surfer, Ocean Beach Olympus Epic

“Those of you who are scattered,
simplify your worrying lives. There is one
righteousness: Water the fruit trees,
and don’t water the thorns.”
– Rumi

I smiled when I read this passage this morning. I smiled because of its truth, I smiled knowing that I have been watering so many fears and worries and what-ifs and it’ll-never-works and why-me’s… and I smiled because there is a way out. There is a way out of the tangle of sadness, out of the habit of sadness, and at this moment, I see that I have a choice: Where am I going to put my attention? What thoughts will I water today? Will it be the fruit trees or the thorns?

I had a tarot reading last night at a trunk show. We looked at my barriers to pregnancy and one of the cards that came up was about exactly this. She told me, “We get what we put our attention on. We know what we’ve been thinking about when we look at our lives. Our lives are a manifestation of our thoughts.”

I’ve been feeling very sorry for myself for a long time… And this morning, I can laugh at myself a bit. I can see that I am tired of telling the same old story over and over again (even to myself).

What story are you tired of telling?

This isn’t about positive thinking. This isn’t about denial or looking at the bright side. This is about creating and manifesting and causing magic in your life. This is choosing joy, choosing gratitude, choosing aliveness over fear and worry and cynicism.

It is simple but not easy. It is rigorous and it takes practice. It is a muscle to exercise. As it gets stronger it gets easier and more fun. It is a gift you give yourself.

It is being really present with the sadness or concern or anger or rage or joy. It is not resisting it, but embracing it. It is making a conscious choice.

I’ve been choosing the thorns for a while. I have felt their sharpness, I have seen how they protect, I have noticed how alongside the blooms, they can even be beautiful. But I am on a new journey, a new exploration.

“Mad with thirst, he can drink from the stream
running so close by his face. He’s like a pearl
on the deep bottom, wondering, inside his shell,
Where’s the ocean?”
– Rumi

I am that pearl. And I am laughing at the sight of water.

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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. puddlejumper

    you are getting pregnant this year.

  2. Liz

    thorns or flowers, closed or open… loved your post… thanks

  3. jennifer wells

    Do you think we need to know or try to understand why we water the thorns before we water the fruit trees or simply choose to water the fruit trees and trust that this action will take us where we need to go? It seems like I could spend eternity thinking about why…

  4. Felicity

    Andrea, Do you remember when I bought my earrings from you & you miscarried right around then and I sent you the link to the Japanese water-baby saint, Jizo?
    I am thrilled with the quotes and the post today because it seems that I am finally coming to a place in my life where I can see again, that I have a choice about what to nurture.
    I don’t want to be telling the story of my miserable marriage anymore.
    Thanks for this post today. It’s awesome.

  5. wn

    i know that post wasn`t supposed to make me cry but here i am, at work, with tears streaming down my face. i am tired. all the time.
    i had a bad thing happen to me at work this past year. confidence shaken, my personal worth was turned inside out and backwards. i tell others that i am over it, but i seem all too eager to talk about it, rehash it, re-live it. it makes me so tired. come to think about it, i talked about it again at noon, just today.
    this post make me realize that i need to lift this weight and truly be “over it” and not just talk about being “over it”. after all, it’s JUST my job. i love working and i am proud of being able to do a good job….but it’s not who i am…and god help me if i ever forget that.
    crying done

  6. maureen

    “As soon as you stop wanting something you get it.” ~ Andy Warhol

  7. Anja

    Beautiful photo. I hope you have a lovely, cheerful Christmas despite of everything. You are so strong.

  8. penelope

    This was a beautiful post. Thank you so very much for writing it. I have some thorns I’ve been watering too. I’m done. 🙂

  9. danielle

    Andrea~ I absolutely LOVED this post. You are constantly putting bright, true light out into the world. Thank you. ~dps

  10. Shelley Noble

    Andrea, I don’t exactly understand how you are able to express these deeply positive, beautifully articulate essays, day after day, week after week, year after year, but you do nonetheless.
    Somehow you’ve managed with this entry, at least to me, to equal the illuminated awareness of what is spiritually true from the beloved Rumi. Your expounding and expanding on these quotes today strike me as being as richly poetic and powerfully moving as the brief lines of the quotes. And as such, you obviously touched too to several others, bettering their lives for it as you bettered your own.
    When people are ready to move inside universally the right words appear. And you put out a Lion’s Share of right words here as you share your personal private learning.
    Nobody sneeze.

  11. Joy

    What a thought provoking post… I’m working through with my 17th therapist (!!) how to stop identifying so much with loss and really identifying more with my own deep sense of joy.

  12. Bohemiangirl

    Thank you for this. It has been a tough morning for me regarding a similar issue you spoke of here. I do not find it a coincidence that I was drawn to read your journal just now. So, in my tears, I am hoping to laugh at myself…and exercise this muscle you are speaking of. Not easy, no…but together we can do it. xo

  13. jenn

    Sweet Andrea how I love this post. I remember recently you demanded me to grieve a loss of something in my life. I thought but I can’t, I will be feeling sorry for myself. What I didn’t realize was that sometimes the fruit is the gross hard sad stuff. In order for me to move forward to let go and see a situation in a positive way I had to grieve. Now I can appreciate what was and am able to be present to what is supposed to be now. I didn’t get that until recently.
    I’ve really been trying to manifest a new job in my life. Recently an opportunity was presented where I got to take a test for the post office. Everyone I spoke to told me the test was hard and that hardly anyone passed it. I decided to go with this opportunity and to see myself working as a postal employee. I’ve been saying to myself and to Connie I am a postal employee, not if I pass the test I might get a job at the post office. It’s been a hard practice but when I am able to do this it feels right.
    I think I know this works yet forget so often. It is great to be reminded… today I will let go of my money story. Today I will speak of how I have the money needed in my life. How great it is to have an abundance of money.
    Thank you for your post. So great.

  14. jolene

    gorgeous photo, andrea! and as always, wonderfully insightful writing. i’ve been rather down lately and this morning, although i have not read the book, i wrote the words “magical thinking” several times in my notebook. tried to imagine how different my day would be if i tried to create a little mental magic.
    i was also reading rumi and reflecting on his writings on death awareness (my boyfriend’s grandma passed over the weekend). while it’s not in the same vein of this topic, i would like to share the quote, as it recharged me in some way:
    “Everyone is so afraid of death, but the real sufis just laugh: nothing tyrannizes their hearts. What strikes the oyster shell does not damage the pearl.”
    i guess even though we struggle with the same stories, we have to realize that our sadness and losses can’t damage our core.
    thanks again.

  15. Vivienne

    Tears, but release tears. Joy tears. You are such a light. Thanks A.

  16. chrissy

    andrea, have you read the book “the circle” by laura day?! it is all about manifesting goodness and drawing it to us in the present tense, it is small and perfect. you will love it. try it out! it has worked for me and its principles are totally in line with the rumi quote. lovely. i see you pregnant and radiant this year, angel crumpet. it is happening! all good stuff!!!!

  17. rachel

    Hi sweet pea,
    Look at all the good you bring people, that must be so satisfying…
    And I would add to the idea of choosing tp be happy, that what really helps me makes those choices is having the daily rituals. Even just riding the bus everyday can serve as a great example of how you can look at the same things everyday and only see them different based on your attitude, and how you frame them.

  18. Tiffany

    I recently started reading your blog thanks to Ali Edwards. I love this post. The best thing that ever happened to me resulted in my conscious decision to CHOSE happiness after infertility by adopting a little girl from China. If you would like to hear more about my happy ending in case it would help you in your situation, please contact me at moonwitch117@yahoo.com!

  19. kerstin

    i second what others are writing. thank you for your wonderful words (and for rumi’s). it’s always so amazing to me how your honesty and way with words brings out your commenters’ emotions and stories. you are a special woman making us all feel/see more! thank you as usual.
    ps. i was arriving to mati’s party just as you were leaving and didn’t get a chance to introduce myself and tell you in person how much i appreciate your blog.
    kerstin (pronounced shashtin)

  20. Meg

    Oh my. So true. I got the new job I’d been hoping for – today was my first day – and already i see how i could turn it into a stressful, i hate work experance, or a joyful expansive one.
    I agree with everyone. I think good magical things are waiting in the wings. Waiting and watching. And you have teams of people who you don’t even know rooting for you, and thinking of you, and praying for you. And that, alone, is sort of magic.
    And I suppose I should tell you, I’ve been staring out windows lately, and I catch myself imagining what a Andrea book would look like. An Andrea book with your photos, and your essays, and your thoughts. And how much I’d like to give that to people for Christmas… My boyfriend works for a Lit agent, and he brings home book proposals for me to read now and then, and NONE of them sound half as interesting as that would be.
    Many Blessings today, tomorrow, and this year.

  21. liza

    “I can see that I am tired of telling the same old story over and over again (even to myself).”
    How interesting that I just came to that realization for myself just yesterday! I have been a long time reader and enthusiast of your blog.
    I too find your essays and photographs beautiful and inspirational. Your writing also has a very deep touch of being positive, and whether you may feel that yourself or not, your spirit shines through.
    Thank you for your honesty and eloquence. This past fall I miscarried and it is very soothing to read the voices of other women who have had to go through this very painful healing process. Until recently I thought I had been handling my grief pretty well. But I, like you, came upon the discovery that I have been watering my thorns. Your post has reminded me to continue to make changes in my life that will help me better alter my “habit of sadness”.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  22. liz elayne

    simmplify your worrying life. what a beautiful sentiment that came to you through rumi this morning after discoveries from your reading last night. so good. and i love that this becomes about choice for you. letting go of the same story and choosing something different. thank you for sharing this with us.
    i wish you moments of quiet so you can continue to remind yourself of this. and moments to let go of self-judgement if you sometimes forget.

  23. mikaelah

    beautiful post and photo. I am still working with your “what is my most alive choice” post and then this comes along! …but it seems to be related, just another vantage point. I started a group just to check in daily on alive choices and my life is having some remarkable turns. It seems to me that just being aware of the choices … keeps me grounded in the present moment where all life happens. …and that in any situation I am free to make my choice… and I can choose the most alive one …or not. I can choose to make it easy or hard. I am choosing to be fully alive and vibrant and to do it as easily as posssible. and it is. i am. Wishing you all the best and grateful to have this haven called superheroes to visit. -m

  24. William

    Are you thinking too much? I agree that “we get what we put our attention on” and that “our lives are a manifestation of our thoughts”. But is the “same old story” that you’re telling over and over again a story about a woman who doesn’t get pregnant?
    Beware of telling a story about a woman who still doesn’t get pregnant but accepts the situation by choosing joy over fear, or you might manifest that. My reaction to this entry is to wonder whether you might want to listen to the story rather than tell it. If you tell it, you don’t leave it free enough to develop in its own ways.
    I want to tell you a story about a jewellery designer in California. She designs beautiful jewellery and brings happiness, comfort and wisdom into many lives via a blog that has readers across the world. Those readers know that she has a funny, creative husband, plus lots of friends and relatives. They’ve worked out that she’s the aunt from heaven.
    But they also know about her not-so-secret sadness, and every time she mentions it, they crowd in with comments and love. What many of them know, but our dear jewellery designer seems to have overlooked, is that you don’t need to think the fruit onto the trees. Water them, yes, but after that, don’t even think positive. Just let the sun and the rain and the wind do their thing.
    In my story, the jewellery designer forgets the “barriers”, the past, the story and everything else because she’s too busy designing jewellery, helping her husband excavate a whole conference centre under the desert, photographing babies, surfers, parking lots and everything else, writing her blog, feeling the sun and the rain and the wind, just living.
    Then one day, to her surprise, she finds that she’s … and from every corner of the world reached by the internet, a cheer goes up so loud that it can be heard on Venus and Mars.

  25. thodarumm

    You have done it again Andrea. I don’t dwell on negatives much ( at least lately), but every so often need a reminder. Loved this post. You make me cry, smile and laugh.
    “This is about creating and manifesting and causing magic in your life. This is choosing joy, choosing gratitude, choosing aliveness over fear and worry and cynicism.”
    I can honestly say that I am trying to make the above choices. But this sentence actually made me pause and I am thinking to myself hurriedly, oh no, better start thinking properly, for you are what you think.
    “Our lives are a manifestation of our thoughts.”
    You are my sunshine and it is really cold here in the NorthEast 🙂

  26. kyra

    I needed to read this post today. I came across it at the perfect time. A reminder of what’s important and what I’m doing through certain negative thinking patterns and behaviours. Thanks!

  27. la vie en rose

    beautiful andrea. thank you for your touching honesty and the reminder of the magic we can choose to create.
    and very fitting, gorgeous pic.

  28. Elizabeth

    Yes! We create our reality. Thank yo uso much for this post– both a reminder and a gentle nudge to take our noses out of the thorns . . Blessings to you!

  29. MPayne

    Your words resonate with me completely today. This is my first time on your site- found you through SARK (love her!) and its true what they say about the teacher showing up when you’re ready to learn. Looking at your past posts, I feel like my thoughts are being reflected back to me…bit scary, but also a relief- to know I’m not alone in my struggle, my attempt to connect with my authentic and glorious self.
    Thanks for the inspiration, I’ll definitely be back here for more!

  30. Catherine

    First of all, that photo takes my breath away. I’m speechless.
    And thank you… for your words. Thank you and my thoughts are with you.

  31. Jen Downer

    Thank you, Andrea! I needed that!
    I truly believe the things that you wrote. I believe this with all of my heart, but have such a hard time with the follow through. This was a wonderful (and well written!) reminder.
    Life can get so, so, so…… so MUCH! And its up to us to direct it with our perspectives.
    i send you love. i deeply appreciate you.

  32. Piper

    This reminds me of some verses of my favorite song – Incubus’ “Wish You Were Here”
    ‘I dig my toes into the sand. The ocean looks like a thousand diamonds strewn across a blue blanket. I lean against the wind, pretend that I am weightless. And in this moment I am happy…happy’

  33. Kate

    I needed this. I cannot tell you how much I needed to read this right now. Thank you! You just KNOW things, Andrea. You are so connected.

  34. Kate

    There are tears running down my face…that is how much you have hit home.

  35. Kelly

    I have been thinking about the exact things you talked about in your post. I was thinking about how we don’t trust our own inner power and our own magic. We doubt, we worry, we tell ourselves that we can’t do the thing our spirit longs to do. Lately I have been trying to believe in my own creativity as an artist, not caring what other people think of it, not doubting its uniqueness. Sometimes I think we need to be more like children and believe in our imagination and forget the unnecessary worries in our adult lives.

  36. katie v

    o how i love your journal!!!

  37. heidi

    andrea…one year ago i underwent surgery and successfully beat colon cancer. for the few months following the surgery i felt joyful and elated every day–i was so lucky, i had beaten this disease.
    now, almost a year to the day later, i am overwhelmed with sadness and despair as the medical tests that ensure my health seem overwhelming and limiting and painful.
    your post made me realize that i am focusing on the wrong aspect of my experiences. a cure is a gift! a gift of time and life and joy and happiness and one that is meant to be celebrated with abandon.
    thank you, once again, for reminding me how to exert energy into the world we spin in.

  38. Swirly

    You are a warrior and I am proud to call you my friend.

  39. Teece

    I love the way you inspire me.
    The 13th was my birthday. For years, i have gotten the blahs around my birthday. But this year, they did not come. At first i was happy, and then i began to wonder “What is wrong? i’m not unhappy? i’m not freaking out about aging?” and of course, i began to panic about my age. And then i got it, and i stopped…
    it’s 3 days later, and i’m just reading your post, but i understand that what i chose was to stop watering the thorns of “You’re too old” and started watering the bloom of “Damn girl, you’re hitting your prime.” *grin*
    it’s wonderful to know this is going on all over the world.

  40. miles

    Lovely image, it’s perfectly ‘weighted’, not just balanced but weighted. Superb.

  41. pixie

    beautifully stated. and synchronicitous! as i was just discussing how much energy i want to give to fear with a dear friend today. i don’t think i want to give much energy to fear. i want to give it to joy.
    when i lost my first pregnancy, i gave much space to healing, but also to sorrow-2 years of mulling and brooding and fearing and seeing light at the end of tunnels, too. you are not alone, sweetheart.
    i see you.

  42. Andrea

    This is another one of those 70’s shaving lotion commercial posts – where the guy gets slapped in the face & says, “Thanks, I needed that!”
    I sure needed to hear this! I am so tired of telling the story about my seemingly never-ending health issues – nothing life threatening, more like bunch of health inconveniences that seem to sprout other inconveniences, until the originating factor (hypothyroidism) is resolved.
    No, the medication is not working effectively. Yes, I’ve tried several. Yes, we’re now in year two. Yes, I am frustrated. Yes, I am frequently tired. Yes, I have low mood. Yes, I do feel like I’m cheating my kids out of their “real” mom. And yes, I do feel like I’m being cheated out of precious time in my own life.
    Yes, what I need is acceptance. And no, I have no idea how the hell to get there.
    But what I can tell you is that I certainly have been focusing on all of the aforementioned negative sides of things.
    I guess it’s time to look at the good things in life. Like my 12-year-old daughter who wrote me a note this morning about her first boyfriend (“…please don’t freak out, we’ve only been boyfriend & girlfriend since Thursday.”)
    And my 5-year-old son who just hid behind my chair trying to trick me.
    And it’s probably time to look at the blessing of having my life, no matter the circumstances. That’s the hardest one, but it’s time.
    Thanks for reminding me of all of this!

  43. jack

    keep on laughing, you shiny pearl, you.

  44. Georgy

    Oh, thank you! I needed this reminder today.
    I hadn’t been to visit you in a few days and got to missing the inspiration – but THIS message helps me a lot right now.
    Much Love!
    Happiest of Holidays,

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