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

CyberBullies and 6 Steps to Grace

by Meredith Blis on 02/18/15

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



And boy did I have to face up to that challenge last weekend…..
 
Sunday morning, slept in, feeling peaceful and woke up to a virtual Sh** storm on my twitter feed. I couldn’t figure out what was going on…..
 
Apparently an article I posted on my blog a few years back and reposted last week was a reference to a Washington Post expo.  People were retweeting and favoriting all over the place.  Initially I thought this was a good thing.  Until I read the comments. Both on my  blog & Twitter- The things people were saying were vitriolic.  In retrospect, I’m amazed  (now I know what cyber bullying is!) The picture being painted was that I was attempting to take credit for the article. 
**Note here - my post was not a cut a paste of the original article
 
How does this relate to Grace?
As I responded, managed my anxiety, and alleviated the situation, I figured out….
 
Being Graceful is…..
 
Not Making Assumptions
By the time I woke up on Sunday there were @ 30 people flinging my name around the net calling me a plagiarist.  This has a started at 7:30am and I didn’t even see it til almost noon - Yikes! Not one of them thought to DM or email me with a cease and desist or an explanation. Everyone just assumed the worst.  And… if they had read the post they would have seen it was an excerpt from a chain email not the original article with my name slapped on it…..
 
Being Kind
I don’t buy the old sticks and stones adage.  Words and names can still hurt! See all the horrible cases of cyber bullying suicide stories.  We need to remember that the internet is still the real world.   Even when you aren’t speaking something to someone in person your words and tone still matter.  Don’t forget there is a human being on the other side of every comment you post
 
Act don't RE-act
As I filtered through the comments - I could have started flinging dirt back. Instead I thought about problem solving – not problem evolving.  My thought was how can I take immediate action to put out the fire  & not add more gasoline.  Realizing that one of my commentators was the author of the original article.  I went straight to the source and…..

Know When to Say You're Sorry
In retrospect, although it was unintentional, I did mess up. My E-zine said it was a repost, BUT my blog did not. When I copied the article I didn’t see a source in the email – so I didn’t look for one. My bad. I can imagine that an author might be very angry for someone to not credit their material. I told him all of this, apologized for the confusion and said that I was immediately correcting the problem.  We ended up having a nice little exchange.  Thankfully  - He finally tweeted for the people online to stop bothering me!  Which they still were doing even after I edited and credited him on the blog!!

Live your life by example
In this case I guess what I was going for was peace and amicable resolution.  A simple tweet back to the vultures, one by one, stated that there was an editorial mishap, it had been corrected and that I had apologized to the author  for any confusion.  There was nothing more for the vultures to feed on.  When you don’t throw punches back – people find another bag to hit ;)  Like mom said, treat people how you want to be treated, be respectful and amazingly most people will follow suit.  And when they don’t?

Remind yourself - Other peoples projections are not your problem
Still working on this one.  So, although I know this one intellectually, I still need to remember it daily in order to make it a reality.   I'm sensitive & I believe that at our core, everyone is.  All we can do is our best.  And everyone makes mistakes, it’s part of being human.  It’s important to understand that and also know your boundaries.
 
You can't change people but you can lead by grace.  It’s not your problem to carry if they don't catch on.  :)

Well, that was a whirlwind Sunday, so glad it’s over  - peacefully!
Wishing you Love, Light, and All Happy Online Communications!
XO
 
 
 


PS. The article in question & chaos here was about the social experiment where famous violinist Joshua Bell busked in a Washington DC metro station.
Link to Gene Weingartens beautiful original piece here.
Link to my original (now edited!) Blog post here.

You Have Star Power!

by Meredith Blis on 02/05/15

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?.....
 
Our real glow comes from who we are Inside   
It’s less about shining on the Opry Stage and more about the one who literally crawled on the Opry stage after the show and took probably around 50 selfies with different fans. (that was Chip)  Our glow on the outside literally comes from the strength of our spirit on the inside.  And the golden light reflects the kindness and love in our hearts.   Star power is being the one who helps others.  But the subtle key is to balance your energy by also giving to Yourself.  
Stars know that they glow in order to shed light on others.  It’s not all about them ;)
 
I often to say to friends, “There is enough room in the sky for all of us to be stars”
Being in the music industry, I see a lot of competition.   Sometimes it’s subtle withholding or deception, but sometimes it’s as bold as back stabbing.   I’ve been there, ouch!!!
 On stage or off, hurting others to get ahead is Not real Star Power.   It’s more like insecurity and bad behavior.  And it will energetically chip away from your star aura.   Those kinds of  “stars” tend to crash & burn pretty quickly.
If you look up at the sky there a billions of stars.  And funny enough, there’s room for ALL of them to shine.  No hair pulling necessary.  You don’t need to steal another persons glitter in order to make room for yourself to glow.
 
 
Star Power is bravely being who you are
I know they say every snowflake is different. But I wonder about stars, it’s probably true for them too.  Part of what makes a true star shine is their uniqueness.  We all have a Star DNA that makes us stand out.  Part of this journey is figuring out what That ‘it’ factor is for You and then having the courage to put it out there.  You don’t have to be in arts.  We all have something special to give!  That’s YOUR STAR POWER baby!  It’s your gift to share with others :)
 
Shine on My Crazy Diamonds!
Sending you Blessings and Glitter
xo


The War of Art & The Un-Lived Life

by Meredith Blis on 01/21/15

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 que…. (or any other activity except the endeavor we were hoping to really accomplish).

What is this phenomenon all about? 
One Word  - Resistance. 
It happens to us all & it’s especially a doozy for us creative types. The first part of Steven Pressfield's book gave me an interesting insight about it – Hey! You’re not alone in this. It also made me see that once we face the monster we are up against?...well, then we can find the right armor to beat it!  Enjoy. 
 

The Unlived Life 
excerpt from The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
 
"Most of us have two lives. The the life we live & the unlived life within us.  Between the two stands Resistance.

Have you ever brought home a treadmill and let it gather dust in the attic? Ever quit a diet, a course of yoga, a meditation practice?  Have you ever bailed out on a call to embark upon a spiritual practice, dedicate yourself to a humanitarian calling, commit your life to the service of others? 

Have you ever wanted to become a mother, a doctor, an advocate for the weak and helpless; to run for office, crusade for the planet, campaign for world peace, or to preserve the environment?

Late at night have you experienced a vision of the person you might become, the work you could accomplish, the realized being you were meant to be? Are you a writer who doesn’t write, a painter who doesn’t paint, an entrepreneur who never starts a venture?  Then you know what Resistance is.

Resistance is the most toxic force on the planet.  It is the root of more unhappiness than poverty, disease and erectile dysfunction.  To yield to Resistance deforms our spirit.  It stunts us and makes us less than we were born to be.  If you believe in God (and I do) you must declare Resistance evil, for it prevents us from achieving the life God intended when he endowed each of us with our own unique genius.

Genius is a Latin word; the Romans used it to denote an inner spirit, holy and inviolable, which watches over us, guiding us to our calling.  A writer writes with his genius; an artist paints with hers; everyone who creates operates from this sacramental center.  It is our soul’s seat, the vessel that holds our being-in-potential, our star’s beacon and Polaris.”
Every sun casts a shadow, and genuis’s shadow is Resistance. 

As powerful as our soul’s call to realization, so potent are the forces of Resistance arrayed against it.  Resistance is faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, harder to kick than crack cocaine.  We’re not alone if we’ve been mowed down by Resistance; millions of good men and women have bitten the dust before us.  And here’s the biggest bitch: We don’t even know what hit us.  I never did.  From age twenty-four to thirty-two, Resistance  kicked my ass from East Coast to West and back again thirteen times and I never even knew it existed.  I looked everywhere for the enemy and failed to see it right in front of my face.

Have you heard this story: Woman learns she has cancer, six months to live. Within days she quits her job, resumes the dream of writing Tex-Mex songs she gave up to raise a family (or starts studying classical Greek, or moves to the inner city and devotes herself to tending babies with AIDS).  Woman’s friends think she’s crazy; she herself has never been happier.  There’s a postscript.  Woman’s cancer goes into remission.

Is that what it takes?  Do we have to stare death in the face to make us stand up and confront Resistance?  Does Resistance have to cripple and disfigure our lives before we wake up to its existence?  How many of us have become drunks and drug addicts, developed tumors and neuroses, succumbed to painkillers, gossip, and compulsive cell phone use, simply because we don’t do that thing that our hearts, our inner genius is calling us to do?  Resistance defeats us.

If tomorrow morning by some stroke of magic every dazed and benighted soul woke up with the power to take the first step toward pursuing his or her dreams, every shrink in the directory would be out of business.  Prisons would stand empty.  The alcohol and tobacco industries would collapse, along with the junk food, cosmetic surgery, and infotainment businesses, not to mention pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and the medical profession from top to bottom.  Domestic abuse would become extinct, as would addiction, obesity, migraine headaches, road rage, and dandruff.

Look in your own heart.  Unless I’m crazy, right now a still small voice is piping up, telling you as it has ten thousand times, the calling that is yours and yours alone.  You know it.  No one has to tell you.  And unless I’m crazy, you ‘re no closer to taking action on it than you were yesterday or will be tomorrow.  You think Resistance isn’t real? Resistance will bury you.

You know, Hitler wanted to be an artist.  At eighteen he took his inheritance, seven hundred kronen, and moved to Vienna to live and study.  He applied to the Academy of Arts and later to the school of Architecture.  Ever see one of his paintings?  Neither have I.  Resistance beat him. Call it an overstatement but I’ll say it anyway: it was easier for Hitler to start World War II than it was for him to face a blank canvas. 
– Steven Pressfield

------------
 
Now that we understand the enemy?  What are you waiting for?
Go do it,  Live your genius :)
And if you want to read more?  Check it out HERE
 
Sending you love, hugs, and a sword for that Resistance,
XO

Solutions for New Years Resolutions

by Meredith Blis on 01/08/15

“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”
 
Solutions NOT Resolutions
Happy New Year and Welcome to Change and solving the problems in your world that you didn’t get to last year.  AND let's make it all happen in the first week!!! or at least in the month of January !!!– right??   Hmmm……  And that’s why so called resolutions feel futile.  The pressure of too much change all at once overwhelms us.  So, it makes sense that we can’t keep up!  We blame ourselves and then fall back into the patterns that we want to shift. 
So, I have compiled these 5 easy tips to help you create Real Shifts in 2015.  You got this!
 
1. Realize that you are actually already perfect the way you are.
Since I tend to forget…. I  have this awesome quote as a reminder next to my desk.
I truly believe that we are all a beautiful :) And, that beautiful is blend of our strengths and our so called ‘flaws’.   The first step is accepting ourselves 100%  where we are, Right Now in this moment.  You are who you are and that’s exactly who you are supposed to be.  And if you want to make improvements that’s awesome.   Don't think you need to fix something in you that's broken - approach it as improving your fabulousness!
 



2.  Recognize Resistance
Humans don’t actually Love Change.  We like stability, a solid foundation, routines -  and the things that we are used to.
So understand, even when we say we want to shift something it’s darn scary to our spirit when things start to change.  Acknowledge that, that’s the place from which a lot of resistance or falling back into old ways comes from.  We Like what we are familiar with and we tend to resist what’s different.   So be kind to yourself – Big Change brings up the innate fear response.  Honor It, and you will be able to stay one step ahead of your Resistance
 
3. Baby Steps
Oftentimes the problem isn’t Will Power – it’s that we turn our world upside down all at once and then expect to keep walking straight.  Life doesn’t work like that. 
 
Change is HARD because when we shift something big – all the little things around us change too.   So how can we keep walking?  Baby Steps!!  
Instead of going from Christmas Sugar Binging to promising never to eat sugar again Maybe just start by cutting sugar intake?
Instead of swaring that you will go to the gym for 2 hours everyday for the rest of your life – Make a promise to go for 45min – 3x for THIS week.  It's much less stress for the brain to comprehend short periods of time and simple tasks.  And if you have a busy lifestyle, be realistic with your steps - too much change all at once has the potential to create chaos.    Make a plan based on tiny steps.  That way if you have a slip up?  Well it will only take a tiny step to get back on track!  
 
4.  Build Support  
Have a friend who also has some new goals? 
Team up and keep each other supported, motivated and available if someone is having a challenging moment.  It keeps you accountable and it’s a great way to track progress.  Also, Journal your wins & challenges for a few minutes each evening.  Learning how to support yourself  is an invaluable way to strengthen your spirit and your resolve.  (And please avoid people who don’t support your vision ;)
 
5.  Keep your goals and reasons in your Line of Vision
Be clear about WHY -  Take pictures. measurements & make lists to serve as reminders of Why you want to create this change.  Refer to it in challenging moments.  Also, plan to give yourself presents along the way as you reach your goal - no need to wait til' you're done!
 
 You Can do this!
Send me your thoughts and ideas and keep me posted on progress :)
 
You Are Beautiful!
Love, Light, Music & Boundless Joy

Surviving Sugar Highs & The Holi-DaZe

by Meredith Blis on 12/11/14

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…
 
1.  You Prefer the Grinch to Santa
Aka Tinsel ain’t your thing and you dread holiday cheer. 

This can be a big one for people and these feelings can make it difficult to be around all the holly jolly energy that pervades.
Solution?
Realize you’re not a terrible person and how you feel is never wrong.  Remember to respect your emotions and who you are!  At the same time, it’s important to respect other peoples as well. You don’t have to put up a Christmas Tree, but there’s no reason to cut the electricity to your neighbors lights. Maybe find one or two things you do like and enjoy them.  Or give yourself permission to take a time out. More on that HERE  "911's for Holiday blahs"
 
2. You need an army of elves to handle all that needs to be done.
Yes, this season sometimes brings people way too much to do! 
  • Give yourself a moment to stop, exhale and re-assess that to do list.  
  • What are the things that MUST happen. 
  • Focus on those. 
  • Simplify your tasks. 
Intention is more important than the perfect seams on a gift that’s gonna be ripped open anyway.  Also, Look at the things, that you WANT to do & places you WANT to be.  It’s the season to be jolly!  So give yourself enough breathing room to enjoy it.
 
3.  You feel like like a reindeer stranded at the North Pole.
AKA – you’re alone or feeling isolated. 

This is a rough one, and a real reality for many people.  So realize there’s nothing wrong with YOU and you’re not the only one!  There are a lot of people whose circumstances leave them feeling a little disconnected this time of year. 
What are some solutions? 
  • Enjoy the You time and get some R&R – have a little stay-cation and get things in gear for the new year.  
  • There are so many parties and events.  Find a club, church or a group you might be interested in connecting with.  It’s the perfect time of year to show up and introduce yourself. 
  • There are so many charities, shelters that need an extra hand this time of year.  Often, the best way to feel better is often to help people in need. It’s brave to push yourself into new territory, but you never know what blessings you might find there.
4. All you got to give is Coal
aka You’re too broke to buy presents

It’s not the gifts, it the thought and for many of us, the presence of someone we love trumps an expensive gift.  Here are some thoughts to give a gift of yourself…   
  • If you’re an artist – share your art!!  Music, small painting, poem, pictures, etc. 
  • Put together a photo collage for people of you and them or things they love
  • Bake cookies or peppermint bark (killer recipe HERE and you can make a ton of it EASY for less than $20)  
  • Gift of You: If you’re good with flowers, carpentry, electronics, computers, etc... how can you share that? 
  • What can you home-make?  I used to make bath products, body scrubs, etc for people.  Oftentimes you can do this with ingredients that are in your kitchen ;)
  • Thrift Stores, Dollar Store, 5 and below
If you have kids, check out these resources for gifts:
Toys for Tots
The Last Minute ToyStore (Nashville)
The Salvation Army
 
Hope that helps!!!  AND btw, I do love the togetherness of the holidays, festivities, baking, carols and twinkling lights.  The important thing for me is to keep a balance between festivities and down so that I can remember to have fun!

Love Love Love
Meredith

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