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Filtering by Category: Life

Back to the World

Amber Adrian

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sweating Out the Inner Mean Girl

Amber Adrian

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

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

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

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

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

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

But the Not Being Mean To Myself plan remains elusive.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Filling the Cup

Amber Adrian

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

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

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

It was a big moment for me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Catsby, Take the Wheel

Amber Adrian

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

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

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

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

Doing it this way is recommended by no one.

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

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

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

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

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

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

So it’s time to write.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When Jesus Throws You a Birthday Party

Amber Adrian

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Giraffe ride on my 40th birthday.

Giraffe ride on my 40th birthday.

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

The Crafty Key-Eating Ether

Amber Adrian

My house key vanished into the ether today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Either way, no house key.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No More Trying. Just Being.

Amber Adrian

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

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

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

I know better. Of course I do.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No more trying. Just being. 

No more doing. Just feeling. 

I can't wait to see what unfolds.


Imaginary Saber Tooth Tigers

Amber Adrian

I was born during the last gasp of disco.

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

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

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

Dancing makes me happy, that I know.

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

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

Writing helps me find my center and my answers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sadly, nobody believes it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


To Be Weird Or Not To Be Weird

Amber Adrian

That is the question.

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

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

How weird do I let myself be?

How weird do I let myself be in public?

If you’re me, pretty damn weird.

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

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

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

How vulnerable do we make ourselves?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Life is a Playground

Amber Adrian


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ghost of Mary Oliver

Amber Adrian

ghost of mary oliver.png

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.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But I rarely talk to dead people.

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

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

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

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

“You have the potential. The potential.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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.


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.


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.


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]


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


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.

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.


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.)

Worlds Colliding

Amber Adrian

Outer World:

Voted, finished laundry, made a doctor’s appointment and a pot of soup.

Decided that was more than enough adulting for one day.

Inner World:

Untangled multiple thoughts, worries, fears, and desires that don’t actually belong to me and sent them on their way.

Played in a future timeline of farmhouse and babies and goats and friends eating barbeque cooked by someone who isn’t me. (Husband? Imported barbeque expert we’re fancy enough to hire?)

Jumped into a novel plot that’s been unspooling in my head for months but hasn’t made it onto the page because my creative resistance has been mighty.

My favorite part of the day:

When the inner and outer worlds begin to blend, because I’m writing or channeling a group session or sharing the inner thoughts of my stuffed therapy otter.

Sometimes when I’m blending the inner and the outer worlds, the soup boils over or I forget to unwind what’s mine and someone else’s and end up on a roller coaster ride thanks to a ticket that I didn’t buy.

I live so completely in my head, in other dimensions, that grounding and remembering to be human is crucial.

Taking a walk through the redwoods, making a cup of tea, crawling into those freshly washed sheets for a rest, feeling my feet in my slippers, looking at the tiny pumpkin sitting next to my copper turkey candle holder because I am autumnal AF.

Staying present and grounded is a constant practice when you spend most of your time jumping worlds and timelines and soaking up other people’s energy. I’m still learning how to wrangle it all in a way that best serves me and the world. I don’t know how successful I am, but surely I’m improving. If nothing else, life is much happier and easier than it used to be.

Whatever worlds you occupy, just keep going. Jumping between them gets easier.


Dive Into Your Destiny!

Amber Adrian

(I seem to be doing these energy readings every Monday. If I remember, I’ll continue to post them here. Or you can subscribe on youtube, click the little bell, and be notified about these and the other healings I do over there.)

(My general goal right now is to show up either to my blog - right here! hi, friends! - or youtube live every week day. So you can find me here or there mostly daily. :)

Witch of Oz

Amber Adrian

Hiking into Oz isn’t for the faint of heart, no matter what your heart is made of.

Shifting ground and emotional purges and blazing anger, oh my!

As footwear is a crucial part of the journey, I have just purchased three new pairs of brightly colored Converse. Not as good as Dorothy’s ruby slippers, but pink and turquoise sneakers delight my very soul.

Since “delight your very soul, regularly and repeatedly” is the message right now, I consider my new sneakers a wise purchase.

So much is coming up and out. I feel things burning away - work is shifting, my insides are re-patterning, and a lot of space is being created. It’s like I’m becoming something entirely new, though it’s really just a return to what I always was.

We’re cracking open to let in - and let out - more light.

While I need to leave space and time for that, I get impatient. I want to know! I want to know what’s coming, I want to know what’s next, I want to know what to do.

But it’s not quite time yet.

Since my chill factor is predictably low, my “Surrender, Dorothy!” moments are becoming rather frequent. (Yes, I added some punctuation there but I suspect L. Frank Baum will forgive me.)

I’m doing best to surrender what I think should happen and just do what feels good.

I’m doing my best to follow all my intuitive nudges, even when they seem entirely random - like go to the bookstore to buy Capital Gaines on Monday morning and read it instead of work. And it was exactly what my energy needed to shift, so there we go.

I’m doing my best to not let my brain take over, because my brain just gums up the works. My brain doesn’t have the capacity to figure this process out anyway.

I’m doing my best to give myself space, with deep trust that I’ll have everything I need.

I’m doing my best to breathe, to be grateful for all the perfect small moments, to notice what’s happening around me in this moment - the only one that actually exists.


I’m doing my best to remember that it’s all perfect. That my purpose is being fulfilled just by being here, breathing here, letting my heart beat here. Since there’s nothing left to do, no homework, and I’m not on the clock - what do I want to do next? What sounds fun? What wants to come through next?

How can joy and love blaze through today?