The Duck & Getting Past Stuck | Skillshare Projects

Andrea Marcum

Ambassador lululemon Beverly Hills



The Duck & Getting Past Stuck

Well that was interesting!

Asking such revealing questions to my friends and family wasn't easy. But MAN was it insighful. 

When it comes to being steadfast, focused, "inspiring", commited and hard working, the results were unanimous.

That part I hear even when I'm not asking the questions... 

A few weeks ago, when my husband Dom and I were at my brother's house in the Venice canals, a violent mating-season-inspired battle broke out amongst the male mallards. One duck in particular refused to give up. He strangled his competitor with his bright beak, holding him under water, then chasing him when he broke free to pin him down again.

The brutality of nature can be difficult to witness. So much so that Dom (a burly Canadian) intervened--situating himself between the two to protect the battered loser from certain death. Not even Dom's imposing figure deterred the supreme mallard, however. Relentlessly he tried to finish off his prey. His determination was off the charts. 

"Look! It's the Andrea Marcum of ducks!" Dom proclaimed.

Indeed, the intensity of my intentions (minus the violence) was a theme repeated as I asked my questions.

It seems fortitude and focus could be the middle name my parents never gave me. 


Here's what I didn't realize. 

Though they admire my tenacity, overwhelmingly those I questioned wished I would spend more time with them. 

Who knew???

The response to "When am I most inspired?" was routinely greeted with "When are you not?"

"Do you notice areas of my life where I experience a loss of power?"


"What do you find challenging about me?"

"That you're busy." "We don't get to hang out." "I don't get to see you that often."


I'm a yoga teacher... I guide people to find balance all day long! How could I not know mine was so out of whack?

Which brings me to my Circle Project. 

There they were, in the middle of my circle...  "Spend time with friends" "Go see my parents more often" "Share kisses with my husband" "Squeeze my new little niece" 


"Build my business" "Finish my book" &"Teach my classes" were edging these things outside my circle without me realizing.

To hear directly from those I love that I don't make enough time for them is devastating. But because I watch rooms of people trying to find their own, I know that balance is an ongoing assignment. Tumbles and truths become wisdom and grace. 

Being honest about what we want is vulnerable terrain.

Simply stating what we don't want is safe and noncommittal. 

Finding balance when we're vulnerable is the deepest well to draw from for self-improvement.

This project led me to that well and asked me to drink -- and when I did, I discovered something unexpected. For that I am grateful.

And my gratitude extends even further. 

Dom is taking this course too. When I opened my email this morning, I found this-- It's like an amazing love letter he has written to me. One I will cherish well after this course is complete.

  •   What do you most appreciate about me?

    Your generosity, determination and your love for me.


  •   What do you wish I would appreciate more about myself?

    How beautiful you are.


  •   What do you see that I should continue doing/being that supports what is authentic in me?

    Teaching yoga and inspiring people.


  •   Do you notice areas of my life where I experience a loss of power?

    When people want stuff from you, you feel the need to always satisfy people.


  •   When am I most inspired?

    When you are writing and working on retreats.


  •   What do you find challenging about me?

    Keeping up with you.


  •   What is the one thing you wish for me in the next three years?

    That your visions take off like a rocket ship.


  •   What is the one thing you believe I could master in my lifetime?

               Whatever you set your mind too. Remember the duck!


I’m living in LA and Santa Cruz and traveling to Canada, Hong Kong, Hawaii, Bali, Sri Lanka, Mexico and throughout Europe (London and Paris in particular) to lead retreats, workshops and teacher trainings. Ever since my book Close To OM was published in 2014, I’m in demand for my Five Point GPS (Getting Past Stuck) workshops. Just as it reads in Close To OM, my Five Point GPS is about realizing personal possibility My vision is to use our yoga mats as flying carpets to look into our lives and to see the world. After all, the mat is the map to hidden treasure.


Five Point GPS was presented at the lululemon Leadership Conference in August 2013, and is now an in-store workshop for staff as well as for guests that supports creating authentic goals. My GPS workshop starts with the physical, tangible element of moving our bodies in new ways. The stillness of my own first down was so loud it was undeniable. Yoga strips away the superficial and reveals that how we do one thing is how we do everything. Moving through the Stuck in our bodies, minds and our lives shows us who we really are, and what we’re truly capable of. My passion, and consequently my strength, is making yoga accessible to even the most unlikely candidate. I believe building community that uplifts, emboldens and galvanizes is our collective goal.

I am proof that positive change comes at any time, to all shapes, sizes, age groups and zip codes and often when we least expect it.


You might call me the “It Rocks To Be A Late Bloomer” poster-child.


My GPS workshop is part of Wanderlust, Yoga Journal Conference, Hanuman in Boulder Colorado, and festivals in Canada.


I have U Studio Yoga in LA, and now have a partnership that lets me assume a role more creative than administrative. We’ve opened a studio in Santa Cruz, California where my parents live.


Dom has built the real-estate empire that’s his vision. We live in our remodeled condo in LA. We love the slate tile, soaking tub, walk-in shower, double sink vanity and white matte subway tiles in our bathroom, and the loft space feel of our kitchen and living room with oak wood floors throughout. We also love how easy it is to close our doors and head to Santa Cruz and everywhere else.

Since the day I met him, Dom has brought love, support and balance into my life like I’ve never known. He is my rock.


As I write this, my mother has just been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. The reality of the progression of her disease is that she will likely be in either assisted living or no longer with us in ten years. Spending time with my mother while I still can is a priority.


Right now, and ten years from now, I commit to showing up for my mother, my husband, my students, myself, my friends, my family, my kitties, my coworkers, my cleaning lady…


…with honesty, love, authenticity, compassion, laughs, strong coffee, Emergency C Acai flavored packets, music, words, pens with ink in them, original ideas, Matteo linens, clean towels, Dino Kale, John Kelly Chocolates, patience, encouragement, quarters for laundry, deep breaths, Wonder Unders, sweat, Santa Maria Novella bath salts, Aveda scented candles, Omega 3, 6, 9, comfortable shoes, a great Malbec, Kiehl’s  Crème De Corps, 2/3rd  Nag Champa—1/3rd  Moroccan Vanilla oil, and wide open arms.


I’m growing an incredible tree. My yoga practice is the root, my studio the trunk, and my writing and relationships are ever-extending branches, with the potential to take me places I can’t even see yet.

There is nothing more important to me than a life full of integrity.







  • I’ve released my second book.
  • Dom and I are living more in Santa Cruz, and I am teaching at my studio location there.
  • I am an established presenter at Wanderlust, Yoga Conference Canada, Mid-West Yoga Conference, Austin Yoga Fest and Hanuman Yoga Fest
  • I’ve added New Zealand, South Africa, Italy, Spain and India to my list of retreat/workshop destinations
  • I lead teacher trainings globally, and have turned U Studio into a movement – one which encourages women (& men) to be Be-U-tiful
  • I am getting my required screenings and taking care of myself
  • Dom and I spend time with our families
  • I still let Dom convince me not to work, as he puts it, 75 hours a day
  • I keep adding the green tea Macha to my morning smoothies, and take my Ester C, CoEnzime Q10, alpha lipoic, and Omega oils and drink enough water



  • I read and read and read
  • I’m working with Women for Women
  • I take regular walks on West Cliff Drive and in the redwood forests at UCSC
  • I drink incredibly good coffee and wine
  • I allow myself to enjoy the smallest of things along with the biggest
  • I never forget to kiss my husband goodnight




  • Close To OM and my GPS workshops have inspired women (and men too) of all ages, sizes, complexions, demographics and geographics to believe that they can create a fulfilling life
  • I’m writing my second book
  • I contribute regularly to O Magazine as well as Utne, Mademoiselle and Yoga Journal. I’ve even appeared in the N Y Times.
  • I’m a regular presenter now at Wanderlust, The Canada Yoga Conference, Austin Yoga Fest, Mid-West Yoga Fest and Hanuman Yoga Fest
  • I teach workshops in Hong Kong at Pure Yoga
  • I’ve been leading 200-hour teacher trainings since 2014. Just as I love to bring people to yoga, I get enormous joy from introducing people to the deeper elements and studies whether they ever decide to become teachers themselves or not.
  • I have expanded my retreat reach and explore Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Hawaii



  • I keep up my preventative health commitments
  • I practice the relaxation I preach
  • I do my yoga, and spend time outdoors
  • I laugh with my husband… a lot



  • I make a trip to India with my brother, his wife Deeksha, and my niece Jaya
  • I am spending quality time with my mother
  • I continue to learn things I don’t already know… and some things that I do




  • I have a publisher for Close To OM by April 1, 2014.
  • I participate in Africa Yoga Project
  • I teach at the new Singapore lulu showroom (this is happening!!!!!!)  
  • Both Beverly Hills and Singapore lulus come on my Bali retreat June 29-July 6 and we have an impromptu international summit (right before I teach in Singapore)
  • I am on the Wanderlust schedule for Whistler and Colorado 2014, as well as Yoga Journal and Hanuman Festivals
  • I coordinate an event with lululemon to benefit Women for Women and get Origin Magazine to join us
  • I present my Five Point GPS workshop at the lululemon Leadership Conference August, 2013
  • I have classes on My Yoga Online by April 2013 (This is actually a goal I wrote down six months ago that came true do the DAY! – They’ve also made me their spokesperson and are featuring me in a PR campaign that launches this month)
  • I am researching yoga and holistic approaches to improved quality of life with Parkinson’s.
  • I sit in on the Yoga Works Teacher Training Aug 5-30 which is happening at my studio – this is the beginning of me crafting my own 200-hour teacher training program
  • My teacher’s classes are fuller than ever and my studio is thriving
  • I have attended Landmark (Again, an earlier goal – I go Fri May 10)
  • I attend 99U Conference 2014
  • I attend an Ambassador Summit
  • I am a presenter at the Asia Yoga Conference in 2014



  • I make time for my own yoga
  • I let Dom pull me away from my work and my disciplines sometimes
  • I keep filling our fridge with farmer’s market organic goodness
  • I eat the faces off my kitties every single day



  • I watch boxing, and the occasional Family Guy episode with Dom because it makes him so happy—I draw the line at MMA
  • I create a schedule to see my mom regularly, and wander with her through the beginning stages of a new, difficult chapter. We get pedicures, and coffee ice cream, and I cut her hair for her, because she never likes the way anyone else does it.
  • I have our cleaning lady come to our house every two weeks




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