Trim trim

tulips, Nikon Coolpix 4500

I went to a spiritual service at a place called Glide on Sunday. The gospel choir is one of the best in the world, and even though I’m Jewish, I go because I can’t get enough of that music. (My parents still shake their heads and wonder why I go to church.) But the music moves me and makes me want to shout “Yes!” at the top of my lungs. That is, if I’m not tearing up from the beauty of it all.

As I sat there, I thought a lot about the comment that was left on my site. One of the speakers on the stage said, “If you run for the door every time someone says something you disagree with or you don’t like, then you’re part of the problem, not the solution.”

I realized that I didn’t want to run for the door. I didn’t want to ignore it (which was tempting) and I spent the day trying to figure out what exploring this looked like. I asked for advice from several friends, thought about what it means to be “professional” in business, and what is appropriate to share in this medium. I needed to know if others felt the same and just weren’t speaking up.

In the end, I am only capable of being me, and you’re right, I need not censor myself. It’s easy to say, “I’ll never do that again!” and trim the edges. Trim, trim, trim until there’s nothing left of you.

I’ve learned a lot in the last 24 hours. I’m grateful to the person who wrote the unsettling comment for this. She sparked a great discussion and gave me the gift of hearing from you. Your fierce and generous words went straight to my heart.

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Hi, I’m Andrea

On this blog you’ll be learning with me how to use our voices, share our creative superpowers and live life in full color.

As an artist, photographer, life coach + mentor, I’m redefining what it means to be a SUPERHERO — ‘cause in my world, it’s got nothing to do with capes, spandex or sidekicks and everything to do with tenderness, intuition & baby steps of bravery.



  1. melissa

    The answers and inspiration we need are put right under our nose; even though I’ve seen it time and again, it never ceases to amaze me in it’s constancy.
    Andrea, you are a beautiful and genuine person, and that you choose to share it with the world is both kind and brave. Kind because I sincerely trust that you would never purposely inflict hurt or judge “only by your rules”. Brave because with such honesty and openness there will inevitably be criticism and judgement placed on you (and in turn, your work).
    Never apologize for Being You. It won’t always be the right thing for everyone…but it’s not at all hard to see you, your values, and your spirit in the art you create and the words you share.
    You make me proud and hopeful, but beyond that, you have repeatedly given me something else: the will to discover myself, to find peace and spirituality my own way, and to explore the world truthfully and with open eyes.
    Thank you for all of that, Woman.

  2. erika

    good. I didn’t get a chance to post on the “pit stop” entry but I feel the same. You have to remember this is your site, your voice, you. If someone doesn’t like it, they can leave and never come back. Don’t you think it would be a shame if everyone was the same? (hehe, I rhymed)
    bleh, shades of gray.

  3. amy b.

    Hi girlfriend, the other day a friend of mine said with teary eyes that I was special, because i get it. well i think we all get it at our own point and level in our life, where we are, our foundation of experience we stand on. we are never “ready” to have that gettingness challenged, but it is and it shall be. but my dear inspirational girlfriend, from my point of view, with teary eyes, I say, you get it.

  4. james

    Oh I love Glide!! You took me there for the first time you know, and i will never be the same. It was like the Gospel Tent at Jazzfest all over again.
    You were singing in the choir at Glide then too. It was fun watching you sing and dance up there on the stage- because that is exactly what i was doing in the audience. I couldn’t believe What an electric experience.
    Thanks for sharing that with me, just hearing you speak of it again really takes me back. Everyone should go to Glide.

  5. jenn

    Is there anything you can’t do! You sing, you paint, you make beautiful jewlery and most of all you touch and you inspire people. Thank you for being the beautiful person you are. You are a wonderful soul and you are blessed. Sometimes we need a little something, sometimes negative, to jolt us back into reality. Then we get clear and can look around and see how blessed we really are.

  6. Meg

    I like so many others am a little troubled that one comment would make you want to apologize and censor yourself on this beutiful site. What keeps me coming back is your un-censored, thought provoking opinions. It matters little weather I 100% agree in any of them. Anyway, this made me think of a Rob Brezsny Horoscope for this week. I don’t know if you know him, but I’m a BIG fan. I’m not an Aquarious, and I don’t think you are, but somehow it connected in my mind… I’ll post the text and the link:
    In a recent speech, “Boondocks” comic strip creator Aaron McGruder said that if liberals want to regain power in America, they’ll have to learn to be meaner. Leftist singer-songwriter Ani DiFranco echoed the theme in an interview in “Indie Culture” magazine. “It’s our job to help and inspire each other,” she mused, “but I don’t think that all my songs have to be about nature and children and love and hugging. There are ways of helping people by expressing anger.” I almost always advise you to err on the side of compassion and kindness, Aquarius. But this is a perfect moment to take McGruder’s and DiFranco’s words to heart. It’s crucial that you find ways to creatively and constructively channel your sacred rage at what’s wrong in your world.
    Thanks for your honesty!
    As always,

  7. andrea

    I didn’t apologize to say I did something wrong, only to acknowledge that there were complexities in this that I was naive about.
    One of my biggest questions has been, What is appropriate to have on this journal when it is also my jewelry business?
    I have always felt strongly about this journal and it brings me so much joy that I wouldn’t give it up for the world. I also don’t plan on censoring what I say.
    Nevertheless, it made me wonder if the journal should have a site of its own. I don’t know the answer to this question, but it is something I am sitting with.
    I think Rob (who I adore) and Ani are both right. “It’s crucial that you find ways to creatively and constructively channel your sacred rage at what’s wrong in your world.” And I thought those ads did exactly that.

  8. andrea

    OH! and I should add that I am a terrible singer!
    and only sang with the choir for a few months. This is a story for another time. 🙂

  9. soren

    i was going to comment on the other entry and i didn’t – but it’s YOUR BLOG and you can write whatever you want! if someone wouldn’t buy your jewelry because they disagree with your politics… hmmm. well, i wouldn’t want one of my dolls going to someone like that!
    you’re an ARTIST! people should expect controversial and liberal thoughts from you! 😉

  10. delphina

    andrea, i think you should leave your site exactly as it is. it is lightness in a world where so many people are walking blindly in the dark.

  11. nicole bruni

    I’ve been thinking about the “business”-“blog” lines and where to draw them as well.
    It’s tough because you have to be a smart business person and you *do* have to make money. But on the other hand, we always cry out that we want corporations to have social consciences and are outraged when they only appear to care about money. As a small business, why can’t you have your own conscience as well? Isn’t that sort of the point of working for yourself…that you have that freedom? We are free to buy our goods wherever you choose, based on things like activism and views. That’s just part of a free marketplace.
    To silence yourself would be the wrong step, I think.
    I say follow your heart and your passion, and the money *will* come.

  12. nicole bruni

    Excuse me, that should read “we are free to buy our goods wherever WE choose.”
    Long work day and it’s only 1 pm. 🙂

  13. Julia

    Andrea, I love your site just as it is. Granted, that in the uptight corporate world, there is a line between one’s political views and social conscience, and business protocol. However…you are not “corporate America.” You are an amazing and multi-talented artist. Part of your wonderful photos, paintings, and jewelery designs comes from all that you feel, think about, and have opinions on. Please don’t change. Don’t allow the negative commentary of of a few, to force you to change the way you do your business, or live your life. Never doubt yourself, my dear…you are on the right path, and those who love you, and support your work and your creative vision, are right there with you. As far as “getting it” goes… I agree with the writer of an earlier post, You definitely do “get it”.

  14. Julia

    Thank you so much for the link to Glide. I love it that you share information about wonderful, loving places like this. I checked out their site briefly, and now I’m going back to read more. It’s great to see places, that foster a sense of community and caring. Thank you again.

  15. jacqui

    dear andrea,
    i wish i could be as fear-less (not fearless, but fear-less) as you are.

  16. m

    Beautiful picture. I’m having a rough day and seeing it lifted me.
    Be YOU!

  17. Kathleen

    In the wise old words of Dr. Suess:
    “Always do what you want, and say what you feel,
    because those who mind don’t matter,
    and those who matter don’t mind.”

  18. Jenn Higgins

    I really enjoy your photographs, especially the portraits. they are quite beautiful. do you ever sell them? can there be or is there a page to view photographs of yours for sell?

  19. Marilyn

    I first went to Glide in 1972 as a teenager. Fast forward almost 20 years and I was living in S.F. and a total mess, but something drew me back to Cecil’s church. I became a member–even though I was still a mess–and continued going to the 9 am service every Sunday. Finally I started getting my shit together. I volunteered to help out a few times at the church. And what I learned was that Glide is as dysfunctional as any other workplace behind the scenes. I say that not to disparage all of the unbelievable good that the church and Cecil and Janice do and have done in that community. I say it to emphasize that disagreeing with some behavior I saw behind the scenes (by staff members) didn’t diminish the healing I got from attending those services. It just reminded me that like with all things in life, I can take what resonates with me and discard the rest. If someone is objecting to you linking to ads generated by, that speaks much more about them than it does about you. I read lots of stuff on blogs that I might disagree with, but they’re not mine. I can say what I want on my own. So keep on being yourself, Andrea. And let that music you hear at Glide on Sundays continue to move you, because it can be a healing thing. I know that from experience, and I’m not even a Christian. The beauty of the Glide experience is its inclusiveness. Be as inclusive as you want to be on YOUR site…let it speak about who YOU are. Because from everything I’ve read here, she’s a wonderful person.

  20. Gayla

    I too have struggled (and continue to) with that line between business and personal. It’s very complicated for me because I truly believe that the personal is political and I a also believe that business is NOT just business. Experience has taught me that the people who use “Business is just business” as an excuse, tend to be the ones who bring the personal into business in very dehumanizing ways. I say it’s better to bring your personal life into your business in a conscious way. The work you are doing is meaningful and personal to you, even in the sense that it is how you chose to spend your time… Sure it’s how you chose to spend your time making money but that’s still “your” time and a huge part of your life. How we make our living is just as personal to us as any other time.
    Like I said, as a self-employed creative person I’m struggling with this line too, but for me it has more to do with privacy than politics. I maintain a personal site that I keep completely separated from my other more “public” work (not that the personal site isn’t public or the public work isn’t deeply personal…) I don’t have my name on my personal site. However, I am slowly working towards integrating these two sides of myself. I strongly believe in “wholeness”. In being who we are as a whole person in all aspects of our life and not disconnecting ourselves or segmenting our experiences into multiple boxes.
    I still maintain my separations (primarily to avoid having clients find my personal site) because my need for self-protection in that way is still overwhelming at times. That you can bring your whole being and experience into this venue is a great thing! Good on you!

  21. Rachel

    I currently live in Paris with an “intellectual.” I put that in quotes because she severely limits herself all the time. Censors herself. She doesn’t like certain comedies because they’re silly. Animation is for children. And the like. I know that she smiles and laughs a lot, so she’s not that serious herself. But she censors herself for appearance’s sake. I have learned in my life that trimming away can be healthy but you can also end up painted in a corner. In her case, her hypocrises are exposed then she lashes out. Not healthy. Being open is best. But if something is really contraindicated to your personality, you can too say, “I’ll never do that again!” The problem comes when one decides that before they even try it at all.

  22. Jennifer

    You know what I find interesting is this – the person who left you that message may have thought she was trying to tear you down, but look at the responses you got!! I mean really – we all make a big effort to support you and the “insult maker” just ends up looking like some petty jerk.
    I think we have thoughts twirling through our heads when we see, read or hear things we don’t agree with, and I think we all react immediately in some way…but I personally find that if I fire off something immediately but tear it up or delete it without sending it then I can get the immediate anger out but then respond in a more intelligent way later. That’s what should have happened in this case. But I guess life never does happen as it “should”, does it?

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