what do you know?

tiny_leaves.jpg
tiny leaves, Canon Digital Rebel

“Not your fear, but what do you know?”

My friend Jason asked me this years ago when I first started my jewelry business. I was telling him how I loved making the jewels, how I wanted my business to be successful, and how it just didn’t seem like it would ever be profitable. I was in tears by the end of the conversation, telling him all the reasons why it wouldn’t work.

And then he asked me that question: “Not your fear Andrea, but what do you know?” and it stopped me in my tracks.

I found myself saying, “I know I’m creating something special. I know it will work eventually. I know it will take some time and staying steady. I know I can stay with it through the hard parts. I know I don’t want to quit.”

And I did stick with it. And there were hard parts. And there were more tears and there were more days of wanting to quit, but when I checked in, when I asked myself that one question, it was like a key for me to my higher self. And my higher self wanted me to keep going. And it did eventually work.

When I think of getting pregnant these days, when I get really, really afraid, and I’m moving through the darkest places, I’ve been stopping myself and asking myself what I know. Because what I know is that I’m creating something special, that it’s going to work eventually, that it will take some time and staying steady, and that I can stay with it through the hard parts.

And somehow I know this is much closer to the truth than all of that fear.

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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.

LEARN MORE ABOUT ME >

43 Comments

  1. lindsey

    Oh, so very true.

  2. meg

    What a good reminder. And happen to be wearing your necklace today, typing away in my office in New York. So… things will and do get worked out. I’m thinking good posative thoughts today. Right before I read your entry I heard that one of my dear friends had a happy healthy baby boy… so maybe it’s a good sign… 🙂

  3. mommy zabs

    I checked out your blog through hulaseventy …That’s really good. I’m 16 weeks pregnant right now. It is never ever easy for me. My last baby made me so sock. What I know is. I love my first child. As sick as he made me every single day I am blessed by him. He literally “makes my day” every day. So when I’m sick I remember that. I know that this will all pay off.

  4. carie

    hi andrea, i follow your blog from time to time especially when looking for a little inspiration. i’ve never commented before but felt the need to today. thank you for openly talking about your fear. i have had a very successful photography business for 3 years now. i became completely burned out in january and took a hiatus. now, 7 months later i’m still trying to get myself back in the mode. and i can’t. i can’t figure out if it’s fear that’s holding me back or if it truely is time for me to move onto my next endeavor in life…whatever that may be. hearing you talk about the fear you’ve experienced with your own successful business helps me feel reassured…i’m not alone.
    you mentioned trying to concieve….what a unique time in life…exciting in that you’ve made the decision to become a parent and are taking steps to make that dream come true. also scary and nervous…will it happen, when will happen? i don’t know how long you’ve been trying but i truely believe that there is a little spirit in the universe that is ment just for us…they need to come into our lives when the time is right for them…when they can touch the right people they are suppossed to touch in their lifetime. so try as we might with science and everything else (which may be a lesson for us in itself) when the time is just right for that spirit she’ll be ready and she’ll be there. my husband and i adopted our daughter when she was born after we tried to concieve for many years….when she arrived it was magical and i cannot imagine another child in our home, it is her laughter that makes our hearts soar! so hang in there, the days can be difficult but you are on a path and you are right, you can keep pushing through and in the end…it will be exactly what it was ment to be…

  5. mikaelah

    Andrea,
    You are so inspiring. I LOVE this image SO much. It is so beautiful. I found a website on the ginko tree and the history of the ginko is amazing. It is an image and history of hope and so much more.
    Here is the link if interested.
    http://www.xs4all.nl/~kwanten/hiroshima.htm
    My husband and I have adopted and it was such a miracle. I just got tired of the whole thing with trying to get pregnant and then the social workers and all the forms and on and on and on… and announced to the universe that I was open to having a baby and that I did not need for it to be all that difficult. I told myself that I knew that there was a woman in the very town I was living in that needed us to support her and that I was ready, willing and then I let it go and got back into my life without all the focus on “trying” and “wanting”…And wow. It happened so fast and was so amazing. I really need to look at life from the angle that life does not have a need to be hard or difficult. Easy and pleasurable is as valid a path. The Universe really does want to support me and give me whatever I am able to receive.

  6. Joy

    Thank you for today’s post. It really hit home for me in a meaningful way. There are things that I know that I bury in fear, including the fear that my gut-level knowledge is wrong.
    Thanks again…

  7. claire

    Thank you for your transparency and honesty, Andrea. I’m working hard to develop my own business right now. And it’s hard. But reading words like this helps me keep plugging and stay focused. (Wore my Superhero necklace to a meeting with a new client today. She loved the work I did for her, and had lots of compliments for me. Honestly, sometimes I think that the jewelry you make has special powers.)

  8. Tiffany

    I couldn’t believe it when I read this post…I think I know just how you feel. I’m currently in the process of trying to get my jewelry business off the ground and am all too familiar with the ups, downs, and all of the fears that surround trying to make this happen. Some days are frustrating and I’m so afraid of failing. That’s when I have to slow down and remind myself to take things one step at a time…I’ll get there eventually.
    I only wish it was a little easier to apply that idea to pregnancy. My husband and I have been trying to conceive for 2 long years. It has been an emotional rollercoaster and it seems sometimes like it will never end for us. Reading your post helped though-sort of a reminder for me to keep the faith.

  9. natala

    you are so great. seriously, you don’t know how much i needed to ask myself this today. i’m afraid, but i don’t know of what… i’m afraid of being myself, about creating, about just doing what i love.
    thanks… again…

  10. Kelly

    Just wanted to send good thoughts your way. I know the right thing will happen for you.

  11. Carrie

    Love that! Our inner dialogue can be such a powerful thing.

  12. Donavan

    Truth shouts and whispers at the same time.
    YES!!!
    yes.
    You are so very adored.
    I send you a blanket that wraps you in light.

  13. Jenny D

    Andrea, you are just so right on. Do you know how special you are? Reading your truths helps me remember myself… I appreciate that more than you can imagine.
    Donovan, who are you??? Your posts are so lovely.
    ~ jen

  14. Lyn

    Andrea, I tried for a baby for 4 years, got pregnant, miscarried, and then after another two years of ‘trying’, thought sod it !. I spent a few months boozing at parties, eating all the wrong things and generally chilling out, and guess what ? Yep, it worked. When I told my doctor I’d downed copious amounts of alcohol before I’d realised I was pregnant, he said ” I wouldn’t worry about that my dear, that’s how most babies are concieved ”
    🙂

  15. Anna

    Thank you~ this is just what I needed today~

  16. Pamela

    I cannot decide what is more ethereal and beautiful, today’s photograph, or today’s revelation from the heart of Andrea!
    I have your jewelry, and have given your jewelry, and I intend to give more. There is something about your inherent creativity and soul that transfers into the things you touch …
    just think what this will mean for the beauty of that baby I just KNOW you will have when the universe decides the time is right.
    You share this heartache with many of us out here, but more than that, bear in mind that you are birthing in so many ways, that there are vestiges of Andrea in so many places–all by way of your generous spirit.

  17. Leonie

    My huge dreams at the moment:
    I want to get an eyebrow ring.
    I want to become a full time artist & writer… or at the very least… part time!
    I want to have a pagan inner marriage ceremony.
    And sometimes, in the quiet moments, fear comes crawling in. It brandishes its swords of doubt. It wonders at the opinions of others.
    But then I say:
    how do I really feel about it?
    And my intuitions says:
    Do it. I believe in you.
    Everything will be fine. It will work out grandly.
    So we spend our days walking & leaping.
    Love,
    Leonie

  18. Jillian

    Andrea, I’ve been reading your blog for almost a year now, but I don’t think I’ve ever commented. I visit Dooce for a good laugh and insight, Greek Tragedy for a dose of reality, the Wish Jar Journal for a bit of fancy and faeryland, and I visit you for your beautiful words and breathtaking photos. Thank you for sharing such intimate details of your life with so many strangers. I have no particular words of wisdom, but echo the kind thoughts of everyone else who has commented today. Take care, Jillian

  19. Lisa

    My husband and I are trying to get pregnant now after losing our first child due to severe preeclampsia. I really needed to hear your words right now, because I’m terrified. Thank you.

  20. Jenn

    andrea,
    you are such a sweet spirit.
    i love your sharing, it always stops me. it reminds me that we are all on a journey and we need to share so we can climb higher on these mountains we are on.
    i think i’ve been really struggling with fear and of course masking it as so many other things… fear or success, of the unknown, of failure, of change, of forgiveness.
    this post touched me, thank you. it’s really made me get inside myself and ask what do i know.
    what i know is that i can and do have ths strengh to face these mountains in front of me. i know that i am okay, and through the hard parts i will be okay too. i also know that these hard parts are going to lead me to many rewards.
    thank you. i’m sending you love for you are a kind spirit and i am glad i know you.
    jenn

  21. Julia

    Bless you Andrea… for your sharing of the deepest, darkest and most honest and truthful, beautiful parts of yourself. My wish for you is that you find it in you to stay the course, and trust in what the universe has in store for you. If only the whispers of the truth could drown out the fears that shout inside all of our heads. What a better, healthier bunch we’d all be… huh? I send you all my good wishes, and prayers and angels…to be on your side, and may you soon become the best mother ever! I “know” the best is yet to be for you 🙂

  22. wtuckercoach

    I am inspired by your words and by seeing how you inspire others. You’re going to be a great mom.
    Blessings.
    Wanda

  23. Rachel

    You are an awesome writer. And that’s an awesome question.

  24. penelope

    Andrea,
    Coming to your site is like drinking a glass of cold clear water on a hot summer day. You are always inspiring and say what I need to hear. How do you know?!
    I know you will be the best mother when it’s right. I hope it’s sooner than later for you. 🙂

  25. poemfish

    I am in the beginnings of a similiar journey with my art and photography business, feeling the need to keep going in my gut, but combatting that constant fear and questioning on a daily basis ~ i am not good enough, people won’t like me, i will fall.
    Yes, I will fall, but I will get back up and I will keep getting up because my dream is worth it.
    Definitely worth fighting for.
    And I have so much I want to give to the world through my photographs, art, and stories.
    Thank you for being there to remind me the self- doubt is part of it.
    Your success and optimism inspire so may, me included.
    thanks.
    i hope we can give some of the same back to you.

  26. Maggie

    Andrea,
    In the past few weeks, while it seemed as though my world fell apart, I often visited your site. Your words always inspire me and have been helping to stitch my soul back together.
    On July 2, my boyfriend — a very experienced skydiver — survived a terrible skydiving accident, albeit with serious injuries. Our friend, Sean, was not so lucky.
    I have a lot of fear now, as I mourn a friend and make this journey with my boyfriend, who is now in a wheelchair. I’m scared nothing will fall into place ever again. I’m scared that my boyfriend’s body, head and heart won’t heal. I’m scared of how fragile life can be.
    I’m very frightened to return to my passion of skydiving. I’ve made a couple jumps since the accident — just to prove I could do it — but the whole time I thought my chest would cave in and suffocate me. I love jumping, almost more than anything else on earth, and I want it to be happy and joyful and easy again.
    I’m scared because I’ll be skydiving at Sean’s memorial jump in a couple weeks — I’m flying in my boyfriend’s place, since he can’t do it — and I’m worried that I’ll cry all the way from the clouds to the ground.
    And I’m scared because I accepted a new job, a great opportunity that I was pursuing long before the accident, but I’ll be across the country from my boyfriend while he finishes his healing process. Long term, I know this move is best for us. Short term, it makes me want to crumble.
    So thank you for continuing to post beautiful, meaningful words and photos. In the very darkest days after my friend died and as my boyfriend was in ICU, I continually turned to this page to remember how lovely life can be. You are important for so many — even those of us who don’t even know you.
    Maggie

  27. pixie

    oh yes, sister. the mysterious souls we bring life to love for us to go to the dark, scary places to get ready for them. i think of the dark and scaries like a swamp hag that i have to go and face with her oozing sores and icky fingernails. during pregnancy, i have seen her a few more times. twinkle your bright superhero light that is so shiny and sharp and all will be well. you are not alone. you will be ripe and full of your new baby when he or she is ready for you.
    SUCH BIG LOVE AND ENCOURAGEMENT, p.
    what a beautiful, BEAUTIFUL, delicate photograph you have at the top of this post that seems to describe your vulnerability perfectly. i honor you!

  28. Annie

    Maggie, I am so sorry for what you’re going through right now. It’s brave of you to plan on making that jump, such a lovely way to honor your friend. So what if you cry all the way from the clouds to the ground. Don’t hold back. In your courage there is healing.

  29. Jennifer

    Andrea, you are so awesome (as are all the super heros that respond to your journal)….just what I needed to hear. Just what we all needed to hear, as always.
    So thank you…

  30. hajew

    Thank you for that teaching. What I know and what I fear. That’ll be very helpful if I can get myself to medidate on that.

  31. kristen

    sounds like you’ve answered your own question:)
    that my girlie, is growth:)

  32. wn

    Andrea,
    Just wanted to also pop into to send you encouragement and love. I think that the scariest thing about fears is saying them out loud.
    I like the concept of reminding yourself of what you know…I think we all know certain basic things…those are the things that keep us trying to achieve our dreams.
    Much love to you and Matt.

  33. amanda

    I had to respond to Maggie’s comment. Maggie, you are so incredibly brave. I don’t know if you feel strong right now, but as I read what you wrote, I was struck by your strength and perseverance. I am in awe of the fact that you have returned to sky diving. And the memorial jump sounds like such a beautiful way to honor your friend.

  34. Genevieve

    Andrea,
    A year ago, i sat in my room and cried whilst reading about the loss of your baby. For a few minutes, i felt your pain although i’ve never had to suffer such a tragedy. The pain was so intense that i had to walk out of the room.
    Today, i once again sit in my room (a different room in a different country), read (and take comfort in) your writing, admire your photos and let the beauty of your soul reach out to me in some inexplicable way. Tears threaten to fall but these feel like good tears. Good tears for a good person.
    I am praying for you.

  35. french toast girl

    Sending much love and prayers your way. 😉

  36. Laura

    What I know (hopefully among other things) is that you are a very special lady to a lot of people. Just look at these comments.

  37. Swirly

    What we know in our hearts is always greater than any fears.

  38. Swirly

    What we know in our hearts is always greater than any fears.

  39. Sunshine(KVB-E)

    I read your posts and show yuor pictures to my husband (June 4, 2005!) because you inspire me and I knoe he would appreciate your creativity as I do.
    A close friend has at least two of your necklaces and they brighten her face when she wears them.
    I gave a bracelet to a friend who had been kind to me and she said it came on the most perfect day – her spirits needed lifting.
    I wore an Angel necklace and bracelet on wedding day and I will cherish them always. My husband knows where your website is and I’m crossing my finger for my Aug 31 birthday.
    You rushed an order on short notice to TX to my husbands sister – someone who has truly endured pain and come out of it a Superhero. She emailed me today to thank me for the beautiful necklace and when I apologized for it being late because of my health, she said it came on a day she needed it.
    And your jewelry has a way of doing that. Just like your words and photos and words. Thank you, so much and don’t forget how special you are.

  40. Sunshine(KVB-E)

    Look what I get for trying to post a comment at nearly 2 in the morning! : Mistakes galore! 🙂

  41. Ann Benoit

    Thanks for this post Andrea- it makes me feel that i’m not alone in my creative fears and uncertainty 🙂 deep down i know that “this is what i want,” but sometimes its hard to have faith. Thanks for the inspiration!

  42. Bea

    Thank you for this post! It?s so true! Better to focus on what we already know than to let us get dragged down by our fears. Ever since I read this post yesterday, I have been thinking about it. I am in the middle of a too slow process of changing my life right now. So I know some of these fears all too well. Wishing you the best!

  43. wendy

    “i fear no fate for you are my fate my sweet” – ee cummings
    andrea,
    i learned from my pregnancy that you have to let go, you are not in control…just a long for the ride…and what a glorious ride it is. it helps to have a sense of humor and be flexible. i.e., i did not anticipate having gestational diabetes…i’m a vegetarian dag nabit! still, it happened and i had to adjust…bend.
    i used to recite this poem (above) over and over throughout my pregnancy. it’s called, “i carry your heart” by ee cummings.
    love to you,
    wendy

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