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Blog

Farewell, Penelope

Amber Adrian

You know how sometimes you make a grave tactical error and then have no choice but to soldier valiantly on and pray you don’t die?

Yup, me too. More often than I’d like to admit.

My intuition is bang on target about many things.

Just a few days ago, I was walking toward the town square and thought “Maggie’s here.” Maggie is a lovely woman I have met maybe twice at a friend’s house and know very little about except that she has cute kids and does not live in Marin County. So there was absolutely no reason to think she would be sitting in the square I was about to pass. But, sure enough, 15 seconds later, there she was. It was a random and very efficient intuition barometer.

Just a few hours ago, I was sitting in a coffee shop reading Harry Potter - my favorite autumnal activity - and drinking a pumpkin spice latte - my favorite autumnal guilty pleasure - when I looked up and smiled at a woman walking past. As I did, I felt her energetically hook into me and thought, “Whoops. This is about to get interesting.” Sure enough, a few minutes later she initiated a rather bizarre interaction that showed me my energetic boundaries are doing better than I generally give myself credit for, because I was able to be kind without allowing her to pull me into the fear she was swimming in.

But sometimes - usually when I’m thinking too much - my intuition fails me quite spectacularly.

My initial hit was to rent a car for my jaunt from Mill Valley to Half Moon Bay, a journey that’s about an hour too long for the current health of my 13-year-old Mini Cooper.

But trying to wrangle a rental car would have meant driving 25 minutes in the wrong direction and ultimately became annoying enough a process that I just didn’t want to deal with it. So I thought, “Eh, it’ll be fine. Penelope will make it.”

To be fair, Penelope did make it. Both of us are still alive.

But about twenty minutes into what turned into a deeply harrowing day, I realized I had allowed my optimism to get the better of me.

A few hours later, I was flat-out praying. To god, the angels, the flying spaghetti monster, anyone who would help me get home in one piece.

Again, to be fair to my intuition, I did get a very strong “We will get you home safe.” But, as my car made grinding noises on mountains and dials flailed wildly in the ominous red zone, I wondered if perhaps I was confusing intuition with optimism again.

I wasn’t. I got home. It was fine.

But deciding not to pay attention to the “let’s make life easier and rent a car” intuitive hit bought me one rather terrifying day.

However, it did convince me that it’s time for a new car, something I had been steadfast in avoiding because I love Penelope and don’t want to give her up.

But our heart-pounding, hair-raising journey across bridge, through city, and over mountain is not something I’m ready to repeat. And there’s no point in paying California rent if you’re not going to go gallivanting through all the abundant beauty she’s got on tap.

So, after five years, Penelope and I have had our last long adventure together.

I’m sad to say goodbye. She was the car I wanted forever - and finally got after my dad passed away and buried a lot of money in the ground. Buried treasure which helped me snag Penelope when my old car died so soon after my dad. So she feels like the last thing my dad ever bought me. In a piratical sort of way.

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May my next car bring me as much joy as Penelope did.

(And may I never experience a drive like that again. It was the vehicular equivalent of spending an afternoon with the albino in Princess Bride. It didn’t actually kill me but it definitely shaved a few years off my life.)

Life Rules

Amber Adrian

Make friends with any and all neighbors who have baby goats.

If you want the pumpkin spice latte, drink the damn pumpkin spice latte.

Ask all your first dates what they would do if you accidentally got pregnant. This will save a lot of time.

If you can’t make it to a friend’s birthday party because your car is acting sketchy, and your friend’s husband offers to pay for your Lyft across four towns, a bridge, and back again, take him up on it. It will have surprising effects on your life.

Don’t worry about how well you love. You love just fine.

Listen more.

Take your triumphs where they come.

Do more of whatever makes you happy. Wear the unicorn t-shirt, swing on the swings, chase the seagulls, eat the burrata, put your stuffed otter in the front seat, buy yourself flowers, write love notes and scatter them wherever you go, text your ex, dance like a muppet on a pogo stick, make beef stew, read your favorite book for the seventeenth time.

You’re also allowed to be cranky whenever you damn well feel like it. It’s fine.

Operation Be Less Grumpy

Amber Adrian

This morning, I woke up super grumpy.

It probably has a lot to do with waking up at one in the morning several nights in a row and not going back to sleep until around 5:30 and being woken up 90 minutes later by obnoxious noises. (I felt bad for momentarily hating people who were just doing their job, but power saws before 8 a.m. inspire deep hostility in the under-slept and under-caffeinated.)

As I walked downtown to get some coffee and a waffle with more sugar than is good for me, I decided to revel in the grumpy. Resisting the grumpy tends to make me even crankier, but sinking into it like a warm bath helps. Exaggerating the grump always makes me feel like the curmudgeonly old muppet hecklers, and that’s just funny.

But when your baseline for the day is set at Cranky Jerk, it takes a bit more effort to keep yourself from creating more Grump-tastic situations. (I already failed at the coffee shop by taking someone else’s drink which made the drink maker person cranky which - curse of the empath - made me have to fight off their cranky along with my own.)

My best tactic for shifting into a higher state - whether it’s up a few notches from cranky or fear or whatever human experience I’m swimming in - is looking around and noticing the small, lovely details around me.

Steam rising off my chamomile citrus tea. A gnarled old tree reaching its branches toward the sky. The silky black and white puppy straining against its leash on the sidewalk outside. My pink jeans. A striking girl in an outfit I’m certain she just threw on, but still looks like she stepped out of a magazine that sells beard oil and single source coffee beans. Sun glinting through the redwood trees. The clock on the square that’s been there since 1926. The preponderance of pumpkin coffee now that the calendar says autumn. Giraffes on my phone case.

It really helps, whether I’m trying to feel happier or more abundant or more taken care of or just less grumpy.

If that doesn’t work, I walk to this:

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Being as cranky when you walk away from this as when you walked toward it is statistically impossible. That’s just science.

If Your Love Life Is More "WTF?" Than You'd Like to Admit: Hi, Soul Friend!

Amber Adrian

Honestly, all I can really say about my romantic life at this point is: WTF?

After being single for six years and then cycling through three breakups in three years, with a bonus miscarriage just for fun, I got no clue.

(On a date once, someone said, "It seems like you were born to be a wife and mother. So why aren't you?" My head almost exploded all over the bagel shop.) 

That said, I do feel like I’m preparing for something.

I do know that this divine partnership wouldn't be calling me so vehemently and relentlessly if it wasn't part of my path. 

I do feel something big on the horizon, even if I don’t know what - precisely - it is.

If you're feeling this too - fist bump, soul-friend.

While all my guidance is around surrender and prepare and don't-worry-about-the-details-little-miss-wants-to-know-all-the-things, I have gotten that October is going to be a BIG month for those of us on this divine partnership path.

Who knows what that actually means, but it sounds fun, so I’m game.

This morning, it popped in that I should do some group healing and guidance sessions with Mary Magdalene and Jesus on this, because they have that divine partnership thing down. They love this stuff. They live for it. (However multi-dimensional ascended masters can be considered to live for things.) 

So here’s a here’s a healing session Mary Mags and Jesus, to get some clarity, some heart clearing, and hear what they have to say about stepping into divine partnership:

We teach what we need to learn and, oh-my-flying-unicorn-cakes, romantic love and partnership is a big lesson for me.

(So is money! And work! And self-love! I GUESS I'M JUST SUPPOSED TO TEACH EVERYTHING. Haha, sigh.)

We are all balancing between our human selves and our divine selves - this merry ascension process is about merging them into one. Just as the divine partnership path is about balancing our shadow and our light and peering over the precipice and into the sun.

(Or something. I honestly have no idea what I’m talking about.)

(At least my human doesn’t, which is why I’m doing channeled sessions on partnership over the next month, so hopefully my divine self can get my Amber self up to speed and help us all find some light and clarity and peace and excitement around our love lives. If you want to join me, message me here and I’ll give you the details.)

Sunflowers and Social Media Fasts

Amber Adrian

On Monday, the little voice in my head - the one I trust, not the one with brain hamsters that shoot spit balls at unsuspecting parties - told me to get the hell off social media.

Since I make it a practice of following these little nudges - said little voice has magicked me up a garden cottage in Hobbiton (or Mill Valley, if you want to be strictly linear about it) and is good at reminding me to pay bills and go hang out with redwoods - I got the hell off social media.

I haven’t had such a nice time in ages.

Yesterday, I made myself some beef stew in the crockpot, stared happily at my sunflowers, napped with crystals (hippie healing tip! put crystals on or around your body in any way that feels right and close your eyes for a bit and you will feel splendid upon waking), and generally enjoyed the utter freedom that comes with not feeling compelled to check instagram and twitter every 33 seconds.

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We’re in a major clearing phase right now.

In the past month, I’ve started eating vegetables, taken eight bags to Goodwill, made sure my storage closet can’t attack anyone ever again, started running, culled my lists, and am generally lining my ducks up in a neat little row.

I’m preparing for something, I just don’t know what.

We all are.

So if you’re feeling the limbo: fist bump, my friend.

Here’s what keeps coming through for me:

Trust that everything is happening perfectly.

Surrender to whatever the present experience is.

Feel deep gratitude for whatever lovely things happen to be in your life, like sunflowers and beef stew and tasty avocado. Even if it feels exasperating. Like feeling grateful that everything you need is within walking distance when your car decides to sputter and die on a road where lots of people are following you.

Accept it all, with a lot of love for your imperfect-yet-glorious self.

I’m doing my best to listen, even when I forget for awhile and go all triggered and weird. Because, human. Yes, we are divinity in human suits, but sometimes the human suit gets itchy and shit goes down. No worries. It’s fine. We’re clearing old wounds and old stories, and that is not the easiest proposition in an itchy human suit.

Anyway, because of my social media fast this week, I’m not posting a zillion things in a dozen places all over the internet, so I’m funneling it all to this here blog for awhile.

Writing here instead of elsewhere feels like part of this clearing process. If I post some rambling exposition on Facebook, I’m assured of at least a few thumbs up. Maybe even a heart or two, and who doesn’t want a heart? Posting here holds no such sweet ego assurance.

A big part of the last few years has been about incinerating my ego. Absolutely torching it. Burning it down to the ground. Blazing it into ash.

(And the phoenix chuckles. My higher self shakes its head and says “Ah, that feisty phoenix.” My human self says, “The phoenix is a major jerk.”)

Not letting myself have that pleasant hit of dopamine feels like a good practice for me. In the same way that not obsessing over the perfection of my writing has been useful. For the past few years, I’ve been doing my best to let things go out into the ether without obsessive rewrites, because sometimes it’s good to give a jaunty middle finger to perfectionism.

So here we are. If you’re reading this, I hope you’ll hang out with me this week on this random corner of the internet!

Grief Anniversaries

Amber Adrian

As much as I congratulate myself on understanding grief - hey, take the wins where they come - there are still so many pieces that elude me.

Someone posted on Twitter about how today would have been her three-year-old's birthday if she hadn't miscarried, and that struck a rather resounding chord so I did the math and realized HEY ME TOO.

Perhaps that's the cause of all the emotions today. I don't remember what happened this time last year or the year before - I'm so emotional most of the time that this stuff honestly doesn't register until I'm sobbing wildly and it somehow clicks in that "Oh, it's my dad's birthday" or "Oh, the baby I miscarried would be three today" or "This was the day I finished reading the final Harry Potter book."

But I do remember the first year, and the first year was bad.

On my actual due date, I went to a dance class to make myself feel better. It was with a teacher I didn't know, and she was one of those who walks around the room, yelling at people to smile. (Which is super obnoxious, no matter what your gender.)

When she got to me and I couldn't smile - like, literally, couldn't, even if I had wanted to or was willing to, which I 100% was not - she stopped the whole class and started yelling at me about how I was what was wrong with Mill Valley and just because you all have money you think you can do whatever you want.

First off: Sister, have you seen my bank account? I had to use a credit card just to get into this $15 class.

Second: That all sounds like a personal problem that has no place in a dance class you're supposed to be teaching.

So I walked out of class and the tears that are always pretty close to the surface on a normal good day rushed up, post-miscarriage and random admonishments from a short she-demon in yoga pants.

As I was sitting outside sobbing, an older woman came up to me and crouched down next to me and just kept saying "Jesus te ama, Jesus te ama."

I didn't retain enough high school Spanish to read the Taco Bell menu, but that translated.

For every she-demon, there is someone who will send you love and sit with you as you cry.

Riding Giraffes & Turning 40

Amber Adrian

On July 11, I turned 40. 

Over the last ten years, I wrangled a lot more grief than I expected - and learned how to drink that particular cocktail without choking.

I learned how to feel.

I adopted Sally, my stuffed therapy otter.

I learned that I was an empath - and how to take care of myself so that I wasn’t spending all my time trapped in other people’s emotions and completely drained of energy. 

Instead of doing what I expected to do - get married, have kids, maybe buy a house - I learned that riding the grief roller coaster clears space for joy. I learned that if a stuffed otter makes you happy, take her with you when you go. I learned that if there’s something you love to do...do it. 

It wasn’t how I expected my thirties to go, but it was exactly what it needed to be.

I learned who I am and how I operate and what I’m here on this spinning blue marble to do. I learned that I'm happier when I'm exercising and sporting colorful fingernails. I learned what love looks like and what joy feels like.

Not too shabby for a decade.

So for my next ten years, I’m surrendering all my ideas of how I think things should go and allowing things to happen as they do. I’m making joy and following my soul the priorities.

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So this is what I want my forties to be:

Riding giraffes and writing love notes (and more books) and snuggling Sally and going on adventures and allowing the chips to fall where they may. Because that feels so much better than trying to wrestle the world into doing my bidding.

I'll keep asking for what I want, of course, and doing anything it occurs to me to do to help it happen - but I'm going to be so grateful for what I do have and so fueled up by random delight that whether or not I get it will be barely a blip on the radar. 

Because that's what freedom looks like to me. 

Allowing Fate

Amber Adrian

My last date ended 20 minutes in after he asked "What would happen if you accidentally got pregnant?" and I said "I would want to have it" and he said "I would not want you to have it" so we shook hands and walked back to our cars.

This true ass story perfectly illustrates my current stance on dating. Which is: hahahahahahaNOPE.

Dating was actually going better than it's ever gone before - aside from that random 20-minute misalliance, I've never before been able to basically snap my fingers and have amazing guys pop in like magic.

But, as it turns out, I have zero interest in dating.

I don't want to get to know you. I want to get to know ME.

Even though I just turned 40, I still have so much about the interior of my soul and brain to discover. There's a multi-verse to play in, within me and in the other dimensions. Healings to do, dragons to channel, books to write, coffee to drink, friends to meet, goals to dance with.

So no more playing the numbers game, no more going out with random strangers in the hopes of finding the partner - I am now relying 100% on fate. Maybe fate will deliver, rom-com-style, maybe it won't.

It's amazing how much space in my brain this has freed up. I feel like I'm able to really truly enjoy being single for the first time, possibly ever.

There's nothing to do, nothing to worry about, nothing to strive for.

My future relationship is entirely in the hands of god, the angels, karma, my higher self, destiny or pure unadulterated chance. Whoever makes these decisions, I surrender entirely to you.

In the meantime, I'm going to take singing lessons, work a lot, FaceTime giraffes, dance as I clean my house, write animal stories, drive anywhere I please on weekends, take myself out to fancy meals, get my nails painted wild colors, go out in the city with my girlfriends, lie on my bed and heal the cracks, eat crackers for dinner, and genuinely enjoy the hell out of my life.

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Empty Hallway

Amber Adrian

I’m feeling doors shut all around me - doors to past relationships, doors to former options, doors to old worlds that used to feel so comfortable.

All the doors needed to shut, but no new doors have opened up. I can’t even see the doors yet.

So I’m in an empty hallway.

The question is always, Do I transform the hallway or just keep walking it?

I have a lot of tools for empty hallways - flood it with light, create new worlds, call in the dragons, call in Mother Mary, dive into the dark pits that suddenly yawn beneath my feet, re-code the entire structure.

But maybe I’m just supposed to be in the hallway.

Maybe I’m just supposed to be with myself.

Maybe I’m just supposed to breath in the uncertainty without trying to change it.

Maybe I’m just supposed to trust that the part of me that can see more than I consciously understand in this moment knows exactly what it’s doing and I should just allow everything to unfold.

But I was definitely supposed to get a breakfast sandwich with bacon, so I’m glad I did that. Empty hallways are easier to face on a full stomach.

Spirit Babies

Amber Adrian

One of the perks (or downfalls, depending) of being a channel is that we tend to see our children long before they’re born.

The first time I saw my eldest daughter was the summer of 2014. She was standing in front of me at Super Duper Burger - which makes sense, because Super Duper Burger is basically my church - and I started crying into my lunch.

But until a few days ago, I had never seen my younger daughter.

She showed up while I was in Shasta, gave me a quick hi, and then she bounded off into the woods, probably chasing a unicorn or something.

This afternoon, I was hiking on Mount Tam as a hot, dry wind blew, and I dropped into some future where my second daughter gave me a bit more. By yelling, “FRIENDS AREN’T FOOD, MOMMY” before storming off as I sat on the grass holding a chicken.

I started laughing, because she sounded like a Prius bumper sticker, and then had to wonder if I threatened her pet with the soup pot? Or if the burgeoning little psychic had seen me, circa now, digging into a chicken sandwich with relish.

I suspect the latter.

Both my children are going to be sensitive little psychic powerhouses - and I’m going to have my hands full. My eldest daughter is connected with the angelic realm - and whoever decided “angelic” meant “sweet and cherubic” has likely never met an angel. Angels can be a serious pain in the ass. So can fairies. So, naturally, my younger daughter is connected with the fairy realm.

I’m really in for a ride with these two.

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Me as a baby witch. My brother looking basically normal, which is misleading.

I think that’s why they haven’t shown up yet. They’re going to be born consciously understanding what’s taken me decades to develop and learn. I wouldn’t have been ready to help them until now - and I’m probably still not ready, which is likely why they’re holding off.

(If “angelic and fairy realms” sound like a bit much, I’m totally with you. Whenever I receive these things, I have to go through a period of “REALLY? Come on” before I end up just going with it, because my life would be so much less interesting if I didn’t roll with what shows up.

Because if you're offered a life with dragons or without dragons, who the hell says "No, thanks, I'll pass on the dragons"?

NOT ME. OBVIOUSLY.)  

I have no idea when or if these spirit children will show up, but they keep dropping in to say hi, and other channels and healers keep picking up on them. I've had to go hardcore on releasing expectation and desire (hi, fortieth birthday while single) - which feels good and freeing. We'll see if they ever drop into the real world, the one where I'll be required to feed them and change them and keep them entertained. 

They may choose to stay with the unicorns, as unicorns are infinitely more fun than parents who make you clean your room and eat green stalks grown in the dirt.

Naturally, as I typed that, they both yelled, "NOPE!" 

Figures.

We'll see, kiddos. In the meantime, have fun with the unicorns.

Grief Cocktail, and Other Things I've Learned About No-Good-Terrible Life Events

Amber Adrian

I've learned a lot about grief in the past ten years. From watching my father die, to a miscarriage, to more breakups than I willingly admit to, I feel like a bit of an expert. 

Which may be yet another cloud of hubris encircling my head, but I'll take it. Since my thirties yielded none of the things I expected (marriage, nope; kids, nope; career success that makes sense to my mother's book club, nope) and I'm now staring down the barrel of a brand new decade,  I will take what I've been given and like it.

(While also sending up a request that my forties feature exponentially more fun and exponentially fewer grief cycles. Thanks.) 

Therefore!

Here's what I've learned about grief:

Grief is the heaviest emotion.

As the grief rises through your system, it lifts every other emotion up and out with it. Misery, fear, sadness, anger, loneliness, you name it. It's a feelings cocktail mixed by one of Satan's underlings and served with a maraschino cherry.

So you think, "Well, hey. This royally blows, but at least I get a maraschino cherry." Then you bite into it and have to hack it into your napkin because it's so damn foul. You didn't even think it was possible for maraschino cherries to go bad, but then your horned bartender turns to you and grins the grin of someone who ruined a maraschino cherry on purpose. 

I joke about hell's minions, and that's often how the process feels, but my father's death was one of the best things to ever happen to me. I say that feeling like a grade A twisted asshole in my human self and like it's 100% true and perfect in my higher self. 

Being forced to drink the grief cocktail is nothing you'd ever want to put on your calendar, but it swept me clean of so much emotion that I'd been carrying around my entire life.

I think of my dad's death as my Cracking Open Moment. Those are the moments that shatter you, but in the breaking, you let all the sticky emotion flow out, everything you were holding onto and protecting without even realizing. 

After you put yourself back together, you realize that there's so much extra room now. Room for joy, room for love, room for peace. 

Grief comes in waves. 

Sometimes when you're angry, you're really grieving. Sometimes when you're lonely, you're really grieving. Sometimes when you're pissed at the world and especially everyone currently driving a car, you're really grieving.

Sometimes you think you're done, and you aren't - and the grief wave knocks you into the sand. 

See: grief cocktail mixed by Satan's minion. This time with gritty sand in indelicate places. 

Don't beat yourself up for riding the emotion roller coaster. 

Be extra careful with big financial decisions while you're in a grief cycle. 

Everything is all over the place, so stay out of your bank account and away from your credit cards if you can.

But since life happens, you may need to sell a house or something. Call in someone you trust with a dispassionate perspective to help you do whatever needs to be done. 

But also trust yourself. If you need to take some fancy trip, maybe that's the exact perfect thing for you to do. 

(But don't do what I did, which is try to take a trip and then end up not taking the trip after paying for half of it. Whoops.) 

Love doesn't die, it only changes forms. 

I believe the more of the grief cocktail we drink, the more room is created for this to make sense. 

Do whatever you need to do to get yourself through. 

If that means developing a weird relationship with a stuffed otter and taking her on road trips, so be it. 

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Go on long drives with your therapy otter, take classes in things you're terrible at, read anything you want, eat fried chicken in bed, upgrade to first class.  

Ramp up your self-care exponentially. Shower every day. Treat yourself like a toddler, making sure you've napped, eaten, cried, and played with crayons. 

Let yourself feel without making it mean anything. 

One of the grand challenges of being a human is allowing your feelings to be felt.

Feel them as physical sensations, as something passing through, rather than something that needs to be stuffed into your spleen until one of you dies. 

As the feelings are rising, your brain will frantically try to give you reasons why the feeling is happening, and it doesn't care if those reasons make you feel better or not. So your brain might make those feelings mean something about you, something about your life. Do your best to disengage your brain from the process. Just feel. Let the energy move through your body. Up and out. Hush, brain. 

Keep crawling through the tunnel of sewage, Shawshank Redemption-style.

Keep going, keep crawling, keep putting one foot in front of the other.

You've got this. It will pass. You will feel better. You will feel joy again.

You just need to move through this season of your life until the next season arrives with cherry blossoms and red convertibles driven to Mexico by Tim Robbins. 

Creating Worlds With Rubber Bands

Amber Adrian

I have quite a history with frustration.

As a wee one, I would lose my EVER-LOVING SHIT if things weren’t exactly as I wanted them to be. I appeared in the world fully expecting it to conform to my whim. When it didn’t, I became confused and upset and, more often than not, a holy terror.

While it must’ve been quite challenging to raise me (sorry, Mom), I’m not sure I want to eradicate that tendency completely.

Because I see the world as a place where we’re all loved, all valued, all supported - simply because we exist, simply because we’re here, and we’re all our own weird and awesome expression of love and divinity. If I hold strong to this vision, the world will rise up to meet me. Kicking and screaming, but it will happen.

Despite all evidence to the contrary, I can’t help feeling - all the way down, in the deepest pockets of my soul - that this is truth.

Maybe if we all keep seeing the world that way, it will shift in that direction. 

Because we create the world around us. My two-year-old self felt that (and she really wanted a world where her lacey socks never wrinkled - bless my dad for putting rubber bands around my ankles in an attempt to make it so). My 39-year-old self is finally catching up to what I knew as a child.

In the mean time, I’m working on my tendency toward frustration. Because it doesn’t improve anyone’s experience, least of all my own.

Luckily for my personal growth, baffling new laws around privacy policy and the laundromat are helping me out this week.

Thanks, world. You’re constantly doing your utmost to help us humans create your highest possibilities. We’ll keep trying til we get it right. 

 In the mean time, here is my frustrated face. I’m working on it. At least I don’t throw tantrums in the street any more. Progress! 

In the mean time, here is my frustrated face. I’m working on it. At least I don’t throw tantrums in the street any more. Progress! 

Cash from the Great Beyond

Amber Adrian

My dad adored sci-fi novels. Loved them. He was the reason I saw Star Wars multiple times and how I got hooked on Firefly after an initial "Space-Western, Dad? Really?" resistance phase.

He had a whole series of novels in his head that he never actually got down on paper - I like to think that he'll write them in his next life. What he did have was an entire wall filled with hundreds and hundreds of sci-fi paperbacks that we had to deal with after his death.

After about half the books had been disposed of - the man had a LOT of them - the used bookstore my mom had just visited called her up and said, "We just found $400 in one of the books you just dropped off. Would you like to come pick it up?"

Let's unpack that.

First, an employee of a used bookstore finds a reasonably large amount of cash in a book and makes the effort to return it. 

Second, my father was stashing wads of cash in his books.

Third, we had already gotten rid of -hundreds- of said books. How much cash floated out into the world via yellowed fantasy novels?

While I didn't hate the extra money - mom split all the cash found from there on out between me and my brother - my favorite part was knowing that whatever cash was in those books will be found by my father's kindred spirits. People who love books, who love science fiction, who have wild imaginations.

I like to think that some of the people who find that money are very much in need of two hundred dollars, or flip to the cash right when they need a lift or a little gift from the universe.

If you live in the Bay Area and ever buy a used sci-fi novel and find a hundred dollar bill between the pages, it probably belonged to my dad and he's sending his love from the great beyond.

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Self Love Epiphany

Amber Adrian

Here’s a game-changing epiphany I had in the shower a few days ago: 

Whenever things aren’t going well, I always ask myself:

How can I do better? 

How can I do more, work harder, push myself farther? 

While some people thrive under the push, I do not. I am a creature of naps and wood walks, I am a sprite in a world that values the nine to five. Pushing, while I can and have done it, makes my whole system collapse in a pile of harried Why Does It Have To Be This Way? 

I'm a bit of a princess, to be honest.

But asking that question has a subtle energetic implication that in order to be worthy, in order to be loved, I need to do more. I need to be better.

Feeling like you need to be better - whether in your own head, in a relationship, or at work - is a goddamn soul killer. 

NO MORE SOUL KILLING PLZ. 

Instead - and here’s the shampoo-inspired epiphany - I’m starting to ask myself:

“How can I love myself in this place?” 

How can I love myself when it looks like I won’t be able to pay rent? 

How can I love myself when I’m in the middle of a breakup? 

How can I love myself when I’m having trouble getting anything done? 

How can I love myself when it takes a buttered trowel to shovel me into my jeans? 

How can I love myself when my financial spreadsheets don’t look the way I think they should?

How can I love myself when it feels like everything is collapsing? 

For me, the way to love myself in this is to remember that I am worthy and lovable no matter the circumstance. 

We are all lovable and worthy, simply because we’re alive. But we’ve been so rigorously trained out of that idea that it requires some rewiring to remember it. 

I love myself by being gentle with myself. By loving my legs for how well they work, even when they strain denim. By loving the energy of money and how it’s always taken care of me. By loving the roller coaster ride because it’s always taking me somewhere better even when, in the moment, it feels like somewhere much worse.

By loving myself just goddamn because. 

Of course this “How can I love myself?” question has a different answer for everyone. 

Just follow what feels best for you in each moment. If an action feels good, take it. If thinking a thought feels good, think it. If something you want requires something you resist, feel into it and ask how you can make it easier on yourself. Ask how it could be fun. 

As we learn to be gentler with ourselves, we learn to be gentler and more open in the world. And when we're in the world radiating the love we already feel for ourselves, everything changes.

Hoo-fucking-ray! 

In the meantime, be good do you. Do it however you’re guided. You know what’s best for you, always. 

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Magic Requires Space

Amber Adrian

Making space can be one of the hardest things for smart, driven people. What do you mean, space? Won’t the world crash into some unseen barrier if I stop working? Shouldn’t I be doing something?

Nope. Not always. Sometimes when you give yourself some time to just sit on the deck in the sun, mind blank, the problem your brain has been wrangling will suddenly snap into focus.

Sometimes it doesn’t, but you still got to sit outside in the sun rather than glaring angrily at your computer and a project that refuses to cooperate.

I’m in big building mode right now and it is vaguely terrifying. And by “vaguely terrifying” I mean MOSTLY TERRIFYING.

I am terrified. Sometimes when humans get terrified, they freeze. So do deer. But, unlike deer, when I’m terrified I get to crawl onto the couch with Sally and watch season four of Mozart in the Jungle. Instead of, you know, getting shot by big game hunters.

But the terror actually feels similar. When you step outside your comfort zone, your brain immediately yells UNSAFE BAD IDEA GO BACK. And will flood you with fear and adrenaline and, if you’re a delicate peony like me, sometimes you collapse.

Onto aforementioned couch.

(At least I’m dog-sitting right now, so I’m being kept company in my terror by Homer, the biggest floofer that ever floofed. When I got here, I spent a solid seven minutes singing about how fluffy he was. Homer was not impressed.)

On Monday, I was accidentally still in Napa, sitting on a deck in the sun, not expecting anything of myself. It seems that when I don’t expect anything of myself, it unlocks that flow state and suddenly I’m having a merry time creating things on my phone and eating truffle fries.

I’m trying to hack this quirk. Because my aim is to be in that glorious soul-flow most of the time, just letting things unfold in a way that also makes me a lot of money.

But apparently my subconscious is too smart to be fooled by me not expecting anything of myself in order to be massively productive. Or maybe such convoluted hijinks are too much and my subconscious just rolls its eyes and wanders off to do something else.

I think I’ve spent a lot of time suppressing my Type A drive because I have trouble turning it off. Once the switch gets flicked, I push myself until I collapse, and I know that's not the way I want to live. 

So what's the choice here? Because I believe our choice is the most powerful tool we have. 

I choose to allow it to be easy. I choose to let my business be guided by my joy. I choose to show up as me and have that be more than enough. I choose to allow myself to be visible so that anyone who needs or wants my work can find it. 

If that looks like sitting on the couch with a fluffy dog and watching TV instead of creating the business thing I told myself I'd make today, that gets to be perfect. 

I choose to create space for magic. Maybe that's all it takes. 

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Where's my Utopian Farmhouse and Baby Goat So I can Stop thinking about all this stuff already?

Amber Adrian

I hate selling things. Hate it hate it hate it. From my days as an elementary school student being required to sell things door-to-door for whatever wrapping paper drive was happening, I DESPISED it. I don’t even like answering my phone when people call me, much less WALKING UP TO PEOPLE’S DOORS AND ASKING THEM TO BUY SOMETHING. Oh my god. Even now, over thirty years later, it makes my stomach clench up.

In fact, I just had to stop typing and go sit down and sit with all the sticky awfulness that was rising up. Who knew Girl Scout cookies would result in emotional wounds decades later?

I love my work. Love it, love it, love it.

But in order to actually do it, I need to sell it. Stupid universe and its stupid sense of humor.

In Amber’s Perfect World (you should build one too, I highly recommend visiting whenever this world pisses you off), you would just show up at my farmhouse, knock on the yellow door with some nice roast beef sandwiches and iced tea and we would hang out under a big tree and do whatever needed to be done with your energy or life or questions that day. A baby goat would probably be wandering around and you would ask if you could hold it and I would say of course and you would walk home happy and calm and delighted. And if I needed a massage or the radiator leak on my car fixed, I could just show up at someone else’s house with a chicken and get the same treatment.

But since that is not currently the world we live in, some form of sale needs to be made for me to channel and teach and work with magical people. And, ironically, the bigger the dollar sign, the more transformation is available. (That’s an energy thing, not a greed thing. Though my greed probably can’t be denied, especially when it comes to red shoes, cupcakes, and trips to see giraffes.)

Selling things feels like convincing people of something.

I don’t want to convince anyone of anything ever. That sounds exhausting. It is exhausting. I know from all the times I've tried to force myself to do it. I don’t want to have to convince a man to commit to me, I don’t want to convince people they need what I do, I don’t want to convince myself that any of that convincing is necessary or useful.

Trusting that everyone knows what they need and what's best for them just seems like basic human respect. You know you, you know what you want and need, and I trust you to take care of yourself in whatever way best suits you. If it feels like I would be helpful, fan-flippin’-tastic. Otherwise, we can wave at each other from across the room and go on our merry way.

Now, there’s a lot of deeper stuff in this whole selling thing. Sticky old stories, fear of not being worthy, stress absorbed from my father’s sales job, garden-variety resistance, blah blah blah.

Ultimately, I want to approach my entire life from a place of joy and ease and peace. I think this is something we all deserve and can all have. But that means re-wiring our brains in whatever way our particular life and history and cerebellum requires.

I imagine there are ways around this. But for me, there seems to be some magic in working through whatever makes me despise this sales process. 

Since I do believe that the answer exists from the moment we ask the question, I am asking the question: “I DESPISE SELLING THINGS AND WORRY THAT I’M NOT WORTHY OF RECEIVING ANYTHING FOR THIS AND SHOULD JUST BE DOING IT FROM THE KINDNESS OF MY HEART (from a refrigerator box on the side of the road, obviously) WHY DOES THIS HAVE TO BE A THING? WHERE IS MY UTOPIAN FARMHOUSE WITH BABY GOATS?” I’m asking it of myself, obviously, because I’m the only one who has my answer. You are not required to come up with an answer, although if you know of any baby goats who need to be adopted, I'm in the market. 

I know the answer exists and it will show up and then I will feel so much better about this whole process and so much more supported in this weird talking-to-unicorns and channeling-guidance thing that I do.

In the meantime, I will think of all the things I want to do when people knock on my door and ask for them. And watch videos of baby goats, preferably snuggling stuffed animals. 

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Dear Empath,

Amber Adrian

If you’re an empath (or any super sensitive human), here, let me give you a hug. 

Cause that shit is hard.

I basically didn’t get out of bed for actual years. 

I Netflix binged like a seasoned pro, scarfed Pringles and gummy bears like I was being paid by the pound, and - well, honestly - kind of loved life. Except for the part where I was clinging to financial solvency by a thread because 1) energy and 2) I didn’t believe I was allowed to have money if all I was doing was taking care of myself and writing whatever made me happy. 

(NEW WORLD ORDER: I AM ALLOWED TO HAVE MONEY - LOTS OF MONEY! - IF ALL I DO IS TAKE CARE OF MY ENERGY AND WRITE AND MAKE WHATEVER FEELS FUN.) 

(Sorry for shouting. I’m doing my best to rewire my brain and sometimes that requires yelling over the old stories.) 

I spent so much time curled up in bed with my stuffed therapy otter because I was so exhausted from trying to carry the pain of the world. 

Remember Marley’s ghost at the beginning of A Christmas Carol, carrying all those chains behind him? Yeah, it’s like that. Only empaths carry all that clanking weight because they’re trying to be good people. 

It’s a hell of a pickle. Empaths without boundaries are in for a rocky ride on this planet.

We tend to think we’re required to heal the world by taking on its pain. So we do. Pass a homeless woman on the street, pick up some stray trauma and deep loneliness that we carry for years. If our partner is angry - whether it’s at us or something entirely unrelated - and we start feeling that anger too, thinking it’s our anger, and acting on it. Oops. 

You can make a hell of a mess when you act from someone else’s feelings rather than your own. Often, it takes empaths a lot of practice to know which is which. 

Vacuuming up all the emotion in our vicinity takes an impressive toll - on our energy, on our relationships, on our ability to do the things we love. 

My sensors were fried from trying to process other people’s emotions my entire life. 

So, bed. It seems reasonable. And often felt like the only viable option. 

I was in a very slow and profound healing process for a long time. I was cleaning up a lifetime of accumulated emotional baggage, toting it out to sea and tossing it overboard. Leaving it on the ground, feeling it leach out of me as I lay in the grass. Engaging in the slow grind of learning what was my pain and what belonged to others. 

But here’s the good news, if you are an empath on this journey. 

IT GETS BETTER. 

(I’m not yelling at you, I’m yelling at the story in your head.) 

What you clear makes room for joy. For peace. For inspiration.

Where you set boundaries gives you fresh energy to do the things you want to do, experience what you want to experience, create what you want to create. 

Doing this work is hard, but it’s worth it. 

You get to engage in unabashed napping. You get to learn who you are and what you feel, rather than being constantly overwhelmed by everyone else's hulk-smash emotions. You get to step into the person you always knew you were meant to be, you just couldn't quite get there and you weren't sure why. 

There is nothing wrong with you. There never was. You were just learning how to operate your superpowers. 

Love, 

Amber

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Phoenix Rises and Coughs Up Magic

Amber Adrian

Last week was a phoenix week, and, boy, the phoenix does not fuck around. 

It felt like everything was being torched into oblivion: my family, my business, my bank account, my relationship, my energy, even my car. 

Burn, baby, burn. 

What I’ve noticed about those deeply uncomfortable, everything-is-disintegrating times is that, once you give up the illusion that you have any say in your life whatsoever and breathe through every awful feeling - sometimes that's when you get the biggest breakthroughs. 

My week featured exhaustion, being ready to throw in the towel on this business I love, knowing a final breakup was imminent, bad-news-of-the-your-car-is-dead variety, shooters in my town, and my bank account yelling code red before gasping and dying a pitiful death.

All I could do was throw up my hands and surrender. By Tuesday, I was still clinging to my shreds of control. By Thursday afternoon, I had given up completely. 

By Saturday? It felt like everything had shifted. Even my car was revived. 

Sometimes when you let your life burn to the ground, you create space for rebirth. 

It’s not comfortable. In fact, it’s downright terrifying. It feels like everything I depended on for stability, for safety, was crashing down around my ears. 

In these moments, the world is asking you to trust, to let go of control. Mostly by wresting away the illusion that you ever had control. 

Trust becomes the only option if you don’t want to a) find yourself rocking in the fetal position or b) hitch a ride with the first spaceship off this planet. (Sometimes you rock in the fetal position anyway because that's the only option.) 

When you trust, when you truly surrender - maybe in a way you’ve never surrendered before - something opens up. 

My whole life shifted in a day. I even got my beloved car back.

Sometimes the best thing you can do is let it all burn, knowing that you are safe, you are supported, no matter what it looks or feels like in the moment. 

As humans, we have a limited perspective. We can't see the path ahead of us. The path behind us is littered with false beliefs and skewed memories and wounded stories. All we have is the present moment. 

When I remember to step out of my head and just breathe through whatever's happening, with curiosity and faith that everything will ultimately be okay, that gives life just enough room to cough up some magic.

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Then you get to stand on a mountaintop, spread your arms in triumph, because you are a goddamn phoenix rising. 

Also, you still have a car.