Welcome to Grounded Here

Fearless Self-Love is the Key to a Flourishing Life You Love.

“Over the course of 10 weeks I have become more aware of my unconscious habits and taken small steps toward developing new and better habits. Even with just the small changes I’ve made in 10 weeks I am already feeling more in tune with my body, sleeping better, experiencing more consistent energy, and most importantly, genuinely wanting to continue on my journey toward easeful living and self love!” — Dawn B.

 

Photo on 5-26-15 at 12.58 PMCultivator of #fearlessselflove, Andrea Catherine Bachman works with individuals and groups of woman eager to step into lives they love and who are committed to being an active part of their own transformation. She is honored to serve as an Ayurvedic Health Counselor,  500 Hour Professional Level Kripalu Yoga teacher and Post-Partum Doula (formerly working with Ann Arbor Family Doulas). She trained with Ana Hough of A2 Yoga for her first 200 hour Yoga TeacherTraining.  Recently Andrea relocated from the Hygeia Center in Ann Arbor, MI to the Flathead Valley in northwest Montana, where she teaches private yoga lessons and meeting clients for diet and lifestyle consultations. She offers weekly Yoga classes at Mandala Montana and Shanti Yoga  and in the Stumptown Market.  To learn more about private lessons, email andrea@groundedhere.com.

My newly-acquired “super power” [is] using a mindful, sighing exhale to calm my nerves. @ home in your body has helped me be more mindful in my daily life, but of course there are still plenty of times when I get caught up in the chaos … And when those things come up, a sighing exhale can serve as a bit of a reset button for me. It allows me to return to the moment, and ultimately to not stray too far from the habits I’ve been putting in place. — Jessica O.

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Ode to Pleasure

Oh pleasure

Where have you been?

Have you been waiting for me all this time?

Waiting on the side of the rural mountain highway wondering when I’ll stop to smell the sage brush?
Waiting on my lover’s sunlit bed in the afternoon?
Waiting in the cool mint mock-tail to accompany my last few working hours?

Have you been waiting in the longing of my pup’s eyes for rough and tumble or a snuggle fest?
Have you been waiting on the stage in the fingers of the mandolin picker wondering if I’ll come to hear your high strung wondering perfection?
Have you been waiting in my cheeks begging me to send corners of lips your way?

Oh pleasure, where have you been I wonder?

And you, I imagine, smile and nod, un-moved

For you’ve been here all along

In the cozy woolen blanket on my futon in the thick of mud season
In a steaming mug of vanilla hazelnut tea with coconut cream on dreary mornings
In my lovers palm as it grasps mine and we walk uncertain paths with the rest of the uncertain souls who walk hand in hand, too, just as they are, right now, in love

Even more, you’ve been right here

Behind my eyes, where I envision the way these words may be read by another

 

Right here, in this pink mouth where words birth and there’s buzzing of what will land next on my tongue

Right here behind my breasts–

Today I can read and follow the suggestions to “Breathe in very gently, and feel life stirring in your chest,”
When just yesterday breathing into the stirring brought fear of rupture, explosion

Never guessing it would be of you, Oh pleasure

Thank you for boiling over. Thank you doing it the way you did–gently, with kindness, not worrying about the way you’d change my plans, nor causing me to question if I could believe you

May I remember that I do not have to be good
That I do not have to walk on my knees to deserve you
That I do not have to deserve you

May I remember that you exist apart from reward and punishment
And no acquisition of power, fame, money, or love could better qualify me to know you like I do now

Quietly stirring with life in my chest
Listening to children playing freely on squeaking swing sets
Amazed that you’ve been here all along, and so have I

Oh, pleasure, we’re going to have a fine time.

 

More Connection, Less Bull Sh!t.

A few days ago, this rad, courageous, tells-it-like-it-is friend of mine, Tracey Duncan, and I had a chat about:

Authentic Connection on Social Media

What if we approached social media with the same authenticity as we do in person? What if we stopped pretending to be something we’re not?

Standing on a Pedestal Or Sharing the Basement Floor?

She describes to me her journey from being put on a pedestal to kicking it out to stand along others on the basement floor, so to speak. On this ground level, no one stands above another. On this ground level, all get to be leader or student, to be vulnerable and need support, or to teach and offer wisdom. 

Punk Leadership

I asked her about her leadership style, and if she knows she’s one of those people others notice when she walks into the room. She’s aware she’s seen, and she sees those who see her, too. Does the attention you receive feel like power? Or connection?

You’ll just have to watch/listen if you want to learn more….

Tracey is someone who is on for going through the crucible, for entering the fire that is a transformative life. She inspires me, and I hope she inspires you, too.

Perhaps best known for her skills as a writer, story-teller and story-teller teacher, she has an online course, The Hero Course,  that’s unlike any other online course you’ve taken. She’s witty, wise, and you’ll be invited to encounter your own bullshit when you step into the realm of learning and telling your own story with her.

 A pre-req for her course & a way to get to know Tracey, is her FREE course Strategic Story Telling.

It’s conversations like these, that give me pause, and offer me the opportunity to fall more inline with my own integrity, to release my grip on the forward propelling motion of my attempt to perpetually problem-solve and fall into congruence with my mind and my heart.

If your ears want even more on that, another colleague of ours, Brodie Welch, has the podcast for you: Congruence and The Power of Choices.

We promote each other around here.

There is plenty of love and learning to go around.

We’re stronger together on the basement floor than when we depend continually on the same person to teach us the depths of our own souls. 

#fearlessselflove

Yes. It is a fearless act to love myself. 

Love is like joy, I believe.

Unlike happiness, joy, as I have experienced it, is not really an  emotion, but an awareness.

When I am aware of joy, I am nearer to something like contentment than happiness.

I may not feel great in the moment I recognize joy, but I am likely able to see the abundance in my life, and open to gratitude for all that has paved the way for me to be where I am in the present moment, without feeling sublime.

With the inspiration of Yoga Healer founder, Cate Stillman, I now have sticky notes in all the important places that simply say, “ease.” I see the word ease, and because it is the feeling I most desire to cultivate, I remember that in order to feel easy, in order to manifest it, I need believe it is possible, in this moment, right now.

This is not to force any sort of round self into some desirable square hole I long to fit in. Instead, it is a reminder that,

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If I am where I am, which I most certainly and always am, and I open myself up to the possibility that there is goodness in this moment, opportunity for love and learning, for self-acceptance and transformation, the above mantra is much more easily digestible. It becomes like my breath. I am unaware of the exact words, I fully accept reality, and am eager to take in everything around me.

It is in these moments I catch myself uttering momentarily regrettable prayers like, “bring it,” or “continue to reveal to me my own biases,” or “show me when I speak over others so I can catch myself.” Often, these prayers are answered…

Joy is like that. To be joyful, I believe, requires acknowledging reality.

This includes the pain of ourselves, others and the world, deep and dark emotions, anger, regret, confusion, and fear. It also includes the mundane, daily tasks so easily looked over we forget they can actually be acts of #fearlessselfcare!

And, joy it includes fleeting happiness, genuine sense of belonging, courage, and our personal markers of success. Reality includes it all. So if joy includes the dark stuff, the light, shiny sparkly stuff and everything in between, I can see it as possibly non-fluxuating, non-emotional.

Joy, then, is acceptance. Joy is contentment with where I am, and who I am today, plus the belief that I am where I need to be, and that here, or on the path that I am now traveling, I can prosper.

Back to Love.

Love then, unlike liking (a preference), can also be a grounding, stable experience, a truth, a way of being (not necessarily doing) rather than an emotion.

Love moves beyond like, agree? Loving another drives us to do things we may not do for someone we like, but do not love….Sure, there are many ways to love and other expressions of the word, love.

Here are a few: admiration, loyalty, commitment, giddiness, butterflies, exuberance.

Here are a few more: acceptance, trust, letting go, respect, patience, non-assumption, space.

It took me many unwanted months of deep, dark reality to discovery that second batch. What happened when I did, was what I can only describe as a softening, an opening within me. Simultaneously I accepted that darkest saddest reality I could have imagined at that time and I was filled with compassion, not only for myself, but also for the person I loved the most, who chose to walk away. It was, and continues to be, unlike anything I have ever experienced. Pity was relieved by hope.

Self-Love Required!

But it was not at all possible to experience this all encompassing compassion without loving me, without accepting me, without including myself in the joy picture, in the prosperity picture, in the “I’ve got everything I need picture.”

It is a daily choice to step into fearless self-love. At first, I had to do it by the hour. Even, at times by the minute. In those moments my aim was to remind myself of my belief that, like all others,

I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)

I am absolutely the most amazing being there is, and so is every other being.

I am loving and lovable beyond my imagination, as are all others.

I am no worse, nor any better. I am complete and connected; we all are.

I Can Be My Own Worst Judge

If I get caught in the “I’m not be capable of loving in the way another feels loved” trap, or the “there is a big problem only I can solve” trap, or the “there is not enough; not enough time, money or compassion” trap, the self-love jumpsuit, that permits me feel all pain and not be washed away by it, all but disintegrates.

I stumble into blaming others, myself, even inanimate objects, judging anything that can be judged, my healthy habits are reasoned away and the jumpsuit of love is replaced by fear.

Do you recall that childhood saying, “I’m rubber, you’re glue, everything you say bounces off of me and sticks to you?” I don’t suggest you repeat it to your child or adopt it yourself.

While I don’t feel lovable when I believe cruel things other hurt beings tell me, I also don’t want to bounce those cruel things back.

Love listens and sees. Fear runs, bounces cruelty back, and, unfortunately as I have learned, absorbs the nastiness, too.

Bring On Compassion

So what happens when the jumpsuit starts to disintegrate and the naked feeling of vulnerability (read Brené Brown’s, Daring Greatly to learn more about this!) is scary enough to turn to fear instead? Well, this is where compassion comes in, darling.

You may recall, from one of my  newsletters, the encouragement meditation teacher, Tara Brach offered me to take good care. This included guidance speak to myself in these moments of deep pain the way a loved one or mentor would. I start there if I need to, or, if I am able, I speak to me from me.

Sometimes if helps to write myself a love letter, or give myself a “you are a badass” pep talk (another good read: You Are A Badass). In both cases, I acknowledge reality. Often a hand finds my heart, sometimes there are tears, sometimes I feel resistant, other times I melt right away. 

The only way back into the jumpsuit of love (picture a red or pick union suit or your favorite underwear if you like), is to face, full on, open armed, exactly what is real now (situations and feelings).

A note about feelings/emotions. No, I don’t believe that what we feel is always a reflection of the truth. For example, I feel sad because a Yoga student who said they loved my class has not shown up for weeks, so I tell myself I must have royally offended her and she will never come back. The feeling of sadness is real, absolutely!! The assumption I made because of that feeling, well, it’s often totally missed the mark!

Another beloved tool I utilize is an app. It’s called Chill. Yep. Just now, when I looked at my phone, what I now consider my internal voice of wisdom in the form of a few words on my screen, said, “Slow down. Everything is just fine.” I take a deep breath. I choose to believe this. And I move on, more slowly.

Self-Loving Again

Once I am back in the saddle of loving myself, at first there are some of the fleeting feelings of love and happiness mentioned earlier: exuberance, glee, even invincibility. Right away I recognize these as feelings, and enjoy them:) I may feel radiant, and grateful to feel again alive. I also work here to settle my, at times, sky high energy to a place where I can be like a raft on the waves, letting the breeze and water move around me, accepting the cold, the warm, the smooth and the turbulent as they are.

I used to get irritated with sayings like, “life is a journey, not a guided tour.” I realize now, though, that it is a journey, and it is my responsibility to stay awake and aware to how this journey is guiding me, whether on expected or new terrain, whether bumpy or breezy.

Sigh. Give yourself a moment here to breathe in deeply and let out a sigh. The journey of self-love is worth it. And it is a fearless one. One that requires a similar depth of commitment it takes to love others we don’t always like.

Be fearless, friend. Choose love. Choose you. Make a List of Realistic Non-Negotiable ways, and start now.

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Fearless self-lovers post 2/20/16 workshop. Aren’t we radiant?

So excited for my Fearless Self-Care video series starting 4/23….are you registered?

 

Believe What You Want Into Being

No one showed up to take my class

(that’s not what I wanted, or was it?)

This hasn’t happened in a while, a long while, but it did today. Parts of me squirmed as 9:00, then 9:07 rolled by. The wi-fi was down, so I couldn’t squeeze in any work. And, I’d already completed my personal Yoga and meditation practice.

I picked up a grown-up coloring book from the studio coffee table and a cheery yellow colored pencil, and began filling in the part that would best deliver a true sign of Spring and abundance. I kept coloring for 15 minutes, showing myself I could create something beautiful while I did my duty of waiting 15 minutes before closing the doors and heading home.

Your True Nature Is Joy

As I was coloring I recalled the reading I shared with my Restorative Yoga students from The Secret Power of Yoga, Nischala Joy Devi’s Women’s Guide to the Heart and Spirit of the Yoga Sutras. I read verse 1.3:

” United in the heart, consciousness is steadied, then we abide in our true nature –joy.”

And the beginning of her explanation: “When consciousness reunites and remains undisturbed, our true Divine nature is revealed as joy. The expression of this joy is infinite love, which encompasses and then transforms everything it touches. Everywhere we look, we see the reflection of our Divine joyful nature.”

If my true nature is joy, then unbridled anxiety (about a no show Yoga class or even an uncertain future) has no place in me. 

A friend recently brought her hand to her chest as she said something like,

“if I just paid attention to her–my soul, which isn’t that difficult,” I could get to know who I really am, and thrive.

When we are in touch with who we really are, this is when we open ourselves up to possibilities we otherwise couldn’t have imagined.

Law of Attraction or Law of Accessibility?Two winters ago, in my darkest days, I walked by a bench where I often imagined an older, wiser, more content version of myself sitting in waiting for me. The message I received as I walked by, dragging my very being of doubt, hopelessness, and insecurity, was this:

It’s going to be even better than you could ever imagine

What happened after this moment was pretty remarkable. I started believing that could be true. My life situation didn’t quickly solve itself. I still struggled regularly with deep sorrow and lack of appetite. But what changed was my belief that I not only had everything I needed already, but that abundance was coming. When I think of the Law of Attraction, I sometime feel a little prickly, irritation and concern for us humans as we continue to think we have and know it all. What I realize though, is that this mindset prevented me from believing I could have what I want, need, and know could be available to me.

The way I frame this thinking now goes like this: I believe that all we need and could cause us to thrive is equally accessible to all of us. It doesn’t magically come closer to us once we name we want it, but we are able to believe in it’s existence and begin to see it once we do.

Bring It, God!
This goes for the sweet & the sour. I’ve been known to pray for lessons I don’t realize I am quite ready to learn. Not so many months ago, when feeling quite grounded, connected, and I’ll admit, quite high on life and this new woman I was becoming, I stood in the kitchen and exclaimed in front of my roommate (I have a witness), “Bring it God!”  Well, She did. For the past 6 months I have been diving deep with questions like:
  • What do I really want in life?
  • Why is family important to me?
  • What does an optimal partnership look like?
  • Why do I want to be financially successful?
You Know Who You Really Are

While I have been amazed at what pen on paper reveal to me in my answers, I still do not know my future. I mean, do you? Does anybody? What I am beginning to know though, is the answer to a question I began asking while lying in bed late at night as pre-teen, “Who am I?”Without words, I am beginning to feel her, my soul within, to pay attention to her, give time, space, room to breathe. And when I do, I begin feel my own permission to be angry, tired, eager, uncertain, patient.

You Get to Color in the Lines
In this journey of discovery that I pray will not end, on which I know I will continue to ask, “Bring it, God!,” I am realizing more each day that I get to color in the lines of my life. Sure there are circumstances I cannot change, unavoidable, unforeseen, and obligatory engagements. There are societal catastrophes, family illnesses, grief of friends I cannot take away. What I do get to do, though is choose is what color to paint my day with. I can choose awareness over repression, gratitude over resentment, action over apathy. In my every day, I continue to believe into being the world I really want to be a part of, I continue to act as the woman I want to become. And in acting this way, I become her. I embody my freewill, trust that what is before me is my page to color in, and I co-create a life that’s even better than I could have every imagined.

How will you choose to color your world today?