eyes shut

orange, purple and green, Canon Digital Rebel

When a friend of mine was a kid, she used to believe that when she and her family drove over the George Washington Bridge, that the wheels of the car would actually go along the suspension wires of the bridge.

She was so terrified at this thought that she closed her eyes really tight every time they drove over it. And of course, it was harrowing each time.

One day, she opened her eyes and noticed that they were actually driving on the road, and that there wasn’t anything quite so scary about driving on the bridge at all.

Where are you driving eyes closed, white knuckled, through life?

As I look in my own life, I know that there is an element of this in trying to get pregnant. When we are afraid, we shut our eyes to what it is we know, to what is actually happening, and we are not really present. We are not really in our own experience.

For me, it’s not being fully in my body, it’s not being grounded in what is, in what is real. I forget what I know.

And you? Where are you afraid and not really present?

Follow on Facebook Follow on Instagram Follow on Twitter Follow on Pinterest

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. rachel

    Time Management. Which is a whole other thing, in terms of not being present, doing too much and having expectations that if we’re not really truly there, we can get more done. I am trying to grapple with that reality, that it is so much better to do less things well than more half assed…
    And-this weekend I learned of yet another friend who is now pregnant after unsucessful rounds of IVF and such, after “stopping trying”…another way of being present I guess?

  2. Joy

    I am so afraid of being single forever that I forget to appreciate all the nice things about being completely independent. I fear that no one will love me, and I forget to love myself now.

  3. Bimacs

    I’m peeking through my fingers waiting for a career change. Maybe a career evolution is a better term. I’m so very scared of not knowing whats to come and not knowing if it’s really where I want to be. I’m afraid of letting my loved ones down. At the same time I sort of know everything will work out. It always does somehow. It’s just sooo hard to get started. I find it’s easier to close my eyes and drift off to sleep, avoiding it altogether.

  4. tracy

    Among many big changes peeking through my horizon, the one that makes me close my eyes, is my aging Great Dane…who seems to be living out his very final days, in a crippling manner…he suffers from terrible arthritis and although he’s happily medicated, his life has deteriorated and his days are growing shorter…So I am scared of what each day will bring. We are so going to miss him, and it’s really important not to put blinders on. I need to listen for his cue. for when he tells me he’s ready to leave this life. this body. and I will say, it’s easy some days to live with my head in the clouds and pretend he’s just old…eyes shut. But I can’t hide from this, I must look and see what’s real. no hiding allowed. and death being so near and real, is scary. and strange. It would be easy to pull the blankets over my head these days…and IT IS SO in my nature to hide my eyes from things that are painful. so this is a real life challenge for me, to stay in the now. to be present in this battle. Eyes wide open.

  5. Michelle Ensminger

    Hmmm…where do I even start? I struggle to keep my eyes open through most of life. I guess I’m just so afraid that I won’t live up to my potential, that I will choose to stay small instead of living up to my fullness, that I often sabatoge myself. I keep pushing and pushing forward, wanting something so much more, that I end up not seeing what is right in front of me, not living in the here and now. I’m always looking ahead and in turn miss the satisfaction of the present. There is always something more I want to be instead of who I am right now; something else I want to do, somewhere else I want to be, instead of just loving the now.

  6. Theresa

    also my body. I had an irregular pap 3 years ago which resulted in biopsies, mammograms, and much mental torture. it all came back negative. the result of a false reading on the original pap. I haven’t been back for an exam since. my mother-in-law just had a mastectomy and is starting chemo for breast cancer. I still can’t make myself go to the doctor.

  7. Veronica

    Homeschooling my daughter. She has severe food allergies, so sending her to school is not an option right now. Rather than enjoy watching her learn I find myself being afraid of not teaching her all the right things in all the right ways. I become so paranoid that I “close my eyes” and teach her from books rather than let both of us grow, learn and enjoy this time we have together.

  8. jodi

    I am so fearful of something happening to one of my children (again) that I can hardly let them be kids and enjoy themselves. I’m always waiting for the next catastrophe, the next 911 call. It’s a horrible way to live.

  9. jules

    have you ever thought of becoming a therapist? your posts have such insight and they seem to help so many people that maybe you should switch careers! i think most of my life has been spent with my eyes closed. i am always afraid. it is a long story, but your post is definitely something i needed to read today.

  10. Lu

    Wow, deep question. If I am being honest, I would have to say I am auto-pilot with letting my guard down. I am typically ready to defend myself and what I stand for at the drop of a hat. It is hard to admit that you care what people think about you. I guess that is why I enjoy being mostly anonymous on my blog. Bu, that gets a little harder to do each day.

  11. Sarah Jane

    I love you. You make me laugh and cry. You are beautiful. You will get pregnant. It took me a long time to concieve. A long, long time. It took one operation and lots of introspection. I’m still always checking for the road beneath me…no pressure, but you inspire me tons!!!!

  12. Shelly

    Making babies is not a logical decision. It’s nature, timing, the right “soul” for you at the right time. Don’t hold on so tight, YOU can’t make this happen. As they say; life is what is happening while you’re worried about something else. It will happen, it is good, when it’s time. I know this for fact. Families can be made in many different shapes. Birthed to you or for your, let life tell you how it’s to be.

  13. Hen

    I’m deathly scared to tell this guy I’m good friends with that he makes me smile and giddy inside. I wish I could open my eyes and see that it’s just him.

  14. kerstin

    beautiful photo. you and your commenters move me. how much you all share. thank you as usual. i’m about to go on a plane (a great body-shaking fear for me despite the fact that i’ve flown a lot) to visit my grandmother in sweden, who at 91, is greatly changed after a fall she recently took. i’m afraid of experiencing how she’s changed, afraid of missing her old self, and of then having to leave her in 2 weeks to come back here. i am happy that my love for her will move me to face these fears. but i’m still scared. anyway thank you again for your ever thoughtful posts.

  15. Lisa

    I can’t believe I’m writing this, but it’s my marriage. While I love my husband fiercely, he is self-destructing…and I’m not sure I’m capable of being with him as he does. I am fully aware I cannot fix him. Hell, he hasn’t asked me to fix anything–he cannot even admit what’s going on. I just realized that watching him struggle…and seeing and hearing him wish things would magically be different (without him having to CHANGE…), has been one factor in my own self-destructive episode.
    We always tell each other, “I love you, NMW.” No Matter What. And I do love him. But do I love him enough to allow him to choose his own way? Do I love him enough to say to him, “I am sorry, but I cannot continue to be with you when I can’t BE with you?”
    And if he loves me NMW, why is he acting as though I’m invisible?

  16. Anja

    I think I feel like that about lots of unneccessary things. It’s not very constructive to walk around being afraid of things that might happen sometime in the future, when there no signs at present that they actually will. I end up feeling silly while freaking out. I’m trying to learn how to trust that it will all work out.
    Nice story, by the way 🙂

  17. bluefaery

    mmm good question Andrea. You know I always thought that once I had a baby that suddenly I would be living in the present. that there would be no more philosophising, no more wistfulness, no more searching. no more. but there are pockets and spaces in between and right now my 3 month old sleeps and i dream of working in a war torn country, i dream that i will write THE book and i’m so so scarred that falling pregnant at 25 when all my friends are living out there dreams rather than being consoled by them was something i may later regret. this is where i am afraid and not really present. I have not yet embraced motherhood for all the precious worth it is! and you too andrea are right now in an amazing place that you may never be again!

  18. Kerstin

    Never mind closing your eyes, I put my whole head in the sand. My favourite position as I walk through life, as you can imagine it’s kind of difficult to move far this way.
    I’ve actually been thinking a lot about all this since your last post on “this is it and I am satisfied”. And it’s made me realise, more than ever before, that I am constantly on guard, always fearing the worse. Then, today, I find this quote on one of your reader’s blogs (thank you Lu) and as I am struggling with my anxiety over an irregular bleeding that came on only this morning (most likely caused, I hope, by my hormones being all over the place due to stress) I am beginning to breathe easier as I read it:
    “If I were asked to give what I consider the single most useful bit of advice for all humanity it would be this: Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life and when it comes, hold your head high, look it squarely in eye and say: I will be bigger than you. You cannot defeat me.” (Ann Landers)
    I can almost get my head around this: accept this as part of life and then let go of it, and the fears … hmmm …

  19. Sophie

    When I was little I used to think that when you drove over the Sydney Harbour Bridge you went right over the top in a big semi-circular arch.
    I still remember being so dissapointed the first time we drove over it and I found out that it was just like driving on a normal road.

  20. Rosa

    Ah.. I really needed to read this. It very much makes me think of the illness I have in a way.
    I go through phases where I try to “just get better” and close my eyes and try to just do it. It doesn’t happen like that though.
    We need to be gentil with ourselves.
    By the way, I think that is another stunning photograph. I adore the colours!

  21. kat

    i was just thinking about this sort of thing yesterday. i realized that every year i would grieve the end of summer and fear the coming winter because i hated the cold and the depression that often came with it. the dread would start in august and it became somewhat automatic.
    yesterday i realized that i was really happy that fall was coming and that i loved the ongoing cycle of seasons that happen in new england. and i realized that i could choose to embrace the darker seasons and all they have to offer. and something in me let go. it was lovely.
    the photo is gorgeous btw, awesome color.

  22. Piper

    Wow! I can’t begin to tell you how reassuring all of the comments are! I feel like I could have written almost all of them. I don’t know if I have my eyes closed per se but I definitely “cringe through” most of my life. I am always afraid of the bottom falling out, of something going wrong that I can’t fix. I think I know why I feel this way but it is still difficult to deal with. In fact, these feelings came to a head and launched me into a quarter-life crisis, which I am just starting to heal from a little bit. I still have a million things to sort out and have been wrestling with God for months now, and the match still isn’t over (even though I know s/he’ll win). But I thank all of you for your comments. Just knowing that I’m not alone or crazy for how I feel is endlessly helpful and reassuring. Thank you, Andrea, for giving us this space to connect.

  23. ags

    I have always been scared to trust people. NOt so much people as men. I’ve been afraid to believe that someone can love me. So I find myself holding and guarding and building walls and trying not to let anyone close. I have not found a solution for it and sometimes I think it’s not a bad idea to do that because you can’t give pieces of your heart just to anyone. At the same time, I think I am going through life emotionless sometimes.
    My mom once told me that when you are afraid of something, face that fear in your head – ponder what is the worst thing that can happen and then you realize that you ARE stronger then IT. I have found it to be helpful, I think the fear itself is bigger then the issue oftentimes, not always.
    Above all that, my faith in God has brought me through some of the hardest times in my life. It’s the realization that there is someone bigger then me who knows exactly how I feel, who is control of things, even if they don’t go my way. When I am at the lowest times of my life, I imagine myself sitting in his lap and crying, like a little kid in a dad’s lap, while he is comforting me. Even thought I will never understand why, I think I’ve learned that sometimes I go through really low lows so that I realize how weak I am and turn to Him for strenght. That’s when the miracles start happening.

  24. Diane

    Beautiful images and profound reflections on life.
    Thank you, merci.
    Life is really like a blinding light. We ask so much of our selves, no wonder we shut our eyes on some bits and parts. I like to close my eyes when I need to focus and refocus, I can see more clearly after. Precious details finally appear.
    It’s a never ending story and there seem to be one path.
    Advices! Not too fond of them but I love this one.
    This is wisdom.
    “Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life and when it comes, hold your head high, look it squarely in eye and say: I will be bigger”…A.Launders – Thank you, Kerstin.
    I have two wonderful children. Lost the older one to life. In spite of the profound pain, something bigger came out of this.
    So today, I’m catching up on the life with the second one. My heart and soul is open for the return of my eldest, when she will be ready.
    After afer a few trips in hell, I am grateful for life now. I can only do my best and follow the advice above. The terrible, horrible monsters of incertainties are out of sight, as much as I can help it, unless the fatal combo of PMS, emotional vulnerabilities and lack of sleep struck. Life is not easy, but it beats the alternative.
    My friend, I wish you a Baby, from the bottom of my heart.

  25. Lisa

    For the whole summer, I held my breath, lived in the future and prayed to God, “Please, Lord, let me get a teaching job this year.”
    Of course this led to nothing but anxiety, distress, and a sense of having failed.
    Just two weeks ago, at the end of August, I changed my prayer, “Lord, whatever you have for me right now, let me be ALL here.”
    I’ve never loved life as much as I’m loving it now.

  26. Em

    First Andrea, it feels slightly crazy to me, but I find myself grateful for you, a total stranger. Your posts so often touch the core of truth in me. Your questions help me to remember myself. Thank you, by which I mean may you be blessed.
    I have been afraid for my whole life. I was certain that I was destined for childhood lukemia. I was terrified that my parents would divorce. Then I was so afraid that I didn’t finish college because I couldn’t force myself to walk into the classrooms.
    I’m learning to let go. The place I’m holding the tightest right now is a business I’m starting with two dear friends (my husband being one of them.) I know I need to let the results go and focus on the footsteps but the hoped for result is so glittering and pretty I just want to hold it all day long.
    Thanks to all the commenters on this post. I’m going to breath and relax the grip today.

  27. Vivienne

    I am living this way waiting for my SO’s divorce, also waiting to become pregnant. We are looking into DI right now and it’s like I am fixated on what the outcome will be instead of living each day. SO has asked me if I will be happy when I achieve these things, scary thing is I don’t know.
    Love and support to us both.

  28. D

    I’m so afraid to lose the 100lbs that I need to for my health (and, by extent, my future).
    So afraid that I can’t do it.
    So afraid that I can.
    So afraid, in fact, that I can’t even put my name or website address on this response.

  29. Lisa

    Well, it’s obvious this post struck close to home for a lot of different folks for a lot of different reasons.
    I just wanted to say to Em…you are not crazy. Not at all! I think there are lots of people who feel exactly the same way about Andrea. It’s kind of miracle when you really think about it.
    I also want you to know that you can never go wrong when you follow your heart–no matter the outcome. The difficult part is doing what you know to be the best thing for you…and then releasing all expectations.
    You seem like a very insighful and articulate person–I have a sense you’ll do well at whatever business you attempt. I’m going to share a quote from Martha Beck–it’s one I actually have taped to my bathroom mirror and read often to remind myself how life works: “When you’re doing what you’re meant to do, you benefit the world in a unique and irreplaceable way. This brings money, friendship, true love, inner peace and everything else worth having, it sounds facile but it’s true.”

  30. Teece

    For me, this week at least, i find myself eyes closed and moving tentatively forward in ALL aspects of my life. IT’s this mix of “i must have done soemthing wrong, because nothing is the way i imagined it would be” and “I want to believe this is all the way it’s supposed to be, so perhaps if i just keep putting one foot in front of the other, i’ll be ok.”
    this is especially true about my love life. It’s not working like i want it to… it’s not doing anything remarkable at all… but i keep just slogging thru it, hoping i don’t fall off completely.

  31. yasmin

    two weeks ago, my beautiful Mum passed away – I feel I have been living before this point with my eyes shut and now finally they are wide open – thank you for another poignant entry..to everyone out there in superhero land, please give your Mum a hug…

  32. Hanna

    Big and difficult question, I have to think about this one. I’m working on my fears and try to do everything with mindfullness (a beautiful word), staying in the present. I think that is an importent task that we’ve got. To stay in the NOW and be aware of what happens right now, this minute.
    you’ve got beautiful pics as allways. thanks

  33. William

    Andrea, you do this to me. I read what you say, think about it and then get hit with a poem. The “being afraid” issue for me is carrying it through to the point of uploading the poem. So here I am riding across the bridge with what came to me after this entry.
    Poem for Andrea
    If I could share the secret
    Of climbing your mountains,
    I would walk your path ahead of you,
    Pointing out tomorrow?s memories
    In the rough shale of today?s hurts.
    You built these unclimbable heights
    Out of boulders I remember. But I have
    Mountains of my own, hard climbing
    And despair, places where you might have walked
    Without pain. But we can only share wishes,
    Not secrets. For you, I wish for a picture
    To upload, tiny hands, a scan perhaps, a name
    And your finger held in a tiny palm. Those fond years
    From having ?my baby? to being ?my mother?.
    For me, I wish ? to see those things, to find
    Such happiness on my life?s horizon.

  34. Hi I'm jess

    My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for many years now. Sometimes that feels like driving with my eyes closed, but then I remember that God is the one driving.

  35. Karrie

    I’m so afraid that everything I want for myself won’t end up happening; successful writer, film director, healthy human being, loved unconditionally, normal. Thing is, I actually have 3 of these things already.

  36. Patrick O'Leary

    I graduate from college in May. I have an on-campus job interview today, that I was just offered yesterday. Yeah, I’m a bit scared. Nervous, mostly.
    It’s tough not to lose my confidence, especially since I know that moving into the Real World is going to be a major change in my life. But it’s going to happen, and it might be easier with eyes open…
    So, thanks.

  37. Danielle Morris

    To my superhero:
    you have changed the way i see the world and the way in which i live it. i just started college in Boulder , Colorado and its really scary. your terrific website has been my homepage for a while and i thrive in it. but recently seeing the beauty you create and the magic you spark in my heart … wow it has helped me hang in there. i love being crazy and finding the rich small things in life, like climbing trees and baby chickens. In college a lot of my peers love to party all the time and drink to get wasted and its disheartning because it seems like some of our youth these days can’t have fun without drugs.. i would spend every saturday nite playing Cranium and having tea if i could but its been hard finding friends who dont want to go partying all the time. i love your spirit, it has inspired me to be strong and find the beauty in even my drunk peers. i am lucky that i can find true excitement in board games and camping instead of beer. listening to your stories makes me think that there are friends waiting for me somewhere that i can make brownies with and go swimming in lakes with. i hope my words, really random, will show you how you as one person has changed the world. thank you for sparking within me the power to be me and change the world with me, my heart. let’s laugh together…
    knock knock
    who’s there
    olive who
    olive yOu!! ahhahahaha
    PuMpkiN Love and brown toads,

  38. rs

    I’m afraid of time running out.
    i’m afraid of not getting what I want and need.
    i’m afraid of getting what I want and need.
    i’m afraid of changing my life
    i’m afraid of standing up for myself
    i’m afraid of letting go.
    i’m working on not being afraid any more.

  39. Peggy

    Driving with my eyes close afraid that I am near the end of the road. That my journey is ending before I finish sightseeing.

  40. olive

    I am afraid that I am not original or creative enough to produce something on my own. From writing academic papers in graduate school to creative crafty projects I panic and completely freeze. I want to be able to experiment on my own.

  41. Julia

    For several years now I have been sort of driving on “auto-pilot”. I escaped from a horribly abusive relationship, and everybody tells me how strong they think I am to have found the courage to make a new life for myself and my child…but if they only knew the fear that fuels my life.. I still live in fear of my ex finding me (as he said he would)and harming us. The world is a big place, but there is only so much running and looking over one’s shoulder a person can do…. Your wise words really hit home. I have spent far too long being fearful and not enjoying fully my hard earned freedom. I am trying to remind myself, daily, that I am here, and in 1 piece and still have my sanity, and that’s what is my real truth, and my biggest victory. I have made it this far. I have a great daughter that is my joy. I am blessed with friends and a job I love. That is what is real for me now. I guess there is no testimony without a test….right? I love your blog for the honesty and reality you so freely share with all of us. Bless you!! 🙂

  42. Alex

    Tonight I am most afraid of not having my deepest dream come true, which is to make a living as a writer. I received my first publishing rejection today and am amazed at how much it hurts my heart, as if fifty blocks of bricks have been placed right on top.
    And because of my fear that maybe it will never happen, its hard to be present to the moment right here and the blessings sitting right atop it right now. It makes me less present to all that I deeply love inside and around me.

  43. Marloes

    To forget what you know is good. In this moment you don’t know anything..

  44. Diane

    I lost loved ones, lovers and friends to life and to death, I lost my health and got it back. I lost my temper, my mind, money… and got it back. I cannot lose my dreams, and never lost my self, I am right here!!!
    “Climbing trees and baby chickens.”: -) I will remember that
    To rise up and look, and see beauty.
    We are afraid, of course, how can we not? We want to live, fear comes with that.
    Fear of losing or failing. It brings smiles and tears when I think about it. No wonder we go insane! My children won’t escape that either.
    I am an artist. When I paint, it’s such hard work.
    Sometime, because it does not fit, I have to start over a beautiful part on which I worked with all my heart.
    So I have to let go and sacrifice it.
    I say to my self a bunch of things: “Hey, you did it well once, you can do it again. It’s only an exercise, not the end of the road. Take it like breathing and just do it until it works.”
    Letting go seems to sets me free.
    When I was at University, long ago, my drawing table was always a mess of sketches, friends would come and “spy” on ideas. My best pal told me, “Diane, you better be careful, you are going to lose your ideas.” I was flattered, and I realized and said: Annie, there are so many ideas, better ideas always. If they only knew that I have a better one, right here, somewhere.” Today, I still think the same.
    Right now, I am preparing a show. I might crash, I might not. In any case, the real gain is what I learn doing that portrait. Whenever I dare to look at my fears, I contemplate success in overcoming them, the rest just follows with honest work.
    Saying this does not mean that I am not trembling in my boots though!!! ; -)
    Bless You D. at 01:40 PM, September 13.

  45. Kristen

    Listen to your own words that you have shared with all of us from years back to help you through this fear.
    “Do I do this in my life? See a curve in the distance, leap out of the groove, and fall on my face just to know that I can? What if I trusted that the grooves would carry me safely along, just like the skiers ahead of me and behind me?”

  46. jack

    right now i’m afraid. afraid of not creating the future i want for myself. afraid of ending up in a place i dont want to be, for the 3rd time. afraid that my dreams of being a photographer won’t come true. sometimes i just feel completely lost in my own dreams. as if i’ve been dreaming so long that it will only exist as just that. a dream. i dont realize that as i dream, i can also ignore my pessimism and make it my reality.

  47. Lisa

    I think my answer to that question is: my whole life and existence.

  48. jen gray

    ahh… i think you already know these things about me…
    and girly, this photo is stunning and dreamy.
    love jen

  49. Jennifer


  50. G-Man

    As an artist, its easy for me to open my heart and soul up to the world, but in matters of love and of the heart, I constantly keep my eyes closed with fear.

  51. ching chang

    Yeah, good thought… We obviously do need more people.

  52. melanie

    i am afraid of failure, of success, of accepting myself completely. i am afraid of making the wrong decisions, of standing on my own two feet instead of relying on others, of having to change even if it means it will better my life and the lives of my children.

  53. melanie

    Oops, forgot to mention: this is an a*mazing photo!!

  54. Lissa

    I have conquered many fears in my 58 years on this planet that whirls through space. Still, when all the success is scraped off .. stepping out the door is my greatest fear. I can open the door but it takes courage to enter the world outside.

  55. Molly

    Andrea, you inspire me to be less afraid! Thank you.

  56. Coco

    I’m afraid of not having the capability or desire to take responsibility for living a productive life, certainly not utilizing my talents.

  57. Violasaint

    I’m so afraid that I won’t have time to do all the things I want to do, and see all the things I want to see. I spend so much time worrying about the future that I don’t have time to live the today. I even moved to a different country to experience newness, yet I haven’t seen anything but my apartment and the grocery store. Thank you for your thoughts- you helped me realize that I need to get out and do something new.

Ready for your next creative adventure?

Download the Mondo Beyondo dream generator!

Latest from the blog

CSP #82: We Should Get Together with Kat Vellos

CSP #82: We Should Get Together with Kat Vellos

Listen in to this great conversation about adult friendship with expert Kat Vellos! Kat Vellos is a trusted expert on the power of cultivating meaningful friendships. She’s a speaker and author of the book, We Should Get Together: The Secret to Cultivating Better...

read more

self guided e-courses

Choosing Ease

30 days of ease, joy and cultivating wonder

I believe that when I’m creating from a place of ease and buoyancy I am actually in flow – in alignment with myself and the Universe.

Capture the Magic

Rock your camera-phone - and discover that beauty and joy are everywhere.

The very best camera is the one that’s with you! I’ll show you how to get on your own path of joy and delight while learning photography skills along the way.

mondo beyondo

What does your heart truly want in 2020? 

What if you could name your dreams and desires for 2020 and create a plan to make them reality?


Get your FREE guide to experiencing more wonder + joy!

Hop on my mailing list to get weekly-ish inspiration, updates and your free downloadable PDF: 9 ways to experience more wonder right now. I'm so glad you're here!

You have Successfully Subscribed!