Surrender is My Religion

Podcast of my Mind

About 4 years ago I walked the 2 miles from my cozy home on Ann Arbor’s north side  to Café Verde in Kerry Town to send some emails and envision the future of my business.

I was listening to the podcast of my mind. I have this ability to be completely entertained by my thoughts and even tune out music or news if the internal channel is loud enough.

You, too? Well, that day, the internal channel was a hamster wheel brainstorm of hosting my own podcast. My vision started with the idea of recording something as I made my way downtown each day, something like “Walks with Andrea” that would contain insights, guided walking mediation practices, and perhaps some resources and announcements.

Practicing Surrender

Since moving to the mountains and launching the health coaching arm of my business, I am on fire for collaborating with others to share stories of Fearless Self-Love. Living each day with the magnificence of the mountains, sky and uncertainty about how my future will unfold is a continued practice of surrender. As I surrender, more and more to the being I am when I feel most alive, the more fun I have, the deeper connections I make with others, the more possible it seems to truly thrive!

I’m thrilled to announce that as of December 1, you should be able to find my show on itunes!

I have recorded 6 new interviews in the past month and am onto editing and getting them ready for their debut. Along with interviews from folks like Sara Hughes-Zabawa, Rachel Harper, Cherie Bachman, Aria Mae, Brett Holmquist, Liza Baker, each episode will  include:

  • Fearless Self-Care tip for the fortnight

  • Courageous Art Feature

  • Live with Ease in the moment guided practice

I Recorded A Song!

As you might recall, my friend Jamie Wyman, and I recorded a song she wrote for my business. I know, right? It was crazy scary & fun. We have some more work to do on it…namely me building courage & giving it another go, but you’ll hear clips of it at the start & end of the show.

Keep your eyes peeled for a little competition that will accompany the launch of the podcast. There will be prizes (really good prizes!!) to win for subscribing to the show, sharing it & writing a review. You’ll want to do this, even if just for the potential of winning a prize (like a Fearless Self-Loving Self-Care Kit of all my favorites!!)!

Ok, folks, it’s time to edit some shows. Catch me on the show in December!!


Are You Singing, Yet?

“Is It About Singing?,”

She asked me when I pointed to my throat as the place I intuitively knew I held my fear.

I recently had a reflexology session with Velvet. A few things came up: judgment and fear. These seem to be what keep me from fully stepping into my life, from embodying my dreams, from believing I have within me what I help others to find within themselves: Courage, Compassion, and Cooperation with oneself.

She said to envision a rainbow road extending from my heart. And to see myself walking along that road until I came to a stopping point. Her instructions were to trust my intuition and to go with the first answer I felt throughout the entire session. When I knew it was time to stop, she asked “why did you stop?”

“There is a wall,” I said.

“Is it a solid brick wall?”

“No, it’s made of water.”

“Can you go through it?”

“It appears as if I could, but I cannot.”

Judgment and fear were in the way. Judgment and fear were keeping me from stepping into my own life.

Judgment is at play when I predetermine what others will think of me if I do something out of character or postpone a deadline for my own self-care. Namely, I spend a lot of energy caring about whether I am living up to the standards of those around me.

There is value in admiring and respecting others, but not at the cost of respecting myself and trusting my own intuition.

Fear is at play when I hesitate to sing in front of a singer, or bite my Spanish-speaking tongue in front of a native speaker (I had some major gains with this on my trip to Mexico in February when I served as translator on our whale watch!). Fear most often manifests as talking my way out of something, like singing, that I know I could do if I just gave it a shot. And even if I don’t do it well the first time, walking through the waterfall of fear to the other side has only showed me that if I keep doing it, I get better. I slip less as I learn the terrain, and the shock of the cold gets easier every time.

Here’s the thing, these stifling emotions are just emotions. They are not brick walls preventing me from success. They are more like waterfalls. From behind them, my vision is distorted, and I am not able to see my full potential. Once I brave the cold and the possibility of falling, I, in the least, have a clear vision of the other side. I can then choose whether or not to keep stepping through the waterfall, or stay in my comfort zone.

A few days ago, my throat was throbbing before bed. I’d spent the weekend with a new friend and musician, who like other encouragers in my life, told me that in order to improve my singing (and my comfort with it), I simply needed to sing more. My sore throat has since revealed itself as strep. It’s been years since this nasty bacteria has inhabited my throat, but it was common for this outspoken young child. It has quieted me, as it actually hurts to talk & swallow. It has slowed me down to focus and reflect. It is making me wonder what I actually need to step through to believe in myself, to find my voice.

Well, friends, in a few short weeks, Surprise! I’m recording a song with this amazing human:)

It’s all about Fearless Self-Love, what it means to be grounded here & my vision for connected, kind, and flourishing communities. If you didn’t even know you dreamed of your own song for your business, I highly recommend letting the thought simmer for a while. Meeting Jamie was one of those seemingly serendipitous experiences that has been one of the greatest gifts in my recent life:) The Grounded Here song will soon show up in the intro & outro of my podcast (stay tuned as my podcast will have a new name & is launching on itunes in November!!) & teaching videos. I can’t wait to share it with you:) You can read more about our journey together here. And more about Jamie’s Custom Songs here

She’s helping me find my voice. And so are all of you. And so is the sickness in my throat that has me slowing down and diving back into my work. The waterfalls of fear and judgment will always be in front of me. If I can remember that I absolutely love water, and that it has always been worth the risk to step through what may prove chilling or slippery to see the truth, and embody my full potential, I will sing, folks. I will be spontaneous, courageous, even, for my own self-love.

I’ll start by singing this:

water, heal my body

water, heal my soul

when I go down, down to the water

by the water, I feel whole

–The River, by Coco Love Alcorn

How awesome that my last name, Bachman, means “river man”;) Well, this river woman is about to sing, y’all! After I sang Coco’s words in a recent Yoga class during shavasana, one of my students shared that she had an image of song being an integral part of my work.

Deep breath, I’m walking through the waterfall. You coming with me?

How about you? What keeps you from stepping through the waterfalls in your life?

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. 


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,


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?