The word “wonder,” gets used a lot around the holiday season. But have you ever stopped to think about how wonder shows up in your everyday life? Andrea Scher joins me this week for a conversation about how to live a more vibrant life full of wonder, presence, and connection.
Andrea is an artist, author, and life coach whose work is driven by her belief in the transformative power of creativity. She is also the author of Wonder Seeker: 52 Ways to Wake up Your Creativity and Find Your Joy. After having this conversation with Andrea, I am looking at the world a little bit differently.
In this episode you’ll hear:
- Andrea defines wonder and how it shapes her work and her life. (5:26)
- We explore some of the memories of wonder that are potent in our lives.(7:08)
- How wonder can be an antidote to anxiety. (14:22)
- The difference between wonder and joy. (26:26)
- The wonder of connection with others. (27:52)
- What it means to be a wonder seeker and how we can grow our sense of wonder in our everyday life. (32:03)
- Wonder is not about stepping over what is hard, it is being present with what is in front of you with compassion. (37:17)
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Andrea Scher is an artist, author and life coach whose work is driven by her belief in the transformative power of creativity. She guides women to feel more brave, joyful, and vibrant through her innovative use of creativity as a springboard for self-empowerment. For nearly two decades, her popular approach has thrilled attendees and listeners, resulting in her award-winning blog Superhero Journal and best-selling e-courses. She interviews authors, artists, and other creative thinkers of our time on her Creative Superheroes podcast and has been featured in books by Brené Brown and SARK, and in Lapham’s Quarterly, and more.
Her new book, Wonder Seeker: 52 Ways to Wake up Your Creativity and Find Your Joy (HarperCollins) straddles the world of creativity and mindfulness – playfully inspiring readers to live more vibrant lives full of presence, joy, and connection.
Andrea Scher 00:00
The things that inspire wonder in us are often really unique to us and say something about who we are. And in that sense, it says something about what you're really passionate about and curious about and excited about.
You're listening to Make Some Noise Podcast episode number 417 with guest Andrea Scher.
Welcome to Make Some Nosie Podcast, your guide for strategies, tools and insights to empower yourself. I'm your host, Andrea Owen, global speaker, entrepreneur, life coach since 2007, and author of three books that have been translated into 18 languages and are available in 22 countries. Each week, I'll bring you a guest or a lesson that will help you maximize unshakable competence, master resilience and make some noise in your life. You ready? Let's go.
Hey, everyone, welcome to another episode of the podcast. As always, I am so glad that you're here. Andrea Scher is here and she wrote an amazing book that we're going to talk about a little bit more so just the topic around what her book is about. And I have to say, after having this conversation with her, I am looking around the world a little bit differently. And you'll hear about that as we dive into this really interesting, amazing topic.
For those of you who are interested in maybe getting a little bit of support this coming new year, maybe 2022 is gonna be your year. I know, for many people, I've been talking to them, and it feels like they've been telling me that it feels like maybe we're kind of pulling our heads above water at this point coming up for air, and maybe can feel like a new beginning. And if that is you, I invite you to head on over to AndreaOwen.com/apply. And you can either apply to work with me myself, I do a couple of different things, I have a package of open sessions where you bring your primary focus, do you want to work on having more self-compassion, and maybe stop, you know, having too high expectations or beating yourself up so much. Or I also take people through The Daring Way, which is the modality based on Brené Brown’s research that I'm trained and certified in. That's a longer package a little bit more intense, deep dive, if you will. There's also the opportunity to coach with my lead coaches, Sabrina or Liz and they both have their areas of specialty of expertise. And they're both phenomenal. They were hand selected by me. Amazing, amazing coaches. So if you fill out an application, we will let you know who we think is the best pick. And you can have a phone call with either of them or with me and we can figure out what's going to be the best support for you. And I always want to make sure that you are making the best decision for you. So head on over to AndreaOwen.com/apply and we will get you started.
Right let's get into it. For those of you that don't know, Andrea, let me tell you a little bit about her. Andrea Scher is an artist, author and life coach whose work is driven by her belief in the transformative power of creativity. She guides women to feel more brave, joyful and vibrant through her innovative use of creativity as a springboard for self-empowerment. For nearly two decades, her popular approach has thrilled attendees and listeners, resulting in her award-winning blog, Superhero Journal and best-selling e-courses. She interviews authors, artists and other creative thinkers of our time on her Creative Superheroes Podcast, and has been featured in books by Brené Brown and Sark and in Lapham’s Quarterly and more. Her new book Wonder Seeker: 52 Ways to Wake Up Your Creativity and Find Your Joy straddles the world of creativity and mindfulness, playfully inspiring readers to live more vibrant lives of presence, joy, and connection. So without further ado, here is Andrea.
Andrea, welcome to the show.
Andrea Scher 04:19
Thank you, Andrea.
It's funny because I think we've had this conversation offline before. Andrea isn't a super common name. So for me personally, when I meet another Andrea, it's always a little bit exciting.
Andrea Scher 04:33
It's so true. I know that it's like how do you pronounce it now? I pronounce it like this. So we have the same pronunciation.
Yes, we do. We are name twinsies. And I'm so glad to have you on because you've we've been internet friends for so long and we're in a mastermind together for a short time and I absolutely love your work. You've been I think actually in in the biz in the industry even longer than I have and I, I love watching people's work evolve. And now you have a book baby out, which is so incredibly exciting. Wonder Seeker: 52 Ways to Wake Up Your Creativity and Find Your Joy and let's start like from the very beginning, okay, like for people who aren't totally sure, you know, cuz it's jargon, we have jargon in this industry, how do you define wonder?
Andrea Scher 05:26
It's actually a great question because some people think of it as like wonder like curiosity, like a verb, like, I'm going to wonder which is beautiful. And that's one of one of the parts of wonder is it inspires curiosity. And, and also, it sort of goes the other way, where if you are a curious person, you might actually experience more wonder. So there's that. But the wonder that most excites me that I'm really talking about in the book, is the kind of wonder where you see something beautiful or unexpected, often in nature, and you have this like, somatic experience of like, ah, wow. And like, your eyes get wide, and your heart opens, and you have this like, expansive feeling in your body. And I just love that, like, that's part of living like a vibrant, juicy life for me, is experiencing that, you know, not just when I you know, go to the Grand Canyon or fly to Barcelona or whatever. Might be lucky enough to do one day but but really, in our ordinary lives, like, can I be a person that lives like, that's sort of the thread of my life in my ordinary life in my messy, imperfect life? Can I also experience that?
So it sounds like, I when you explain it that way, I think that children experience that a lot more than adults to correct?
Andrea Scher 07:01
Yes, absolutely. And I think that's why we need a book about wonder.
Like, we're grownups. Yeah.
Andrea Scher 07:08
Exactly, to remind us, and it's why I've been practicing this for, you know, very consciously for like, 25 years, like, because I think it's, it's in part, it's a gateway to joy. And it's part of it's experiencing the world with fresh eyes with creative eyes. And, you know, so okay, let me ground this in some examples, because I don't want to get too sort of theoretical about it. But like, you know, there's the sort of, there's the examples of like, you see the night sky for the first time when you're camping, and you're like, oh, my God, I didn't know there were so many stars like that, I mean, every time I see the night sky, I'm like, oh, my God, this is amazing. So there's definitely places in nature where we can experience it pretty easily. What about you, Andrea, though? Like, I'm curious, like, do you have any memories of wonder that pop up for you, when I say that?
I remember being very young and being just enamored by the full moon and actually the moon at any stage that it was in. Even my mom tells the story of, of me being very young, not having a whole lot of words, but I definitely said the word moon and I would point to it. And also even as an adult, I think, you know, now I live in North Carolina and you know, we're recording this in October, and the leaves are changing, and it never, we've lived here since 2015 and it's always just stunning. So I do take the time to look at it and just revel in the gloriousness of how many different colors they are. And also that we get to see it for such a short time, which almost makes it that much more, not that it makes it more beautiful, but I just have such a bigger sense of gratitude because it's temporary.
Andrea Scher 08:54
Yeah, right. Exactly. Yeah, yeah, so right so you're pointing to like beauty like natural beauty and yes and the in even the wonder of like the mystery of like the moon and its phases and like the way it pulls the tides and the way that our cycles as women are connected to it like there's all this like beauty and mystery attached to the moon. So that's a great place to find wonder.
Do you define wonder is also because now I'm thinking of something else that just makes me like I'm obsessed. This is why I went to college for exercise physiology because I I thought about going to medical school for like five minutes and then I'm like, I just can't it's way too much science. But I got my Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology, partly because I am so fascinated by how the human body works. We are really all animals, well, the human body in particular. I am fascinated and have been for as long as I can remember everything down from the way that our feet are put together anatomically to work so perfectly with all those ligaments and tendons and muscles and bones and the insertions and how they're attached. And also, conception, pregnancy and labor and delivery is like, oh my God, it is it is the most miraculous thing that it happens as it does, naturally. And just like, can we just talk about the uterus for a second? Later, the magical creatures, like the placenta, like, are you kidding me? Like that probably makes me the most excited about the human body. I can't even like put into words how wonder is that is. So that's different than like nature, because I thought that you were just talking about like beautiful things.
Andrea Scher 10:45
Oh, no, it's not just beautiful things. In fact, I love that example. And I love knowing that you, you were studying the body in that way. And we're considering even becoming a medical doctor because of it. So the things that inspire wonder in us are often really unique to us and say something about who we are. And in that sense, it like says something about what you're really passionate about, and curious about and excited about. And because I don't I don't marvel at the human body in the same way that you do. And I have another friend who is this really incredible artist in San Francisco, his name is Abraham. And when I asked him this question, what some you know, what's a memory in early memory of wonder for you? He said, the first thing that's coming to my mind is when my dad used the word complacent when I was about nine years old. And I heard it, and I immediately got curious, like, what does that mean? And then he told me what complacent meant. And he said, my head kind of exploded, like, one word could capture so much meaning and so much, it was like there was philosophy in there, there was like a way of living your life in there, like all in this one word. And so, and he's made, you know, his life is this like, full of like this very intellectual curiosity and art. And he said, in that moment, he decided he would never be complacent. And like, wow, so these moments of wonder, especially from our early childhood, are really poignant, and often see something about who we become.
Interesting. Okay, so not everyone is interested in dissecting a cadaver.
Andrea Scher 12:24
That’s hysterical, apparently you are. I love it.
That's I was disappointed that we only got to dissect cats in my anatomy class, because the junior college I was at, they just didn't have the refrigeration that it takes to house all these, you know, dead bodies for a certain amount of time. And I, like no one else is disappointed by that. And I'm like, I, I've even thought about taking that just that class. Just, it blows my mind. There's a scene in Grey's Anatomy, we thought it was so funny, let me just tell you a quick story. There's a scene it's in the first season where the character Alex, he has to pull someone's like eyelid back just slightly and stick a needle underneath that person's eyelid to drain fluid from I think, from their brain. And I, my husband was like, horrified at that scene. He was like, oh my God, and it takes a lot for him to be like, grossed out. And I like leaned forward. And I'm like, like, I would I would be like the character Christina, like, sign me up for all the surgeries. I want to see it. I don't necessarily want to like do surgery that to me, I feel like so much responsibility, but I just want to be there and witness it. It's just fascinates the shit out of me. So anyway. We’ll move one.
Andrea Scher 13:39
Love that, you know, I'm thinking of one more example that I'll just share just so people can understand like this. There's like a huge range of like, what wonder is right? I use the examples from nature because they're, they're the most sort of accessible place to find it. And we know how to name that wonder. Yeah, like a friend of mine named Basha, she's from Turkey. And she was camping with her dad and her family one year when she was little. And her dad somehow built a kiln out of like the earth, like the red clay earth that they were camping on. And he built account, it must have been really hot out or something. And they actually fired pottery somehow out when they were camping. And she ended up becoming an industrial designer. Isn't that cool?
That's so neat. Yeah. Okay. Well tell like I know a lot of my audience struggle sometimes with anxiety. And so in the book, you talk about how wonder can be an antidote to anxiety. Can you say more about that?
Andrea Scher 14:33
Yeah. So I'm a very anxious person naturally. I actually finally after decades of trying to manage my anxiety with you know, kelp and kale and…
Andrea Scher 14:46
Yeah, exactly. I started taking medication for like generalized anxiety and a panic disorder and that's really helped. However, for all those decades that I was very actively managing my nervous system. As a photographer, I just started going outside and taking my camera with me wherever I'd go. And this is pre cell phones. So it wasn't like I just had my phone with me, I would actually carry my camera. And I would just walk myself around my neighborhood in San Francisco and ask myself, okay, what's beautiful, are interesting. And just that question alone, would drop me into the present moment, it would take me out of like the kind of chaotic swirl of my thoughts, or even like the physiological kind of symptoms that I would be having, where I couldn't quite get a full breath all day, and somehow drop into the state of flow pretty quickly. And now I call that ‘wonder spotting’. That's just like my sort of whimsical name for it and it's part of the book. But creating a noticing practice, especially if you're a visual person is a really powerful medicine for managing our nervous system.
And so even during the pandemic, when, you know, we were all anxious, you probably noticed that you felt better if you were able to take a walk, just be outside and then take a walk. So I think it's part like moving your body in that physical way. But if this added element of like, what's beautiful, sort of like, I call it like putting on your wonder goggles, it's sort of like you put on your wonder goggles, and then you see the world a little bit differently. And then the other thing that you're doing is that you're, you're creating a new neural pathway, or you're deepening a neural pathway that maybe you're not using so much. And that is like, so there's this Dr. Rick Hanson, here in Berkeley, and he talks about the negativity bias. Have you heard about that? So yeah, so for people who don't know, it's like, we basically, we're wired to scan for what's wrong in our environment so that we can survive. It's like a holdover from a time…
Where we hold on to like negative reviews or negative feedback instead of the compliments and praise.
Andrea Scher 17:01
Exactly. So in order to kind of level the playing field neurologically and give yourself a chance at experiencing more joy, you actually need to train yourself to also scan for what's working, and what's beautiful and what's good. ‘Wonder spotting’ is one way to do that. So I think all of that sort of mixed together. It really helped me over the years manage my system.
I love that. And I love the question that you said a few minutes ago, what is beautiful or interesting? It's not just what is beautiful, because some things can, can elicit that feeling of wonderment without actually being beautiful. It's just interesting. And beauty is subjective, and so is interest.
Andrea Scher 17:47
Exactly. Sometimes I just asked myself, what have I never noticed before. So it becomes a little bit of a treasure hunt. Like oh, I've never noticed that there's a persimmon tree right there. And then you're like, I may not noticed it because it's persimmon season. And now they're here. And like, she just start seeing things that I think our brains are very efficient. We just selectively, we see the same thing over and over again, we think the same thoughts over and over again. And this is a way all the practices in the book are several ways to interrupt this default mode that we're in so that we can jump into a more wondrous space and not like so there's like muggle world and magic world. Yeah. And so it's like a way to pivot into magic world a little bit more of the time.
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One of the things I love about this book, as you mentioned, there's so many different practices that you you name so many and it's gorgeous. There's pictures in this book. Yeah, many beautiful pictures.
Andrea Scher 21:55
Which you know, most nonfiction books don't have that. And so they're colorful and gorgeous and stunning. And, and so I feel like I am more of a muggle mind. And let me explain because I don't know if the way my brain works is more common or uncommon. I am typically oblivious to my surroundings. And I don't know if it's an ADD thing or if it's a neurodivergent thing or just personality or what. I tend to not notice. So I'm really good at remembering people's names, terrible at remembering their faces, which I know a lot of people are the opposite. They can remember someone's face, even out of context, but will never remember their name. And I'm exactly the opposite.
And so speaking of trees, we've lived in this neighborhood for five years, and it's it right across the street and a little bit down not directly across the street, there's a tree that must have just been a sapling, at one point and grew into a tree just got lucky and grew into a tree. It's a decent sized tree at this point. It's probably I don't know, maybe nine or 10 feet tall. I just noticed it the other day. And I asked my husband has that tree always been there. And he looks at me like are you, are you joking? Because it's very obvious. And I had never noticed it. Like if someone said, draw a picture of across the street, I could tell you the gigantic oak tree that's in my neighbor's yard. Gigantic, but not this other tree. And I've always kind of have joked like if when I worked at the bank, it was a bank teller for a long time if we get robbed, I will not be able to tell you what the person looked like. I will not be able to tell you if they had facial hair, nothing. But I could tell you the sound of their voice and if they told me their name I would remember.
Andrea Scher 23:43
That is so interesting yes. I love it. So in your world then like this isn't like the easiest pivot for you.
Exactly that's why I bring it up. I'm not just like talking about myself for the sake of talking about myself. I'm saying like, this isn't I have to consciously do this and I like that you, what did you call it like a wonder break or something?
Andrea Scher 24:00
‘Wonder spotting’. Yes. Because I believe that it's learned, but it's just easier for some people.
Andrea Scher 24:10
Yes, I mean, I am I'm oriented toward visuals. I've always been a photographer since I was a kid. I remember everybody's faces even if I don't remember their names. So you're right. I'm really oriented toward visual. I'm really oriented toward beauty and light and it's partly right because I'm I trained myself as a photographer and I'm a portrait photographer on top of that so… And I look at everybody like some people when you know you pass someone on the street you know they don't they don't actually look at the person I like full on look at every single person I pass by cuz I'm curious what their face looks like. And that's probably a little unusual too.
Yeah, I don't. I don't know if it's like an eye contact thing or what but it's it's super fas…. I'm always fascinated to with like, how people's brains work and like how yours is different than mine and what I can learn from other people and also train my brain, because I love neuroplasticity and the understanding that we can train ourselves. And so I love that, like, I'm just like glancing at your book right now and like number 17 was find faces in everyday things, which I love that I do. See, I do see faces, like in in wood and things like that. That's fun. Yeah. faces.
Andrea Scher 25:32
So yeah, so now I'm intrigued by how our brains are oriented a little bit differently. Yeah, were there any activities in there that you remember that that sort of stood out for you is like, ooh, I might want to try that.
You mean, that might be a little bit harder?
Andrea Scher 25:47
No, just kind of resonated for you.
Um, well, I love I love to leave a love note on a banana. I love to leave love notes, I think. I don't know my mom used to leave them in my in my lunch all the time. And maybe that's where I picked it up. But you know that you can write directly on an orange or a banana. I feel like the texture of an orange might be harder to write on with a ballpoint pen unless you have a sharpie or something. But…
Andrea Scher 26:15
Yea, bananas are perfect. They slide right along. And then if the banana bruises it makes the writing even a little bit more intense.
I just I love. I've always been too nervous to write on money, though. I don't know, maybe… you're not supposed to. But I love I love the thought of leaving love notes behind for people so they can spot them. Yeah, that's one of my favorites.
Okay, so what is the difference between because you said a few minutes ago that wonder is like the can come right before joy. So how do you differentiate between wonder and joy.
Andrea Scher 26:53
So in all the ways that I experienced wonder, and I experienced it, you know, in deep connection with someone else, and that doesn't have to be like, a super happy, joyful moment, it could be like a really sacred moment, where someone is sharing something really beautiful and deep and personal and intimate with me. And then I feel this, like, deep connection with them, and empathy or resonance. And that can feel like wonder to me as well. But I think there's like a heart opening quality and all of these examples. And a kind of joy that arises as well. So it's not like, yay, everything's great kind of joy, it's like that deeper joy, or a deeper well-being of like, I am present. I am connected to myself, maybe to nature, maybe to someone else. And there's a just a real, like authentic joy that comes from that from presence, really.
Do you find that, you know, speaking of presence, and do you find that, like, you know, wonder spotting, or just trying to exercise a lot, maybe with other people, or yourself, like brings a bigger sense of connection with yourself and other people? Cuz I know you talk about that in the book as well.
Andrea Scher 28:14
You mean wonder spotting specifically, or…
or just the topic of wonder at all and what that has to do with connection?
Andrea Scher 28:22
Yeah, well, you know, like, I asked you that question of like, can you, you know, think of a memory of wonder in your life, I find it that everyone has an answer to that question. And it's really unique for each person. And people kind of like, they get into this sort of like, yummy kind of wondrous place when they talk about it. And they remember and like I said, it's somatic. It's like they remember in their bodies like this feeling of maybe from childhood or something where, where there's a kind of reverence for being alive and being in the world. And as someone who's experienced a lot of depression and anxiety in her life, I think I'm really interested in how do we create better conditions for those kinds of feelings to arise in us.
And as far as connection with other people, I think it's that open hearted thing it's like, so if you do say experience, you know, wonder at the night sky and you see the moon rising or something like really miraculous like that happening. You feel a kind of love for the world. And that love like, makes you want to protect the world, you know, the planet, which is a really powerful and crucial thing at this moment in our lives. And I think the same goes for other people when we are in deep connection and presence with other people, which is why there's a whole section in the book called The Wonder of Connection. It's like, that's how we can love each other better. And see each other with fresh eyes, not like oh, I know who you are, I know everything about you, you're like this, I know everything. It's like, we have to practice actually not knowing maybe our partner and being like, hmm, maybe there's something new to discover a new way that I can see this person. And that further opens my heart to them and allows me to love them more. Does that answer your question?
Yeah, it does. And I, I love that so much. I love that this topic can bring in so many different elements of our personal development. And it seems like it's, I don't know if untapped is the word that I'm looking for, but just like underutilized under talked about, yeah. Is you know, getting to know what makes us wonder. And I actually thought of something else from when I was a kid now that I'm talking to you, I remember more things.
We had, I must have been five because we have pictures of me with the kittens. And our cat, Buffy, she was this white, super fluffy cat. And she had like great ears, she had kittens. And they were my mom had set up a cardboard box for her to give birth. And it was like in the in the hall closet, so you know, she could shut the door and have privacy and, and the kittens were super tiny. Like, I don't think that they had even open their eyes yet. And my mom had told me don't pick up the kittens, leave them alone to be with their mama for a while, and we cannot play with them yet. And, and I remember just being like, oh, I can't help myself. Like I can't like I got caught and I got in trouble. But I remember that. And there's that there's a picture of me again, probably like five years old with one of the kittens wrapped up in a towel. And its eyes were open at that point. And I'm just like smiling so big. And so yes, that's a moment of wonder where I just could not I had to hold it. I had to hold it. Well tell us what does it mean? And you may have already answered this by talking about the ‘wonder spotting’, but what does it mean to be a ‘wonder seeker’?
Andrea Scher 32:08
Yeah, so I'm still sort of living in that question. Right? So the whole book is sort of me asking, okay, you know, how do we create better conditions for this really incredible emotion to arise in us? How do we design a life that is full of wonder, and therefore has us have this really vibrant experience of being alive? And so I think being a ‘wonder seeker’ is someone who wants to live in that way, someone who, you know, wants to seek beauty, is really vibrant and open hearted, someone who delights easily. Have you ever met one of those old women that is just like, isn't it amazing? Aren't we lucky? Like I have a godmother in San Francisco, who I'm just marveling at her because she is so delighted by life, no matter what we're doing. She's so excited about it. And I'm like, wow, she's a ‘wonder seeker’. Like, I want to be like that. I want to be full of gratitude, and present and in, in total delight as much as possible by my totally ordinary life.
Totally ordinary existence. That's, that's interesting. Do you think that if it were 2018 or 2019, like pre pandemic would you have written this book differently or talked about wonder differently? Or is it the same.
Andrea Scher 33:31
Um, you know, I think I would have, it would be the same book. But it was all the more poignant to be writing it during 2020. And I think one of the reasons I got the book deal, you know, after like, you know, 25 years of like writing and blogging and doing all these things I've been doing, I think, when we shopped the book, and we were a month into quarantine, it really resonated and landed is like, oh, I get it. This is medicine for this moment. People need this. And so I think it was sort of divine timing in that way. And the game for me when I was writing it, I had a very short window, I had like four months to write it. Oh, yeah, they wanted to publish it as quickly as possible. In fact, they ended up moving the the pub date to later but originally, it was going to be this spring. And so I in order to finish the book, and to protect the energy of the book, I had to really shield myself from going down any, you know, sort of dark paths in my own mind during the pandemic. Because of course, I was you know, I was listening to the news and I knew what was going on. It wasn't just shut myself off.
But I had a rigor about tending my my spirit and tending my joy and tending my view of the world, which was yes, there are all these things happening and they're terrifying and they're anxiety-producing and uncertain and all of that. And there was loss in my life as well as you know, so many so many other people's losses. And I also had to ask myself this question of like, and what else is here? And I think that's the most important question again, when we're rewiring our, our brains, it's like, okay, yes and what else is here? And the fact is that, like, there were hummingbirds everywhere when I go on my walks, in fact that the birds were so loud during the pandemic, because we had never been quiet enough to hear them, right. And it turns out, all my neighbors are amazing people that I finally got to know. And there was a wonder in that there was a wonder in like, the simplicity of our lives and how everything got stripped down and there was nowhere to go and there was no invitations to say yes to and that felt like a relief. And I don't know, it was like, yeah, like I said, there was something rigorous about holding on to what you know, I can say in Berkeley is like the vibration of joy and the vibration of wonder, as I was writing this book inside of a really stressful time.
I love that answer so much because I think especially people with anxious minds, like you and I, and I think like so many of my listeners, and I think sometimes we are so far into it, chemically that this can feel next to impossible. But if you're not like asking yourself the question, I love that, what else is there? I also love the question, tell me something good. Because I know when we're anxious, especially like, I really struggled with the onset of the pandemic. I did a whole podcast episode about it. I was like, spiraling into like, all the negatives, and all the what ifs, and the doom-Googling and all of that. And so, but it's like, if you're not too far down, you could ask yourself, okay, yes, things are really hard and what else? Like what's beautiful, what's wonderous and miraculous. I think that gets thrown around in different formations in our industry, you know, about gratitude and things like that. But it's, it never goes out of style.
Andrea Scher 37:17
It just works. Yeah. And there have been times, you know, okay, so another thing I really want to be clear about is that in the book, and just in my life, in general, it's like, this is not about stepping over what's hard. And looking on the bright side, or staying positive or go, you know, it's not that it's, it's really, like, meet what's here, and be present with what's here. And what's here might be, oh, my God, I'm terrified this morning and you know, I'm terrified about money or something's happening and needs my attention and needs me to meet it with compassion. And so I think there are even, there's even a couple of exercises in the book that are really about like, meeting whatever shows up with friendliness, so that you can have the capacity to hold both the light and the dark. You know, so there's that Brené Brown quote that you probably know, Andrea, which is like, you can't selectively numb emotions, right? So if we numb the hard stuff, then we're also numbing our joy, we're like narrowing our range of what we are allowing ourselves to feel. And so to have access to wonder and joy, you also have to be able to be with what's hard and what's difficult. And when I say like, meet what's here, it's like, sometimes what's here like is that nothing's wrong, and your mind is going cray cray, in your mind, going into these directions that aren't useful. And that's when I would take myself on one of those ‘wonder spotting’ walks, then it's like, okay, let's interrupt that, because that isn't useful. And I can't do anything about that. And let's like pivot, and deep in this other groove for a little while and see if that shifts my energy
Do you recommend people have like accountability partners in this work? Or because I imagine for you and maybe people have done this for a long time, it has become a bit of a habit where you fight if you find yourself kind of spiraling, you're like, okay, I need to go on a ‘wonder spotting’ walk or do something to pull me out of this kind of rut that you're in, but I see people doing it as like with a buddy system.
Andrea Scher 39:33
Yeah, well, I think that what's really useful about the buddy system is first you have somebody who you can be real with, right? So hopefully that buddy, right is someone who you're like, whoa, I'm, I'm going down. I have like a dark cloud every day, I can feel it, I think I just need to shift my energy, You know, we just hold space for me in it, you know, and just know hold that knowing for me well I tried to shift my energy. Or sometimes just sharing what's going on with someone can really help alleviate that. Yeah.
I mean, one thing that I do recommend in the book is to find a gratitude buddy. And, you know, I've done that in, in different times in my life just via email, like somebody who I maybe want to get to know a little bit better, who's far away, and we don't get to talk on the phone. Very often, it's like, you literally just send like three things like, you know, gratitudes today, that first sip of coffee, you know, the sky that had puffy clouds, and you know, my body doesn't hurt. You know, maybe I'll get healthy today. Yeah, exactly. And then in you, there's no explanation. You don't have to create context. It's just like, you send that out. And then at some point, they send theirs back. And that's a really beautiful thing. But you know, gratitude at the times when I was most depressed, felt very luxurious and lofty, like, are you kidding me? Gratitude? That felt very far away. And so I think, again, that's why these little walks were helpful. Because if I could say, okay, what have I never noticed before? What's interesting, that was as close as I could get to gratitude. Yeah, what's interesting? Yeah.
I like that almost baby step for somebody who's in that place. I cannot say that I've ever had anyone on the podcast that has talked about this. So it’s a first, I was so glad I'm so happy to have you on. Again, everyone. The book is called wonder seeker. Wonder Seeker: 52 Ways to Wake Up Your Creativity and Find Your Joy. And where do you want people to go to find more of you and more about the book? Where can they get the book?
Andrea Scher 41:44
Yeah. So if you go to AndreaShear.com/book, you'll find other places that have the book, which are you know, all the normal places. But if you go to that page, you can sign up for the read along. So I'm doing like a Wonder Seeker read along ecourse. So we can do some of these activities and community and share about them. And I read from the book and just like a fun little free ecourse. So once you purchase the book, be sure to sign up for that.
Yeah, I think that's how I actually was introduced to you way back in like, I want to say 2010. Because Because Brené Brown was doing a read along for, I feel like it was I think that the Gifts of Imperfection had just come out. And this was back when she just had her blog, and it was MP3’s, like people weren't really doing podcasts. And she had MPS’s on her site that were like embedded into her site. And you had to go there and do the read along and I was doing that it was the first time I had found out that she was sober. And that kind of put me on my path to do that. That's why I was introduced to your work. And that's when you were still a photographer, correct?
Andrea Scher 42:54
Yes. And I had done her. I think her author photo for that book is one that I did. That's right. Okay. But we're connected in other ways as well.
Yeah, that's funny. Yes. And like I think Jen Lemon and Jen Louden, were mentioned. And that's how I was introduced to those amazing women. And that's funny how we all come full circle. And over a decade later. Yeah, thank you so much for being here. I'm grateful for your friendship and your perspective on this and giving me and listeners a new tool to be able to put into their toolbox. And of course, everyone, all those links are in the show notes. And it's S-C-H-E-R, your last name for Andrea Scher.com. And anything that I missed that you have on the tip of your tongue that you want to say before we close up?
Andrea Scher 43:43
Oh my gosh, no, this was so great. Thank you so much. It's such a, it's so fun. I didn't know I'd have so much fun talking about my book. And still until I started talking about it. And it is. So appreciate your questions and your curiosity and your sharing. So thank you, you did so rich and great.
Awesome. Awesome. And thank you everyone for listening. I know how valuable your time is. And remember, it's our life's journey to make ourselves better humans and our life's responsibility to make the world a better place. Bye, everyone.
Everyone, thanks again for listening to the show. And just a quick reminder that if your company needs a speaker or a trainer, I might be the right person for you. I speak and do keynotes on confidence and resilience for mixed audiences as well as do trainings on The Daring Way which is the methodology based on the research of Dr. Brené Brown. So if you think it might be a good fit, hit me up at support at Andrea o n.com. or head over to my speaking page AndreaOwen.com/speaking.