Meris Gebhardt 0:03
That’s why I love the meditation because it’s just a taste of health, you say, Oh, I’ve got this, okay, I can take that little extra step here. And I can see that move over there. And I’ve got exercise energy over here. And so just starts to piece together a foundation of stepping from one to the next and trusting that it will be there and you will recover and you will rebound and you can see into the future and things are stable because you’re breathing in this single moment.
Adam Baruh 0:42
Welcome to the change, where we share stories and inspiration from business leaders and people making positive work life changes. I’m your host, Adam Baruh. As if we as a society weren’t already inundated with anxiety and stress before COVID. The persisting pandemic continues to be a cauldron that has the power to amplify our trauma, stress and anxiety. More than ever, it’s important to find the solution to these anxieties within our own bodies and minds. Many high functioning CEOs, athletes and others, have successfully looked to meditation to qualm those anxieties, the ability to rest the mind is more critical than ever, in our working lives. The stress of going into the office, possibly exposing ourselves to COVID or having lost our social connections as we continue to work from home has all made it so that we operate under a rising level of anxiety. Combined with the uncertainty about when this pandemic will ease, it’s clearly more important than ever that we turn to proven tools that help keep a sense of balance for ourselves, our families and society at large. And one of the greatest and oldest tools people have used to calm the mind and body is meditation. A previous guest on our show described how he uses meditation to enable his mind to receive the necessary downloads it needs to expand his knowledge and understanding. By quieting the mind. It puts us in a position to connect with our higher selves and also provides us a greater ability to listen for the answers that already exist within each of us. Here to tell us more about the power of meditation, and how it enhances our ability to be at our best is Meris Gebhardt, a thought leader and expert in the field of corporate and individualized meditation Meris, welcome to the change.
Meris Gebhardt 2:35
Thank you so much, Adam. I’m thrilled to be here.
Adam Baruh 2:38
So happy to have you here. So as I do with all of our guests here on the change, I’d like to start with your background, if you wouldn’t mind telling us where you grew up what your home family situation was like in your early years.
Meris Gebhardt 2:50
Right, right, right. Well, let’s see how well memory serves. Foreshadowing memory is a very improved feature of medicine, meditation practice. All right. So I grew up I started out I was born in Fresno, California, where my father was doing his medical internship. Okay, born to my father and my mother, and then we moved to a tiny little town called Lame Deer, Montana. My dad liked to, well, hopefully he wouldn’t be upset if I said this. He liked to urinate outdoors, like nature and being away from it all and probably lamed air with maybe 300 People population was too big for him and sometimes he really got into rural medicine. Native American medicine and smaller towns, we then move to Bend Oregon, where I happen to be sitting today. And my mom started a Montessori school in our home. So we had lots of beautiful young people coming to the house. I was a student as well as you know, an aide in the classroom. And then I remember taking ballet lessons here in Bend with Baumgartner, beautiful ballerina and her daughter ballet. And then we moved to Hardin, Montana again to get away from it all. So here’s my dad, good hunt, and he liked the outdoors in the wilderness. Both of my parents were born and raised in Oregon. Okay. But they liked the sunshine of Montana. So we continued there. And then, about third grade, my parents divorced and my mother went west, moved to Seattle where her brother and sister lived. She’s one of eight children, so big Catholic family, and my dad remarried and then we moved east to Spearfish, South Dakota, where my stepmother was raised and born around I don’t know where she was born, but born and raised near there, okay with her family. And so I met a whole new range of friends and people felt a little disruptive to me, because I didn’t know anyone there. I didn’t have any mom figure. That was familiar to me like any friends, moms or my own mom. And my mom always made great efforts to come see us or bring us out to Seattle for the summers and holidays. And so I got to experience the city and it’s thriving, you know, vibrancy, and then the country where it felt a little slow, but also really wholesome. We lived on a farm and so we ate mostly our own vegetables. There was a dietician so I learned at a very early age, the importance of healthy nutrition and thinking about our food and the calories and the preservatives and processed and chemicals. And so I got thinking about that. My mom with a Montessori, I became very aware of learning styles and how to interpret the world really through our senses and awareness and sharp attention to detail. And also feeling our way through tune tuning in. And then my father as a physician, Western trained, I learned so much from him about In fact, he said this, and it may have planted way back in my being at an early age, but he said stress is going to be our biggest killer. And I must have hooked into that or maybe it just reemerged in the right time, the right place when I discovered meditation as my profession, but he taught us to, you know, work hard, play hard, get outside, do your chores, sleep in your own bed, gather as a family for meals, sit down, eat your meals, a lot of very good foundational practices were laid for me early on. And so it’s always surprising to me when I hear people talking about even food today, like oh, I’ll just have something like for breakfast, something flaky like a croissant and like, it’s rolled in butter. There’s nothing really healthy about a croissant, but it sure does taste good. So you know, we have to live as well. Mm
Adam Baruh 6:47
hmm. Yeah, I think you’re kind of describing my typical breakfasts. If I even get to them, which is unfortunate and, and shout out to Montessori because I did Montessori from kindergarten through fifth grade have great fond memories of it. It was, for me just such a, I think it was really an ideal way for me to be you know, starting out in my education just because it felt really wholesome and connected. So I just absolutely loved it. So if I if I heard you correctly. So your parents split, and you moved back east with your father? And did I am I understanding that you would see your mother then kind of the summer times only most with your
Meris Gebhardt 7:30
custody. And I should mention too, that I’m the eldest of five children. So there were three of us my dad remarried, in South Dakota, and then they proceeded to have two more girls who I’m very close with today, I just went up to Big Sky Montana, and in 10 days with my sister Betsy and helping her take care of her three young children who I adore to pieces. And then my other sister Carrie, also in Montana, beautiful, beautiful children, just the light of my life. But um, so yeah, Elsa five, and then I went on from South Dakota to college, went out to University of Portland, where my parents actually met, okay, and then proceeded to do nursing, didn’t pass pharmacology, ironically, which is the most beautiful blessing in disguise. And so I proceeded to go on with Allied Health Sciences, which is really a triplicate minority, minor, triple minor. And so I was studying psychology, physical therapy, and biology. So it really piqued my interest, it laid a solid foundation for me to go on and continue exploring, on my own the workings of the mind the workings of the body. Yeah. And so I got into yoga about 23 years ago, I was living in Boston, and 911 hit. Mine said, Hey, come to this yoga studio with me. So they’re, the practice was born, I was like, wow, this is not quite ballet, it’s not quite running. It’s not quite gymnastics, all of the three which I have done it, but it was everything and more. So it really combined that intensity, the mental engagement, the exploration and movement of the body. And the benefits, which I didn’t really know about. Because in the beginning in our western practice, right, it’s all about how good will I look and these yoga pants. So I fell prey to that, and later discovered, and now I discover my own practice, and it’s as strong as ever. But more tuned in and deliberate intentional. So I went way off on a tangent there, but that’s, that’s totally
Adam Baruh 9:36
fine. We’re definitely going to get to all that. But I want to I want to keep us on in your early years. I you shared with me that you grew up and you just stated this a few moments ago. Um, but the way you stated it to me is you grew up in a medical household that didn’t believe much in medication, but rather than preventive measures for good health and so let’s, I’d like to hear you elaborate on how that early perience really cultivated that on, you know, within you that practice of alternative healing.
Meris Gebhardt 10:08
So we would go to the cabin, often as a family in the cabin meant leaving your friends, no television, wearing your grubby clothes, right and walking down to the river to get your water so that you could cook with it and then wash the dishes with it. Wow, going to the cabin meant using an outhouse in the middle of the night if you had to go. So we really were living a rustic, connected to the earth experience. You know, it wasn’t that often, maybe every couple of months, we’d get away for the weekend and go to the cabin in Wyoming. Yeah. So this really instilled and my parents until my dad died, he, they went to the cabin all the time to get away from it all, if you will. And today, we call that off the grid. But it was a place to connect with nature to breathe to not be attached to consumption, shopping and digital and media and even the interaction with friends you know, you learn to become very independent and new, the sole provider of your entertainment, your soothing your interest, your inspiration, like it’s up to you to create this. And what we really learned and I only can now see it looking back is that there’s so much available to us, if we just open our eyes and open our nose as my dad had like to listen to the trees, they spoke to him and so, so much can come in if we only and now I love saying and in my practice is like let the other stuff settle so that your other senses can expand instead of crowding out with so much noise and visual input and, you know, oral consumption and whatever.
Adam Baruh 11:47
Oh, yeah, absolutely. Our senses are just, you know, I don’t think we practice all of our senses to the fullest extent. And, you know, I live in Southern California. And, um, you know, just everything you described, are things that I had struggled with, you know, with the way that I’ve wanted to parent, my children. I’m seeing him grow up here in Southern California, it’s, it’s really hard to get away from people everywhere you go, there’s going to be a million people. Now. Yes, there are places to go. But but you have to like drive far away to get there sometimes on and there’s just so much noise everywhere you go. There’s traffic noise. You know, just to share a little bit more personally, like, I’m I grew up in the San Francisco area, I spent a lot of time in the Redwoods up there growing up. Yeah, I was very fortunate to have gone to schools and be involved in programs that really did bring us out into the redwoods a lot for camping. You know, one of the early memories I have, we were with the other group of students in my seventh grade class. And we went to the marine headlines, which is just my absolute favorite place in the world. And our hike leader did this little exercise with us where we all gathered as a group, and then she there were two instructors, our hike leaders, and one of them went went off the head. And then every five minutes, she would release one student at a time. And so we would basically walk by ourselves for about 20 minutes, maybe 30 minutes, and I remember being scared. But I remember the senses my all of a sudden all of my senses opened up, I was aware of every noise of everything the smells, I could still anytime I’m in like a riparian Creek habitat. And I smell that smell it brings me right back to that time. So you know, that upbringing that you had? It’s just it’s so great for kids. And it’s, it’s something that I struggle with, like how, how, what more can I do to inject that into my own kids experience growing up, we my wife and I have talked about getting a cabin like up in the Big Sur area and just going there to get off the grid like you said, from time to time is this so great for kids?
Meris Gebhardt 14:03
Um, something you just said there, it made me think about because, and this week, ironically, our subject is about Be not afraid. And so we have so much fear that’s just kind of in us and we’re in constant hyper vigilant mode, especially in this climate of our world and digital and everything else I don’t need to name but when we go into the woods, and when you are separated from your people and exploring and having that element of fear and then all of a sudden that little shift where you’re like, wow, I can hear things you can now have access to your faculties and they can warn you of threats that are real they your smells will warn you of danger you we have such or our human body is such an incredible device tool machine that we find a way to not lean into fear we realize we can set that burden down and now thrive because we can take in all of our environment and be more human. So we don’t know how much fear we’re living in until we realize how confident and strong and access to resources that we have.
Adam Baruh 15:09
Yeah, and I think it was such a great experience for us to, to actually have that fear and then learn that we can control it and actually have a good experience. And it, you know, it just teaches kids to, you know, unfortunately, I think, you know, times have changed a little bit where, you know, I have two older kids who are adults now, and two younger kids, and, you know, I have noticed with them and with a lot of kids, that there is more of a fear to just go outside and, and play and just be free.
Meris Gebhardt 15:41
Right, and we have to be careful to not take that growth experience away from
Adam Baruh 15:46
Yeah, it’s it’s so critical. Alright. So you also stated to me that, by nature, you kind of are a stressed and anxious person, you went on to say how this led you to developing a sense of hyper awareness, kind of the same topic that we were just discussing. So, you know, I have found that a common attribute among healers, is a well developed sense of self awareness. So tell us how this relates to your own experience,
Meris Gebhardt 16:13
I might just go backwards into this one. Because when people come to me as private clients, I feel that there is nothing that will surprise me, alarm me be too scary for me to work with. Not to say that I have experienced all those things. But I think that I’ve since developed such a sense of security and safety and constancy, and stability in my own being that I can be present for another to tap into those Prickly, sharp, scary spaces of their own. Yeah, I think therapists have to work really hard at not absorbing all the trauma from their clients. I’m not saying I’m that kind of a professional. But I do really speak to this when I’m guiding meditation to wherever anyone might be on their journey in that range of tapping into their emotions, their experiences, their interpretations, whatever is coming up for them. So I tried to really say be raw, but allow someone else to be raw and have a safe space are not on the spot. And it’s not muted.
Adam Baruh 17:30
Yeah, it’s that that safe space, that safety is really important. Alright, so I want to I want to do a little bit of a fast forward here. And then you you were you’re getting into this a little bit earlier. So you know, moving into your adult years, and about your work history. So I understand you didn’t start out your career focusing on meditation and these practices or yoga, and that you worked for several years in software sales. And so yeah, describe that experience, and then the ultimate kind of path that led you to your calling as like a healer, meditation expert.
Meris Gebhardt 18:08
Yeah, so having been raised in a family that is like, as you mentioned, kind of a medical family. So my grandfather was a physician, lots of nurses and doctors in my family. So therefore, I was always aware of the body in the healing arts. And in fact, I think my dad’s clinic was called medical healing arts. Interesting. He had a clinic in South Dakota. But so when I went to university, I was planning to become a nurse. And University of Portland, one of the foundational tenets of the university is service. And so we’ve always focused on service. And so nursing felt like exact right fit, I want to be a traveling nurse. But then I got into the nursing and discovered you’re just really working with sick people, and you have to deal with a lot of drugs. And this was completely divergent from my own core beliefs. So yes, definitely into preventive medicine, as mentioned, getting good sleep, eating good food, exercising proactively being outside, so doing all the foundational practices. So nursing kind of kicked me out, which I’m today forever grateful for. But it did lay a foundation for me to begin really cure exploring how do we optimize this being so not being in survival mode so much, but aiming towards thriving? But I completed my degree, and actually, before I completed my degree, I thought about work for the summer. And so I reached out to some people I knew who worked at an investment company, and one thing led to another and before I know it, I’m there eight years, so more like six actually, I was there six, so I was there for a year, my final senior year, and then about five or six more years after that. So I really got into investment, thinking and markets and I was in the marketing department At this investment company, so I learned about presentations and putting numbers together, telling a story answering RFP, so lots of writing technical writing. But then at my final six months, the company I was tasked with teaching people at the company, a certain software tool that we were going to implement. So that turn my dial and to point down another road about software consulting. So I left this company in Portland, I moved to Boston, I, after a couple interval jobs, I got a great job with Standard and Poor’s. So s&p, and so I was working in the financial industry, with software. So I was going around to clients helping them build formulas for their portfolios. Anyway, I got a great offer with a Norwegian search technology company. And so I went and worked for them. And then I got laid off because of 911 discovered Yoga. But I always had that backup plan, as you know, software sales. So I just kind of moved through that always had yoga on the side was beginning to explore this didn’t want to become a yoga teacher as a professional full time. So I kept the money, right, the attachment to security, that bigger paycheck, supposedly supposed to make me feel better. But I always kept this open ear to the yoga and the meditation and the lifestyle and by the data, data, data. 20 years later, I’m still selling software. I’ve been laid off now three or four times from different software sales jobs. So the whole universe was trying to tell me stop this madness. Go to your calling. It was what the world needs. It’s what you love. And you happen to be good at it. Now. I hope that doesn’t sound so boastful. I’m just trying to be humble. With his gift that I’ve been given an amuse in the best possible way.
Adam Baruh 21:42
Yeah, no, it sounds like it. Um, so yeah, I’d like to talk about this time, more about when you realize that’s the direction you wanted to take your life was moving now towards the yoga practice, the meditation I or VEDA, you shared with me that part of this journey to your your discovery was the experience of some bad relationships. So would you would you mind sharing a little bit more about, you know how these bad relationships lead further to this path to being a yoga meditation or your beta practitioner?
Meris Gebhardt 22:16
Yes, I can sing a whole bunch of country songs right now. And he’s that story together. But we all know the deal. We kind of entered troublesome situations so that we can grow. And I did. And so I was in a very trying relationship. It really felt familiar because I had so much anxiety. So I’m like, Oh, this is meeting me where I am. And so I needed to address that. And at some point in there, I realized no, this is no longer teaching me this is now harming me. And so I made that shift, I leaned into meditation, I went there for my safe space. I knew I was not going to go towards medication, I had tried that. And it did not help with anxiety, it simply turned my brain into hamburger Bush. And that was not for me. So I don’t judge but I’m just sharing my story. And that was not for me. And so I came out the other side of that fully on in meditation, purifying my diet, purifying what I put into my mind purifying and the people I put myself around. And when you focus on the core goal and the filling up of goodness, then the negativity just naturally sloughs away. It took me a long time to get there, I thought that I had to actively rip off the band aid or chop off my arm to get rid of this negative relationship. But instead, I moved towards positivity filled in with good things, and then it no longer looked interesting.
Adam Baruh 23:41
Yeah. Um, so I think he, you know, touched on it a little bit, but um, I’d like to dive deeper. Like, specifically, how has meditation helped you personally?
Meris Gebhardt 23:50
Yeah. So at really the low point as very clear to me in that relationship. I was overhearing my guy, having a conversation with his brother about all these negative things about me. They didn’t know I could hear them. And I kept listening, right? Because I just had to find out how bad I was. And I went back to my bedroom and gotten bed and I was just crying so hard and clawing at the sheets. I’m like, when is this going to be okay? Maybe I can just make it go away, and it’ll all be over and life will be better if I just am not here anymore. Like it was a very critical moment, turning in my journey. So I breathed. I saw myself from above, and I realized, yeah, no, you are good. It’s just the home you’re in at this moment is nice. So I recognize that Thank goodness. I had a beautiful loving. I mean, I had struggles in my childhood, but I knew people loved me. I knew they valued me. They told me I was valuable. So I leaned into that even though I didn’t feel it within and just started chipping away. At step by step, getting away, getting away, getting away getting out of the situation. And yes, I went back a couple times. But ultimately I knew better I was having that dialogue, I was setting my surroundings and my framework and my people, my environment, support network really super strong. And just kind of kept going on that. And you do you get very strong inside, and we don’t realize how much we have until we’re tested.
Adam Baruh 25:28
Absolutely. I’ve shared on this podcast and on others, how, you know, for me, in my own journey, there’s been this dialogue of negative self talk for so many years. And it’s, it’s interesting how easy it is for the mind to go there. But we can be in front of that we can control it, I’ve, you know, I’m not perfect, I still kind of go there sometimes. But, you know, I think I get ahead of it a little bit more by just doing all the other things that I know, contribute to a greater sense of well being.
Meris Gebhardt 26:03
I mean, you can taste it when you’re sick, for example, you have no energy, how will I ever get out of this feeling? How will I ever wash my hair again, or whatever, you know, you just feel completely drained. And you know that negative emotions impact our actual physical energy level. So that’s why I love the meditation, because it’s just a taste of health, you say, Ah, I’ve got this, okay, I can take that little extra step here. And I can see that move over there. And I’ve got exercise energy over here. And so it just starts to piece together a foundation of stepping from one to the next and trusting that it will be there and you will recover and you will rebound. And you can see into the future and things are stable, because you’re breathing in this single moment. It just begins to unfold. And yeah,
Adam Baruh 26:56
absolutely. So yesterday, I released an episode on with a guest by the name of Seth Lyon. And we spoke about the nervous system. Yeah, about, you know, the sympathetic, the parasympathetic, the flight fight freeze responses. And so, you know, kind of what I’m hearing what I what I think meditation does for us is it triggers that parasympathetic, you know, response of your nervous system branch that just calms everything, it just brings everything into focus. You know, and that’s the place where you’re, you are going to have that connection to your higher self, you’re going to be connected to, you know, answers that, like I said, in the intro to this episode, the answers are there. But we sometimes often don’t know how to get to them. Because we’re not in a state of being with our nervous system to connect with that, right?
Meris Gebhardt 27:48
Yes, you’re bringing up a really good point. Because much like, you know, in Bernoulli principle of lift, birds don’t know the science behind flight, but they fly and they know how to fly and they benefit from the flying. And so the same is true with us. When we breathe, we massage the vagus nerve, which travels through the diaphragm, which is why it’s being massaged, because up and down movement of the diaphragm, massage the vagus nerve, which then puts us into parasympathetic nervous system state. And that’s the calming. The other thing too, which is so very valuable is the importance of a healthy gut. And we have more serotonin produced in the gut than we do in the brain. And these are the happy mood, Oh, interesting hormones and neurotransmitters. So very important to have this state of rest when you digest. Stress kills out that normal flora and the bacteria in the gut microbiome that helps us to digest properly and absorb the nutrition and continue producing the happy hormones and neurotransmitters.
Adam Baruh 28:56
Absolutely. So how do you with your, with your personal practice? How do you continue to deepen your practice in your own life and then also guide students accordingly?
Meris Gebhardt 29:07
Yeah, one of my favorite things is to walk and to listen to a podcast at that time, I have some of my favorite go twos, give a shout outs, I’ve never met them. But one day maybe a dream come true. Dr. Mark Hyman functional medicine out of Cleveland Clinic and his partner colleague, not a doctor, but very smart, intelligent and Drew perrottet And he has a podcast called The broken brain and they explore everything that has to do with brain function and the health of the brain and optimizing the brain and they definitely get into lifestyle and immunology and hormonal balance and focus and lifestyle practices. So um, he has incredibly talented guests on the show and I’m always learning something from him. So that’s one of my all time favorite things to do is take my evening walk and listen to a podcast with Drew pro it so thank you drew. And then of course I have my morning exercise routine. I’m I also have gotten into our VEDA through all the years of yoga practice. So this is ancient Indian medicine of life, so many rhythmic practices through our VEDA tuning into our system. So basically starting the day with these practices by the night before, going to bed at a consistent time, waking up having some healthy fluids to flush the organs, getting some movement in, and then I sit in my meditation, and that’s why I communicate with myself. I let all the noise that’s happening, all the thoughts, all the emotions that are coming around, and I’m not paying attention to, to finally air out and oxidize, and once I acknowledge them, then they can be dispensed of, and hopefully not bother me too much again, you know, we have repeating patterns, of course, yes, we do. So yeah, that’s my meditation practice. Getting to bed and then definitely journaling
Adam Baruh 30:54
Before Yes. Yeah, I like everything you just described are things that I aspire to do. I do some of them the journaling, the trying to go to bed at a consistent time. And it’s definitely brushing everything.
Meris Gebhardt 31:05
I mean, Adam, let’s go.
Adam Baruh 31:07
I want to get into some of the techniques. So do you have Are there specific techniques with meditation that you generally go to, or just describe what your what your techniques are that you generally practice?
Meris Gebhardt 31:20
Yeah, so the brain is designed to think and are wants to do something. So I do really love some healing mantra chanting. I was initiated when I lived in New York City with a mantra from a Hindu guru from the Vedanta practice. But that’s a mantra that I just repeat to myself silently sometimes. But the healing mantras in the morning, I like to do and they all have sort of focus, whether it’s compassion, or joy and bliss, or non attachment or perfection, purification. So all these different energies and where they vibrate in your body. I love doing those. But I also really, with all the years of yoga, lean into the physical grounding in the meditation practice because I’m Fatah, in the eye or Vedic system. And so very windy movement, light agitated, mentally active, as always gonna say disturbed, and I probably have been mentally disturbed at some time. We all are at some level. And so I really anchor into the body. So feeling grounded, letting my belly soften my shoulders soften the jaw tension, relaxing the eye movement, which is directly tethered to the activity of the mind, I’m letting the eyes come into a gentle and lowland breast. So yeah, very much a physical. I’m not, I ended up doing it, body scan sort of guidance. But I’m not a big fan of body scan, because I feel like it’s really sterile. And when you do body scan, you’re just meant to notice. So this is where I probably deviate from official mindfulness. The definition of mindfulness is to pay attention on purpose in a particular way without judgment. Jon Kabat Zinn, with his MBSR, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, I’m a huge fan of him. He’s incredible orator, speaker, researcher, provider of knowledge and wisdom, incredible man. He rolled out mindfulness your few decades, for decades ago, maybe in the US. But anyway, so I as a yoga teacher, I love the mindfulness I’ve explored that I know the science, I’ve studied it, I’ve taught it. But for myself, where I take my students is to actually offer a transformation. So where mindfulness might end, I kind of go further. So mindfulness will ask you notice the sensation in your big toe. And as a yoga teacher, and someone who’s looking to transform and change and grow and evolve, I will say notice the sensation in your big toe, and now allow it to open release feel the vitality thrumming into this big toe, right, so, tuning into our energy and even calling it out calling it up.
Adam Baruh 34:18
So a previous guest on this show, as I alluded to, in the intro, by the name of Brandon Cooper described how he uses meditation, in his own practice to enable him to be a better leader. He mentioned how when he practices meditation and opens up his mind, such that it’s better equipped to receive the necessary downloads, as they call it, that helped them connect with his higher self. So what do you what do you think’s at play here with these downloads and how meditation opens the door for Cooper in this way?
Yeah, so I was raised Catholic. I’ve spent a lot of time in church sometimes paying attention, sometimes spacing out and seeing what happens. I also listened to a really great Speaker one time and he taught us this phrase, and it’s very much stuck with me. And he says, the classroom of silence. So when we go quiet, this is when things get loud. But what I find is that during the meditation, I’m having all these memories, like what my sister said to me when I was 12. And what outfit am I going to wear tomorrow, and I can’t believe this happened over there. Another dah, dah, dah. So lots of current noise, lots of historical noise. But when I’m finished with the meditation, and I’m doing my normal day, I might have a little question or confusion or problem I need to solve. And all of a sudden, the phrase just comes rolling out, right? Because I’ve spent that time cleaning house, if you will, from history and current, that everything’s accessible. There’s not so much blockage or interference. And now, the words come the wisdom comes, the clarity comes. Yep. So yes, he’s totally right. So much comes to us, maybe not at the moment on the cushion. But definitely, we are in tune with so much more. Our awareness is bright, and so we’re making connections in our world, and they begin to create a cohesive story with answers.
Today, you work with corporations and their employee wellness programs, if I’m not mistaken. So can you describe how this works? What the sessions are like?
Meris Gebhardt 38:54
Excellent. I’m so glad you asked. Yes. So back April 1, I designed a corporate virtual meditation studio. And the model is as follows. So corporations subscribe, they avail these sessions to their entire company. And we offer 10 Live group sessions every week. So they can go on find the times that work for them and attend these 25 minute sessions that our group. So you may be in session with one you know several other people from different companies and individuals who are subscribing to the platform. So yeah, it fits in very nicely, especially 2022. When I’m reading about what companies are doing, if they intend to be companies that thrive. They are offering wellness programs and the number one offering on the wellness program list is mindfulness and meditation. So every day every podcast I listened to regardless of the focus, every article every expert I’m listening to people who have been in my past and come up and are you know are having great success in their lives. I listened to what they’re doing. They all have been advised to meditate and or are meditating. So yeah, it’s it’s real. It’s here and it’s lasting.
Adam Baruh 40:11
Yeah. All right. So if companies wanted to find out more about your program and the work that you do, where can they find you?
Meris Gebhardt 40:18
Yep, they can go to opulent mindfulness comm we have all kinds of contact information in there, some testimonials, a bit more about the program and the subscriptions. And then certainly feel free to email me directly Maris at opulent mindfulness calm, please call text, I’m happy to talk anytime 503-756-3622 And you’re absolutely welcome to attend a couple live sessions to get a feel for it and see if it speaks to you. I had a really wise leader mentor of mine say, if what I say doesn’t resonate with you, then that’s okay. But only take what I say that makes sense to you and feels like a truth to you.
Adam Baruh 41:03
Um, so I was alluding to my most recent episode with Seth Lyon earlier on. He’s a somatic healing expert. And we discussed and you were just kind of alluding it to it with, you know, companies that really are the ones that are going to be thriving in 2022. And so we discussed this, there’s like a healing revolution he called it that that’s taking place, it’s building momentum. So what do you attribute this healing revolution to?
Meris Gebhardt 41:26
Well, sickness. So until we have problems, we often don’t want to solve them. So in this preventive proactive, we’ve all been crushed down to our lowest as they say, from the manure, or the mud, the lotus flower grows and blooms. So yeah, we’ve all been down dog delivered doused in blood. And so now it’s our chance to take that muck and make it into nutrients and do something with it. I think that’s what we see in these in these become great, you know, movements that go one way, and then they go the other way. And then they come back, like a pendulum swinging into the middle where it becomes a constant steady, majority of the people are doing it and it’s all around us.
Adam Baruh 42:18
For sure. Alright, so I want to circle back to an earlier part of our conversation, you described how you know, you discovered your calling as a healer, through the bad relationships. But you also shared with me that your relationships are now better because you feel better within so you know, we’ve discussed the power of meditation, how it improves your inner well being your relationships. So would you mind sharing how that is facilitating your ability to love today? Are you in a relationship?
Meris Gebhardt 42:47
Yeah, great question. I am in a relationship. And I just had a fantastic holiday with my family in Montana. ISTEP mom and two sisters and their families and children. And I attribute these improved relationships to me feeling very much anchored within so I communicate with my own self, what am I experiencing? How am I feeling in this moment. And in my meditation, it’s my free range to be exactly who I am candid with myself, good, bad and ugly. And so I count on myself to be my own best therapist. I am not counting on anyone else’s validation of me, I’ve decided that others opinion of me is none of my business. And so I’m not swinging high and low at the behest of someone else’s value they place on me, it’s my own value. And I feel so so so grateful just to have discovered meditation and yoga as a profession and something that I believe in and feel that I’m good at. Because I no longer have to doubt myself. And, yeah, that’s a massive, I can’t even begin to put words to that how grateful I am to have discovered this thing where I don’t doubt myself and it’s so anchoring and so I’m not subject to, oh, maybe this person over here is right or this person’s right or this is my new identity or this is my new calling or what? It’s so clear, so solid, so steady, never boring, forever will be providing intellectual curiosity for me for the rest of my life. And it makes my heart just sing when I get to see people also light up and make this discovery within. So
Adam Baruh 44:35
yeah, I love to hear that. Alright, so I understand you’re planning an extended trip to Italy, a place well known for romance and love. And in fact, my wife and I were married in a small village in eastern Tuscany called puppy. So it has a major romantic role for me. So tell us about this trip to Italy.
Meris Gebhardt 44:51
Yeah, so I was just there for two months and I did fall in love with the country and a man. So I am planning to go back in the region called Uber which is just south of Tuscany. And it’s landlocked. And they call it the Green Heart of Italy. And my original intention for going to Italy was to explore the lifestyle could I live here, not, oh, I’m just going to go quickly learn some cooking or language, or even meet somebody. But I just want to see, could I live here because I really really value their approach to food and access to food and the resource close to the food source. And so the quality and you know, their list of no no’s in their countries so much longer in Europe as a whole, then our list of no no’s here in the US, so what we get away with and our products and our food is breathtaking, right? And so I really want to go there and do that. But um, I just feel alive there. The sun, the light is amazing being the verdant greens, the vitality, the food, the green, the hiking is just incredible all around and the hospitality and the kindness and the curiosity of people that have a little bit more of a playful approach to things a very serious and you know, very bureaucratic and very much rule followers, but also extremely caring and, and curious and kind and helpful. And yeah,
Adam Baruh 46:21
absolutely. My wife and I had just amazing experiences there with people that were just the warmest the life there is beautiful,
Meris Gebhardt 46:30
And very honest. Right. And they’re curious about you, and what do you want? What do you like? So I find that I have a hard time answering their questions, because I haven’t really, you know, what do I like? What do I want? So yeah, keeps you’re really in tune with what do I like what I want, so it really forces you to step up to go deep?
Adam Baruh 46:50
Yeah, I love it. Well, Meris, thank you so much for being a guest today on our show. It’s been a pleasure to hear your story and to learn about the benefits and importance of practicing meditation.
Meris Gebhardt 46:59
Well, Adam, you’re an incredible listener and great question. Asker. So I appreciate you going, allowing me to be candid and open and honest. And I hope people benefited on some level for sure.
Adam Baruh 47:11
Yeah, thank you so much.