiling by my ankle. And I flew back out the first chance I got. So getting into my heart was a big deal. Dropping all the way down into my pelvis was a major triumph.

In this entirely new space of feeling and sensing, we wandered around the park. I almost fell down a hill, met a trashcan, kept walking straight into the prickle bushes (I was wildly attracted to those prickle bushes), and got really nervous when other people passed us.

After my blindfold came off - while I was still sensing things more energetically and elementally, and less visually and intellectually - my friend asked me how I felt when I was near her energy.

“How do you feel, what do you want to do?”

What I wanted to do was run away from her and straight into the arms of the nearest tree.

So I did. Because the tree felt safe. The tree didn’t need anything from me.

WELL THAT’S DOWNRIGHT FASCINATING.

And probably explains quite a lot about my relationships.

She didn’t need anything from me either. But in that moment, I realized how generally uncomfortable I feel around other people, because I’m afraid I’ll be required to take care of them energetically and I’m afraid of the effect they’ll have on me.

There was an opening that happened in that moment, one I’m still processing and don’t fully understand yet. But, in fascinating confirmation, the evening of the trust walk, I got a barrage of messages from people. Like something in my ability to relate with other humans shifted, and now they felt comfortable reaching out again.

My trust walk experience was so intense that when I got home, I had to stumble into bed, where I stayed for the rest of the day, barely able to move. The next morning, I woke up feeling like I had an energetic hangover.

My entire system has been coming out of hibernation. I’m rebooting. I’m beginning to see how I’ve been led down a very specific path so I can get where I need to be.

It’s weird and fascinating and makes me really curious about what’s coming next.

Trees are good teachers. Especially if you can’t see them because you’re blindfolded.

Trees are good teachers. Especially if you can’t see them because you’re blindfolded.

Fist Bump To Anyone Else Who Struggles With Boundaries

Amber Adrian

While I don’t want to jinx myself or otherwise tempt fate by putting this in writing… I think I might be on the other side of the Great Crash of 2019. I opted out of calling it the First Great Crash of 2019 because I am optimistically envisioning a henceforth crash-free year for myself, a year where I don’t get taken out for weeks at a time because I over-extended myself.

Culprit of this particular crash was my refusal to rest over the holidays when I was encouraged to and also my boundaries.

I can state without exaggeration that I have - in the past, let’s call it the past - had truly terrible boundaries.

Having good boundaries is like having a nice sturdy bucket. When you have a bucket you can catch things. If you don’t want the thing you’ve caught, you can take it out of your bucket. You can keep filling your bucket until it overflows and then you can offer what’s overflowing to other people.

Having not-so-good boundaries is like having holes in your bucket. You pour water in but it will leak right back out again.

For most of my life, I had less of a bucket and more of a fishing net. Nothing could stay - not friends, not money, not relationships, not energy. It all leaked out until I was standing there holding an empty soggy net and wondering what happened.

Since I’ve been working on my boundaries like a fiend, my fishing net has been tightened into a sieve. Better than a net that a crafty lobster can escape but money, love, energy continue to leak out.

This is exhausting and flat-out unsustainable.

Because work is one of my greatest teachers - at least until I have kids, which will be a whole new level of Dear God Help Me - I recently burned out hard.

After spending a few days in a tunnel of despair and also bed, I finally recognized that I had been giving away way too much for free or charging way too little in certain areas of my business.

Free energy healing and channeling for people is just a bad idea. I would sometimes think, why don’t I see anyone else doing this on youtube? Why am I the only one?

OH THAT’S WHY.

Boundaries, man. Boundaries.

The way the universe gets my attention is to cut off my money. It’s a last resort, used only after all the usual avenues of nudging me, poking me, sending messages via other people, and taking me out for two weeks with a cold had been exhausted.

Finally, the universe got sick of waiting. And it whisked everything away. Clients, programs I’d run for years, money I’d been counting on, the person I was dating - POOF!

Up in a swirl of phoenix ash.

In all the years of running this particular business, that had never happened.

So I was left in a puddle of pitiful, thinking forlornly “I can’t be doing all this for people and be in a constant state of terror around money.”

A sigh of relief was breathed by the universe, and my guides and angels patiently waited.

After watching a lot of Netflix, I finally connected the dots.

I was draining myself for others because I thought I had to. I thought that was how I was supposed to help. Because I do believe that everyone should have access to this kind of energetic help and information, whether they can pay for it or not. But there’s a way to do it that doesn’t involve me destroying myself. Because that doesn’t help anyone.

So I’m reorganizing everything - how I work, what I offer, how it’s priced, how I share it. Complete foundational restructuring. So everything feels good and feels supportive, to me and those I work with.

BOUNDARIES.

Patching up the leaks in my bucket, tightening my sieve. Establishing healthy boundaries can be a challenging process, but so worth it. Mostly because who doesn’t want money and love? Who doesn’t want to give it a safe space to land and know it’s going to stick around once it does?

NO ONE, THAT’S WHO.

BOUNDARIES.

Sorry I keep yelling at you. I’m really yelling at myself. Maybe I should stop yelling. My system doesn’t like yelling - and allowing my nervous system to soften and feel supported is a big part of this process.

</yelling>

Part of me is now wondering if I should even post this because hi, lots of boring talk about boundaries. But if you’re still with me, it means this was in some way useful. Hooray! Thanks for hanging out with me, friend! Fist bump to all of us who are devoting ourselves to being healthy in the world. (BOUNDARIES.)

As a thank you for reading many paragraphs about boundaries, here’s a preview of my 2019 Christmas card. I’ve been threatening to do this for years, because the idea of sending out a photo of me with my stuffed animals to all my friends who always send beautifully shot portraits of their adorable children makes me laugh.

The Adrian family, as it currently stands. Sally would like you to know that you can best demonstrate your love by sending sardines.

The Adrian family, as it currently stands. Sally would like you to know that you can best demonstrate your love by sending sardines.

Done

Amber Adrian

When humans aren’t supported, we start to flounder. Even crumble. Sometimes disintegrate. This is zero fun and nobody likes it.

After three years - four years? what is time - of running my own business doing channeling and energy healing, I burned out. Hard.

Clients disappeared, money disappeared, relationships disappeared - everything went up in a puff of smoke so dramatic it was definitely divine intervention.

Which makes me think divine intervention read the map upside down, started walking in the opposite direction, and is now too embarrassed to admit it was wrong.

When I feel supported, I can do all sorts of intense things, no problem. Send energy wheeling around the globe, pour my heart onto the page, wrangle taxes and every other not-fun piece of running your own business, send my book into the black hole of the publishing world, deal with people who are mean or dismissive of what I do.

When money is flowing in and even collecting in nice little buckets, I’m good.

When I'm in a healthy, loving relationship, I’m good.

When I have both money and love - well. That’s when I do my best work and feel so excited about everything and probably get super annoying.

When I have neither, I start to crack around the edges.

(Yes, there’s a lot in the spiritual world about going inward and knowing you already have everything you need and that is very true. What is also very true is that we are all human with a deep need to be supported by factions outside of ourselves. We're allowed to have both.)

Floundering began mid-December. Cracking began at the end of the year. Complete unraveling happened about a week ago.

How Working With Guides Looks In Real Life

Me: I’m about to lose my house.

Guides: You aren’t going to lose your house, please stop worrying.

Me: [continues worrying herself into a mental breakdown but tries not to]

Guides: [sigh]

Me: I don’t know what to do.

Guides: Stop. Stop working. Stop fretting.

Me: That sounds like a bad idea and one that’s going to make me lose my house.

Guides, whispering amongst themselves: Can we just put her to sleep? Or do we need to give her the flu so she’ll settle down?

Me: [gets the flu]

I didn’t lose my house, but - yes - I did get the flu. First bout in years. And I’m still on the hook for a longterm solution to that whole need for housing and money and love and support thing.

So I have to look at how I can be kind to myself in the most practical of ways.

How can I do the work I’m here to do without opening up a vein, letting the world take a few pints, and then finding out I won’t be given any orange juice or cookies?

How can I do what I’m best at and still feel supported?

Maybe it means putting very firm boundaries around what I need to do my healing / channeling work and not doing it if those needs aren’t met.

Maybe it means writing more.

Maybe it means getting my first real job in a decade, a job with paid time off, benefits, and free snacks.

Maybe it means moving out of California.

Maybe it means marrying someone rich, as per my mom’s suggestion, which was once a joke and now sounds like less of one.

Maybe it’s something I can’t fathom at this particular moment in time.

I have no idea how it looks or feels to allow myself to be truly, deeply supported. But I know it needs to happen or I’m done.

So I’m trying to show up as best I can through the fear and anxiety - feeling it as sensation in my torso rather than whirling terror up in my brain cave.

I’m doing my best to stop thinking, stop trying to figure it out. I’m doing my best to show up without forcing. Allowing without attachment. Being here in this moment and trusting that I will move through it into a beautiful outcome, one where I love life again.

Asking how I can do what I’m here to do in a way that is deeply kind to myself, rather than everyone else. Yes, be kind to others, but only from a place of “Hey, I’m all good. So now I can offer you something with love and without keeling over."

Because I can’t help anyone if my veins have run dry and I’m on the ground.

So I say, Show me. Show me, show me, show me. Show me how. Show me what. Please make it clear, please make it easy, please make it supportive. I will show up however I’m guided, however it occurs to me, please send me what I need, please send me what will support me deeply and help me feel like, yes, this is something I can do. This is a life I want to live.”

Guides: Finally. Jesus. Okay, throw her a bone. Let’s see… how about no jury duty this week.

Me: [cries with relief]

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I don’t know what my road forward looks like, but I hope it’s this pretty.

Joy Road

Amber Adrian

In a rather macabre attempt to make myself feel better about the things I haven’t accomplished, I keep listing the dire things that have happened over the past ten years in a bizarre litany of grief:

Break up

Getting fired

Losing my dad

Losing my apartment

Miscarriage

Break up

Break up

Break up

(I’ve got to stop counting break ups.)

I find this list strangely comforting.

Sure, it was over a period of ten years, but that’s still eight rather intense grief processes. I would just be getting my feet under me after the last one when the next would hit. I spent my entire thirties feeling like a toddler on the shore who kept getting dragged under the waves.

So with all that, maybe it’s okay that I didn’t get married or get a book published or have a baby or build a million dollar company.

(I know people wrangle that much and more and still do at least one of those things if not a number of those things but I am doing my best to focus on my path rather than compare myself to other people who maybe don’t spend so much of their time in flannel pajamas.)

But what the past decade did give me on that enforced roller coaster of zen was a solid sense of myself and why I’m here.

I feel like I know what I’m on the planet to do - and that’s no small thing.

It’s the other things that people my age seem to have figured out that throw me.

(Having a family, supporting yourself well, buying a house, etc.)

Spirit = check. World = WTF?

(I saw an internet meme yesterday that said, “I’m not broke, I’m California broke” and I laughed the laugh of one who has done the math on her home state and wept.)

Now that I’m forty and we just crossed the threshold of the new year, I’m doing my best to stop with the grief litany so I can start choosing joy instead. Focusing on that, rather than on all the other things.

As a nice counterpoint, here are some of the small, lovely things in my world that I’m choosing to focus on:

How much I love my little garden cottage and its yellows and reds and turquoises.

My collection of crystals.

Sally, my stuffed therapy otter.

Hiking to the ocean.

My Harry Potter sheets (yes, I’m that person).

My favorite books.

My morning coffee.

The yellow roses I bought myself.

Driving over the Golden Gate Bridge.

The candles I light every night, just because I like the glow.

Tossing a new recipe into the crockpot every week.

I have no idea what the next few months will bring, much less the next few years, much less the next decade, but I plan to focus more on the joy than the other thing.

The beauty of a rather rocky decade - and, yes, there were many wonderful things as well* - is that it cleared the way for joy. My system needed a complete overhaul so that I could get anywhere close to that depth of lightness. And overhauled it was.

* Running a marathon, living by the beach in Santa Monica (the apartment I lost), spending a month in Amsterdam and Costa Rica and New York (there was a hurricane but oh well), getting to love a few truly wonderful people, adopting Sally, meeting a goat named Chadwick, writing some of my favorite things, reading some of my favorite things.

If I was going to make a new year’s resolution, it would be joy.

Choosing joy. Focusing on joy. Allowing joy.

There’s a street sign in Sonoma that keeps roaming through my head: Joy Road.

Ever since I passed it last year, the phrase “Joy Road” has become a new litany, a better one, in the thickets of my brain.

If I was less lazy, I’d go steal that sign and nail it to my front door.

Instead, I’ll just keep choosing the joy road. As best I can.

And So My Heart Blazes

Amber Adrian

My heart has been broken wide open at least seven times in the past six years.

(Death, miscarriage, breakup, breakup, breakup, et cetera and on into infinity.)

I’m finally doing my best to help my heart stay open, to love for the sake of loving, rather than letting it snap shut when life twists.

I’m not quite sure yet what this requires, but I’m throwing everything I have at it.

So far, it feels amazing. Free. Like a huge weight has been lifted. Like I’m doing what I came here to do - and that’s all that’s required of me.

Because I’m afraid I’ll forget this brave new plan the next time my brain convinces me to fret about my ovaries (because that’s so much fun for everyone), I’m writing this down so I can reference it when I get triggered or when my heart tries to slam shut like a rusty bear trap on some unsuspecting person’s foot.

Because I will most definitely forget how good it felt to say, “I am going to love the next person who steps into my life as purely and relentlessly as I can, no matter how the relationship looks.”

I don’t want to forget how it feels to blaze with love through my texts and social media and every encounter like nothing can hurt me, because nothing can. Or, if it does, I am big enough to see it, feel it, and move through it, love still beating through me without getting clogged up somewhere in my spleen.

Dating from a place of joy and fun rather than need. If I’m walking through life radiating pure love, I don’t need anyone to give it to me. Because I’m fucking bathed in it.

That feels really good.

So I can just show up however I choose to show up in each moment and can allow everyone else to show up how they choose without needing anything specific from them.

While reminding myself to hold my vision of what I really want - the white farmhouse on lots of acres with ducks and baby goats and dogs and a couple of kids running through a fairy forest hung with crystals. My husband building me something in the barn while I write on my laptop in the yard.

Trusting that it will show up perfectly and in the right timing.

Every piece of that image is subject to adjustment, except the life partner o’ mutual adoration / oh-what-luck-that-we-found-each-other and the couple of kids running around. Even the baby goat is negotiable.

(Sort of. We don’t have to own a baby goat, but I will require baby goat access.)*

*Related: My friend Stephanie suggested that maybe her mother would let me FaceTime with her goats and I am wildly excited, to say the least.

So how does this feel? How can I relay this to my future self who will forget?

(Because I am relentlessly human and it feels like we humans spend most of our time trying to remember all the lessons we’ve already learned.)

It feels like possibility. Like I can love everyone who crosses my path without fear. It feels like my heart is a wide open field, rather than a rusty, broken plow I have to hide in the bushes so it doesn’t rip anything to shreds. Or protect so that it can still limp through the grass rather than having to be disassembled and put on the scrap heap.

Really, the best I can do is just keep muttering to myself “Let your heart blaze. Let your heart blaze.”

I don’t know how this is going to go. I don’t know how this is going to unfold for me. But it feels like the right way for me to move through life, because I’ve always known that I’m here to love as much and as best I can, and so why wouldn’t I do that every day to the best of my ability?

So here’s to loving relentlessly, self first, with so much overflow for everyone who crosses my path.

Because the my heart is an ocean metaphor? I don’t know.

Because the my heart is an ocean metaphor? I don’t know.

Why I'm Single

Amber Adrian

“You’re a fighter. Stop fighting everyone and marry the next guy who tells you he loves you.”

…is a thing I was told on a date recently.

I’m not saying he’s wrong. I’m also not prepared to admit he’s right.

But between breaking up with every person I’ve been in a real relationship with since 2008 and a dating strategy I like to call “saving time” and other people term “trying to scare him away”, I’m not sure I can safely write it off.

But it’s not like these guys who told me they loved me were proposing marriage and I was turning them down.

The very genesis of this whole date situation (and said comment I am now overthinking) was me making a joke about fried chicken and him asking me to marry him and me exclaiming, “Hey, that’s my first marriage proposal! Thanks!”

And then we went out and things were said and this remains my first marriage proposal which means I can probably claim the whole premise of his statement was flawed.

SO THERE, RANDOM DUDE I WILL PROBABLY NEVER SEE AGAIN WHO PEERED INTO MY SOUL AND SAW SYDNEY BRISTOW.

I do like to joke that I’m a love warrior.

Mainly because I keep throwing myself into the romance ring to get pummeled.

But maybe I get pummeled because I keep fighting.

What if I laid down whatever metaphorical axe I’m carrying and just … stopped?

What does that even look like?

I realize I’m raising a whole lot of metaphorical questions here that probably don’t have answers, but I’m curious.

It’s possible that I’m single because it just hasn’t been the right time. Or I haven’t met the right person. Or paths just kept unexpectedly diverging.

Or maybe I’m single because I push people away, so they run away, so I can claim it’s their fault instead of mine.

This is a dark train of thought and I will most definitely require a viewing of the Great British Bake-Off and people gently mixing cake batter when I’m done writing this so I don’t descend into a mild depression.

If you’re single when you want a life partner, is it your fault?

If it’s not your fault then is it someone else’s fault?

Or do people end up in partnerships purely by the grace of god?

(I get that people stay in partnerships through work and love and choosing the other person every day, but my problem is getting to the point where any of that is even a possibility.)

I am the x factor in my own life. But does that mean there’s something for me to do, to change? Or do I need to just trust that things will unfold in the right time?

Trusting is really goddamn annoying. Being open is really goddamn annoying. I would like certainty and a guarantee and preferably a date of arrival with a UPS tracking number.

If I had married in my early 30s like I thought I would, there are so many amazing people I never would’ve met.

That said, I think I’m done with the revolving door of dating.

So if anyone knows how to lay down the axe, step off the merry-go-round, and move into a new phase of life, I will happily listen. And if anyone has my UPS tracking number, I will bake you a cake.

Me and Sally, the real love of my life. This may be next year’s Christmas card.

Me and Sally, the real love of my life. This may be next year’s Christmas card.

Meltdowns Lead to (Parentheses). Apparently.

Amber Adrian

I always feel so much better after a complete meltdown that I should put them in my weekly calendar.

"Friday, 4 pm, mental breakdown."

Breakdowns empty out the cup - dumping out every emotion and worry, everything I didn’t even know I was carrying, and suddenly I’m all free and light.

Meltdown: 5 stars, would have again.

I always resist the break like mad. I do everything I can to avoid it. I grit my teeth and stuff my emotions into my spleen, because I’m not supposed to have feelings. I watch TV to stave off that wave of fear that really wants in. I eat a hamburger, because - well - I eat a hamburger because I’m hungry and a person’s gotta eat.

But once it finally overtakes me - usually because the universe pushes me to the edge of the cliff and boots me over - and I spend an hour or two sobbing and throwing a, let’s just call it what it is, temper tantrum, clutching my stuffed therapy otter until I finally drag my soggy carcass out for bagels. I’m still kind of cranky as I bolt down my bagel, but at some point, I begin to feel better.

Surprisingly better. Better than I’ve felt in weeks. Incidentally, just about as long as I’ve been attempting to stuff my feels into my spleen where I hope they’ll die a quiet and unremarkable death.

On the heels of feeling better after the ignominious breakdown usually comes an answer to the situation(s) that led to the breakdown in the first place.

(This time, my answer to the work breakdown was “It’s time to be channeling star families now. Yes, it’s weird, but is channeling aliens really that much weirder than channeling Jesus or unicorns? Right. So get on with it.”)

(My answer to the relationship portion of the breakdown was “Hold your self-worth and self- esteem and stay focused on yourself and your work, no matter what the other person is doing or saying or how either of you is flying off the trigger handle.”)

(Two very helpful answers, it must be said.)

But we usually have to allow the meltdown before we get the relief and the answers. Which can be really hard for those of us who fancy ourselves adults who no longer have meltdowns or maybe were scolded or shut in our rooms for having meltdowns as children.

(Which has got to be a conundrum for parents. I don’t pretend to have the answer for this. I’m just trying to parent myself the best I can and not be too hard on myself over the inevitable breakdown.)

But when we finally let it just flow through, the post-meltdown relief is palpable. It’s like you’ve emptied out the bucket of everything you’ve been carrying around - judgment, overwhelm, fear, sadness, worry, pain - and then tossed the bucket into the Pacific Ocean.

When we’re emptied out and feeling better, that’s when answers come.

So what if it requires four bagels, a stuffed otter, and a temper tantrum that would make a three-year-old blush?

Sometimes that’s what being an adult is all about.

Channeling my inner child in a more photo-friendly fashion.

Channeling my inner child in a more photo-friendly fashion.

Zooming Out

Amber Adrian

I have decided to accept that I am a big wooden bucket of messy dysfunction. I’ve also decided that being a big wooden bucket of messy dysfunction is 100% okay. Maybe because the wooden bucket is artisanal. Crafted by a bearded gentleman in Vermont who hand-planes wood harvested from local trees with an axe that he inherited from his great-grandfather or purchased from a different artisanal workshop. It doesn’t matter.

Or maybe because it’s okay to be messy and maladjusted and chock full of undiagnosed mental abnormalities. I’m not going to call them illnesses. I don’t even want to call them abnormalities.* Because I don’t think any of this is abnormal.

(* Let’s call them curiosities. Undiagnosed mental curiosities. That’s much better. It invites exploration and wonder, rather than strife and shame.)

So we get anxious walking out into the world. Maybe there’s nothing wrong with that. Maybe the world is an anxious, angry place sometimes. It’s also full of wild oceans and butterflies and kind people doing their very best in a world that’s not always that kind. Maybe the next time you walk out into the world you’ll figure out something about how to be less anxious in the midst of it and you’ll tell me about it and I’ll say, “Hey, that’s a great idea” and suddenly we are less anxious and more able to notice the butterflies floating above the fray.

Maybe not. That’s okay too. Maybe there’s nothing wrong with hiding in your house for awhile.

We’re all just trying to accept and love ourselves as the messy, dysfunctional, divine beings that we are.

Divine and human, kind and unkind, total jerks and purely loving.

In a phrase, absolutely perfect.  

I’m starting to get mad at labels. Because they’re divisive. But they can also help us categorize our experiences and accept them and learn from them. Oh hey, look! Once again, there are two things seemingly at odds with one another occupying the same space.

Maybe we just need to zoom out. Like putting your fingers on the map screen and moving them together so you see California snuggled against the Pacific Ocean instead of the sushi restaurant on the corner.

Maybe if we give everything more room - our anger and our joy, our messiness and our maladjustment - we’ll start to see the absolute perfection in all of it.

Maybe.

I keep saying maybe because I have no idea. I throw out wild theories like half-done spaghetti in the hopes that something sticks to the wall.

But every time I zoom out on my own life, moving up into the air above it to peer down through the eyes of my higher self rather than my annoyed, anxious self, everything looks very different. Beautiful. Perfect. Fun. A way to expand instead of a mistake. An experience in loving instead of a heartbreak. An opportunity to try something new instead of failure.

Sometimes it’s hard to hold that height for long and I drop ignominiously back down into my cranky human self, but that’s allowed. That’s part of it. The challenge is blending the two - the divine and the cranky - into something resembling fully embodied divinity. Grounded height. Higher self and human self into one gleaming, sweating, star-laden meat suit. I don’t know. I’m struggling with the language because I can’t quite parse this experience. Maybe because I’m still drifting between the two, zooming up and down, in and out.

Trees and butterflies are what I think of as a solution to the zooming quandary. Nature and animals help us bridge the divine-essence-in-a-human-experience gap. Zooming in on a daisy growing through a crack in the concrete or the moss on redwood bark is its own kind of perspective and doesn’t inspire acrophobia.

So when in doubt, go find some trees. Hey, at least it’s getting out of the house. Pick big trees so that if any anxious humans wander your way, you can hide behind a handy trunk.

Oceans are also helpful, though harder to hide behind.

Oceans are also helpful, though harder to hide behind.

Star Seed Problems

Amber Adrian

If you've ever found yourself in the bathroom sobbing "I just want to go home" when you are, in fact, at home - you might be a star seed.

I've been ignoring this for a long time because I'm here, I'm human, may as well get on with it and enjoy the benefits of earth (which are chocolate donuts if you were wondering) (most bread products and baked goods, really). But then I found myself crying like a child lost in a shopping mall because I had this bone deep feeling of being alone and far from home and not sure how to fix it - and I realized it's time to dig into this a bit more.

I can feel my work about to deepen again, because looking back on it, most of the people I work with - if not all of them - are star seeds. We have trouble grounding, we have trouble with 3D things like relationships and money, we tend to feel lonely and like we don't belong. Some forget to eat (that's never been my problem) (DONUTS!).

But I'm going to have trouble helping them if I don't have a lock on this myself.

So. Guess it's time to dive into that whole being an alien thing.

P.S. And I thought it got weird with the whole Jesus revelation. NOPE. THERE’S MORE WEIRD WHERE THAT CAME FROM!

P.P.S. As I feel into it, I think I came in with Jesus, decided to stick around to make sure that whole love-and-support-for-all-humanity thing got carried out, and hahaha whoops, no wonder I feel like a failure all the time.

P.P.P.S. (is that a thing?) NOW I NEED A DONUT.

Love: A Smug Tale Of Resilient Rib Cages

Amber Adrian

“Learning — slowly, slowly — to open up and love when I feel scared, rather than curl up like a threatened porcupine.”

That sentence was written in 2012 as my father was dying. I put his last days on Twitter because it helped anchor me as we floated around the hospital waiting for him to cast off into the next great adventure.

I’m thinking about it now because the anniversary of my father’s death is the day after Thanksgiving and I re-posted the tweets as a “Happy Death Day, Dad! You Were A Good One!” gesture.

Now I keep finding my eyes skimming over that one sentence - and worry that I’m back-sliding.

When we have these experiences, the ones that crack our hearts open, the raw vulnerability feels like it will last. Like this feeling of being broken open will last forever. There’s relief and even joy in it, as everything you’d kept bottled up comes flooding out.

But we rebuild. New experiences come in - like the explosion of three relationships in three years, whoops - and we start adding brick and new spackle to those heart walls.

As humans, we want to feel like we’re on a general upward trajectory. Moving forward, learning the lessons, growing. Onward and upward forever more.

But things just keep happening. Which is the definition of life, I guess.

Life: That Time When Things Kept Happening.

(Quick, someone give me a Pulitzer.)

After the implosion of three relationships in three years, I find myself being careful. Hesitant. Unwilling to blaze in the way I did the last three times.

I don’t want to curl up like a frightened hedgehog, but that doesn’t mean I won’t.

How do you continue to open up and love when it feels like the last few times you tried, your rib cage got caved in by a baseball bat?

I know it’s possible. People do it. I’ve done it.

But letting go of the old experiences to allow in the new ones feels scary. Like I’ll forget something important if I do. Like I’ll lose something.

But I don’t want to be that person who lets fear win. Partly because it doesn’t sound like any fun, but mostly because I want to be smug about trampling fear beneath my fuzzy boots.

Love may not win, but smug will.

DEAR LIFE, I WANT TO BE SMUG ABOUT HOW BRAVE AND LOVING I AM. GOT IT? K THANKS.

How do you throw yourself off the cliff again? How do you face down the baseball bat and say TAKE YOUR BEST SHOT! RIB CAGE OF STEEL, BABY!

Since I don’t know the answers, it seems I’ll just have to keep living life, life where things keep happening, and do my best to show up for the life I want rather than quaking at the mercy of things I’m scared of. That’s really all we can do. While taking whatever opportunities to be smug - and happy - that we can wrangle.

This picture doesn’t have much to do with this post, aside from the fact that I adore these women and also my face is a fairly accurate depiction of my feelings on love at the moment.

This picture doesn’t have much to do with this post, aside from the fact that I adore these women and also my face is a fairly accurate depiction of my feelings on love at the moment.

Talking to Dragons

Amber Adrian

On the scale of delightfully strange jobs, talking to dragons is probably near the top.

But now that it’s been a few years, I probably need to stop claiming that channeling unicorns and hurling light with Archangel Michael is weird.

Not that it is or isn’t, especially as jobs go, but because it’s mostly my way of trying to make people more comfortable. Like, “hahaha, I know I’m crazy but what can you do?”

Yes, making people comfortable is generally a good thing, a kind thing, but not when it means diluting yourself for common consumption.

Recognizing my worth has been one of my greatest challenges. It’s tangled up in owning my weird, allowing myself to receive, and … oh my god this is all exhausting. Like, I just got really tired and want to take a nap now.

Part of me just wants to wash my hands of the whole thing, but that’s the problem with Talking To Dragons As a Job (TM). You have to keep plowing through these self-constructed webs. You don’t get to stop, because then you won’t be as effective. (And might not be able to make rent.)

I want to be effective. I want to know my worth, not just as an intellectual concept but as something I fully embody and never have reason to question.

So what would the dragons tell me about this? If I can talk to dragons, may as well ask them for help when I’m riding the struggle bus.

Therefore:

Hi, dragons! How can I recognize and feel my worth?

“By knowing that the wounds of your childhood do not need to inform your adulthood. By steeping in the joy of each moment and knowing that life is ever-changing and you are never stuck. You are never trapped. You are always loved and supported and in divine hands. Surrender into those hands and give yourself a goddamn break.”

(Sometimes the dragons swear.)

Choosing joy and play and fulfillment and abundance sometimes feels harder than anything you could ever do. This is why I talk to dragons. This is why I teach this stuff. Because we teach what we need to learn.

Good Old-Fashioned Primal Shrieking (And Squirrels)

Amber Adrian

I’ve been doing a lot of primal screaming.

Also, a lot of actual screaming.

This is when living alone is glorious - there’s no one to frighten with your occasional cleansing shrieks. I may have scared a squirrel or two, but since they dive bomb my roof at least once a day, sometimes waking me out of a sound Saturday morning slumber, I feel zero remorse.

Forest rodents beware.

So much has been rumbling to the surface lately that sometimes it’s necessary to let it out with a solid yell. The occasional yelp. Even a whimper or two. Though sliding into the pathetic whimpering usually means it’s time to do something else. Like take a walk in the woods (provided the air quality isn’t currently at You Gonna Die because of the wildfires). Do the dishes, write something, make something, color something. Stand under, sit in, or drink a lot of water. Visit your friend Adriene on her yoga youtube channel (she’s not really my friend but isn’t she really the whole world’s friend?). And of course… yell. How to best shift the sticky, crispy energy is a constant curiosity, something my sensitive peeps (which is all of you, hi!) understand 100 percent.

OH MY GOD I JUST GOT DIVE BOMBED BY ANOTHER SQUIRREL. It sounds like frantic skittering right over my head, mostly because my roof seems to be a major squirrel thoroughfare as they dart between trees.

Anyway, life, am I right? It’s good, all and all. I just shift between feeling like I’m standing on a precipice and like I’m stuck in an extra confining box and I know it’s completely within my power and capacity to shift it in a hot second, but then I don’t. Or I do and then I shift it back again. I don’t know. Energy is weird and I’m still learning (remembering) how it works.

Part of me can’t wait for change, part of me fears change, the rest of me wants potato chips. I think that’s called being human.

Hi, human friends. I hope you’re doing well and letting a good old-fashioned primal shriek whenever necessary.

Here, have a soothing dragon.

Here, have a soothing dragon.


Turns Out, I Am Literally The Bee's Knees

Amber Adrian

I was reading a book in the sun, drinking free coffee (my super power is scoring free coffee) and minding my own business, when a bee decided to land on my thigh.

Memories of my childhood are fuzzy. Our brain processes information differently when we feel intense emotion and, as an empath with no coping skills, I was constantly flooded with feels. So my brain trained itself to survive the moment rather than record it for later. But a few of the memories I do have are of being stung by bees - screaming because a bee bit me on the inside of my mouth after it landed on my sandwich on a camping trip and wearing jelly sandals for a week because the top of my foot was so swollen I couldn’t wear anything else.

So when the bee landed on my leg, I panicked a bit, wondering if it was about to poke me with its stinger.

Then I noticed that it was cleaning itself.

Its little stinger retracted and extended as the bee gently washed its torso and legs and fuzzy little bee butt. I had to consciously keep breathing - in and out - to keep my cortisol levels from spiking, but it was astonishing. I’d never seen a bee take a bath before and I was rather honored that it chose me.

I love it when dogs and children wander up to me of their own accord. Like they’re drawn to me or feel safe with me. Or maybe they see the unicorns over my shoulder. I don’t know. Either way, it always makes my day a little bit better. Same with this little bee giving itself a wash on my thigh, even as I wondered the entire time if I was in for a sharp sting and a few days of swelling.

But the bee continued to bathe itself while I watched and, when it was done, fluttered gently off into the sunshine.

Image borrowed from  this lovely Etsy shop .

Image borrowed from this lovely Etsy shop.

Dedicated To Everyone Who Confuses The World

Amber Adrian

From refusing to enter the world (the female doctor trying to deliver me had to call in a burly dude with forceps to yank me out) to some serious sexual dysfunction in my 20s that Kaiser had no idea what to do with for years (that was a festival of terrible, let me tell you) to this morning when my doctor sat staring at me for twenty minutes with a deeply confused look on her face, I’ve been baffling western medicine since 1978.

Guys, this is how I became a hippie in the first place. No one else ever knew what to do with me.

Luckily, I've always been physically healthy. Sure, inside I was a giant ball of traumatized anxiety sponging up every emotion within a three mile radius, but I figured that was normal. Mental and emotional health is so deeply tricky because no one else can see the inside of our heads, and we've always lived there so don't know anything else.

While any number of arguments could be made both for and against my mental health, I feel much better and happier than I ever have in my life and I chalk it up to being a relentless - and one could even claim obnoxious - hippie. Playing with energy healing sorted me out nicely, which is how I accidentally fell into Hippie-As-Profession. When people ask me what I do, I tend to say something like, "I just want everyone to feel better."

Which is both true and also how I end up confusing every well-meaning person who's ever asked me what I do for a living.

Now I'm just laughing in my living room because OH THIS WORLD, YOU GUYS. Do any of us know what to do with it? Even a little?

Since we don't, I think we just keep looking for our own answers, our own truth, and chalk up the days where you get a message from your doctor saying, "I think you can take care of this with an $8 over-the-counter medication, let me know if that doesn't work" as a serious win.

Especially when you spend the rest of that day cheerfully driving down the coast with the top down, eating shepherd's pie in the window seat, and reading your book in the November sun.

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And if you come home to a delivery of your new Harry Potter sheets emblazoned with golden stars and owls - well that’s pretty much perfect.

(Speaking of rampant hippie-ism and energy healing and being both confusing and confused, I did an energy healing on youtube related to all this today. :)

(Book pictured is Capital Gaines, which I loved.)