If there is one over-arching human condition, it is that on some level we’re all broken. A positive way to spin it would be to say we’ve arrived here on this planet at this time in history to work on our Souls, using our physicality as the means to learn lessons that will help us evolve to the next level. If we accept that premise, life can become perhaps not easier, but somewhat more manageable. Yet what do we do when the going gets tough? What can we grab onto to pull us through?
Well, if you are Nina Blaicher, you’d say we need to do our best to see the upside of all life’s ills. See the Upside is the title of Nina’s podcast, an experiment sprung from heartache and doubt and, because of Nina’s drive and determination, ultimately an adventure of spirit benefiting not only the creator of the experiment but everyone who wants to listen.
I had the serendipity to sit next to Nina on a flight to Salt Lake City and she shared a bit about her journey with me. I’m always fascinated by the things that draw people up and out of their negative spaces. Talking with Nina I could see her gifts on full display so I asked her to join me on Green Life Blue Water for a look into how See the Upside got started.
Let’s start at the beginning. Tell us your origin story. How did you go from being married in a happy relationship to a divorced mother of two trying to make sense of her life, and how did starting your own podcast become an escape pod in a time of crisis?
As with many things, it was a gradual process over time, and then an incredible awakening/turning point which led me to realizing that the marriage not only couldn’t be repaired, but that it wasn’t healthy for anyone in our family. It really is incredible how we can see things so clearly in hindsight but when we are experiencing them, they can be so difficult to realize. We get there when we get there, right?
We are all active participants in what we allow and how we choose to live. Yes, we had very challenging circumstances in our lives that created incredible stress on our marriage and family, but it was clear to me that our dynamic was not one of respect and love and it simply wasn’t going to work anymore. I think most divorce is heartbreaking and hard. This was no different. But sometimes we realize that things simply aren’t going to turn out the way we expected, and that acceptance can be a really hard thing — but it does come.
I began my podcast March of 2020, right at the beginning of the pandemic and also when my divorce was finalized. I actually started writing on Instagram first, writing about what I was feeling and how I was healing. It wasn’t anything I had ever planned to do, but it just kind of flowed out of me and turned out to be incredibly cathartic. Then, as I was exploring my own healing, stepping fully into my own personal growth and expanding my reach into exploring various modalities, I started meeting these incredible people that I wanted to share with others in a way that only something like a podcast would allow. I was always talking on the phone with my dear friend Kerry Degenhardt, a life coach, incredible friend, mother and daily inspiration and sounding board in life and in my own personal journey. We would have these wonderful conversations for hours about divorce, healing, growth and life, and manifesting and relationships, and we realized our convos were too good not to share so she agreed to be my very first guest and it just took off from there.
That’s a totally organic beginning! So Kerry agrees to sit down for a chat. Then what happened?
Kerry and I had been exploring life after divorce and all the growth and challenge that comes along with it. Our conversations on the phone were so incredible. I wish I had recorded those! We could talk for hours about how we were hurting, where we were struggling, our hopes and dreams and how we were navigating recreating our lives in this unexpected life pivot. Our friendship gave me the platform to finally communicate, opening up about my feelings and feeling understood and heard in all of my messiness — just the open platform to dream, grieve, laugh and express. In many ways our friendship cracked open the real me. It taught me how to be authentic and vulnerable. Something I really didn’t know how to do and maybe didn’t even know existed. Now I can’t imagine being any other way and I’m cultivating this in my relationships.
And you had no formal training or any background in podcasting?
No. I figured out most of the logistics on my own. I did have graphic design background and I’ve always loved writing. But honestly, this whole thing has been a huge, beautiful surprise for me as much as for anyone else. I was never seen as being creative. No one ever said “you’re great at writing” or “you should do something like this”. It literally called to me and just flowed out of me. It drew me in in the most incredibly natural way that I can’t even fully describe and opened me up right when I needed it the most.
What a wild ride life is and how incredible the gifts can be if you let go of what you expect things to look like, become open to infinite possibilities and allow yourself to simply follow your heart. I never followed my heart like this before in my life. But something was calling and now I listen to that inner voice. I trust that voice so much more. And it’s brought me to so many incredible places and helped me make really difficult choices. I can’t imagine a life not following that true north anymore.
I’m a big fan of following the lodestar and one’s own intuition, and listening to your show, it seems as though your guests feel the same. How do you secure your guests?
My guests primarily come to me in the same way that you and I met – through my life and just being out in the world living and connecting with incredible people. The universe has really dropped the perfect people at the perfect time, always aligned with something personally that I’m working to expand into as well. It really is magical.
I’m SO committed to exploring doing life better, and I’m incredibly curious about how we can expand what’s possible, improve our life experience, become better people, live happier and fuller lives. In that exploration you just meet people who are experts in their fields that I am inspired to share with the world. I often feel like EVERYONE needs to know about this person. Let’s get this out there! This practice could change the world! Let’s go change lives! It’s so soul filling and fun.
So you are following your bliss! Other than a few basic questions to get started, do you let your guests lead, or do you prompt them with your ideas of how the interview should go?
I take quite a bit of preparation time before my interviews. I spend 30 minutes getting to know them before we even record and we decide together the theme of the interview. I always want to KNOW the person who I’m talking to and usually, by the time we record, the guest is a friend and we’re connected for life! I make a list of questions around the topic and we agree together what direction we’ll go. Ironically, we almost never need the list and the convo flows in the very best organic way possible, but it gives us a road map. Each interview is unique, and you really have to be intuitive and go with how that person is to bring out their truth. So leading or allowing, whatever the connection calls for, that’s what I do!
The ideas really come from the guests themselves! Every single person on this earth has a purpose and a gift. And most of the guests have stepped into their calling and are embodying their truth and knowledge in the most magical way. They bring the inspiration to the table and it flows effortlessly. It’s so incredibly beautiful.
I’ll also say that a lot of the ideas come from something I personally am working on in that moment and in area that I’m curious about and where I want to grow. When the student is ready, the teacher arrives, right?
Right! It’s an adage for a reason. So you are 40+ podcasts in. Do you have a favorite guest?
Oh wow, I can’t imagine one, no. I love every single guest who’s been gracious enough to be on the show. Every single one has contributed something unique, special, valuable and life changing. Not only to the show, but to me personally.
I do have a few repeat guests though, including Kerry who has been so pivotal in my life and Melanie who is my energy healer whom I adore and has healed me in so so many ways and Julie Kern who is an incredible person who helps women financially. I want everyone to work with these three women and experience the freedom and transformation I have experienced. It really has been incredibly healing.
Being a physical embodiment of the things you teach always seems to be the most authentic way to live. To that end, do you think talk radio is a form of therapy and, if so, has it helped you work through anything in particular?
Oh yes! I love love love podcasts and audio books. Every time I listen to something I get a new perspective, new motivation to change or uplevel or even just a new way to understand or reflect on life. I love learning and growing. When we share these conversations, we realize we aren’t alone on our journey and we find ways to navigate the hard, or become more compassionate, to connect more, or to just embrace a little more beauty in our lives. It’s all about constantly growing. By having these open conversations, we can inspire each other to do that and really just help make the world a more loving, compassionate, kind open place. We’re all in the same boat and when we are open about our struggles, healing can happen.
That’s lovely and so true, Nina. By the way, what’s your daily routine look like?
Ha! I’m a Virgo and a first born, so routines are my jam. Although I will say that I love being inspired (or pushed!) to get out of my routine and try new things, it’s just not my natural way of being.
I start my morning with Penny McAlpin’s 5:30 a.m. hot HOT Yoga. Every single flow is a spiritual and physical experience that I soak in and gets me aligned from the start. I have a full-time day job so depending on if I have the kids, I’m driving them to school and activities, meeting with my customers and business partners, fitting in a pod interview in the evening, and if it’s a really good day – some heart-filling time with my boyfriend to wrap it all up. I’m busy and have a full agenda, but I prioritize my time and make the things that fill my soul happen.
I also work for an incredible company with the most amazing manager ever. It wasn’t always that way. I had a long hard journey to get here and I’m so grateful for this place I’m in now. So good.
What has been your greatest podcasting lesson?
When you let go, trust in your dreams and allow yourself to see the light within you, and listen to and follow your heart – real magic can happen. Podcasting itself was out of reach for me, yet here I am. Trust that we are here for something incredibly important and purposeful and know the light within you is there, is real, and is just waiting for you to embody it and share it with the world.
How has podcasting held up a mirror to your life and what does the mirror say?
For so many years I was living life at 30%. I did all the right things. I was perfect in so many ways, but it was a shell. You can’t live a full, connected deep life without vulnerability. Without honesty. Without sharing your truth. Truth is never perfect. It’s raw, messy and complicated, but it’s SO much more beautiful than what we were thinking the perfect version is.
When we share that messy truth, that’s REAL beauty. I had to really dig that out of myself. To figure out how to let go of this perfect, curated, one dimensional version of myself and trust that what I truly am in my soul was going to be not only ok, but is how I’m supposed to live. And where I could find the very best relationships and life experience.
That is my mirror to podcasting. I jumped in and trusted it, and I’m so incredibly grateful that I did. I love being messy. I love being real. I love sharing our heartache and struggles. That is real life, and that’s how we connect and get through. That’s how we love each other deeper and truer.
I love that. I think we all live at 30%, maybe even less during this digital age. We’re so distracted all the time by our devices and it’s hard to stay present, but it seems you’ve managed that nicely with this platform. From where do you pull your inspiration?
I pull inspiration from my life and relationships. Whatever I’m working through or someone I care about is working through is a topic that I want to explore. If we’re struggling with it, we can be sure someone else is, too, and having that conversation is important to share.
What’s your perfect day look like?
Wake up, coffee, meditation, yoga, podcast interviews, lunch with my kids, podcasting and meetings with lightworkers, tennis and dinner with my boyfriend evening at the beach with friends, Good wine. Ideally. I’m in Vero Beach, FL.
What do your children think of their mom’s podcasting?
Hmmm. Not sure they quite get it. Lol.
And to turn the tables with something you always ask your guests, what are you reading right now?
I always have SO many books going! But these are in my audible shuffle mix at the moment:
Into the Magic Shop and The Go Giver. I love these two books so much.
I also recently downloaded Rich Dad Poor Dad recommended to me by a podcast guest. Love love expanding my knowledge of investing and finances.
What kind of music are you listening to right now?
Oh wow. I’m having a country music moment and the Zac Brown band is just the best. So uplifting, positive, about life, love, family and gratitude. I just makes me feel GOOD. Homegrown, Chicken Fried are my favorites. I also love Great Day to Be Alive by Travis Tritt.
Thank you so much for sharing your time with us today, Nina. I trust you will keep up the amazing work of spreading positive vibes for years to come.
If you want to stay in touch with Nina, here are a few links:
Insta – @see.theupside
pam lazos 9.16.22