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So it’s Thanksgiving! It's a good reminder to take a moment and simply embrace the idea of Giving Thanks.

In many spiritual traditions - the simple act of consciously giving gratitude is seen as one of the most powerful ways to

  • Raise our vibration
  • Incite healing
  • Attract prosperity
  • Create a positive mindset
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This has been a year of learning to #ShineAgain! As well as the unexpected blessing of creating Tranquil Light - my first self-produced album project with label support!

I tend to have a lot of pots on the fire at once. And ….

Sometimes an area where I fall short is getting out, celebrating and embracing the *FUN* factor of life. Truth be told, I am a workaholic and I prefer time alone writing, making music and playing in my home studio. Yes, either of those things can constitute big fun for me on Friday night LOL

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Some people love the change of seasons, but for others the shift to less sunshine and cold weather can bring on the blues in a big way. It’s called Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD.

Unfortunately, I know a bit about this because well…. I am one of those people.

I often deal with a Blue Period that starts in September & subsides in early November. One of the diagnosis points with SAD vs depression is that it will occur for people annually at the same time every year. Interestingly, for some people it can even happen in the summer…..

Some other symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder*:

Mood: anxiety, apathy, general discontent, loneliness, loss of interest, mood swings, or sadness

Sleep: excess sleepiness, insomnia, or sleep deprivation

Behavioral: irritability or social isolation

*Taken from Mayo Clinic.

So, now that we...

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For those of you who are new to this list, you may not know that one of my passions in life is Yoga/ Meditation. I taught for a long time and stopped a few years ago because my schedule became so booked with music coaching students.

People have often asked me, are you ever going to do a yoga record? The idea of marrying my 2 passions of music & yoga, had always appealed to me, however, the concept for a record and the time create it always felt daunting. As you know, my updates often focus on how to pare things down in life.

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So usually I'm pretty efficient at sending a Hello every other week....

And I know this is my in between one BUT I had a few things here that I just couldn't wait to share!

This past weekend marked the release of my debut as the artist, Tranquil Light.

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All too often, it’s a challenge for me to slow down, stop working, unplug and recharge my soul by having FUN! Last weekend, I took a little trip to the Smokey Mountains, rode the coasters at Dollywood and celebrated my 4 nominations at the Josie Independent Music Awards.

In my last letter, I wrote about Self-Care 101: understanding WHAT self care is, WHY it’s important and HOW to begin to incorporate it into our lives. This time I’m gonna touch upon why has it become SUCH a big old buzz word nowadays? What are some easy ways we can cultivate it into our lives?

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A while back my therapist started using the term Self Care. At first I was like, "what?"

I shower, I brush my teeth, comb my hair and occasionally paint my toes. Isn’t that taking care of myself? What is she talking about? What does that mean? And why?

I finally asked, “Ok, please tell me exactly what you mean by self care?”

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Lately I’ve been feeling a lot of healing shifts. Perhaps it’s just a part of the human cycle that we sometimes need to go within to clear and refocus... Or, dare I say...it’s the result of the recent eclipse. July 27th marked the longest eclipse of our century aka a “Blood Moon Eclipse” (the moon actually appears a reddish-brown color). This was only visible from particular places in the Southern hemisphere not the US. But there’s a pic for you. Gorgeous!

I know that not everyone believes in that sort of thing... However eclipses traditionally bring energetic shifts.

And this past one was a big one.

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What I want to talk about today is the importance of caring for our mind-spirit as much as we care for our body. In todays world we tend to be pretty conscious of taking care of our bodies - we know we are sick when our throat starts to feel sore, we realize we are tired when we begin to yawn, we feed our hunger cause the stomach growls, etc… And the solutions for the above are pretty obvious. BUT sometimes the solutions for caring for our mind and spirit aren’t as overt or accessible.

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This quote struck a chord in me, something sounding like a Major 7 - it sounds hopeful, but with a tinge of mystery and contemplation ….

The root of the word courage is actually “Cour” which means Heart.

It’s an odd thing because heart tends to make us think of love and softness whereas courage tends to convey strength and unyielding.

How can we relate these 2 ideas?

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I would be remiss if I sent a note without mentioning the recent losses in our world that we have experienced due to suicide. I recently read an article that said for every person we lose to suicide, there are another 280 who consider it…..

Of course there’s the people we know of because who make the headlines, Robin Williams, Chester Bennington (Linkin Park), Jeff Alm & Junior Seau (professional athletes) and of course most recently, Kate Spade & Anthony Bourdain.

Oftentimes, we look at celebrity figures and say, “They have everything - fame, success, money, what do THEY have to be depressed about?”

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Life can often get so busy that we forget to make time for our happiness. When we take the time to think about what brings us joy, it enables us to manifest more of it! And after all isn’t that what life’s about?

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So in my journey of sharing the #ShineAgain project on Instagram, I am so grateful to say that I have been meeting some AMAZING people! It has truly become an enlightening journey for me. Today's post is about you one of my new fabulous discoveries: SHINE TEXT!

Gotta Love that synchronicity :)

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This article is an edited excerpt from a previous post that I wrote in honor of Robin Williams who passed by suicide in August, 2014. It’s hard to believe it’s been almost 4 years since we lost this precious talented soul. It was a lengthy piece so I will share some of it now and the remainder later this month. The idea is to shed some light on depression and gain a deeper understanding of this mental health condition.

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Technically a Renegade is (according to Mirriam Webster)

“an individual who rejects lawful or conventional behavior”

I’m not proposing that we ignore the laws of society that keep us safe. However….. what if we took a step back every now and then and followed our hearts instead of following the Rules? Been thinking a bit about how to be a little more 'Renegade" and here's what I've come up with so far!

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So, we all have those days - life feels bleak, our emotions are spinning and our spirit feels worn out.

When you’re dealing with a mental illness like depression or PTSD it can feel overwhelming to accomplish even the most basic tasks. My guess is that even if you’re not living with a mental health diagnosis, you still might have moments of overwhelm or just the blues. No worries, I got you covered! As someone who struggles with bipolar 2 and PTSD I’m gonna share some tips and tricks I use to try to stay in the game, regain my focus and honor the necessity of my self-care.

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It often amazes me how life mimics art or how art mimics life. There have been so many times when I’ve written a song about something in my life, then when I sing it years later, the meaning applies to a different situation. At this moment it’s about learning to “Shine Again” but with a different theme.

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Last week I was out with a dear girlfriend. I was talking about something and she said, “Girl you need to turn off that ass-kicking machine!!” Cracked me up! and then...

Wow! I hadn’t even realized it, in that conversation, I was definitely being way too hard on myself. That’s the beauty of being surrounded by people who love and understand you, they often have an uncanny ability to see our emotions and habits in a way that we can’t from the inside out.

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Last Sunday was my favorite night of the year - The Grammys! I was once again reminded of the incredible power of music. So many moments of chills, incredible voices, songs and the Power of Music.

There is nothing like hearing a song that we relate to and it says you are not alone in your deep emotions or how the right song can positively raise our spirits, give us confidence or even help us shed the tears that we need to express.

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Most of you know me as a chick on piano girl - back in Taos I usually had a violin player and in my NYC days I occasionally had full band and usually a cello player.

THEN a few years ago I had a crazy vision of incorporating loops and electronic sounds into my live show. But I also felt passionate about retaining my strong roots as a singer/songwriter. For me, the songs have always come first :)

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As the new year comes upon us - we get bombarded by our culture to resolve to CHANGE - and based on a glance at my email box - it seems there is huge industry based on helping people to become brighter, bolder, more successful, better at this, less of that - and all about things that help to create a NEW “YOU”.

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When I first moved to Nashville - It was a little rough adjusting to a new city - I didn’t have a lot of friends and I felt a little isolated. I think anyone who has moved a new place can relate. Change is sometimes hard and it takes time to settle in.

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As the holiday season ramps up - sometimes our vision of a winter wonderland can easily take a sharp turn into Stressville. For a multitude of reasons, the season to be jolly can often trigger the opposite in many of us. Exhale, allow yourself to feel what you're feeling!

We need to honor it’s not always easy, especially when we are busy with extra to-do’s and calendar events.

Life is about perspective.

Here are some ways we can shift our brains into self-care mode and help our spirits enjoy the tinsel and cookies!

Tips on dealing with Love and Loss

I understand, all too well, that holiday season can trigger grief about people we’ve lost or even lost relationships.

Allow yourself to honor that pain. Is there something you can do to replace the rituals that have been shared or honor the memory of that person or spend some time with those who are sharing your grief? Allow yourself to be brave, step forward into the uncharted territory, you never know what joy might be waiting for you - give yourself and opportunity to find...

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I can’t believe today is THE DAY! Click to hear the new single and see the lyric video (my first one! and it’s homemade by me!)

A HUGE THANK YOU to Women of Substance Radio for Premiering the Single and Lyric Video!

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“For a star to be born, there is one thing that must happen: a gaseous nebula must collapse. So collapse. Crumble. This is not your destruction. This is your birth.”

While searching for bday quotes - specifically “Trip Around the Sun”, I came across this gem by poet, Zoe Skylar.

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I recently picked up a new book called “Radical Acceptance” by Tara Brach. Even for me, a self help spiritual aficionado - the title and content seemed to be a bit much….. But ….. the recommendation came from a dear friend whom I really trust. So, I figured I’d at least give it a try.

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In my past posts I’ve alluded that ‘Shine Again’ was written from a place of feeling dispirited. In those moments it can feel like we are under water - simply surviving and looking at the world around us.

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After my fabulous eve in photo fairy land on Sunday eve, I rolled over on Monday morning and there was a glaring headline about the tragic events in Las Vegas. My brain froze and I pulled the covers hoping that my sleepy haze would shield me from reality.

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And that’s how the song begins…..

But .... the overall message is about Hope. (chorus lyrics forthcoming ;)

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I am so grateful for such an amazing vacation! The mountains and the down time gave me some beautiful space for self-reflection...There is such a power in stepping out of the day to day and having the time to listen to our heart.

Around my 2nd or 3rd day I noticed within myself a lightness of being. I realized that I wanted to identify the shift. Beyond being on vacay, what was missing that was giving me space to breathe a little easier & feel a little more free?

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Oftentimes I think back to back to the magical words that Christopher Robin said to Winnie the Pooh….

I owe it to my amazing friends and magical music team for often reminding me of these powerful words. As we pass through this journey of life, I’m learning that when we build a village of loved ones around us, the people we choose can help to uplift us in ways in truly incredible ways.

So….. Here’s my confession …..

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Life for me, often has synchronicities….

A theme this week was Peace. I was producing a track for a film/tv placement. When I dug up my song to record, the original version incorporated the Prayer for Peace by the Sufi Poet Hazrat Inayat Khan. Then a very talented writer friend of mine invited me to an event where she is going to be singing her version of “Grant us Peace” adapted from Gates of Prayer. I Love my Friends and am so grateful for their amazing creativity that often brings me inspiration.

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So, last week I was relaxing on the couch watching one of my fav funny shows…. The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Love her!

Through the giggles, I actually garnered an important lesson. The episode featured on a very judgmental type of old lady and let’s say, she was not the most likable character. Kimmy called her out! Surprisingly, the woman responded with tears in her eyes. She said that she was aware of her gossip and criticism of others. It was habit she was trying to change and that she was doing her best to be a better & kinder person.

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Let’s start with a little science 101.

As children, many of us learn about the wondrous process by which a caterpillar morphs into a butterfly. The story usually begins with a very hungry caterpillar hatching from an egg. The caterpillar, or what is more scientifically termed a larva, stuffs itself with leaves, growing plumper and longer through a series of molts in which it sheds its skin. One day, the caterpillar stops eating, hangs upside down from a twig or leaf and spins itself a silky cocoon or molts into a shiny chrysalis. Within its protective casing, the caterpillar radically transforms its body, eventually emerging as a butterfly or moth.”

full article Here https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/caterpillar-butterfly-metamorphosis-explainer/

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I want to begin with this quote

“I once asked Aragon, the historian, how history was written. He said, ‘You have to invent it.’ When I wish as now to tell of critical incidents, persons, and events that have influenced my life and work, the true answer is all of the incidents were critical, all of the people influenced me, everything that happened and that is still happening influences me.” - John Cage

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Last week I had a Classic Beautiful Moment Challenge…..

The opening line to Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful is this….

“Sometimes, I’ll say nothing at all, Speaking up feels too vulnerable, It’s easier to let silence take the fall…..”

OK! Got that?

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Kids are such magical beings.

While teaching today, I went to greet one of my amazing students for his weekly lesson. I said Hello! Without a beat, he looked at me and asked

“If you could have any superpower, what would it be?”

I was taken aback, I said, “Wow! what a great question - I’ve never actually thought about it”

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OK, so here I am. I’ve spent nearly a year working on this new single and video. The release party Rocked! So grateful!! (footage forthcoming:) I’m getting great feedback on the track (Wowee!) and Then…..

Crash!

Boom!

Bang!

I had a huge glitch to my CDbaby upload - the artwork had an error. I had to cancel the whole online distribution at the precise time I was beginning to finally share the music!

I got crazy sick with a flu/sinus/fatigue thing that kept me comatose for almost a week

By the time I got back on my feet - I then had some unforeseen delays with the mastering of track….

And the kicker - all of this chaos killed my sharing mojo!!!

Indie Artists out there, can you relate? We put so much blood and love into our work, it’s so painful when we end up in a standstill place and we can’t move forward. The feeling of being Stuck really takes a toll on our precious spirits. Feeling like we’re in the mud is something we all can relate to, in any profession or endeavor.

This UnBeautiful moment forced me to dig deeper...

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So your to-do list is overflowing

You have calls to return

Texts are beeping

Email is outta control

The dog needs a walk

And your head is fogged up from all the details….

The long and short of it - Overwhelm has struck!

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“Maybe Our Difference is Our Strength - what’s the point if we’re all the Same?”

That’s the little pre-chorus to Be your Own Kind of Beautiful. I was talking about the project with a dear friend last and she shared this magical story. I wanted to pass it on because it epitomizes a huge piece of my message and gives an awesome example of our unique beautiful as well as teach our children about the magic of being different.

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I moved to Nashville over 5 years ago and at that time said, “ it’s time to hang my hat as an artist and just focus on songwriting” I never felt as though as I was giving up on myself, my creativity or my music in any way. I simply had made a decision to change course and zero in on writing for other artists as opposed to performing and touring as an indie artist.

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Last week I sat in a meeting with friends. The gathering was focused on setting intentions for the year. We began by talking about the difference between intention and resolution. This Slight shift in verbiage enabled me to create Huge shift in mindset. Resolution to me (and the group) felt very rigid, hard, inflexible and subconsciously put a little bit of anxiety in my psyche. On the other hand, intention felt fluid, gentle, and open to possibilities. I wanted to share because it was helpful for me to think of setting intentions for the new year as opposed to goals or resolutions. The reframe (and keeping it simple, as I talked about last week ;) was really empowering for me!

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So as I was daydreaming on my plans and goals for 2017 an interesting thing happened this year….. Instead of grabbing a notebook and writing down every thought, mission and task,

I allowed myself to slow down and actually think on the big picture

What’s the point of all this to-do-ing if our mindset isn’t on board?

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I know I’ve said this before, but the act of sharing is such a powerful way to empower our beautiful. My wise mom used to say to me, there is often a right way and wrong way to do something…. As a kid I rolled my eyes, but now I see how she was right, even when it comes to sharing. So today’s article is a little pep talk on what to do! a little bit ‘bout what not to do and important lessons to remember.

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The opening line of “Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful” is this….

“Sometimes I say nothing at all, Speaking up feels too vulnerable, Easier to let silence take the fall”

The core of our beautiful is our unique voice. Yet sometimes we get so trapped in “shoulds” and saying the “right” thing that we stifle our true expression.

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So last weekend this interesting book called, The Dalai Lama’s Cat (David Michie), came up on my Kindle. And it has been amazing! The narrator is a Himalayan feline whom the Dalai Lama rescues from dire circumstances.

The story is adorably told from her feline perspective as she observes the monks, his holiness, the famous people who visit him and other colorful people in the village.

This book is an incredible and easy dive into Buddhist wisdom. And it shares a lot of messages that I think can help us to cultivate peace within ourselves and in our world.

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For those of you who’ve been on this list awhile, you might remember some prior posts about my amazing dad. It’s been almost 20 years since he passed away and I marvel sometimes how the ache of losing someone we love can still be present after all of these years. Do we ever actually heal from grief & tragedy? I believe it's really important to honor our emotions and simultaneously trust that it will get easier. I liken it to a hole in my heart, it never goes away, but eventually we learn to rebuild our world around it.

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So as I embark on the release of this project – I’ve been thinking more about what “be your own kind of beautiful” means. (as if writing the song wasn’t enough! Lol)

The obvious answer is that it’s about inspiring people to embrace their uniqueness and truly feel the words, I am beautiful. But if it were that easy, we’d all be overflowing with confidence, dancing with abandon, singing our individual versions of Kum Ba Yah and rockin' our beauty 24/7…..

Kudos if you already are :) but for the rest of us, well, why not?

So Here’s my secret admission about why it’s HARD sometimes for me to embrace my beautiful.

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Set Fire to The Rain

This is one of my favorite song titles. If you are not familiar, it’s a song from Adele’s “21” record. I had such an amazing time at her show in Nashville last weekend, I wanted to share it with you! see the clip below! Magical virtuoso goddess lighting up the stage Enjoy!

Set Fire to the Rain, What does that mean? Well I can’t get inside the writers brain and tell you what they were thinking. That’s another cool thing about songs, we receive them from the vantage point of what we need to hear in a certain moment. So all I can do is tell you why this lyric speaks to me…..

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    No :) Why such chaos over such a tiny word? I can’t speak for you, but in my experience…. I think it’s because I love helping people, I want to do everything, be everywhere and not let people down. Then it dawned on me, by saying yes to everyone else – I was in a way creating a life where I was saying no to another very important person, myself!

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    Last week I was having lunch with one of my fav girlfriends at one of my fav restaurants (shout out to The Wild Cow in east nash). We were discussing some recent interactions with people that left us feeling ‘less then’ It’s always a twisty feeling when someone we love says or does something that doesn’t resonate with our heart.

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    About a year ago, I became so swamped with music students I chose to stop teaching yoga. It’s still a passion and I continue to maintain a daily practice, but as I became busier with music (and this upcoming EP!!!) it became necessary to let some things go in order to maintain focus and sanity.

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    So the idea for this missive came from the fact that even though I had some bonus time today, it seemed I was doing everything BUT sitting down and writing this post. I was answering emails, cleaning the kitchen, texting, taking phone calls and doing everything BUT this BIG To Do on my list!

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    So many self-help authors, coaches, motivational speakers and those sorts of folks tout the power of gratitude as being a life changing mindset and practice. Many successful people will tell you that consciously being grateful is a foundation to their mindset and success. Why?

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    I am not a fan of the news, truth be told, I don’t have cable or a TV.

    My pop culture addiction is more of a Netflix variety…. Bingewatching. LOL

    I tend to avoid the news because of the violence and negativity makes me sad. I do my best to stay ‘informed’ by scanning headlines.

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    As I was researching my Kindness Superhero article, I came across some amazing and inspiring quotes that related to this whole idea. This one in particular really touched me. It was one of those moments that actually created a shift in me by offering an empowering perspective on the whole idea of learning to be a better ME. And hope it helps your journey of Learning to be a better YOU

    It made me see that,

    Oftentimes we live our lives in reaction to other peoples actions. When we function this way, it takes us out of our true self, distracts us from our goals and also drains our energy. This idea is a core piece of the whole Be Your Own Kind Of Beautiful concept.

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    How did this mission start….?

    Well, to be honest some things went awry last Monday for me, I was feeling kinda torn down by an interaction with a pretty unsympathetic doctor. Then, during my meditation practice, this quote came into my mind. It’s one of my favs and I hadn’t thought about it for a while….

    Three things in Human Life are Important

    the first is To Be Kind

    the second is To Be Kind

    and the third is To Be Kind

    So whether it’s a dr., a store clerk, a boss or a loved one who’s acting the so called villain….How is Kindness a relevant answer?

    Here was my epiphany…..Someone else had really cut me down…. It’s life, this stuff happens and it sucks. BUT

    I realized that I could combat that “meanness” by

    Remaining kind to Myself.

    And I’m thinking that’s the core of SuperHero Kindness.

    How?

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    Well, the funny thing about magic – you can’t hold onto it…. It’s an energy that exists around us and within us. Sometimes, it’s not tangible, however, we know it when we feel it. We can’t explain it, but it creates an inexplicable shift within us.

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    One of the reasons I’m touching upon this topic is that Balance is an area I’ve often struggled to maintain in my life. I haven’t shared this yet, but recently I was diagnosed with Adrenal Fatigue…. How? Stress and moving too fast have tapped out these precious energy glands in my body. Solution? Rest and Slow down. All that being said, this issue of maintaining balance is really key for me right now, so I thought I’d share some of what I’m figuring out and also feel free to drop a line with your comments! I always love hearing from you!!!

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      When a friend shared this with me on Facebook last week. My first thought was “How is it possible that a young child can have so much wisdom?” I work with kids everyday and they never cease to amaze me with their insights. They have such an incredible sense of intuitive knowing. We silly adults get so caught up in the chaos of life, it's easy to forget the the foundations of positive communication! Besides the fact she is adorable, here are 3 things I noticed

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      How to Spring Clean the Emotional Clutter

      This Sunday I was out to dinner with a dear friend.

      We both talked about a newfound A-ha that we each had separately. Let the grudges go! They are too heavy to carry and they steal the time, energy & joy from our precious lives. Grudges and other emotional garbage are akin to that messy closet or drawer that saps your energy every time you open it. So let’s delve in there my Beautiful Ones. Time to clear the emotional clutter so you can Shine On! Here are some thoughts to help :)

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      Inspiration & Celebrate Music!

      I know in years of late the Grammys are not highly regarded by a lot of musicians.

      Most of my indie music pals think it’s a load of bunk, with pomp & circumstance and no substance. Also, many feel that it doesn’t acknowledge the heart of music and creative artists. Ok. I see that. It’s a televised event run by the big guns of the industry. However, I still kinda dig it…. Maybe it’s the fond memories I have from attending as a kid. Or maybe I just honor, it’s a celebration of Music. The best song, album, artist, etc are all just opinions anyway. In any given category we can all add (or subtract) artists whom we feel are more (or less) deserving. We all have our preferences and that’s what art Should be – Subjective.

      Is it possible for one event to cover ALL the incredible music that was created over the past year. NO

      Is it possible for artists to be inspired by the glittery affair? Yes. Here are 4 reasons why…..

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      Love Below the Surface

      Well, the point of Valentines Day is celebrating Love - Generally a proclamation with gifts and a romantic dinner with someone special.

      Naysayers claim & I agree that we should let those we love know they are special every day! And in taking that a step further I think we should also take a bit conscious effort to remind ourselves that we are loved 365!

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      HU- RADIANT

      MAN –BEING

      So our essence as Humans is a radiant being…… However, sometimes in the real world it can be a challenge to stay connected and to keep the light shining. It’s a powerful revelation for me when I recall & remember that translation. I gave it some thought and here are some simple ways to keep your love light on!

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      Tis’ the season to be merry, peaceful and bright, right? Actually, for many people the holidays are a time of stress and emotional overwhelm. There’s so much to get done so we don’t have the time to be joyous! And for many of us, holidays can be an emotional trigger. But Hey – I got ya covered. 3 Easy Little Tips to Enjoy Your Holiday

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      We all know this in our hearts but sometimes we still end up getting down on ourselves about what we look like. But is what we look like who we really are? The bummer is that media messages and social commentary often allow our insecurities about appearance to infiltrate the love within us and around us.

      Our world is chock full of cultural craziness that can sometimes make us feel less than beautiful. And these words and images can end up sticking to our ego and screwing up our precious self-esteem. So I’ve compiled a few anecdotes to help you come unglued.

      Sometimes a new perspective is a good way to inspire a journey back to beautiful.

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      This idea started with a poster hung discreetly in a bathroom. I was doing a gig at a church coffeehouse. I took a picture of it and thought what an inspiring message and, as only songwriters can scheme, what a great song title.

      It haunted me – what does #BYOKB mean? Well I never claim to have it all figured out. For today, I have 3 thoughts – there are more – but these are the foundation and the first steps on the path we can all take to step more fully into our light. Enjoy – You are Beautiful!

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      In posts past, I’ve talked about my wonderful dad. Yesterday was 18 years since his passing. It’s hard to believe….. As I think about the memories, I also think about the powerful lessons I learned from him.

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      I received this missive in my inbox today and I thought it was a great message to pass on to you, my magical friends….

      There is no greater weapon, than kindness. A smile, a compliment, encouragement, and compassion belong in the arsenal of every Time-Space Adventurer. Today, may you crush, kill and destroy the fears you encounter, in others and in yourself. — tut.com

      Well, that was a great way to start the day! And it got me thinking more about Kindness. Sometimes the most powerful things in life are the simplest.

      So, here are 3 thoughts about Kindness that I’ve discovered...

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      I think the most badass people are the ones who truly don’t give a darn what other people think of them…. Unfortunately, I have never been one of those people.

      And I believe that most of us are at least somewhat saddled with a sense of reaction to how other people behave towards them…

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      Acronyms make me smile – cute little ways to remember larger ideas and in this case, a little formula to help you keep on keepin’ on when you need a little sparkle!

      I took each letter and related it to an idea or action that helps me to stay the course when my spirit is lagging. Enjoy my friends! And Be I.N.S.P.I.R.E.D.

      I love sharing these little pieces of joy with you!

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      I first heard the term ‘genius work’ when I lived in Taos. Coincidently by the same woman, an incredible writer, Diana Rico, who posted this article link on Facebook.

      I was in awe…. What is genius work?

      It is our True Purpose. Our Magic.

      It’s the thing that makes your spirit shine & your soul smile.

      And in doing it, you are able to share your light with others.

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      Life is What Happens when we Make Other Plans.

      What do we do when we’re in a rut or trying to function in the midst of change?

      Well, that’s what today's little list touches upon.

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      I have to be honest, IRREVERENT is one of my favorite words. :) Sometimes breaking social norms & not doing what’s expected of us, gives us an amazing freedom to express our true self.

      However, there is also a huge power in REVERENCE – honoring ourselves & those around us. Perhaps the 2 meet when life calls for a little irreverence in order to bring reverence to our highest self & purpose.

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      So we all know the old saying, "When Life Give you Lemons, Make Lemonade,"... While in NM, I like to say you can also make margaritas lol! But unfortunately, that won’t always solve the immediate issue ;)

      When the Going Gets Tough…. the general advice is ..... The tough get going! Here’s some additional thoughts (based on recent experience) to hopefully make your going a bit easier!

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      So alas is life – too much to do and it feels like too much to keep up with it all. Your brain feels like crazytown and there’s a list a mile long. Relax! I got ya covered. Here are some thoughts for culling the anxiety and helping you get the to-do’s DONE.

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      This weeks article is a guest post from a blog written my one of my favorite people – a dear friend who is also a super talented musician! Welcome Ashley Norton to ‘Making Music and Spirit Shine.” And boy does she! Check out her music Whitherward.com. The duo also includes another one of my favorite people, also an incredible musician and dear friend – Ed Williams. They actually did a cover of 'Fade to Dust' on their Video Blog, “Morning Breath” last month – I was super honored. You can check that out here - http://bit.ly/whitherblis

      Ashley wrote this amazing, fiery blog post a few weeks ago. I thought it was so on point, inspiring as well as great advice for indie musicians & beyond....

      Hope you enjoy it! (apologies if the expletive offends anyone ;)

      Sending you...

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      OK! Here’s the secret. I hate to admit it…. But …. Perhaps, I’m stubborn.

      I have an friend who used to tease me about it. At the time, I just thought HE was the stubborn one – but perhaps he saw something in me that I didn’t. Friends can be good for that outside perspective :) Thanks SKY.

      I remember a trip I took, with a different friend, to Greece many years ago. Overall it was gorgeous and amazing, but there were some glitches along the way. In most of those instances, the first answer we got from people was, no we can’t fix this. In every instance, I ignored the No, kept on pushing and managed to change the situation for the better… (do you hear the word stubborn here?!?!)

      My friend said, “You should write a book on how not to take NO for an answer” ha!!!

      **My theory is that this comes from so many years in the music business – survival often depends on pushing past/ignoring the word NO

      Or perhaps….. my pals are right – I’m plain old stubborn ;)

      The word stubborn technically means having or showing dogged determination not to change...

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      “When you grow up you tend to get told that the world is the way it is and you're life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money. That's a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it… Once you learn that, you'll never be the same again.”

      That’s how the documentary, "One Last Thing" started – I was entranced…. It was cool to learn things like Steve started with his computer vision as a teen with a friend who stayed with him throughout his career. Also, that he had been pushed out of Apple, then it starting going under and they asked him to come back. In the interim he created Pixar! Funded by Ross Perot! He studied calligraphy to incorporate beautiful fonts. He studied Zen, hence Apples sleek & simple designs. There’s even a scene that talks about how the first mouse was created. Also, it talks...

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      Let me start with the story of Dyana.

      Dyana was a young girl I worked with. She came to me for piano lessons. She was a very attentive (and bright!) kid who loved music. She was sooo excited to begin piano lessons.

      Fast forward a month….

      It was obvious to me that she was NOT practicing (at all) Hmmm... Her parents were not forcing her to take lessons and she was always genuinely excited to be there. So I called her out and asked why she wasn’t practicing.

      Her big eyes looked at me and she said, “Well, people who are good don’t need to practice, right? Only people who are bad at music need to practice. If I NEED to practice then that means I’m not good at playing music.”

      A-ha! That was it! She somehow had it in her mindset that if she needed to practice to become better, then that meant she was a hopeless musician.

      I looked at her with sympathetic eyes and said, “Actually you have that backwards…. The people who are good, they are the ones who DO Practice – a lot – that’s HOW they got so good!”

      I referred to a local amazing musician...

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      Mom was a very empathetic, compassionate & insightful kinda gal. I like to think that perhaps somewhere along the way, I absorbed some of that. It makes me smile when I remember her words of wisdom – they inspire me and I hope they will for you too :)

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      Well, this little quest started last weekend with a movie that inspired me.

      Hector and the Search for Happiness”. It really got me thinking!

      As I am sitting here to write, I have so many thoughts to share! I know this study could go on forever… However, I’m just gonna start simple with an unlikely philosopher named Charlie Brown. Because, this morning, the song , “Happiness” from one of my favorite shows, “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown,” (music & lyrics by Clark Gesner), started running in my head. Must be a sign that perhaps the Peanuts gang has some insights?

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      Dear Friends,

      Hello! And Happy March to you! Wow it feels like February flew by…..

      They say that Valentines Day is the day of showing love and that February is the month of Love. But I am a strong believer that we shouldn’t need a Hallmark holiday to tell people how much we care! Today's message is all about sharing the love with you, my Blisful Ones. And although words are precious, gifts are more fun :) So… I’ve got a super treat in store for you...

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      Grace is one of my favorite words and one of my favorite concepts of being.

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      Oftentimes when I think deeply about Stars these Joni Mitchell lyrics come to mind...

      “We are Stardust, We are Golden”

      And that means ALL of us. You don’t need to be Deanna Carter or Chip Esten.

      How is that true?.....

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      So now that the holiday glitter has dissipated oftentimes we are left looking at our New Years plans and thinking…. What was I thinking? Instead of clearing out the garage or finishing our symphony, we add movies to our Netflix queue…. (or any other activity except the endeavor we were hoping to really accomplish).

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      “Yes I’ll Make a Resolution that I’ll Never Make Another One….

      Just enjoy this ride on my Trip Around the Sun”

      - jimmy buffet “trip around the sun”

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      As the Christmas Song goes… these weeks between Christmas and Thanksgiving are to some, “The Most Wonderful Time of the year!” However, for some, they are also the most hectic time of the year. Life goes into high gear pre-Christmas & for many of us it can be super overwhelming. Here’s some common causes and quick solutions to help you navigate the chaos and keep you from getting HolidaZed…

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      Ok,so the holiday cheer has officially begun. Welcome! parties, lights and mistletoe. Everyone is going on about gratitude and baking sparkly cookies to celebrate

      Truth be told, this season can be highly charged and emotional for a lot of people. Sometimes, forcing yourself to drink the egg nog and pretending to feel joyous, just doesn't work.

      When you’re just not feeling it? The whole thing can feel pretty bleak….

      So here’s some tips....

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      Dear Friends

      These past few weeks have been an incredible whirlwind of travel, birthday celebration and award festivities. Needless to say, it has been busy and I have missed connecting with You.

      Blessed to have been able to take a beautiful

      Bday trip to NM. It was so amazing to reconnect with the mountains, hot springs and my incredible peeps in Taos. That’s a gorgeous pic of Taos Mountain.

      And Below... that's me blowing out my birthday candle atop Cinnamon Bun breading pudding with homemade salted caramel pecan ice cream!!!

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      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?

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      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

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      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!

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      Ok, I’ll admit I don’t have a definitive handbook. But I can write from my experience. Recently Irealized 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 lion's 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?

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      “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….”

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      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.

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      Most of us have seen this inspirational poem at some point in our lives. I always loved it, but had only read it on the run. When I took a moment to absorb it slowly and really let it sink in, it gave me a sense of grounding, hope, peace and a brightened perspective. Kinda like a mini-vacation.

      And I've added some waves for your enjoyment. (the mp3 will open in a new screen but you can click back here and listen while they are playing)

      So go for it – Give yourself a 3 minute vacation!

      Click HERE and Enjoy!

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      Now, I don't claim to have the answer, but I am really excited to share with you, some insights that I gleaned from last weekends workshop.

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      What is Love?

      To attempt to define it seems like a tall order and perhaps even a presumptuous undertaking….. Therefore I am also bringing in 3 of my favorite sages…. Brene Brown, Dalai Lama and Winnie the Pooh….

      I’m not sure definition is possible, but I believe that any discussion brings clarity. And a little chat about the positive light of love, can only help its beauty grow…..

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      Imagine if we were able to suspend judgment for a moment and just look at things as they are. Ya never know what life is gonna throw at you…. ! It’s human to label things as good or bad, but something I’m starting to see is that oftentimes it’s only our perception that makes it so.

      Labels help to organize our brains, so we tend to create boxes to interpret our experiences – good, bad, happy, sad, etc…

      In my experience, it’s the assumptions and interpretations that make my head spin and my thoughts swirl. It’s the judgment of the experiences that tends to create crazymaking emotions…

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      It’s amazing how little things can make a big difference.

      To be honest….

      when I sat down to write this note, I was feeling a little blue…perhaps overtired, over-pollened with allergies and not my brightest self. But what’s amazing is that as I read Maya’s quotes, a little bit of the fog is lifting :) And that to me is the mark of a truly amazing spirit - Someone who is a bearer of light when our road looks dark.

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