When I had my 40th birthday (5 years ago now!) I thought long and hard about how I wanted to celebrate. I felt like it was my permission slip to do something that my spirit really wanted… not because it was practical or related to work, but purely because I knew my soul needed it.
But when my friend Kelly Rae Roberts told me she was going to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico for a painting workshop with Flora Bowley all of my inner wisdom went out the window. My only thought was “Why don’t I get to do things like that? I’m SO JEALOUS! I wish I could go!!”
I had been following Flora for years, oohhing and ahhing about her paintings and wishing I could get back to my own painting practice after years of letting it go. And San Miguel de Allende was my spirit place! I had spent a couple of months there when I was in my 20’s, learning Spanish and taking metalsmithing classes while living with a family. It felt like an enchanted city – incredible food, cobblestone streets, gorgeous architecture and every wall a different shade of ochre. My heart ached to go back.
This ache kept me up at night for days on end… the agitation of this desire that I was too afraid to say out loud. The critical voices kept coming in – You don’t have money for that. That’s too much to ask. That’s too much time away from the boys.
But then a friend told me something I never forgot: “Andrea, I want you to let yourself want this. Feel the FULL breadth of this desire – don’t cut it off. Wanting it and having it are two completely different things. Have a conversation with Matt. You may or may not get to go. But it’s enough to let yourself want it.”
As you might have guessed, I did get to go. In fact, Matt and Kelly Rae secretly hatched a scheme to gift me the trip and surprised me with airline tickets! Amazing.
I painted for an entire week and learned so much from Flora… not just about the craft of painting, but how painting is really an access point for all of the things I want to cultivate in myself – how to be more brave, trust my intuition, see where I get stopped, how to reach for my unique gifts to help me through stuck places and ultimately how to express my own unique voice in the world.
I’m going back to San Miguel next month – this time for the San Miguel Writers Conference. It will be another time when I say yes to my inner wisdom, even in the face of the critical voices that tell me I have no right to go – You’re not really a writer… Can you really afford this? Who do you think you are? And by the way, you’re not a real writer.
Yeah. All that. Do you recognize those voices too?
Instead, I’m saying yes to adventure.
Yes to pleasure.
Yes to learning.
Yes to my spirit.
Yes to my intuition.
P.S. And by the way, here are some adventures you might feel called to jump into. If your heart is a big YES, note that and let yourself feel that desire.
Waking up in Bali: I will be co-leading a retreat in Ubud, Bali this May 8th-15th with Juna Mustad Milano. We took an incredible group of women last year and it was SO MUCH FUN, we decided to do it again. There are 3 more spots available. And guess what? Flights right now are as low as 650- roundtrip!
Here is what one of the participants shared about the retreat:
Juna and Andrea created a supportive and safe environment for women to learn more about and to share their authentic selves, to heal, and to celebrate their lives and themselves. There was a lovely mix of intuition, movement and creative exercises. The combination of activities, outings, daily circle meetings in the yoga studio, and the magic of the island itself provided to be restorative and transforming for all the participants. As a result Bali has become part of me like no other place I have visited, and the circle we created with stay with me forever. I went away feeling more open, breathing easier, and like I have fresh soil in my soul.
One of our main themes this year? PLEASURE. How much pleasure can we take? We’ll find out. 🙂
If you are considering the trip to Bali but need to chat, just hit reply and I’m happy to help you see if it’s a fit for you.
Sending you all so much love,
Flora Bowley’s Creative Revolution E-course starts soon! (Early bird pricing ends tomorrow, Wednesday, January 25th) This course is not just for painters, but anyone who wants to enrich their life with creative practices that nourish in big ways.
Had no idea, or maybe no memory of the fact, that it was your 40th birthday then. I adore SMA and that was a magical trip for me too. Good for you for saying yes to yourself. May it be habit forming.
Love this post! That is exactly how I ended up in Bali with you! I followed everything with a Yes! To adventure, pleasure, tribe, fear, the unknown, and tons more! One of my best examples of following my heart and leaving the naysayers behind. To all out there, if Bali is whispering to you as it did to me, Just. Say. Yes. 🙂 I will see you there again someday:)