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

The Beauty Of Reverence

by Meredith Blis on 07/29/15

I have to be honest, IRREVERANT is one of my favorite words. :) Sometimes breaking social norms & not doing what’s expected of us, gives us an amazing freedom to express our true self.

However, there is also a huge power in REVERANCE – honoring ourselves & those around us. Perhaps the 2 meet when life calls for a little irreverence in order to bring reverence to our highest self & purpose.
As I delved into the textbook for this level 2 class,  I came across a little section on the power of reverence in communication that I wanted to share, because it made me ponder…. (as you know, I like to do that… & then of course, share the musings with you!)
We communicate all day long – text, email, speech, body language and sometimes even through silence (ie: not responding to people ;)  Sometimes I find myself in situations where I don’t know what to say or I want to be super conscious that my words are graceful.  This passage really brought some clarity to me.  Our words and communications have impact – how can we process them, project our light and also be kind? This quote is by Yogi Bhajan and taken from his lectures compiled in the book, “The Mind - It’s Projections & Multiple Facets
“Your mind can be educated. Take your mind and start it on a thought. Have the thought: “Do I have reverence, or don’t I have reverence?”  Now, I’m telling you how the mind can be educated.  Ask if you have reverence or you don’t.  If you have no reverence, don’t communicate. Stop right there.  If you do have reverence, then you must revere your thought, and that thought must be honored to prevail and command every aspect of your communication.  The creation acts on cause and effect. It will honor each cause you cause unto Infinity, even if your mind does not.  So ask your mind if you, not your mind, has reverence.  Project a positive reverence and eternal respect, for everything whether it is negative and unwanted or positive and desired.  Show the same reality, compassion and understanding.  If you give reverence to all, the universe will revere you.  Ultimately you will revere and trust yourself.”
And I think at the end of the day, one of the most important things is learning to having reverence for ourselves.  Perhaps we can hone this by having a reverence for both the positive and negative within us and others... and expressing it with compassion as we connect to those around us.  
Love, Light, Reverence and Irreverence (when necessary ;)

When The Going Gets Tough...

by Meredith Blis on 07/15/15

So we all know the old saying, "When Life Give you Lemons, Make Lemonade,"... While in NM, I like to say you can also make margaritas lol!  But unfortunately, that won’t always solve the immediate issue ;)

When the Going Gets Tough…. the general advice is ..... The tough get going!  Here’s some additional thoughts (based on recent experience) to hopefully make your going a bit easier!  
Don’t Give Up! 

So... my second night camping at the Yoga Solstice festival my tent collapsed. We rigged it back up and then the winds took it down again the following eve with me in it!.  Kinda funny in retrospect, but not so amusing in the desert at midnight.  
My first thought? Pack in in, Give up and head back to Taos!!! As my frightened & exhausted brain reeled. I considered other plausible options, but I didn’t know the location of my friends' tents, car too small (could have worked in a pinch) or hmmmm… there were multiple classroom/event tents set up!  Nothing going on there at night so I headed to one of them….  Funny enough, there was someone else camped out there too.  As little fun as it was to travel in the dead of night with sleeping accouterments in tow - I felt better for not giving up.
Work with what you got!
Sometimes when we’re stuck, giving up isn’t even an option & we need to find crafty solutions….
After about an hour on the road my AC stopped working! I stopped at multiple car places in Jackson & Memphis – and they weren’t able to help. I couldn’t delay because I had to be at the Yoga event on Monday. The air was cool under 60mph, it worked at night (still can’t figure this one out!)  and every gas station has ice…. So I did the best with what I had! Went at a slower pace, traveled as far as I could while it was cool and picked up a cup of ice every time I stopped for gas. It’s amazing what we can manage to tolerate when the heat (no pun intended) is on!

One Happy Thought!
I must say that in both situations my mind immediately detoured into negativity land & there may have been some expletives ;) That immediately makes a bad situation go downhill….. It’s so important to remember that our mindset guides our experience. You are what you Think. When we stop focusing on the negative of something and try to switch our minds to positive space – even a little bit – our experience greatly improves. The tiniest bit of gratitude or even one happy thought can help make things brighter.
The lesson here to me was a lot about patience, learning to step up to the unexpected and trying to foster a positive perspective when the going got tough. Beyond the minor things, it was awesome to take a few days off AND I’m Excited to be back in Nashville -  Making Music – Working on my new Website and Performing. 

Hope to see you Soon!
Til Then, 
Sending Love Light and Blis….

What To Do When There's TOO Much To Do

by Meredith Blis on 06/17/15

So alas is life – too much to do and it feels like too much to keep up with it all.  Your brain feels like crazytown and there’s a list a mile long.   Relax!  I got ya covered.  Here are some thoughts for culling the anxiety and helping you get the to-do’s DONE.

  1. Clear Out the Non-essentials!
Look at the To-Do List. Focus on what needs to happen NOW. Let go of everything that’s non-essential or doesn’t point directly to your next steps. Allow yourself to prioritize and say NO to everything else!
  1. Taking Care of YOU is an Essential
This means proper sleep, diet & down-time.  These are the places where it’s easy to skimp. Getting to bed late and waking up early, eating unhealthy food on the run, not drinking enough water and staying full tilt for days on end.  Reminder to self:  If you want to function at full capacity you need to give your body time to rest and your brain/organs the proper nutrients & hydration. Support your body and it will go the extra mile for you

  1. Ground Thyself!
What are things you do to help you feel calm, centered and balanced? Make a list! AND include these activities everyday or least once a week. My list is things like hiking, getting out in nature, going to the gym or yoga class, meditation, down time with friends (positive people please!), going to bed early.  I think for everyone, exercise (even a 10 min walk) is truly beneficial for clearing the mind and also alleviating stress.  Allow yourself the time to take care of you.

     4.  Brain-Drain

Grab a pen an write down a master list of all that needs to get done.  Getting it out of your brain and onto paper creates a clearer mind and lays a solid foundation to organize and prioritze

    5.  Watch your words
When things are nuts, I often have the habit of saying to myself and others around me, "Oh My I'm so busy - Things are so hectic" etc, etc....   When we repeat words that talk about the frenzied state, it sends a message to our subconscious mind that we are frenzied AND it confirms that mind-set within us.  You are what you speak!   Instead I remind myself that yes, although I have a lot going on....  It's all good and I'm gonna get it all done & it's gonna work out....  this piece of self-talk helps me tremendously to calm down and focus :)

One Last Thing..... 
Oftentimes, the too much to do stems from life transitions. In these moments, I like to remind myself…“The only thing that stays the same is Change.” 
I first heard this quote in a Melissa Etheridge song, but I’m sure the expression is also commonplace.  And that’s it – Change is an inevitable part of our growth.  It’s what launches us toward reaching our goals.  The hard truth is that it can feel scary.   Remembering this little phrase helps me to stay grounded and keep the faith that the universe has plan – I just need to take a step back, trust, and allow it to unfold….

Well, I’m so glad that I got a chance to drop a line before I head out on Friday.  IF I don’t drop a line while I’m away, it’s no love lost for YOU – but I’m taking some down-time ;)

Wishing you joy, love, light and a magical day!

Do It Your F***ing Self...

by Meredith Blis on 05/27/15

This weeks article is a guest post from a blog written my one of my favorite people – a dear friend who is also a super talented musician!  Welcome Ashley Norton to ‘Making Music and Spirit Shine.”  And boy does she! Check out her music  The duo also includes another one of my favorite people, also an incredible musician and dear friend – Ed Williams.  They actually did a cover of 'Fade to Dust' on their Video Blog, “Morning Breath” last month – I was super honored.  You can check that out here -
Ashley wrote this amazing, fiery blog post a few weeks ago.  I thought it was so on point, inspiring as well as great advice for indie musicians & beyond....
Hope you enjoy it!  (apologies if the expletive offends anyone ;)
Sending you Light, Inspiration and JOY
All My Love,


by Ashley Norton

I've been a professional singer-songwriter for about 10 years now. What I 
mean by that is getting paid to do it. I've been in rock bands, country projects, wedding bands, chick groups and indie duos. I've toured across the country countless times, played large festivals, and the tiniest bars you never knew existed. I've performed for audiences of 2 and audiences of 3,000, and have had just as much fun at both. I've worked in Nashville and have written songs with well over 100 different artists, some with big names, some not so much, and have had just as many hits with both (zero.) I've made albums with guys you hear on the radio. I've had famous producers, managers, record deals, and I've been screwed over many times (I swear I have a point here.) I moved to Music City 5 years ago to hire a team of people to do the behind-the-scenes work I was so tired of doing my fucking self. Like many of us, I wanted to solely focus on my craft. This, is the only mistake I've ever made.

After assembling, disassembling and re-assembling my "team" about 5 times, I was ready to pack it all in. I was so frustrated by what I perceived as failures and felt completely lost. I was jaded enough to think that failure meant not hearing my songs on the radio. I was severely depressed and swimming in black holes, having just gotten back from touring with a rock band, which didn't go very well. But that's a story for another time.

This was the point at which I was approached by my dear friend and favorite co-writer, Edward Williams. He was in a similar state of mind and proposed putting together an acoustic touring duo called Whitherward. The way he worded it was, if it's not fun, we don't do it. I thought that sounded pretty good. But with my recent discouragement, my expectations were low, so I was surprised at how smoothly everything came together. It felt natural, as if I woke up and there was an EP finished and gigs booked. What I hadn't realized yet was that this was because we were doing it our fucking selves.

In the beginning, we would often say things like "We need an agent." "We need a manager." "I don't know how to book a tour." I had been so focused on building my team that I lost the zest I had before I moved to Nashville. After a few months, we were approached by two different local booking agents who wanted to work with us. But there were problems.

It's amazing how the universe sometimes gives you exactly what you need. I had been earning extra income by dog walking, and many of my clients were suddenly moving away. So I was broke, but I had a lot of extra time on my hands. One of our booking agents wasn't getting us enough shows and the other lost us a big festival gig because of an unmentionable incident that we had no part of. I didn't understand why I couldn't get my team together. Then the light bulb went off. I said "fuck it," quit bitching and started using my new found time to make some calls and e-mails. After all, who is going to work harder on my project then me?

Soon after, Ed and I had a pow-wow and came up with another rule for Whitherward: No more relying on other people. We became a completely independent 2-person operation. He does most of the recording, editing, uploading, web design, and tech stuff. I do most of the booking, newsletter writing, networking and social media, and we share these responsibilities too. Some we were already experts on (e.g. Ed has his engineering degree) and some of them we had to learn by trial and error (e.g. booking is a bitch). But we kinda just figured it out and it must be done!

Now, if anyone wants to help us, we welcome it with open arms. Turns out, we can't do everything alone, and aren't afraid to ask anymore. But we don't rely on it. We use photographers, videographers and other musicians on our projects, but again, if they fall short, we've got it covered. We often reach out to those willing to spread the good Whitherward, especially when it comes to campaigns, sponsorship, shows and social media growth. But we usually throw in some kind of free download incentive in exchange for this aid. And to those gracious enough to share their couches, beds and meals with us while we are out on the road sharing our music with you, we are more grateful for than words can express.

All that being said, one day we might just become too big for ourselves and will need to hire managers, agents and a label. At that point we will re-adjust our plan. But right now, I'm writing this on our way to Las Vegas from Salt Lake City, to perform the second of our 11 show tour, booked and promoted all in-house. Then we are going home to Denver to record our third self-produced EP, and will be touring full-time this summer. We quit our day jobs, which is both scary and invigorating. We already have 20+ dates booked in July up the entire West Coast, and that is only the beginning. I no longer see myself as a failure and finally realize how lucky I really am. I get to travel across the country performing music that I love for amazing people. This is the most enlightening thing that has ever happened to me. This is the power in taking control of your life. So quit your bitching. Do it your fucking self...whatever it is.
Ashley E. Norton

The 2 Sides of Stubborn... & a little secret about me ;)

by Meredith Blis on 05/13/15

OK! Here’s the secret. I hate to admit it…. But …. Perhaps, I’m stubborn. 

I have an friend who used to tease me about it. At the time, I just thought HE was the stubborn one – but perhaps he saw something in me that I didn’t. Friends can be good for that outside perspective :) Thanks SKY.
I remember a trip I took, with a different friend, to Greece many years ago.  Overall it was gorgeous and amazing, but there were some glitches along the way.  In most of those instances, the first answer we got from people was, no we can’t fix this.  In every instance, I ignored the No, kept on pushing and managed to change the situation for the better… (do you hear the word stubborn here?!?!)
My friend said, “You should write a book on how not to take NO for an answer”  ha!!! 
**My theory is that this comes from so many years in the music business – survival often depends on pushing past/ignoring the word NO

Or perhaps….. my pals are right – I’m plain old stubborn ;)
The word stubborn technically means  having or showing dogged determination not to change one's attitude or position on something, especially in spite of good arguments or reasons to do so.
Yikes! That’s intense. So… Why is that sometimes a positive trait?
Well, I got us a sweet suite in Athens!  AND…… If I did the general math…..
For every publisher/artist who’s passed on a song of mine there’s been one who’s picked up that same song. 
When we remain unshakeable as we work towards dreams and goals- it can be an important asset to be Stubborn.   Especially, if you are in an occupation where there’s fierce competition or hundreds of  different opinions coming at you about what’s ‘right’ or ‘good’. But let’s take a second to look at BOTH sides of the coin.
The Dark Side of Stubborn
It can ruin opportunity, friendships, and our best intentions.  We need to realize when being inflexible is shutting down opportunities or creating a lack of compassion for ourselves and others.  Take a step back and listen...
Are you hearing the other persons side?
We’ve all seen that stubborn dude/gal who won’t change their mind even in situations where it’s in their best interest.  This is when stubborn can be dangerous. It’s self-destructive to be so invested in being RIGHT that you fail to see the myriad of other opinions.  
Why bother yielding?
Assess your final goal for the situation.   Here’s what I mean…
Recently, a co-writer completely changed elements of a song we wrote and recorded a demo without really consulting me. My feelings were hurt.  This is a reminder of why It's important to remain aware when our stubborn affects other people.   
More importantly,  I had to sort through my creative stubborn vs. the bigger picture which is getting it picked up by a country artist.  I write with country people cause I need more experienced input in that genre.   Do I still prefer this version? No.  But is this rendition perhaps a better fit for the final goal?  Yes.  So in this instance, It’s important to send my stubborn on hiatus, vacation and out of the building!  I think this one is especially hard when our passion and creative voice are on the line.  It's all good now, and I think the key was communicating together- seeing all sides instead of only talking to our inner stubborn.
Why stubborn can sometimes be magic…..
Reframe the word "Impossible". Did you know you can break it up in to…  I’m Possible!!!   Most great things have been accomplished after someone has been told (usually multiple times!)  You Can’t Do That – That’s Impossible.  However the individual persevered, believed in their vision, ignored the naysayers and got it DONE.   Sticking to your vision, listening to your heart, following your dreams at all costs?  That’s when Stubborn can be a beautiful thing!!!
I think it’s important to remember that every situation is unique with lots of options. Perhaps the balance is making sure that we’ve taken the time to consider all sides. And keep in mind…
+ We don’t need other peoples permission to follow our hearts.
+ We don’t need to always to be ‘right’.
What do you think?
Love and Light to you!

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