Making Music and Spirit Shine

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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

Overcoming Resistance and Learning to Shine Brighter!

by Meredith Blis on 04/15/15

Let me start with the story of Dyana. 

Dyana was a young girl I worked with. She came to me for piano lessons. She was a very attentive (and bright!) kid who loved music. She was sooo excited to begin piano lessons. 
Fast forward a month….
It was obvious to me that she was NOT practicing (at all) Hmmm... Her parents were not forcing her to take lessons and she was always genuinely excited to be there.  So I called her out and asked why she wasn’t practicing. 
Her big eyes looked at me and she said, “Well, people who are good don’t need to practice, right? Only people who are bad at music need to practice. If I NEED to practice then that means I’m not good at playing music.”  
A-ha! That was it!  She somehow had it in her mindset that if she needed to practice to become better, then that meant she was a hopeless musician. 
I looked at her with sympathetic eyes and said, “Actually you have that backwards…. The people who are good, they are the ones who DO Practice – a lot – that’s HOW they got so good!” 

I referred to a local amazing musician whom she admired and said “You know, Jon?, right?” Her face lit up, “Yeah he’s really good at both piano, guitar and singing!!”  I said, “Do you know he practices everyday…. For hours.” (He was a friend and I knew this little fact ;)  she looked at me shocked, “Really?” Yes, I said, he’s my friend too and I know this, he practices more than anyone I know!” Needless to say, she started practicing and even started becoming a YouTube addict, learning new things online between lessons!!
How did this story give me a whole new level of A-ha when I told it last week?
I realized that for years I thought just like she did! (I even catch myself in the present sometimes…) The older I got and more gigs I did, I realized that I started practicing less… I was playing out in the ‘real world.’  And a subconscious piece of me thought if I still need to practice, then I’m not good. Whoa! Limiting belief!
One of the biggest road blocks I’ve seen (and experienced!) is that artists (and non-artists) have been ingrained (not your fault!) with certain beliefs - who they are, their abilities, & who they ‘should’ be. When these thoughts serve our highest good, that’s a good thing! BUT when we hold onto mindsets that bring us down, they can erode both our potential and our creativity! The amazing thing is that we have the power to Change our Mindsets and Grow.
Overcoming Limiting Beliefs
Unfortunately most of us have them... As we see in the story above, Dyana thought that if she had to practice, that meant she was a bad piano player. Ironically, this thought prevented her from practicing and actually becoming better!!! And by the way, I have witnessed this same mindset in a lot of kids (and myself ;)
Here are some other common ones that artists tend to have: 
+  I’m not good at… (insert the thing you are most passionate about)
+  In order to be a true artist, I have to be a starving, struggling artist 
+  Either you have IT or you don’t
+  Good Performers don’t get nervous
+  I’m too old /  too young

Here’s the truth. The biggest IT factor you can have is the passion to reach your goals. The most successful thing you can have is a positive mindset that says you CAN!  I understand this isn't always easy......

Start to Make the Shift by…
Listening more closely to your thoughts.  NOTICE when you cut yourself down, tell yourself you can’t or criticize yourself.  You might be surprised to discover that these thoughts happen A Lot!  Your subconscious mind cannot distinguish between good and bad thoughts.  It just hears the thought, good or bad, and thinks it’s the truth. Motivate yourself by feeding  your mind with the thoughts that encourage creativity and success.

When the thought happens, notice it & slow down…. Don’t criticize yourself (that gives your brain a negative subconscious message). Tell yourself something like “I choose not to believe that” or “That’s not true” and replace it with a positive one...
“I am a good singer and I’m getting better and better each day”
“I can make a great income being a creative musician”
“I’m getting braver each time I go on stage”
Helpful Hints:
+ Wear a bracelet or a ring.  Each time you catch yourself having the negative thought switch sides of the finger or hand.  As you make the switch you can also think about your positive thought
+  Do some reading! “The Power of Your Subconscious Mind” (Joseph Murphy) talks about this stuff in depth. The book was the precursor to The Secret, which is also a great read. If you’re not a book person? There is also a movie version of “The Secret”. 


Wise Words From Mom

by Meredith Blis on 04/01/15

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

“It’s not what you say, It’s how you say it”
Funny enough, it’s  possible to say the same thing with a different tone and state a  completely different message.
Often the energy of our speech comes more from our inflection & volume than from the words we choose to say. 
“Can you just leave me alone right now” (yelled at the top of your lungs) 
“Can you just leave me alone right now”  (gentle inside voice)
Both things convey the same message, but the difference in energy creates a contrasted experience for the listener.   Note the irony that people don’t hear you as well when you are yelling.
I always keep this in my mind when speaking to people.  We sometimes forget that words have a lot of power.  How we speak them dramatically impacts our communication, its effect those we love and allowing our message to be heard clearly.

AND…  this is one of the (many) reasons why texting can be a dangerous ground for serious conversations -  you only see the words and you can’t hear the persons tone!  Hence the importance of emoticons and lols.  
“You never know what someone else is carrying”
She used to say that if everyone walked into a room with a suitcase of their “problems” and everyone placed their suitcase in the center with a view that allowed you to see in… you would probably pick up your own valise and run. Why does this matter? It reminds us to be patient and kind to everyone, as well as to not take things personally. Often we don’t know what battles people are fighting & what they’re going through.
“Count Your Blessings Not Your Problems”
It’s easy to spend our days complaining, pointing fingers, and whining. When you change your mindset and focus on the good stuff, amazing things happen. Nowadays the buzz word is Gratitude. Learning to focus on our blessings brings us up and creates more positive energy! When we focus on the negative unfortunately all we create is more problems.

“This too Shall Pass”
When we’re in the mire of a painful situation or tricky problem, the road often looks pretty bleak….  But eventually with time, we do heal and the sun comes out again.  This little one reminds me to keep on keepin’ on and keep the faith that it will get better.

oh and here’s a funny one…
Mom was also a classy fashionista. Some of our biggest battles occurred when I was a teen, dying my hair black /blue/ purple, purposely ripping jeans or piercing my entire earlobe.

“You never know what something is really gonna look like until you try it on”
Sometimes that shirt or skirt might not look like much on the hanger but it might rock on YOU. If you think it has potential... Go For It – try it on, you may pleasantly surprised!  This one came in handy recently when I was shopping for photo shoot. (those new pix on the way for you very soon!)

Mom passed in 1995 -  it was 20 years this March so I guess she’s been on my mind a lot recently. I feel very blessed to have learned so much from such an amazing lady  AND that she still inspires me to this day!

Hope her little sayings bring you some joy & inspiration as well
Love Light and Wisdom to you my dears!

Happiness Is... (by Charlie Brown & Meredith Blis)

by Meredith Blis on 03/18/15

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

Realization #1
Happiness might be a Different things for Different people…..
“Happiness is
Charlie Brown: Finding a pencil
Snoopy: Pizza with sausage
Linus: Telling the time”
Linus thinks it’s being able to do a grown up thing,
Snoopy is convinced it’s about food ;)  
And for Charlie Brown? Finding a chewed on pencil that belongs to the red-headed girl is a sign that it’s gonna be an awesome day!

Conclusion:  Happiness is Perspective – Depending on who you are and what you are looking for.  What’s YOUR Happy?
Realization #2
Happiness is created by learning new skills and accomplishing goals
"Schroeder: Happiness is learning to whistle
Linus: Tying your show for the very first time
Sally: Playing the drum in your own school band"
For most of us tying our shoes ain’t no big thing, but for a little kid that’s a big moment!  Studies show that when people are engaged in learning new activities and actively taking steps towards accomplishing new skill sets. Guess what? They are HAPPY!
Whether it’s whistling, learning a new language, writing your novel, or improving your basketball game…. 

Conclusion:  Happiness is engaging in activities that make us Happy and staying engaged in active learning.
Realization #3
Some excitement is good for us!
"Charlie Brown: And Happiness is walking hand in hand
Happiness is 2 kinds of ice cream
Lucy: Knowing a secret
Schroeder: Climbing a Tree"
Once again the excitement depends on perspective. For Charlie it’s the butterflies from the red-haired girl and TWO flavors of ice cream.  Much more thrilling than just one scoop! For wild little Lucy, it’s knowing something secret and for Schroeder climbing a tree gives him a ‘buzz’.

Conclusion:  Doing things that give us a little thrill and spark lift our spirits.  Chemically they help to stimulate adrenaline as well as feel good hormones and the result is a sense of Happy!  (Note here:  adventure junkies keep this one in check….  Telling that secret or Jumping out of the tree? will probably result in not happy….)

Realization #4
Having Choices & Making Good Ones
"Charlie Brown:  Happiness is Five Different Crayons
Schroeder:  Catching a Firefly, Setting him Free"

When we have a sense of independence and control in our lives it enables us to live up to our full potential. The more Crayons, the brighter the picture! When we’re boxed in it, literally or figuratively, destroys our sense of expansion.  Freedom of choice helps our ability to do Kind Things for others.  Schroeder gets it, he sets the firefly free!

Conclusion:  Having Choices brings more light to our lives and also helps us to share that light energy with those around us
Realization #5
Self Care is King or Queen
"Charlie Brown:  Happiness is being alone every now and then"
Conclusion:  We all need some down time to recharge occasionally and face the world.  It enables us to be our best self.
Realization #6
Community is important for our consistent happiness.
"Everyone:  And Happiness is Coming Home Again
Linus: Happiness is having a sister
Lucy: sharing a sandwich
Lucy & Linus: Getting Along
Charlie Brown:  For Happiness is anyone and anything at all that’s loved by you
All:  Happiness is singing together when day through and Happiness is those who sing with you"

Happiness is Togetherness – showing love and receiving love from those around us.  There’s an awesome documentary called “Happy” and the...

Conclusion: from that project is that the people who have a supportive community & strong bonds of connection are regularly the most content.
Realization #7
Happiness is a choice we make.

Happiness is choice that oftentimes we have to remind ourselves to make, Consistently.
Conclusion: I know it feels that being Happy, takes on a little more complexity than climbing a tree or choosing crayons… OR Maybe it doesn’t. Perhaps a big piece of happiness is simply embracing and appreciating the little things.
I hope these little tips and this little song will give you some tips of where to go and how to reach out in those moments when you’re searching ;)

Drop a line back with your thoughts!
Sending you Love, Light and Happy,

A Super Special Gift For You!!

by Meredith Blis on 03/04/15

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

My entire last CD!
All 10 songs from
“Let It Rain”

AND today's article features some of the stories behind the songs and the making of the record!
I am so grateful for each and every one of you on this list. Click the links below and it’s all yours!
I hope this music brings some sunshine to your day.  In the Meantime?


The Stories Behind the Songs - Let It Rain

I recorded this CD with the amazing Larry Mitchell in Santa Fe, NM.  More about him here….  A lot of the songs talk our journey in life.  The world can sometimes throw us curveballs, but somehow we make it through. How? Part of the key is Claiming our strength.  Keeping the faith and Choosing Love over Hate.
So, the first funny thing is the cover… 
(Shout Out to Karen Kuhn for her gorgeous pix!) We purposefully chose a day when it was supposed to be raining. But, the weather had other plans and the sun appeared.  
And if you've seen the promo shots with the piano outside? Yes, we actually moved a piano outdoors!! Thanks to my dear friend, Arius La Reyna.
And the rainbow on the cover became a strong symbol to me. A reminder of Hope that we do survive the storms in life and perhaps? Even end up in brighter place.
The title track was written during the NM monsoon season. My little keyboard faced the window and it was pouring!  I was feeling pretty blue, not because of the weather, but because of some recent heartache.  As I watched those rain drops rage I thought to myself, “I’ve weathered worse storms than this botched romance – I can handle this – OK, God – Let It Rain -  Bring it on – I will get through this.”
So, a lot of the record is about connecting with our strength in those darker moments, ...continuing to hold on even as the ground beneath our feet shakes.
Fade to Dust is a track that was nominated for a lot of awards. I am grateful to my songwriter group in Taos for helping me to develop that song. The initial tone had a lot of anger at the world for the stereotypes that result in human suffering, war and patriarchal attitudes that result in misogyny. That’s still the in the verses but they helped me tone down the vibe~  I can get pretty passionate when I’m writing!!  The overall point is that Anger and Fear are not the way to find reconciliation. We are all one. (So can we please stop hurting each other!!) Understanding & tolerance will help us find the way to peace & love, both within ourselves and for each other. Creating positive action & energy - Instead of perpetuating hate.
Ah…. Sing a Love Song is about leaving a relationship. Even when we know it’s in our best interest, that decision and that step can be really hard!!! So why is it a ‘Love Song?’  The realization was that the most powerful relationship we have is with ourselves. The ‘love song’ is about learning to honor & nurture that. 
Subterranean Lovesick Daughter is a fave when I play in NM :) Thanks peeps!!! It’s the fight we sometimes have internally when we are in a dark place. Allowing ourselves to see the magic and beauty that exists around us and in our world. We all have bad days.  My mom used to remind me that we can choose to focus on our problems or our blessings. Hence that lyric in the chorus.
This title was also my amusing little play on Bob Dylans Subterranean Homesick Blues ;)
Dearest Little Star wasn’t written for one particular person, but for a few of my friends. A little homage, reminding them of their beauty and how much they are loved.
Well that’s some of it! And if you have questions about a particular song? Drop a line back. I would love hear from you! You can also post it on my Facebook Page - HERE
Oh! And part of the proceeds go to the Charity, RAINN (rape, abuse, incest national network) And I didn’t plan the coincidence!  I remember distinctly working on the graphics (with the amazing Barbara from Digerati Design in Taos) and the synchronicity hit me ;)
If your day gets dark? Grab an umbrella and LET IT RAIN!
Click the links below and download it NOW!
Love, Light and Galoshes,


Download Entire Album HERE
+ Click the link
+ Click Download, then Download as .zip - it will go into your downloads or desktop
+ Once downloaded, click on Zip Icon & click Unarchive
+ It will create a folder on your desktop
+ Drag the folder into iTunes or your chosen media player

And play!

Download Track by Track Below
+ On Phone - click on song - window will come up - just press play!
+ On Desktop - control-click (Mac) or right-click (PC) on track and download
And play!

Roy G Biv
Fade to Dust
Let It Rain
The Birds and The Bees
Coming Up For Air
Sing A Love Song
Subterranean Lovesick Daughter 
To My Dearest Little Star

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!

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.

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