Your vision for what you want your life to look like is sacred

You will be lost. That’s kind of the point.

By Andrea Schroeder | June 12, 2022

It's Sunday morning.

I'm sitting on my chaise lounge with my laptop, my cat Bear, and a latte. It rained last night, and I opened up both big windows upstairs and the most delightful breeze is flowing through the loft with that it-just-rained smell.

My husband is asleep upstairs. We are still living apart, but spending more and more time together, and planning to live together again within the next year.

The time apart was so needed. In March 2021, when he moved out, I was ready to lose my mind if I didn't get some of alone time.

And now, with the magic of HAVING SPACE, and also a great couple's therapist, I'm excited to live with him again.

Dreams are not static.

We don't create a dream come true in our lives, and then curl up in it and live there forever, never feeling sad or lost or unfulfilled ever again.

We're alive and our dreams are alive and we grow and change and they grow and change and it can get very complicated at times.

My loft condo was SUCH a big dream for me. I bought it in 2011 - my first year of self employment with the Creative Dream Incubator.

A big modern open space with HUGE sunny windows. This felt like THE perfect place for ALL of my dreams.

And it was. At that time. But I kept growing and changing and then I had a husband and 4 step-kids and the big loft stopped feeling big, lol!

But it's still more than a home, it's a DREAM.

There have been times when I was very frustrated that I couldn't sell it and move on to the next thing. But a shift in the real estate market for condominiums made that extremely complicated. There have been times when I was glad I kept it. There are times when I want to keep it AND get a new home with my husband. And there are times when I am ready to take the financial loss, sell it and move on to the next thing.

When I last wrote about my loft I got so much advice and almost... well it felt like I was being roasted.

My inbox was overwhelmed with people being upset about the choices I was making. Which is wild, since I 100% trust myself to make the right choices for me. I'm so good at this, I help other people do this for a living!

But, people project online. A lot. We only see bits and pieces of each other's lives, fill in the banks with our own projections, and then it's easy to get upset when someone we like does something we don't.

Anyway, I'm sitting here on this gorgeous morning and I still have no clue what to do with this dream house of mine.

My husband and I have lots of ideas for ways to renovate it to make it work better.

And there are other options too, of course.

We'll figure it out....

But I do this - creative dreaming - for a living. So shouldn't I KNOW?

I have ALL of the tools. Shouldn't I never get stuck trying to figure out my next moves? Shouldn't I never make a mistake or mis-step?

It's easy to go there.

And loads of people in the life coaching/Life Your Best Life Industry really are out there saying that with the right tools and support, your life can be perfect. Always. Forever.

And some of these people become such huge corporations with so much impact that it's easy to feel convinced that if your life is not consistently perfect it's because YOU are doing something wrong, and you need to buy a better solution.

That's really shitty. It's the collision of unethical marketing with life coaching/personal growth and there's a LOT of it out there. And it taps into a lot of unconscious beliefs we have from growing up in this capitalist/colonialist/individualist/supremacist culture.

But we don't have to go there. We can shine a light on what's actually happening there, and then we can choose a different path.

Creative Dreaming is about STAYING ENGAGED with your dreams, and your healing and growth.

It's not about imagining that you can control the universe.

Or that being alive doesn't come with a FUCK TON of uncertainty, vulnerability and pain.

It's not about trying to AVOID the realities of life on earth.

It's about STAYING ENGAGED with your dreams/healing/growth/creativity/joy/values/inner truth which is a much deeper magic than "living a perfect life" could ever offer.

So here I am FEELING that magic.

Knowing what I want in the larger sense but also having no clue about what the details or timing will look like and letting it be what it is AND ALSO accepting that I could be in this place for a while AND ALSO - underneath everything, trusting the process.

(And THAT - trusting the process - is a valuable skill to learn which comes from engaging in the practice of staying engaged)

We can feel this magic WHILE being in the process, without a solution or fairy-tale ending in sight, just a commitment to stay on the path.

I'm going to stay here. Lost. Uncertain. Feeling my way.

I am following my creative flow. Starting BIG new projects. Going all in with self care as replenishment from a difficult few years.

I am going to put the LIVE Creative Genius Planning Sessions on hold for now - the ones I do Monday mornings on Instagram. Instead, I am sharing shorter meditations - like this one, for calling in what you need for the week.

I am planning a new free class to happen soon (if you're signed up for my emails you'll get an invite).

And exploring the idea of offering a few small group coaching programs for other people who are navigating deep change, or starting new projects - so we can do this together.

 

Some questions

By Andrea Schroeder | May 27, 2022

Make space to focus on self care

I've been having a lot of anxiety this week.

A few days ago I rode my bike to the park, and stopped for a lavender doughnut on the way.

Then I had a beautiful moment of calm in the park, in a haze of lavender sugar, and I came up with a few questions to help me navigate all of this.

Maybe you could use them too?

Where can you say no? Slow down? Lower expectations?

Where can you do things differently, in ways that honour how you are feeling?

What do you need right now?

How can you process some of your feelings to create even a small bit of space for yourself?

Stay there with these questions as long as you need.

A lot of us seem to have an unconscious goal of “getting back to normal” and working on that goal isn’t going to lead to the future we want.

So, instead of trying to get back to normal, what if we stay present where we are and put our efforts into really tending to what is here?

I Take Excellent Care of Myself: 8 Week Undated Self Care Planner is now available through the Creative Dream Incubator Press!

Find out more + get your copy here!

The Self Care Planner is here!!!

By Andrea Schroeder | May 23, 2022

I Take Excellent Care of Myself: 8 Week Undated Self Care Planner is now available through the Creative Dream Incubator Press!

I've been working on this during the whole pandemic.

With the combination of "a lot of my self care things became inaccessible" and "my life got more stressful on a number of fronts" and "the whole world started freaking out and falling apart" it was both tricky AND essential for me to find new ways to do self care.

There are a TON of ways to define self care. For me, self care is the foundation for everything else. For you, it can be something totally different.

All we know for sure is - we all need it right now.

This self care planner will get you looking at self care from different perspectives and experimenting with new ideas to help you feel how you want to feel, so you can do what you want to do.

Find out more + get your copy here!

**Get 20% off [until Friday] with the discount code:
SELFCAREMAGIC

I am going to promote this "self care style"

It just doesn’t feel very “self care” to push myself to do a bunch of marketing things around this.

So I’m not.

I’m going to show up, as myself, and talk about it. And going to put self care at the center of how I do that this week.

Which means today instead of doing the Monday morning Creative Genius Planning Session on Instagram Live (which I usually do, even on long weekends) I’m taking the long weekend as a long weekend.

So this morning I’ll be eating pancakes in the park with my husband. 🥞 🌳 🧺 ❤️

Picnics are my love language and a huge source of self care for me.

Now - Go check out the planner!

**Get 20% off [until Friday] with the discount code:
SELFCAREMAGIC

One of my big dreams right now – a Universal Basic Income for all Canadians

By Andrea Schroeder | May 18, 2022

(Photo from Leah Gazan's website. Leah is the Member of Parliament for my riding - Winnipeg Center.)

One of my big dreams is a Universal Basic Income for everyone.

I know - people  come here for inspiring stuff about dreams, not political posts.

But dreaming is ALWAYS political because we don't dream in a vacuum, we dream in the world.

Who gets to dream is political.

Who gets to have the resources, time, and support to pursue their dreams and who needs to work multiple jobs to try to feed their kids - is political.

Whose creative work receives grants and accolades, and whose creative work is not understood or appreciated -  is political.

We dream in the same intersections that we live in.

Racism, ableism, sexism, classism - all the things that make life either easier or harder for us also make creative dreaming easier or harder for us.

Most of the new age and coaching industries focus on the things that you, the individual, can do, to achieve your own dreams. And that's an important part of the work but it's not the whole thing.

I've been coaching for a long time. Full time since 2011, but on the side for a long time before that.

And from everything I have learned along the way:

A Universal Basic Income would do more to support our dreams than any master class or coaching program ever could.

Yes - quality coaching and mentoring are vital.

But so is having all of the SPACE and TIME we need to get in touch with our creative gifts and figure out how to share them.

And yes - your own personal determination plays a role there.

But we have to recognize that your personal situation and the number of intersections of oppression you face plays a much larger role - both in terms of your ability to "be determined" about your dream, and terms of the obstacles you face.

As one example: if you are childfree that's going to make your dreams much easier. If you have kids with a supportive partner you'll have more stuff to work through but if you are a single parent you've got a LOT of work just to make space to make space.

Also, a parent with money is a completely different situation than a parent without money.

And, here in Canada, an Indigenous parent dealing with inter-generational trauma of the ongoing colonial genocide is in a completely different situation than a while settler. (My family has plenty of inter-generational trauma, but all of our stories include "and then we came to Canada and were able to farm here and settle and create a good life" with NO mention of the people who were forcibly removed from the lands we settled on, and what happened to them to keep them from being able to get their land back.)

A universal basic income could help level the playing field. It's not everything we need to end systemic oppression, but it's a very good step in the process.

In a country where people actually die of poverty, a universal basic income would save lives.

For that reason alone, I think it's vital that we put our support behind Bill C-223. (And if you're not in Canada you can do some research to see what is happening where you live, maybe there are people working on this and you can help.)

It's illogical to spend money policing poverty when that money could instead eliminate it.

It's an easy change we can make with a HUGE impact, beyond the peoples whose lives would be directly transformed by it.

A universal basic income helps EVERYONE, not just the people who need it.

Violent crime is on the rise where I live because poverty is on the rise where I live. This morning my husband found out his car was broken into last night.

(We are still living apart, he's in an apartment very close to me, but in a much more bougie neighbourhood than where I live. When he lived here, his car was broken into several times a year)

Even though we are ok, we are going to feel the effects of increase financial instability around us.

Think about what it means to live in a city where EVERYONE has a safe place to live and enough food to eat and can get the medical support they need.

Crime goes down. Education goes up. People are healthier and happier.

It creates a sturdy foundation for dreams. But it also creates a better world.

Everyone's dreams are needed.

Your dream is your soul calling you towards your true self.

Your dream is your purpose, your creative callings, your most authentic way of living.

You know this. You can FEEL how the things we are dreaming of can help save the world.

My dream was always to use my creativity to support others to believe in themselves and their dreams, even long before I had any clue how to believe in myself and my dreams.

In being able to pursue and create my dreams, I've been able to support thousands of other people with their dreams. Dreams are so generative.

Right now, people are dreaming up solutions to climate change and skyrocketing inflation and war and every single problem we face.

But are they all able to have the time, support, and resources to bring their ideas to fruition? Of course not.

Think about what could change if everyone DID have this.

Beyond saving the lives of our most vulnerable citizens, a Universal Basic Income could set things up to save the world.

Solutions already exist.

When Leah Gazan (pictured above) first ran to be the MP for Winnipeg Center in 2018, I was volunteering for her campaign.

I hate politics. But Leah made me feel hopeful at a time when I was feeling less hope than ever, so I was really happy to step out of my comfort zone and help her campaign.

She showed me how the solutions to all of the problems we face in our riding already exist in our riding. There are so many people out there doing good things!

And we have to do more to empower and support those people, instead of putting so much money into empowering and supporting multi-national corporations with corporate welfare and tax loopholes, instead of policing the impacts of poverty.

A Universal Basic Income is one of those solutions and it's easy to fund it.

Even if a UBI was funded by a tax increase I believe it would be worth it.

But it costs less money to give people homes than it does to police homelessness.

It costs less money to police the impacts of poverty, than it does to eliminate poverty.

I know for some people this can feel radical, but it's been thoroughly studied and I suggest you do some research.

If you're in Canada I ask that you check out Leah's National Framework For A Guaranteed Livable Basic Income Act to find out more.

This can happen.

All of the stressful ways that our economy is changing right now could be the impetus to push this through.

This is why I went out of my comfort zone to volunteer for Leah Gazan's election campaign. I believe in her and I am going to stay hopeful.

Where do I even start. Waking up to dark clouds, heavy fog and a brain that won’t turn on.

By Andrea Schroeder | May 17, 2022

I write every day, Monday - Friday, about my own process of navigating the path between where I am and where I want to be.

I share these in the Daily Miracle Mastermind Posts inside the Dream Book community. I believe that showing HOW I walk my talk each day is one of the best ways of teaching.

Lately some of these posts have been asking to be shared out in public - which feels even messy and awkward for me, but here I am, following my inner nudges and seeing where it leads.

Where do I even start?

I have a practice of meeting myself where I am and moving towards where I want to be, but today...

Everything is just heavy and cloudy, with small bits of sharpness.

I want to leap into a story about WHY I feel these things. (get into my head and out of all of these feelings)

Instead I will meet myself where I am.

When I'm so heavy/cloudy/foggy it's like brain is covered in a fog blanket and it's hard for me to figure out HOW to meet myself where I am.

But all I have to do is be here.

I say hello to the heavy clouds and my brain that feels shut down.

The heavy clouds sparkle a little, like they've just been waiting to be acknowledged.

I spread out a picnic blanket and invite them to join me.

Which reminds me - I have a delivery coming today of spherical ice cube molds and Instant Pot accessories including an egg bite maker, and I want to have a lot of iced coffee + egg bite picnics in the park with my journal this summer.

Which reminds me - it's been so cold and rainy, a lot of my usual spring activities are not really happening, and this is depressing.

Oh. Ok. Back to the task at hand. Inviting the dark cloud to sit down and talk.

It hovers above the blanket.

It looks darker than it did, and I can see tiny lightnings in it.

"So, dark cloud, how are you doing?"

"I'm fine. I'm being who I am. It's you who seems to have a problem. You don't want me here."

"Well, it's uncomfortable, I feel pretty weighed down by your presence."

"How can I help you feel more comfortable with me here?"

I am speechless. I don't have a way to be comfortable WITH the dark cloud. I do just want it gone.

"So you invited me to sit down for a picnic as you it's going to be a good time, but you only want to destroy me?"

I am giggling at the idea of a "picnic of destruction".

But also, yeah. I don't know how to engage with this thing. It's like I can either let it control me, or I try to destroy it. I don't see any other way.

But if I remember that all of my feelings are valid, and that one part of the path to any dream is to feel the feelings that come up on that path, then I do believe that there is another way.

BUT I still don't see it.

I offer the cloud an egg bite, it happily receives.

Oh! Those extra-dark spots in the cloud and the tiny lightnings, they go off when the cloud is happy and doing it's thing. I experience them as menacing but that's not how it is for the cloud. That feels helpful to know.

"So, what? Do we just sit here and eat egg bites?"

"That's what a picnic is, right?"

"Well, I guess I was hoping for more. I was hoping we could come to an agreement where we could each have our needs met. I mean I know I just said I don't know how to do this, but still I do think that would be ideal."

The cloud reaches for some iced coffee.

"Is this just all on me? I have to change my relationship to you? I mean, if I was using the Un-Sticking Station, which I do NOT feel prepared to do, I would look for ways to offer you love."

"That's what you've been doing. You made a picnic. I've got egg bites and iced coffee. Maybe you should look for ways to offer yourSELF love as well?"

Haven't I been doing that?

It's so hard to work through anything with the dark clouds here. It's so hard to feel progress and clarity.

So I can accept that this is not a day for progress-that-can-be-seen or clarity-of-any-kind?

This makes my heart kind of jump. Like - how long will I be this way?

What about trusting the process, another one of the Principles of Creative Dream Alchemy.

If I was trusting the process, I would meet with my dream.

OK, I can do that, invite my dream to this picnic with the dark cloud.

(I go lay on the floor, and my car Bear snuggles in beside me, and we invite my dream to join us)

My dream had been appearing as a cartoon blue butterfly, and last week it transformed into realistic butterfly wings for me to wear and BE the dream.

Today it showed up as the wings, floating above me. It's not a day to wear the wings, but they are still here.

The wings showed me that they can be an umbrella, if the cloud starts to rain.

But mostly they are here to be a blanket-that-forms-a-cocoon.

And they wrapped around me.

And it felt like a cocoon.

Like there's a lot going on. I have a lot of layers of uncomfortable feelings and I can't tell any one thing from the others and that's ok, I am in the process.

Today is a day for gentle cocooning and allowing things to work through.

While nothing feels resolved, I don't feel so tangled up now. I feel trusting and ok with slowing down and being where I am.

How my approach has changed since 2020

By Andrea Schroeder | May 16, 2022

Last month I added the space-making module to Dream Book, as a supportive practice along side the dream work.

I started working on it it because so many people are feeling way too overwhelmed to get into the work of dream-making.

But as I kept working on it, I realized that SPACE-MAKING is the thing that helped me navigate the pandemic with my creaive projects relatively intact.

Creative Genius Planning is happening on Instagram Live today (Monday) at 10 am (Central).

This is meditation, journaling and discussion about how to get support from your Creative Genius (the most wise, brave and creative part of you) to navigate your next steps. And it's a regular weekly practice that helps with space-making AND dream-making.

Join me live on the Instagram app or catch the replay on my page after.

Wild Untamed Creativity vs The Part Of Me Who Wants To Control Everything

By Andrea Schroeder | May 12, 2022

I am exploring the question: What helps me make more art, more often, from a deeper place?

I've gotten stuck most days, and in doing the Un-Sticking work I met with inner teenaged/early 20s selves. It's pretty rare for me that they show up, when it's an inner child it's usually much younger.

They're so sarcastic and annoyed at everything and JUDGEMENTAL!

But also, something really deep has shifted for me.

Those little conversations reverberate, things keep happening throughout the day, it's not over after my 10 minutes of sitting with it.

What's been happening now is me seeing my life now from my 17-25 year old perspective.

Hey! Look at what I did! Look at what I have!

I feel so proud of me.

And so excited to be where I am, with all of the SPACE I have to create what I want to create.

What also struck me is: I was not very sensitive at that time.

My teenaged-25 self is so annoyed and horrifying by me having so many FEELINGS and how those feelings can stop me from doing what I want to do.

She never experienced that.

As I've been sitting with that it's clear - she was so disconnected from her feelings that she experienced this all the time but didn't know it! In her experience, she was blocked by other things.

I am so much more powerful now.

Not being all filled up with un-processed feelings means I can face those other things in the way more effectively. AND it means that sometimes I do spend a lot of time processing feelings because that IS the path.

Even though most days I would be very tempted to trade emotional sensitivity for the ability to carry on functioning in the ways I want to while the world falls apart - I wouldn't REALLY make the trade.

Anyway - I woke up this morning feeling SO happy and grateful.

As I though about the question I am exploring - What helps me make more art, more often, from a deeper place? - I see something that was keeping me stuck with this:

I was looking for a way to be really organized and... I don't even know how to describe it... like always know what I am doing, follow very specific steps, like map it all out and then follow the path.

But that's not how art works.

The specific steps I can follow are to do THIS work. To meet my dream and look at what's in the way of connecting with my dream and work with that and out of this work always comes.... something.

So, one answer to my question is.... can I make space for that "something" that comes up?

Can I let go of CONTROLLING the process or wanting it to look a certain way?

A part of me wants it to look like - writing a blog post on Tuesdays and making new things for Dream Book on Wednesdays, etc.

CAN I JUST TRUST MY CREATIVE FLOW?

I know everything works better when I do.

But there is a part of me who wants to control the overall process. Make sure I am consistent with certain things.

I know I want to be consistent about being in the flow.

This part of me wants me to be consistent about newsletter emails, blog posts, social media posts, and promotional campaigns.

Bringing this part of me into the Un-Sticking Station:

(The Un-Sticking Station is only available to Dream Book members)

She shows up as me, in a beige suit, with a leather briefcase. She's quite thin and her hair is dyed light brown.

I have an overwhelming urge to hug her and try to help her be happier and more creatively alive but I am putting that aside to stick with the process and offer her some love.

She puts up a shield.

No thank you. I don't need LOVE. I need you to follow a schedule.

Oh wow. This is going to be harder than I thought.

Look at you! You're a mess!

No, I'm an artist. I'm a human who trusts her heart and intuition. And actually I am very organized - I've been running this business for a long time.

Not very well.

(But I can tell she's not completely convinced. She's starting to lower the shield and some love is coming in. I hold my hands up, palms aimed at her, and shoot rainbows of love her way)

I'm sending you love because I want you to know you are loved. I'd like to help you feel safe.

Excellent. I will feel safe when you are more organized. That thing you wrote - blog on Tuesdays, Dream Book on Wednesdays - that's a good start. Let's make a detailed schedule.

Can we start by just being with the quality/feeling of love and safety?

This is such an incredible waste of time.

Yeah, I see that you feel that way, and that making a schedule and getting to work feel like love and safety to you, but they are not actually love and safety. They are things that help you feel love and safety and I'd like to start by actually FEELING love and safety and then... we may come up with even better ways for you to feel loved and safe.

I don't want better ways. I want predictability and schedules and for you to stop this nonsense.

Yeah, but I am me. This is how I am going to do things.

I don't want to go in circles with you.

I don't want to go in circles with you either.

OK I think we can stop this meeting now.

It feels like something VERY helpful happened in meeting the part of me, but this is as far as it can go right now. I will check in with her again in a few days.

BUT I am going to make a compromise with this part of me. I will make a list of all of the things that she would like to see done each week. These are things I want to do too!!!

I'm also going to make some art around: following my creative flow vs being organized and following a schedule. Just drawing/journaling in my Dream Book and see where it goes.

There IS a balance to be found between the two. I want to be trusting my creative flow and also feel on top of things in terms of marketing my business and moving my projects forward.

I've been balanced between these before, and it feels like the best to balance them is shifting for me right now, so while things are shifting it's like both sides are vying for total control, lol.

(Update)

Once I thought about HOW I would write/draw this in my journal, everything came together.

I saw how flow and structure each have their own place, and how they contribute to me having the experience I want AND moving towards the results I want.

And actually - this is what's in the Creative Planning and Project Management class, in the Dream Plan Kit. I know this, AND how I feel about the balance, and how the balance plays out, is shifting for me right now.

(The Dream Plan Kit is only available to Dream Book members)

AND this brings me back full circle to my question for this week!!!

Re-tooling this part will go a LONG way supporting me in making more art, from a deeper place, and sharing it more often.

It needs BOTH elements.

I feel like this actually answers the question. I can go into next week and implement what I've learned and see how it goes.

The indignity of being in the process of growth

By Andrea Schroeder | May 10, 2022

I write every day, Monday - Friday, about my own process of navigating the path between where I am and where I want to be.

I share these in the Daily Miracle Mastermind Posts inside the Dream Book community. I believe that showing HOW I walk my talk each day is one of the best ways of teaching.

Today's post, which is really messy and awkward, wanted to be shared out in public - which feels even more messy and awkward for me, but here I am, following my inspiration and seeing where it leads.

My goal this week:

I am exploring the question: What helps me make more art, more often, from a deeper place?

I really want to be making more art, writing more, sharing more.

I want it to all feel easier and more flowy.

There's also something in this that's like - I know I want something more but can't quite put my finger on WHAT it is.

So I am making space to sit with this question this week.

Today I am SO ANNOYED with the question.

I've got a blank page in my daytimer for this.

I filled in all the things I know that help me stay in my flow.

I'm so bored. I know this stuff. I have worked on this for so long. Why I am I here AGAIN?

Do I want to answer that?

I guess so, I don't know what else to do.

Why I am here again:

I'm not being as creative as I'd like to be.

As in, it seems to take more work to get into it.

I have more distractions.

I am more tired.

AND ALSO I feel more desire to be creating more. And that desire conflicts with what is happening and makes everything very uncomfortable.

So, yeah, I am here AGAIN. But... being here AGAIN is not a sign that I have failed, or regressed. It's just a part of the creative path.

Also - what helps changes as I change, as my life changes. Like, right now there are all of these specific things I can do to help with my peri-menopause symptoms that THAT helps very much with THIS.

OK this makes sense, I feel less annoyed that I am here AGAIN but I still feel annoyed in general, so let's bring annoyance into the Un-Sticking Station.

(The Un-Sticking Station is a class inside Dream Book for working through stucks - that link will only work for Dream Book members)

Annoyance shows up as my older teenaged - early 20s self.

OMG you are so lame. Look at all the things I make!! It's EASY to create, and you have all the opportunities I was dreaming of, and you're squandering them.

SQUANDERING?! I CREATED them.

eyeroll

I'm not going to justify myself to you. I am doing my best and I want to keep doing better and I need to know why you are so annoyed.

Because you're 48 and this should be easy by now.

*TEARS ALL AROUND*

Yes, I agree. This should be easy by now. And it's so hard for you to look 20-30 years ahead and see that it's not. Though I mean - often, it is. Sometimes it's not.

Sometimes it's not? Seems like more than sometimes.

Yeah! I mean - look at all the things I do!

I guess that's true.

Everything is just so HEAVY right now.

Annoyance is gone. Some kind of helpful guidance spirit enters the chat.

So what would help bring LIGHTNESS?

All the things I wrote on that list. Recognizing how painful the heaviness feels, recognizing how painful it feels to NOT be doing the creative things I want to be doing. Recognizing all of the conflicting feelings of everything.

This helpful guidance spirit points me to my art journal where I have been writing and drawing and painting my feelings as my Space-Making practice.

(Space-Making is a class inside Dream Book for making space to work on your dreams when working on your dreams feels like too much - that link will only work for Dream Book members)

Oh right.

It's like my creativity is in a bottle and all of these conflicting and totally valid feelings are kind of jammed in together, creating a bottle stop. I need to let them out before I can do the things I want to do.

So I took it to my journal:

Messy painting and angry journaling to let feelings out and what I came to was:

The indignity of being in the process of growth.

I need to open myself up to the process of growth and change and the possibility of healing.

Which means letting go of the places where I want to KNOW what to do next.

Being open. Following inspiration. Being willing to make mistakes, fail, and be surprised.

Today this all feels hard. But I'll do my best with it.

What I want for my birthday

By Andrea Schroeder | May 5, 2022

I just shared this photo on social media and I wanted to share it here too.

I turned 48 yesterday (had a really fantastic day which I wrote about here) and the thing I want most for my birthday is to make more art, write more, and share it more, and do it all from a deeper place.

This is kind of what I always want.

And it also always feels new because my creative dreams are always taking me to new places.

The reason why I wanted to send you this photo is my dress.

I do make all of my own clothes, I sewed and embrodered this shirt dress this winter.

This is the first in a new series of clothing I am making that are for the person that I am becoming next.

These clothes are a way of making space for this new version of me.

Space-Making has been on my mind a lot.

I created a new (very small and simple) program called Space-Making for people who want to join Dream Book and work with me but don't have the capacity for FULL ON MAKING IT HAPPEN right now.

Which, to be honest, is most of us these days.

Space-Making is this magical place of self care and restoration and healing - making space for the things you need and want, rather than Dream-Building which is the work of creating the path that leads to where you want to be.

I like to do both - Space-Making and Dream-Building.

But these days I definitely CANNOT Dream-Build if I don't Space-Make.

As stressful as it is to be alive on this planet right now, this is also a time of real potential for change.

We can create a better world.

I feel that more fully these days than I ever have before.

The intersection between creative dreams and activism feels lit up with possibility.

I wanted to leave you with a few journal prompts for the weekend.

How have your dreams changed over the last 2 years?

How have YOU changed?

How do you WANT to change next?

And think about joining me in Dream Book to give your dreams a boost.

I made a new welcome video on this page, explaining where we're at in the group right now.

As the world changes, we we change, as our dreams change, I keep making adjustments to make sure Dream Book remains a supportive growth-inducing space for everyone.

Join here.

Holding Space for Yourself While Holding Space For Others

By Andrea Schroeder | May 2, 2022

Holding Space for Yourself While Holding Space For Others

This is a discussion we've been having on Dream Book Zoom calls.

It starts with: How does a person hold space for themselves and their own process while also being a part of holding space for others IE working on dreams together in a group?

Which spawned the question: How do I, Andrea, do the work that I do where I hold space for myself and my own process as a part of how I hold space for others in my work?

We had Co-Dreaming a call where we got together to work on our next steps with our creative dreams.

This is what some people brought:

  • artwork to work on
  • admin tasks that they had been procrastinating on
  • planning projects
  • setting up new equipment

And one person brought a big painful stuck.

The stuck was about a life situation that was really hard and time consuming and it was bringing up a lot of stuff and that stuff was making progress on the creative dream project impossibly hard.

So we worked through it together.

One thing I REALLY want to do is normalize the stucks.

We feel alone in the stucks. We feel like we are "off track" or "not doing it right" so in these calls I really want to normalize understanding that these parts are all a part of the path.

When I say "bring what you've got to work on" I really do mean it. The thing that's stuck or the thing that's unknown are just as much a part of it as making the art and planning new projects.

At the end of the call, this is when the question was asked about how we are holding space.

One person who had been working on their own art while also listening to us work on the stuck and offer some ideas and space-holding was wondering - is this helpful for her? Did she focus too much on supporting the other person and not enough on her own project?

HOW do you hold space for others while also holding space for yourself?

There is a LOT inside this question.

The first thing is - how are you defining "holding space"?

Because holding space for other people, and for ourselves, is a place where A LOT of our unconscious behaviours and patterns can come into play, sometimes we think we're holding space but really we're doing something entirely different.

For the purpose of this article, holding space means:

  • allowing space for the person to have the feelings and experience that they are have
  • validating and honouring their feelings
  • validating and honouring their experience
  • supporting them in the ways that work for them, not bringing your own needs into it

But often, especially when people are being vulnerable, this can be tricky because of how we react to other people having feelings.

What happens there is we can become more focused on the feeling that's been triggered in us and how to get rid of it. Which means we are no longer holding space for the other person.

One common response in this scenario is to want to FIX or CHANGE what is happening. To offer ideas and advice and insights as a way of helping that person move through their experience more quickly because.... we feel uncomfortable with what they are sharing.

Another common response is the spiritual bypass. To feel uncomfortable with other people having feelings, so you kind of freeze out your own feelings, pretend you're not having any. Then you offer advice to help the other person stop having feelings too.

So, it's good to look at how YOU define holding space and where you may be struggling with it.

For Dream Book members - there is a 1 hour Q+A video on sovereignty that may help. The short version of that video, applied to this scenario, is:

Your feelings, experiences, and process are YOURS.

And other people's feelings, experiences and process are THEIRS.

Respecting the boundaries between those things is honouring sovereignty.

So if someone else shares something that upsets me, my work is to be with my own feelings, not try to rush that person out of their process so that I don't have to have my feelings about it. (Which is a fairly co-dependent response, and unfortunately really common in our culture).

It's not just dis-honouring of my own feelings that got triggered (because actually being with my feelings can help me heal) it's also dis-honouring of the other person's process because I am trying to get them out of their process ASAP instead of helping them move through its in the way that is right for them.

This is NOT holding space. But a lot of people really do "hold space" in this way in our culture. The new age tendency to spiritual bypass can really come into play here too.

Dream Book members: remember the Principles of Creative Dream Alchemy here, like: It takes the time it takes, Honour your process exactly as it is and don't wait or wish for it to be different, Feel the feelings that come up for you on the path to your dream.

Another aspect is the relationship between the people in the group, and the agreement about what we are doing together and how we are doing it.

In this group, I am offering group coaching. And our goal is to be able to move forward with our dreams.

The way I coach is all about drawing your creative genius out. I listen deep to what's being said and ask questions that help bring out more clarity. I generally don't bring in a lot of new ideas, but I will highlight things that are hiding beneath the things that are being said. You are a creative genius You have plenty of your own ideas.

I make this clear in the guidelines + policies for the group - we are working from the assumption that YOUR answers are in YOU.

Which means everyone else's answers are in them. So we're not about throwing advice at each other, but we sure can learn from each other.

The big thing about groups is that they have the potential to grow you deeper.

There is the saying: if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go in community. And that's what I believe happens in these groups.

So yes, we can go further and have a richer experience when we work in community. NOT BEING ALONE WITH YOUR DREAMS is big magic.

But also yes we can often go faster with our projects when we work on our own.

And it's NOT like you have to choose one or the other - you can do both.

Working on your own, you will find it much easier to avoid your own blind spots and not even know that you are doing this!

Working in a group, your blind spots can be shown to you through the mirror of the group.

(This is not the ONLY way to see beyond your blind spots. I actually set Dream Book up very deliberately so that the way you're journaling helps you see beyond your blind spots, working on your own, because seeing beyond your blind spots is integral to making any dream happen.)  

The group can bring things up for you that don't notice on your own, but it's not really about the group. It's about your own relationship to group dynamics which are likely of course the family dynamics from your childhood and how you have internalized parts of them.

AND it's about your own relationship with yourself and your dreams.

So a lot of layers of internal stuff can be triggered for you while participating in any group.

This comes back to one of the principles I rely on: you notice/heal things when you are ready to notice/heal them.

You WILL walk around totally blind to the things about yourself that you would really benefit from looking at and dealing with.

We all do.

And you WILL start to notice it when you're ready to deal with it.

Which isn't necessarily when you FEEL ready to deal with it.

So you may notice it as a shock.

And it may be extremely uncomfortable.

And when we feel sudden uncomfortable feelings a natural tendency is to want to throw them back at whenever they came from.

But again - it's not about the group. You're seeing the mirror more clearly because you are ready to see it more clearly.

It's an invitation.

The great thing about a group where everyone is deliberately and specifically there to GROW INTO THEIR DREAMS is that when we plug into that shared intention it get stronger.

You're not holding your intention alone, everyone is holding it with you.

And so - things can shift. Just like you can be triggered by group dynamics or the things that other people share - you can also be inspired, healed and filled up by your interactions with the group.

I think it's magic.

AND it will push us to really look at our selves and our boundaries and our "stuff" in a new light.

So much growth.

Back to the question: How do you hold space for your own process while also holding space for others in a group?

The shortest answer is: practice.

And then also: presence. Notice in your body and mind where you engage and where you check out.

How does it feel to be fully engaged with the group, present with whoever is speaking, trusting them to navigate their own process, and holding space for them?

How does it feel to be fully engaged with your own feelings that come up, holding space for yourself?

Imagine those two points as a spectrum. Now where on that spectrum feels the most comfortable to you?

That answer may be different from day to day.

When it comes to Dream Book: you joined the group to work on your dreams. So that's the priority.

But that doesn't mean there isn't space to hold space for others in what they're working with - and sometimes that work actually helps nurture your dreams in ways you don't always see at first.

So. Show up to the calls and participate in the ways that feel right for you and I do believe you will find your way.

And onto the second question: How do I, personally do this, as the leader of the group while also participating in it?

One thing I do quite differently than most teachers in the personal growth space is that I do share my own process more deeply, openly, and consistently than anyone else I've seen.

I use myself as an example of what it means to have a daily practice of using what you have to create what you want. I write about this and share it EVERY DAY (Monday-Friday) in our private mastermind group.

I'm able to do this because I've been doing this work for so long that the container of my practice is extremely sturdy.

I KNOW I will work through stuff. Maybe not in 1 day or even a week, but I have enough experience to know that I'll get there. Having that trust means I'm not sharing from a place of trying to get attention or approval or hope that someone will come in and rescue me. It means people don't worry about me.

Say when things are rough they'll offer support but I'm not putting them into a position where they are concerned for me and need to put their own dreams aside to hold space for me.

That's the big thing. That boundary.

I am holding space for the group. This is my job. This comes first.

My own practice helps me be able to do this.

I'm DOING my practice for myself and SHARING it for others.

As I wrote about the spectrum of holding space only for yourself and holding space only for others, I have to remain aware of where I am on that spectrum.

A part of the work of me BEING ABLE to hold space for others in a consistent way (I have been running a membership holding space for others since the summer of 2012) is having a study practice for myself and clear boundaries.

There are some things about my practice that I don't share because my purpose in how I share is ALWAYS space-holding for the group.

So anything I can't share within that purpose - anything that I really need support on -  I work on by myself, or with my support systems outside of my work.

I believe space-holders NEED a support system.

Because the new age/personal growth industry is unregulated, it felt important to me to have support from a licensed therapist. I told her one of my therapy goals is making sure I am ok to hold space for others.

If I don't have all of the support I need outside of my work, I AM likely to shift the boundaries and unconsciously start leading the group in a way that focuses on getting MY needs met.

I have a lot of training as a space-holder though that doesn't mean I think you need a ton of training. I know some people with no training have excellent skills and some people with a ton of training still can't effectively hold space for others.

Part of my training included having teachers who were not walking their own talk. By experiencing the stress this causes for their students, I learned that walking my talk - and showing people HOW I walk my talk - was really important to me as a teacher.

Those teachers were also not getting the support they needed. Because of that, they were using their students to try to get their needs met - ie: approval, admiration - in mostly unconscious ways that created more problems than solutions.

If you have an unconscious goal to receive something from your students you absolutely cannot hold space for them in an effective way. Your energy is split.

Again - my purpose in how I share is ALWAYS space-holding for the group - not that I never need approval or admiration or other things, but I work on having the support I need to get those needs met outside of my work so I am not unconsciously seeking them from my students.

Another aspect is - this is just my unique way of doing things.

Everyone has gifts to share. And making it a practice to share your gifts helps you figure out how to share your gifts.

You learn as you practice, you grow as you practice, and you apply that learning and growth to how you continue to practice.

As I have done this over the years, this is how the work has evolved for me.

When we do our monthly new moon intention setting calls, I am right there with everyone setting my intentions.

The first part of the call is a meditation + journaling session that I participate in.

The second part of the call is coaching for processing things that are coming up for people.

If I have a bunch of stuff coming up that I am struggling with - I know I have to work on that later. That the call time is time for everyone else.

It's that boundary that I know my job is to hold space for the group, so that's always my first priority.

And again, my experience means I KNOW that I will work through it, I have the tools, space and support I need to trust that completely, so it's fine to put it down and focus on the group for the rest of the call. I can work on my own stuff later.

I actually enjoy sharing the stories of when I fail because I REALLY want people to know they are not alone in those parts of the journey.

Even though I still fail all the time, even though I have self doubts and anxiety and inner critics... I also HAVE my biggest dream come true, which is to use my creative gifts to help others and to be financially sustained by that work.

I have a lot of the freedom, spaciousness, and ease that I dreamed of for so long while I was trying to figure out how to offer my gifts in a way that people would receive them. (I was a starving artist, and then a person working in a cubicle while dreaming of a different life, before I started doing this full time)

So I really want people to see that they can fail and stumble a lot along the way and that they can still get there.

There are lots of people who hold space by not sharing their own process at all.

A dear friend, and someone I admire the hell out of, Chris Zydel, teaches intuitive painting and almost never shares her paintings and holds space masterfully.

As I said, it's a spectrum.

We all get to find the right place for us to be on that spectrum.

There is no one ideal way.

And this is only one blog post, this is NOT everything you need to know about holding space for others and yourself.

We did go back to that question on our next live call.

I told that person that I had written this post with a bunch of my thoughts, BUT ALSO I didn't know how useful this post would be to them, personally.

So we talked about the feeling that came up when she felt that fear "did I just put my own work aside to be there for someone else - during the time when I had the intention of working on my own work - and is this good for me?"

Because in some situations - yes this is VERY good for you!

And in some situations - yes you DID just sabotage your own dreams.

So we talked it though, to the point where she said "Oh it's that damn onion of life again" and yes that's what it is. So many interconnecting layers of our stuff and how we react to things.

It all comes together with our dreams.

All of the things you need to look at and heal. All the things you want to avoid. All of your most important gifts. All of the things that matter most to you.

They're all together there in a tangle and that tangle IS the path.

So navigating that path is never supposed to look like smooth sailing.

Let's Get Your Dream!

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