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Making Music and Spirit Shine

Solutions for Creative Brain-Freeze

by Meredith Blis on 10/25/14

Ahhhh…. Those moments in life when the mind starts to fog and coherent thoughts start to wane….  or you have a creative project to complete and the brain isn’t delivering…. Yikes!  What do you do next?

Below are some of my favorite tips and tricks.  But the most important thing is to show yourself some understanding and compassion. It happens to everyone! Realization of the moment is really powerful. When we can observe what’s going on within us, this allows us to move forward with awareness. And awareness is a great tool to help us to figure out what to do next or instead accept the fact that perhaps this ‘brain-freeze’  is an opportunity to take a different direction, a break, or focus on something else for a bit.
 
1.  Journal
This is one of my favorite tools for clearing the psychic clutter!  Grab a notebook and just write.  Anything.  Sometimes it helps to set a timer for 10 minutes, put your pen to paper and don’t stop til’ it rings.   It doesn’t have to make sense – Just write anything.
 
2.  Fill the creative well with something New!
Read a book, Watch a Movie.  Or better yet, be bold Go Out and absorb some art.   Go hear some live music, check out a museum or art gallery, go to the movie theater, or a book shop.  It’s not even necessary to look for any new ‘brilliant’ ideas – just allow yourself to chill and enjoy some creative energy.
 
3.  Shine On!
Sometimes, if the brain isn’t feeling ‘actively’ creative, this creates an awesome opportunity to use our analytical mind.  Look at some older works and see if you can do some editing and shine them up a bit. 
 
4.  Woodshed
Focus on honing your instrument or craft.  Do some structured exercises.  Giving the brain boundaries is helpful.  And you can never go wrong with getting extra instrument or vocal practice!!  I love to dig up old some classical pieces, learn a new cover or do some writing exercises.
 
5.   Get moving!
Take a walk in nature – I sometimes even just walk around my apt complex!   Go to the gym- get on the treadmill or take a cardio type class.  The endorphins that get kicked up through exercise can really help to get the mind moving again.
 
6.  Create stillness
Do some meditation, breath work, or lie on your back with arms at your sides and relax.  Any of these techniques are awesome for calming the mind & alleviating stress.
 
7.  Do you need to rest?
Sometimes we get blocked for the simple reason that we are just tired!  If you’re feeling exhausted there’s no use in pushing yourself.  Get a good nights sleep or take a nap.  Allow yourself to rest and your brain will be much brighter when you pick back up again 
 
8.  Have Some FUN!
Take a breather and do something else that you enjoy.  Sometimes the brain shuts off because we need some new or different energy.   Our society nowadays often has us running on a hamster wheel 24/7 and we forget to schedule ‘me’ time or plain old FUN time with friends.  You’d be surprised how a few hours or an eve off with your buddies can invigorate your spirit!
 
9.  Play in a different medium
Do something creatively different.  For example: My main outlet is music but I also enjoy painting, writing poetry, baking, cooking….  So pick up something that’s not your main focus and have fun with it! 
 
10.  Drink some extra water or have a wholesome meal
As simple as it sounds, dehydration can affect our neurological functioning.  When we’re in a crunch the general go to is caffeine which dehydrates the body and if we’ve been on the go chances are we’ve been spending less time in the kitchen and more time with take out or instant & processed foods.  Watch out for gluten.  For many people that can create a ‘spacey’ brain.  Eating fresh veggies, fruits, & whole foods is medicine for your body and your mind! 
 
Well, that list should keep us both busy for the next few months at least!  Let me know how your do and please write back and share with me,
What are some of your favorite things to do to cultivate creative energy?
 
Til Next Time,
Love Light and
Candy Corns
Meredith

6 Ways To Make Empowered Decisions

by Meredith Blis on 10/10/14

I am oftentimes reading and listening to audiobooks about business & mindset. 
One thing I hear over and  over again?  One of the strongest things ‘successful’ (interpret that word as you will) people have in common is the ability to make clear & quick decisions.  Aaaargh!  As I said above, that has never been one of my strong suits – I am more of a philosophic type, analyzer and emotional being.  But lately I’ve seen how perhaps being more decisive might help to bring me more peace and focus.
So, I’m taking baby steps and here are some things I’ve discovered along the way…..
Starting with the obvious and then the more philosophical
 
 
Sometimes, It’s Black or White  
1. Good Old Fashioned Pros & Cons List 
This is one for BIG decisions.  Moving to a new City, Choosing a job or other important things. Grab a pen, a piece of paper, make a line down the middle, and label one sides Pros (benefits) other side Cons (downsides). Write out (honestly) the plusses and minuses of each choice.  Oftentimes the answer will reveal itself pretty quickly.
 
2.  Look at your BIG picture
This is a good tactic if you are really trying to stay focused on specific goals.   The key here is knowing what your big picture is, ie: finishing grad school, making a record, creating financial stability.   Ask yourself:  Which side of this decision will support me in achieving that goal?   The answer becomes clear because if it doesn’t funnel into your Big Picture, then it doesn’t belong in the equation
 
What about the Shades of Grey?
Now those are very logical ways….  In my life, things aren’t always that black & white.  My pro/con list says take that vacation.  But my BIG picture list says ummmmm…. That’s a week out of the office…..  This is about when my brain goes into overload and I think the best solution is to watch Netflix so that I don’t have to think about either choice!
 
3.  When the mind is spinning?  Listen to your Body.
Our body is actually a truly amazing GPS System!   Close your eyes and make one choice – see how your body feels.  Close your eyes and focus on the other choice – see how your body feels.   One choice will usually bring more tension/contraction and the other will allow the body to relax and breathe more easily.    Not hard to figure out which choice to make ;)
 
4.   Notice your hesitancy
This usually helps me with smaller things – Like dinner choices or which route to take home.    One of them will usually give me some reluctance.  It’s a very subtle noticing but if I stop to listen…..  I notice that choice #1 doesn’t feel right, because if it did, well then choice #2 wouldn’t be worth considering at all….  Steer away from the one that’s making you hesitate ;)
  
Head Vs. Heart
Oftentimes when I’m stuck, I realize it’s a battle between head and heart.  Head says danger!!!  This does not make sense!!  Heart says, trust this follow me in the sunset.  Which do I listen to?
 
5.  INTUITION is the key. 
Sometimes, we don’t know WHY something feels ‘wrong’ or ‘right’  we just know it does.    That ‘gut’ feeling – it’s called that for a reason, your instincts taking root in your body and giving you a clear signal.   This trips me up because I always want to know the Why….  I am working on Letting Go of always having  to know the specifics and just following instincts which allows the Why to reveal itself later.
 
6.  Are you making the choice YOU want to make?
Sometimes, other people may tell us Not to do something but our spirit says we must.  It’s important to honor your inner knowing.  You are responsible for creating the life YOU want to live. 
When we make choices based on pleasing the people around us, sometimes that’s the right thing and it’s all good.  Go for it!  Occasional Compromise is important to any relationship. 
BUT sometimes we need to look deeper – Am I making this decision only because it’s what someone else wants? 
Awareness and perspective here can be very powerful.
If it the decision does not serve your highest good and you’re doing it anyway just to ‘please’ or ‘prove’ something to someone else.    Then once again, remember you are the creator of YOUR life.  Be empowered and give yourself permission to make your own rules.
 
In conclusion, oftentimes there is no right or wrong answer.  A different choice is simply a different path.  That thought process can be helpful to take the pressure off :)
 
Whew!  That was a lot of decision-making!
 Please feel free to send back your thoughts
and share your insights on making powerful and empowering decisions!
 
You Are Beautiful!
Love, Meredith

Solutions For Feeling Stuck

by Meredith Blis on 09/25/14

I tend to get introspective in the fall and look for answers….. I also tend to have a high level of compassion for the people around me.  I listen and try to help ;)  One of the blessings about being a teacher is that it enables me to offer this gift to people so that they can uncover their path and move forward towards their goals with more focus and joy -- yay!
 
Here are 4 solid discoveries I’ve made along the way to strengthen my vision and help my students thrive towards their goals. I hope they can offer you some light and strength to Shine On your journey!
 
1. Embrace your YOU-niqueness
Sometimes we feel lost or unmotivated because we are not sure what we are supposed to be doing.  Even if we have a passion, sometimes it’s hard to know where our little niche is within that field.  Here’s a simple equation for you to help figure it out.

 What Are...

  • the things you Love to do
  • the skills you are best at
  • the issues that get your heart pumping
  • the ‘quirks’ and things that make you different. 
Add them up and that’s the core of who you really are.  Use this information about self discovery to help you see if what you are doing is really in alignment with your spirit. Note: make sure your answers are the ones that truly come from your heart, not the expectations of those around you ;)  Which leads us to #2...
 
2. Stop Worrying About What Other People Think
Easier said than done.  But once we let go of other peoples expectations we open up a new fabulous playground for us to be our best self. You are never going to please all the people all of the time and newsflash: there are some people who are never going to resonate with your message.  As Dr. Suess said… “The people who mind don’t matter and the people that matter don’t mind”.
 
It’s much more fabulous to live your life expanding into your best self than twisting into a mold that doesn’t fit. Read history - most people who created change or charted new horizons were at some point criticized. As long as no one’s getting hurt, don’t let being called ‘crazy’ or ‘different’ be a bad thing.  If people are talking? Maybe you are on to something!  (see Lady Gaga pic above ;)
 
3. Don't Judge Others
So as per #2 – people are always going to spout their opinions on what/who we should or shouldn’t be.  An opinion is not fact, it is simply one persons point of view.  When it’s negative or judgmental, it can hurt and be detrimental to someone elses path or state or mind.  Don’t be the person touting the criticism of others.  It helps nobody and the negative energy it creates only Weighs You Down.  Do your thing and allow others to do their thing.  In raising your positive vibration you’ll naturally begin to raise the vibration of the people around you and without saying a word, teach a valuable lesson of grace to others.
 
4. Clear Your Blocks
Most of us have ‘psychic baggage’ that keeps up stuck. Find a way to release it.  See last week’s post on Forgiveness – That one is huge. Heal your relationships. Grieve your losses. Let go of the things you can’t change. Move on from past mistakes. Honor your anger.   A clogged subconscious mind has a sneaky way of keeping us circling in old patterns and blocking forward motion. Clear it. Find your healing path and commit to making yourself whole.  As you know I’m a huge fan of meditation.  We say in yoga that meditation is like a shower for the mind.  We clean our bodies, our houses, our cars, etc -it's also important to take the time to clean our precious minds.
 
IF you are in a place where you are feeling stuck I hope this list helps.  And if you want to take a step further?  Check out the Voga – “Your Authentic Voice” series.  It is based on offering real tools to help you deepen your creative spirit and move forward on your path.  It includes, meditations, buddy support, plus both physical & creative exercises to focus, honor and strengthen your unique voice.  (no previous vocal or yoga experience required). The first 5 people to sign up by October 1 – get a free one on one coaching session with me!  Details Here.
Wanna have some Voga in your city?  Let me know and we can set up a workshop!
 
I look forward to seeing you shine
You are beautiful!
Love,
Meredith 

3 Easy Steps To Forgiveness

by Meredith Blis on 09/10/14

Ok, I’ll admit I don’t have a definitive handbook. But I can write from my experience.  Recently I realized that I was carrying some very old hurt and  I had no clue how that past pain was creating pain in my present. Then it was like Boom!  I felt an instant, amazing freedom & release when I allowed myself to let go, stay out of the lions den, and also stop blaming myself.
I think forgiveness is one of the most powerful tools to help us reach our happiness and live peacefully in our higher purpose.  Here are the 3 keys I’ve found.  What are yours?
 
1.  Let It Go
Holding on keeps us stuck.  I believe very strongly that feelings of anger & hurt are normal and we have a right to feel them (the danger is when we act upon them in a way that harms others). But when we hold tight to that angst and pain, it creates a life filled with…. Angst and Pain.  It also perpetuates a pattern of similar painful situations in our lives.
When that current is flowing through you and that same situation is appearing, it’s really hard to be genuinely happy. But, when we acknowledge and process the hurt, we become lighter because we’ve let go of the things that no longer serve us.  And it enables us to move on towards more positive things.
 
2.  Stay out of The Lion’s Den
Nobody is mistake free.  We all mess up sometimes. There’s a huge difference between the friend who forgot you had dinner plans one Friday and the one who stands you up regularly.  What tends to happen is that we project the pain from the past into our present.  And that creates a Lion’s Den of chaos in current relationships based not the present circumstances but on the past hurts that have not been healed. 

Look at the whole picture.  If you want to move forward with the current relationship, truly forgive.  Heal the hurt by honoring  & sharing your feelings.  I’ve found my dearest friends along the way are those with whom we’ve been able to process through problems Together.
 
On the other hand, a one sided relationship leaves you doing all the forgiving.  Be aware of those circumstances.  People who hold onto your mistakes or consistently make you feel devalued are NOT your friends.  This is another Lions' Den. You don’t have to stay in a situation that leaves you scratched and wounded.
 
And if you choose to distance yourself from the relationship, allow yourself to do it with grace.  It can facilitate healing to say how you feel, (see my post on being brave)  If the circumstance doesn’t permit your expression, journal about it, talk to another friend or take a kickboxing class.  The key is to feel it, honor it and release it.  This process allows us to truly forgive. Whatever someone has done is a reflection of their story.  You  don’t have to carry their grief and make it who you are.
 
3.  Forgiving yourself
Our lives are Not about the ‘other’ person.  Healthy relationships with others begin with a loving relationship with Ourselves.  Sometimes it’s easier to focus on someone else as opposed to looking deeper at what patterns actually need to shift within us.  And the reality is, those are the only ones we can really control.  You may never change your fathers critical tone, but you can change how you interpret it and choose not to take it personally.  After all, peoples actions are usually not about YOU. I think the person most people are hardest on is Themselves.  Make a conscious effort to realize that the actions of others is not your fault.   And most importantly give yourself permission to Forgive yourself.   We all make mistakes, it’s part of life and it’s part of our journey.  Honor that where you are is exactly where you’re supposed to be and whatever happened has brought you to this place.  When we consciously and subconsciously berate ourselves about the things we did or didn’t do it creates an internal sense of unhappiness about Who we Are.   It’s destructive to our well-being.   We cannot truly love ourselves or live in our highest good if we are in a state of anger towards ourselves for our mistakes.   Allow yourself the gift to create a beautiful relationship with you by being kind to your spirit and forgiving yourself.
 
You Are Beautiful – allow yourself to lose the baggage that doesn’t serve you and live lighter so your spirit can shine!  Let me know how it goes!
Love and Blessings to you!
Meredith

I Want To See You Be Brave

by Meredith Blis on 08/28/14

“You can be amazing, You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug 
You can be the outcast, Or be the backlash of somebody's lack of love
Or you can start speaking up….”


 
But, In our world it can be a BRAVE business to speak our truth.

We are constantly being barraged with challenges like not wanting to hurt others, rules of what's 'right' & our natural inclinations to fit in. Oftentimes, speaking up goes against what we’ve been conditioned to do.
 
When I put together the class about the heart center for my Voga Series, I made a surprising discovery…..
 
The root of the word COURAGE is COR- the Latin translation is HEART.  This word originally meant, “to speak one’s mind by telling all of one’s heart”
 
It makes sense that we now translate Courage as Being Brave or Heroic. It takes bravery to speak honestly about our experiences & express our emotions openly from our heart.  Expressing our truth feels vulnerable.  It gives me strength to remember that and honor it when I’m being brave.

Nothing's gonna hurt you the way that words do, When they settle 'neath your skin
Kept on the inside and no sunlight, Sometimes the shadow wins……

 
 Oftentimes, our greatest power comes from speaking our truth.  So, sometimes, it feels easier to stay in the shadows.  But holding things in can damage our health and confuse our emotions. We do ourselves a great service when we take that deep breath and express our honest feelings.  It enables us to step into our highest light and share our gifts. 
 
But I wonder what would happen if you
Say what you wanna say And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be BRAVE

With what you want to say, And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be BRAVE

 
And sometimes we also do the greatest service for others by saying the things they may not want to hear.  It’s imperative to speak our words with kindness.  Sometimes, it’s a whole ‘nother level of bravery to keep level headed and speak truth without yelling or condescending! But the point is that love is our ally if we want to be heard.  
 
Everybody's been there, everybody's been stared down
By the enemy
Fallen for the fear and done some disappearing
Bow down to the mighty
Don't run, stop holding your tongue

 
There are also situations where it’s not about being heard.  The goal is simply to free ourselves - say our piece so that we can cultivate more inner peace.  Standing in our power enables us to let go and move on towards things that serve our highest good.
 
Maybe there's a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
Show me how big your brave is

 
Our greatest strength lies in what makes us different. And sometimes the bravest steps we take are those that lead us outside of the prosaic ‘box’. One of greatest things I’ve learned along the way is to do it Scared! There’s no shame in fear. Pushing past our comfort zone is what makes great things happen!
 
And since your history of silence
Won't do you any good
Did you think it would?
Let your words be anything but empty
Why don't you tell them the truth?

 
Sometimes, we are stuck between a ‘rock and a hard place’ – dammed if we do and dammed if we don’t!! I think at the end of the day, BRAVE is the decision that serves your highest spirit and enables you to be true to & empower the most important person….  Yourself :)
And yes, it is brave to be yourself, speak your truth and let your light shine!

But as Christopher Robin Once said....
"Remember you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think"

Exhale and Shine On with your amazing self! 

Honestly….. I wanna see you be brave!!!

Love and Hugs,
Meredith
 
*italicized quotes from “Brave” written by Sarah Bareilles
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