Our second #RAWRitual beauty, Amber Rae is hell-bent on living a fully expressed creative life where what she does is in alignment with who she is. She creates in her studio and around the world – writing, painting designing and experimenting. Through raw and revealing writing and visual storytelling, Amber shares the ups and downs of creating your life’s work in the digital age.
Amber is the creator of The Daily Clue, an email subscription described as “yoga for the soul”, and The World We Want, a global public art project. She is a contributor on conscious and creative living to Fast Company, and her work has been featured in The New York Times, ABC World News, Forbes, Fast Company, Inc., BBC, well+GOOD and Tim Ferriss’s blog.
Prior to pursuing a creative path, Amber started an “accelerator for your life” called The Bold Academy and helped launch six best-selling books as Chief Evangelist of Seth Godin’s Domino Project. She’s collaborated with brands like Apple, Dove and The Future Project, and has worked with hundreds of creatives, entrepreneurs and CEOs to fulfill on their highest potential.
When do you feel most beautiful?
A girlfriend recently asked me who I feel myself being called to step into as a woman and leader.
What came up is this: Embodying full-on creative expression. A woman who will daringly speak her truth, honor herself first and release the expectations of others. One who teaches the art of space and flow as the foundation to your greatest creations.
That’s when I feel most beautiful. When I am standing in my truth and walking my own path.
It’s when who I am is aligned with what I am creating in the world. It’s when I am not seeking approval or acceptance from anyone else; I’m at home with myself. The voice within is my guide, always pointing North toward love.
This might look like me fresh-faced and just back from the gym with a notebook in one hand and a smoothie in the other. Or, a flash of insight turned eruption of creative flow in the studio. Or, adventuring abroad and immersing myself in the perspective of another culture. Or, pushing my creative limits and launching a project unlike anything I have ever done before.
About five years ago, I began embracing the notion of doing one thing that scared me every day. It started with little things like approaching a guy I found attractive or sharing my inner feelings when it was a vulnerable moment. This eventually evolved into reinventing my career, following inner callings and designing a way of being in the world that felt authentically me. It’s taken me around the world and back, and every day is truly a gift.
Bold and beautiful acts of courage that align with the core of who you are. That’s the world I want for every human. That’s the one that makes me feel most beautiful.
(Photo credit: Masha Maltsava)
What does your beauty routine involve?
Beauty is an inside out journey for me. So long as my inner world is aligned and connected — where I’m taking care of myself, aware of and expressing my needs and prioritizing my most important work — I shine from within. I can handle anything that happens outside of me.
My beauty routine can be summed up in three words: Move, Nourish, Express.
Move in ways that move my soul. See the world. Go on long walks. Crossfit meets P90x meets pilates sessions with my trainer. Bike rides. Become aware of limits and lean into discomfort. Go toward love. Be an explorer of life.
Nourish from within. Eat whole foods that come from the earth. Be discerning about the energy, conversations and thoughts that I allow into my orbit. Create s p a c e for beauty to be born. Maintain a harmony of energy in (that which moves and inspires me) and energy out (my expressions to the world).
Express the truth inside. Let my insides be known. Leave nothing unsaid or incomplete. Write every day. Refine, refine, refine. Speak with intention. Die with the gifts out in the world.
It’s taken me time to land on this way of being.
For many years, my routines were a result of how other people expected me to show up. I felt overwhelmed and off-center because I was ignoring the messages my body was sending me.
I thought that to thrive in the world of technology and entrepreneurship (the industries I was working in at the time), I must work around the clock, eat lunch at my desk and wear my lack of sleep like a badge of honor. There seemed to be a high degree of human doing-ness, and I felt a complete void of human being-ness.
So I paused. I slowed down. I started asking myself what rituals and routines supported my creative flow. I got curious about the environments and interactions that led to my greatest work. What I discovered was a natural rhythm of productivity. Thriving was a matter of aligning with and trusting that flow.
What I’ve realized is that discovering your beauty and nourishment routine is an individual journey. It’s one big experiment where you try rituals on and take the ones off that don’t feel in alignment. It’s a matter of listening to and making note of what works, and most of all: being open to their evolution and shifting. It’s like nature. A continuous cycle of birth, death and rebirth.
(Photo Credit: Nick Onken)
What rituals keep you empowered?
Here’s what a typical day looks like for me when I’m at my loft in Dumbo, Brooklyn: I wake up without an alarm clock after 8 or 9 hours of sleep. I put on my workout gear and head to the pilates gym down the street for a session with my trainer. 40 minutes later, I’ve pushed my fitness limits and I’m buzzing with energy.
I stop by the local grocer for a green juice with lemon, ginger and cayenne pepper. I grab a seat at their bar and dive into morning pages — a stream-of-consciousness writing tool I use for self-connection and accessing inner whispers. 30 or so minutes later, I have a writing concept or two in the works, and my insides are feeling tingly. I head home for a green smoothie and dance break in the living room. Just before I enter the building, I take in the Manhattan skyline and my heart smiles.
When I get home, I turn my phone on, check email, texts and The Daily Clue group for what to take action on right away. The rest of my day is open space for writing, designing, making art and having conversations that move the work forward.
One or twice a week I head out for what Julia Cameron calls “artist dates” to fire up my imagination. This could be a stop at the local bookstore or art shop, a tea date with a kindred spirit or an intuitive walk where I let my soul guide my foot steps. I love interacting with strangers and hearing their stories so there’s a fair share of that too.
Every few months, I head on a trip for nourishment, renewal and work/play. San Miguel de Allende, Santorini, the Amalfi Coast and Puglia, Italy are a few of the destinations from the last year. Here I immerse myself in the culture and stories of the people, write like a fool and take in all the sights, sounds and local cuisine.
(Photo Credit: Selfie)
What does self-care mean to you?
Self-care is a way of being. It’s honoring yourself first with the recognition that if your energy is alive and radiant, that will influence every single thing you think, say and do. If you’re off-center and burnt out, that will take a toll on every aspect of your life too. What we don’t give to ourselves, we don’t have to give.
There’s stigma around self-care being “selfish.” This used to be a major point of sensitivity for me until I recognized that every person who labeled me as such was not prioritizing their own needs or self-care. (Aha!) So rather than take these remarks as attacks, I began to see “selfish” as a compliment for recognizing my own worth and knowing what it takes to fully give my gifts to the world.
And that’s the key word right there: GIVE. To be someone who is centered on giving, expressing, creating and making takes a lot of energy. Staying fueled is the key to sustaining the dream.
(Photo credit: Farhad Attaie)
My message to girls around the world…
Commit to the journey of knowing, honoring and trusting yourself.
Self-awareness is the foundation for building fulfilling relationships, doing work that’s meaningful to you and creating the impact you seek to create in the world.
I went through a period in my life where I felt torn between what others wanted for me and what felt true. What felt terrifying and paralyzing at the time was actually the greatest treasure chest for me to open up. Once I began listening to and trusting my inner whispers, my outer life started to reflect my inner desires.
It really began unfolding in 2010 when I quit my job, sold all of my belongings and moved from San Francisco to New York in 48 hours. I barely told a soul until I had actually done it, so no one could convince me otherwise. This led me to experiment with a range of opportunities, where I could explore my strengths and find myself along the way. I lived in different parts of the world, launched various projects and businesses, and documented the ups-and-downs of my journey along the way.
What I eventually realized is that the most consistent and fulfilling piece of the puzzle for me, the one piece that I could never ever cut, was the writing and visual storytelling. As I shared the exhilarating, joyous and sometimes terrifying process of creating your life’s work in the digital age, I built an audience around it. And that’s where home is to me.
So, remember: there is no map or rule book or path you should pursue. That’s yours to create, and that’s the journey of a lifetime: to align with the highest and fullest expression of yourself. Dare yourself to summon to the glorious, unexpected and provocative path of creating your life’s work.