Everything Miz Meliz, I Love My LIfe, mindfulness

Mindfulness and Love During Difficult Times

Using Mindfulness When Facing Challenges

I was thinking about how to apply mindfulness when facing a challenge and I came across this list of challenges I made years ago:

  1. Dealing with difficult people
  2. Being assertive without being labelled a “bitch”
  3. Managing stress
  4. Keeping up a positive image while managing perceptions
  5. Staying Organized
  6. Communication (communicating clearly with others)
  7. Multi-tasking and completing projects
  8. Self-sabotage, facing fears and following through
  9. Continued personal growth
  10. Letting go (of things that no longer matter)
  11. Saying “No” – prioritizing
  12. Continued professional development
  13. Reaching Goals, facing my fear of success
  14. Increasing efficiency
  15. Managing finances

I am still, and now realize that I always will be, dealing with these challenges to some degree. And more challenges – some worse, and sometimes less challenging but equally important things. I call that the “stuff of life.” It can be dizzying to think about. I know!

This is when mindfulness comes in. Making a list like this and thinking about all of these things at once is overwhelming. It is not a to do list. It is more of a mind dump. I like to just put those things down and walk away from them for a bit. I know I can always come back. I let my mind wander and think happy thoughts. You can train yourself to do this anytime you start feeling overwhelmed.

What is the most important thing?

I interviewed a man once who kept telling me, “The most important thing I learned was this, and the most important thing that happened was that, and the most important thing about it was….”

I asked him, “Okay. but what IS the most important thing to you? Is there one important thing that truly matters?”

Love

“In the end, just three things matter:

How well we have lived
How well we have loved
How well we have learned to let go”
― Jack Kornfield

If you could boil it down to just one thing that truly matters to you, what would it be?

For me, it’s love. To feel loved, to know that I love with all my heart, that I am able to love. Love makes me smile, it makes my heart sing with joy and fills me with happiness. Every cliche, catch phrase, and song that may be coming in to your mind right now – that is what I am talking about! I love that stuff. I live for it. It makes all the other stuff seem somehow less than. I don’t want to say pointless, or unimportant. Those things on my list have meaning. However, I can go on without them. I cannot live without love.

Growing up Catholic, I have always had a faith belief that God is love. I believe that at the root of hope and faith lies the true feelings of love and one’s belief in it. In his first epistle, John the Evangelist wrote:

“God is love, and those who live in love live in union with God and God lives in union with them. Love is made perfect in us in order that we may have courage on the Judgement day; and we will have it because our life in this world is the same as Christ’s. There is no fear in love; perfect love drives out all fear. So then, love has not been made perfect in anyone who is afraid, because fear has to do with punishment.

We love because God first loved us. If we say we love God, but hate others, we are liars. For we cannot love God, whom we have not seen, if we do not love others, whom we have seen. The commandment that Christ has given us is this: whoever loves God must love others also.” 1 John 4: 16-21

Love gives me courage.

Love is perfect for me.

There is no fear in love.

Perfect love drives out fear.

Being loving means loving all people. (Even myself.)

This is me in August 2018, trying to smile while dealing with facial paralysis.

How does Mindfulness and Self-Care help Me?

According to Psych Central, “Mindfulness is the practice of bringing our awareness to what we are experiencing in the present, both internally and externally, without judgment (Kornfield, 2009). It is a wake-up call to become conscious of the ways we perceive and respond to life’s situations.”

You might ask yourself, “Wouldn’t it be great if we could all go around just feeling happy and loving all the time? Why can’t we? Why are we so messed up and why do we want so much out of life? Why am I afraid? Why do I work so hard?” I know I ask myself these questions!

In her Musings and Affirmations, I am Resourceful and Resilient, Martina McGowan proposes that we can learn and grow from challenging circumstances. We can resolve to use resources that reminds us of our own strengths. She says, “My focus on learning enables me to be enormously resilient. I know that I can make it through any situation that comes my way. After all, I am already a survivor of every circumstance in my life so far and I continue to learn from each of them. So today also, I trust that I am resilient.”

I want to just be who I am and be satisfied with that. But something in me is always wanting more. I have a yearning desire to go out and do more, experience more, and learn more. With that comes opportunity as well as risk. All of this brings up fears and overwhelm. Should I or Shouldn’t I? What is keeping me from following my heart?

I worry a lot. Worry causes stress. Stress manifests itself in my body as tension. Tension builds and becomes pain. I begin to worry about the cause of the pain. Then I get sick with worry… There is a pattern here. I am aware of it. I know I need to handle this as soon as, if not before I recognize the signs. I would love to live a worry-free life. I have come a loooong way! I have taught myself to take a breath, to imagine a happy place, to let go, and to live with intention. Now, I aim to learn more about mindfulness and resilience.

“What is the worst thing that can happen?”  This is one of the questions Paige Burkes of Simple Mindfulness suggests we ask ourselves in The Mindful Approach to Facing Your Fears. 

It is part of our genetic design, it is human nature, to constantly seek information, try new things, and grow. While we are doing that we can’t forget about self-care. That’s how I handle so much. My list of 15 challenges, honestly is a partial list. It doesn’t even touch on my physical, medical, or emotional issues. I don’t even begin to list my worries about family, friends, grieving, financial, and relationship issues. We all have those. Instead of falling deeper into a hole of self-doubt and worry, I pick myself up and think about my “one thing.” I am always striving to boost my self-confidence and resilience. I am constantly self-nurturing. And, I do not mean just taking time to do some deep breathing and lighting a candle.

In Foster Mind-Body-Spirit Resilience Through Self-Care Marquita Herald examines the life-long practice of self-care:

“Authentic self-care is about becoming aware of what you want and need on the deepest level and then making it a priority to develop and consistently practice the rituals and habits that will nurture your well-being for the long-term, not just to get through the day.”

A self-care regimen:

  • Prevents disease and illness.
  • Shortens recovery time from illness or injury.
  • Enhances your sense of autonomy (control over your life).
  • Improves self-esteem and confidence.
  • Reduces stress and stress-related anxiety.
  • Helps you be more productive, engaged, and connected.
  • Makes it easier to manage your weight.
  • Helps to build stronger more meaningful relationships.
  • Improves both the length and quality of your life.

So, if self-care has the potential to make such a huge positive impact on our lives, why aren’t we doing it? -Marquita Herald, Emotionally Resilient Living

Just Be You

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All I want is to just be me and feel comfortable in my own skin. I have learned that I am pretty good at that. I like who I have become. I tried a lot of different things. I am at a point of re-becoming my favorite me. I don’t want to fight it anymore. I want to go to my happy place, my one thing that I know to be true, the root of it all. Simple Joys, my theme for this year says it all – I am mindful of the thing that people like about me. I am loving.

Can it really be that Simple?

“Always fall in love with what you are asked to accept. Take what is given, and make it your way. My aim in life has always been to hold my own with whatever’s going. Not against: with.” ~Robert Frost

“You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change, rather than allowing it to master you.” ~Sri Ram

Yes it can! When you question everything, you are setting limits, doubting your gut instincts, going against what you believe to be true. Use mindfulness to combat limiting beliefs.

Choose to listen to the calming voice of reason. Remember to listen for your inner sweetheart! That’s the soft, nice voice telling you, “Yes, it is okay, and you are all right, and this all you need to do right now.” It is possible that the soft voice is your true self speaking at a regular constant volume. Those loud crazy thoughts and ideas could just be noise, distractions, and minutia that brings about the overwhelm.

Be the master of change. You are in charge of you. Changes are going to happen, like it or not. You can change or stay the same and go along with it. Remember what truly matters. Does this make you smile? Does it make your heart sing? Can you live with out it? Does it make you happy? You are the most important. Take care of you!

Just be you.

#SimpleJoys2019

Everything Miz Meliz

Your Kindness Colors My World #MizMeliz

photo and quote by Melissa Reyes copyright 2013 http://mizmeliz.com

What is it about doing something nice “just because” that warms your heart?  

Do you have a story of how a simple act of kindness made an impact on someone’s life? 

Please share your story with me.

I will be looking at how kindness leads to compassion

and how being compassionate leads to

living a happy life in my next post.

Be Inspired, Everything Miz Meliz

Peace of Mind: Imagining the Possibilities

Peace of Mind:

Where are you?

How do I find you?

When can I feel you?

Can I create you?

"peace of mind" photo by Melissa Reyes copyright 2012 http://mizmeliz.com @mizmeliz #mizmeliz

I’ve been “in my head” a lot lately.  Thinking about all of my responsibilities.  Things that I am concerned about.  I’ve learned how to remain calm and stay positive.  I have learned how to “nurture the now.”  When my thoughts drift to thinking about how I will pay my taxes and what will happen when my firstborn goes off to college, I calm myself by recalling that worrying and over-thinking does nothing but create stress.

“Meditation brings me peace and helps me feel connected to the rest of the world.” ~Amy Grams, Nutrition Educator/Coach @AmyGrams

Knowing that stress causes ailments to manifest and weaken me, I recall the goodness that surrounds me and I regain my strength.  It is almost instant.  My head lifts.  I feel light.  When I walk, I walk tall.  When I speak, I speak with love.

“Learn to calm down the winds of your mind, and you will enjoy great inner peace.” ~Remez Sasson, Author of Peace of Mind in Daily Life @RemezSasson

"peace of mind" photo by Melissa Reyes copyright 2012 http://mizmeliz.com @mizmeliz #mizmeliz

When I think about the future, I do all I can to replace the worrisome thoughts that creep into my mind with thoughts of hope.  I begin to dream about the wonderful possibilities.  The beautiful memories of my youth and my life with my parents come to mind.  I know I will build those memories with my own children.  I imagine what it will be like to have grandchildren, to travel with my husband and to retire and have time to enjoy things like gardening and shopping.  A huge smile is on my face!

 “Nurture the now and the flower will come.” ~Jagran Kiran

When I dream hopeful thoughts, I think about the now.  What am I feeling now.  I am happy.  I am feeling good.  I love my family.  I have friends.  I have the capability of handling anything that comes my way.  I have managed just fine so far.  I am in my peaceful zone.

What are you worrying about ? 

How can you create peace of mind for yourself right now?

Blog Venture, Everything Miz Meliz

Whatever You Do – Don’t Laugh! Being a Total Rock Star Isn’t Easy!

In order to express myself, I must first accept myself.

One of my biggest fears about expressing myself and sharing my creativity and talents has always been the fear of being laughed at or dismissed.  I have so many defense mechanisms in place to avoid being laughed at and ridiculed.  I don’t want to place blame.  That doesn’t change things now.  Heck, I don’t even want to explore the reasons why I am the way I am.  It won’t really matter.  I already know. I am the way I am.  I accept myself the way I am.  I have fears and I handle them.

I am at a point in my life that I have accepted myself and now I am ready to express myself.  I began doing that when I began blogging.  Sharing my thoughts, my feelings, and my experiences with the “world” – with you – has been the key that unlocked my true self and set me free!  That freedom has fueled the flame that keeps my desire for love, joy and happiness burning in my heart.

It’s my time to shine!

Miz Meliz at Urban Desert Cabaret http://mizmeliz.com photo property of Lito Reyes Copyright 2013

This week I had the opportunity to share one of my poems at a performance of spoken word alongside some very talented musicians, poets, and artists.  When I was asked if I wanted to read a poem I said, “Yes!” without hesitation.  When I was asked if I was nervous, I said, “Yes!” but it was the excitement kind of nerves, not the sick or stage fright kind.    The fears that came to mind were brief fleeting moments of panic.   What if I mess up?  What if they laugh at me?  What if no one likes my poem.  What if I get sick to my stomach?  What if I have an anxiety attack? What if I get a migraine or vertigo and can’t go on?  These things have happened before.

The thoughts of my biggest fears did not remain in my consciousness for very long. I have always wanted to get to a point in my life where the things I enjoy doing are not a challenge.  They are just a part of me.  I want to show the world that I can do these things well.  I have always wanted to be able to share my talents without concern for what others think, without fear of judgement.  This was significant in my life’s journey because I have now become more confident in myself and my abilities than ever before.  It was because of that confidence that I did not get nervous or sick. And you know what?  I rocked it!  It was great!  Not just because I did not get ill.  Not just because my friends said I was good.  Not just because I didn’t mess it up.  I enjoyed the experience.  I shared my talent with my friends and family.  And – no one laughed!  I did great because I believed in myself.

The Urban Desert Cabaret

Thursday night’s performance of The Urban Desert Cabaret was a show that my cousin, Joe City Garcia arranged.  The show takes place about once a month and if you like folk music, art, and poetry – you should definitely see it.  Most of the performers have a few things in common, they either know Joe City and/or have some connection to Joshua Tree – a community of artists who live or work in the desert.  These men and women all have a soulful camaraderie and connection to the earth, to light and to love.  Even if you just appreciate great music and song – this show is for you!  You can read more about UDC in my previous posts: Hollywood Nights and Urban Desert Cabaret.

copyright Joe Garcia 2013
It was exciting to be named in the event flyer!

I don’t want to forget anyone, so here is the line up from the January 31st show: Guest artists: Billy Gill (songs), Paul McCarty (songs) Monique Caruso (songs), Cari Banke (art/spoken word), Lalo Kikiriki (song/spoken word), Laura Anne Lacy (songs), Miz Meliz (Melissa Reyes) (spoken word) and more TBA! Plus songs and jams with the UDC combo: Jeremy Gilien, Tonya Lee Jaynes, Robert Matsuda & host Joe City Garcia.  First, Joe City and the Urban Desert Cabaret combo band started off the show with a few songs.  Their music is transfixing.  It brings me to a place of soulful reflection.  Have you ever driven through the desert and listened to the album by U2, Joshua Tree?  It opens up your horizons.  That is how Joe’s music is to me!  He is a rock star that I have admired my whole life.

Joe thanked everyone for coming and explained a bit about UDC.  Then, he said something like “who wants to go first?” and at that moment, I had just stood up.  He looked at me and said, “Miz Meliz – are you ready?”  I had told myself ahead of time that whenever he asked me I would say, “I am ready!” and I did.  And I was!  I didn’t expect to go first, but I was happy to because then I could relax and enjoy the rest of the show.  It was a bit of a bummer because some of my friends missed it, but it was good for me.

Next up was a great performer who played accordion and sang, her name is Lalo. . . her songs were light and fun and she told her stories in a way that made me smile.  She was a bit of a crack up and brought some humor to the scene. After Lalo, Billy Gill came up and performed a few songs.  His guitar playing is remarkable and his singing is impressive! I enjoyed the guitarist Monique Caruso and was impressed that one of the pieces she performed had just been written the night before!  (I wrote the poem that I read over a decade before!!  Some people cant help but share their talent, it precedes them.) Then we had the pleasure of a performance by the  Wicked Saints with Paul McCarty and Retro Rob Thomas.  They were awesome!

Cari Banke spoke about her art that donned the walls all evening and shared some introspective poetry that she wrote to accompany her pieces.  When she took the stage, she said, “Are you all in a good mood? Having a good time?  Well, I am about to bring you down.”  Her art and poetry was about genocide and survival.  She was very insightful and did manage to leave everyone on an upbeat note! There was more singing and guitar playing, more poems were shared and the UDC combo wrapped up the evening with more tunes. It’s surprising that all of this is put together and performed without rehearsals or much else in the way of planning.  It always comes off flawlessly, because of the spirit and expertise of Joe City – all the performers make a commitment to be there and they bring their best to share for that moment.  It was an honor to be a part of it!

My performance is on my You Tube Channel and the poem is posted here: That Funky Tree.

Two Funny Brains

Saturday I had the chance to spend some time with some very creative friends that shared their unique talents with others too!  I have recently shared some of my humor with Fazel Huts and I always say that laughter is the best medicine but a true comedienne is a hot commodity!  It is not easy to be a woman and be funny.  That’s why I love the Two Funny Brains!  two funny brains

I had the unique opportunity to visit Jessica Bern and attend a “girly clothes party” at her home.  Debbie Anderson was there, too.  I couldn’t believe how lucky I am!  I asked Jessica, “You know who I am, right?” when she invited me to this intimate setting.  She was surprised by my question.  I know we are friendly on Facebook and have “talked” late into the night via instant message on many occasions.  But to me, she is a total rock star and I am a total groupie! (I met Jessica for the first time when I had the rare opportunity to be an extra on an episode of Blog This.)

photo credit AJ Ferman Copyright 2013
Jessica Bern & Miz Meliz

To me being “a total rock star” is being able to show off your talents in a big way.  I admire everyone who does that and makes it look so easy.  I know it is not easy. 

The Poetry Salon

After hanging out with the ladies at Jessica’s house, I headed over to The Fat Dog Fairfax, a fun eatery in Hollywood.  I had the pleasure of being invited to attend a special event hosted by Jennifer Styperk, poet and CEO of Poetry Salon.  It was their annual Valentine’s Day event to kick off this season of love.  What better way to celebrate your love for someone than by getting them a bespoke poem for the occasion.  (A bespoke poem is a custom crafted work of art based on stories you provide, inspired by an individual muse whom you want to honor.)  I was thrilled to meet this amazing entrepreneur rock star poet!  I was impressed that Jennifer took her talent as a poet and made it into a business that is thriving and employs and engages other poets to use their craft to help others. (See this great blog post with an interview of Jennifer Styperk for more about Poetry Salon and Bespoke Poems: http://mngirlinla.com/2013/02/04/looking-for-a-personalized-gift-try-out-poetry-salon/#comment-22702)

Photo Credit Deanna Leigh of Poetry Salon copyright 2013
Miz Meliz with Jamie Gall and Jennifer Styperk

Creativity and rocking a special talent comes naturally to some people and it is a difficult journey for most.  No matter what, keep at it!  Don’t ever give up hope!  Face your fears.  Find ways of making it work.  It’s your time to shine!

Behind the scenes busy at work at all the above events are the bloggers that I know that help to promote and in doing so are encouraging and supporting one another constantly.  Please check out their blogs, Like them on Facebook, and Follow them on Twitter and Instagram. Carolyn, Jamie, AJ, and Deanna. I had a blast sharing these experiences with them and I am glad to have their friendship!

Be Inspired, Everything Miz Meliz

What Makes You Happy? #MizMeliz

What Makes You Happy?

Do you wonder about your life’s purpose? How do you become happy? How do you find inner peace?

For me, I have found that no matter what my focus is (let’s face it, being a mom, a wife, an employee, and so much more – I don’t always focus on or think about my life’s purpose) I am happiest when I am being creative. I love to make things and I love being productive. I will be the first to admit it – sometimes, I love being lazy! But, I usually have a few projects in the works.

Blogging has been particularly satisfying for me and has allowed me to be my best self whenever I feel like it. I have met amazing people and made some wonderful friends. I can express myself openly and honestly. I truly have found my voice! Through blogging (writing and posting information online) I have been able to explore and pursue all of my interests. I also have the opportunity at my fingertips to share what I experience and learn with others. That is the best part! What is the point of being passionate about something without sharing it with the world?

One way that I have been able express my creativity is by writing and sharing my poetry. I have posted some of my favorites on my blog, and I have even read my poetry at various open mic nights. My poem, Rain, which I read when I participated in the Velvet Guerilla Cabaret at the UnUrban Coffee House in Santa Monica last August is on my You Tube Channel.

This week I will be reading another of my original poems at a spoken word performance in Hollywood. The event is called Urban Desert Cabaret. It is a variety of artists who are brought together on a regular basis by Songwriter/musician Joe City Garcia. (Joe happens to be my cousin. That’s the reason I have this chance.) Most of the performers are professionals. Joe is passionate about this show and works hard to bring together a cohesive program that everyone will enjoy (its not an open mic night! I’m getting nervous!) But honestly, I have a sound heart as I prepare for my performance and I am completely open to the experience.

I put a lot of energy over the years into finding my life’s purpose and living to my life’s full potential. I know that having a joyful heart is what brings happiness to my life and the lives of those I touch. I love the confident feeling I have when I can express myself openly and my creativity shines through! It’s that creative force that brings joy, happiness and peace to my heart. This is what makes life worth living, this is what brings purpose and meaning to my life.

Photo Copyright Melissa Reyes 2012 http://mizmeliz.com
Miz Meliz on the Beach on a Cold Day

What makes your heart leap with joy? What makes you happy?

Years ago, I learned many of the principles that I continue to apply to my life now while watching The Oprah Winfrey Show. That is where I first encountered Gary Zukav. You can learn to find meaning in your life and start living it with the help of Gary Zukav by following his steps, he says:

“Discover your soul and its path.

Align your personality with your soul. Until that happens, you won’t be able to give the gifts you were meant to.

Remind yourself daily of the following:

• You are a soul first and a personality second.
• You are worthy. You are not on this Earth by accident. You have a reason to be here. There’s a difference between accepting that in your mind and accepting in your heart.
• It’s not an “it” that you’re looking for—it’s your life that you’re living.
• You are here to create an authentically empowered life. There is no guarantee you will do it. It’s up to you.”

Learn more and meet Gary Zukav: http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Finding-Meaning-and-Purpose-in-Your-Life#ixzz2DXs40F6c

2012-07-30 19.20.13

30 Health Blog Posts in 30 Days, Be Inspired, Everything Miz Meliz, Quotes & Notes

Look Again In Your Heart Day 2 #NHBPM

Today is Day 2 of Wego’s National Health Blog Post Month.  There are two prompts to choose from each day.  One was to write about the weirdest thing about your health.  Right now everything seems weird.  After yesterday’s long heartfelt and emotionally exhausting post, I decided to go with the second prompt.  Find a quote and use it as inspiration.

The quote above, from Gibran, “When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” is exactly what I am going through these days.  I am sadly missing the people in my life who I loved and I am sad that I have similar troubles with my health that they had.  I am looking again at my sadness and hoping for a silver lining.  There are some hopeful things that I can gain from this experience.

One.  I loved them.  They loved me.  Everyone should be so lucky to have experienced that kind of love.

Two.  I have their experiences to learn from. I will honor them and try not to make the mistakes they may have made.

Three.  I have knowledge, strength, and support that will help me through this.

That’s inspiring!

I urge you to look again in your heart.  What makes you sad?  Could it be that you are longing for the thing that once made you happy.  Perhaps knowing that you were once happy is not enough.  Make yourself happy again.  At least now you know what you are missing.

Everything Miz Meliz, Poems

Is It Time for Life?

Is it time for life? 
 
I have had enough death and illness. 
 
Yes, Simon jumped.  Dad died suddenly.  Mom died after a long illness.  Friends die of Cancer.  People have heart attacks.  It sucks! 
 
It makes me sad. 
 
I wonder.  What do I do know?  Why can’t I get over it? 
 
I am so happy about a lot of things.  I have a good life.  It’s my life and it is pretty cool. 
 
It is time. 
 
It’s time for life and love and happiness!
 

Looking at the Horizon