Making Music and Spirit Shine





“I Must Be a Mermaid, I Have No Fear of Depths & a Great Fear of Shallow Living” 
                                                                                                                                     ~ Anais Nin
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Making Music and Spirit Shine

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!

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!

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,
*italicized quotes from “Brave” written by Sarah Bareilles
© 2014 all rights reserved

Healing The Blues, Depression & BiPolar...

by Meredith Blis on 08/14/14

The good news is that over the past 10 years or so, our understanding and treatment options have increased -  The bad news is that this medical condition still harbors shame, isolation, and tragic consequences. 
Since we are having an open discussion here, I want to start by saying that I speak about the ride of depression and bipolar disorder from personal experience.  I was blessed to have found proper treatment during a suicidal episode in my 20’s.  Years later, I discovered both yoga & meditation which have considerably eased the moods & symptoms.   But one of the most empowering things I’ve found along the way is learning to understand myself and educate the people around me.
Depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain.  Sometimes, it can be triggered by situations but depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain.  Yes, I said it twice because it’s important to understand.  Oftentimes, it is NOT a pull your socks up and keep trudging it will pass kind of situation.  During one of my crisis, I was resisting medication and a friend said to me, “If you had diabetes, would you take Insulin?”
Because depression is psychological disorder, we view it differently & we believe that we ought to be able to talk ourselves out of it.  In reality it is no different than taking insulin for diabetes.   Being a chemical imbalance, it often requires medication to stabilize. That being said, proper treatment also includes ‘therapy’ just like proper treatment for diabetes includes dietary awareness and restrictions.  Medications can help prevent a situation from becoming fatal as well as help people to cope with life more effectively.  And yes, either circumstance can also be handled without meds. 

There are so many treatment options – the key is realizing that in order to heal you must take the first step and seek help.  Realize this condition is not your fault. You aren’t meant to live unhappy.   Offer yourself the same kindness and compassion that you would to a friend.
Bi-polar disorder is vastly misunderstood. It is Not a synonym for crazy! Just because your neighbor or your ex is ‘nutsy’ that does make them ‘bipolar’  People throw this term around a lot without knowing what it actually means.  FYI - Some notable bipolar people include: Abraham Lincoln,  Florence Nightingale, Charley Pride, Frank Sinatra, Catherine Zeta-Jones…
I like this simple explanation - Bipolar is a condition where person’s mood regulator is broken.  This imbalance creates extreme highs and extreme lows in a persons behavior.  It can also manifest as ‘mood cycling’ -  emotions that shift rapidly without any pretense. Happy, Sad, Angry, Elated, Crying, Laughing, - the whole spectrum in short periods of time. 
When you’re in it and it hasn’t been diagnosed, it can be very confusing and even when you know what’s going in, if you’re in it, you can see it happening, but don’t always have the ability to control the ‘shifts’.

Bipolar 1 disorder, also called Manic Depression, is characterized by episodes of extreme highs (mania) and lows (depressive) lasting for extended periods.  Bipolar 2 refers to the more rapid mood cycling, less intense mania and extended periods of depression.
Similar to depression, Bipolar can be triggered by circumstance (usually emotional trauma), and/or by an innate chemical imbalance.  Oftentimes, both depression and bipolar are heredity conditions. Once again pointing to the genetic and chemical component ;)
Gosh, this article has gotten long…..! 
The point that I want to make is if you identify with these conditions, you are not alone!  Often the hardest part is the accompanying self blame, solitude and anxiety.  Welcome to the club – we’re not very elite ;)  It’s just your DNA.  And help is available.   Seek out resources and offer yourself kindness and compassion.
If there is someone close to you who is exhibiting these symptoms, my true hope that this article will offer you some insight, understanding and resources.   Depression and Bipolar also have a rippling affect on the people around us.  So if you are dealing with someone who has either condition the same goes, seek resources, take care of yourself and be kind and compassionate, it can be a rough road.  But understanding that it’s the disease, not the person is helpful place to start. 
Here’s some other info for you
The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive by Stephen Fry  - This movie is amazing
 Part 1 (link below)   - Part 2 is also avail free on Youtube
Book List - CLICK HERE
More About Robin Williams and his struggle with Depression - CLICK HERE
May the light of those blessed spirits whom we’ve lost keep shining on at us from above :) May we move forward with understanding &
healing for ourselves and those around us
Love & Light

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