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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 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!

Maybe, Crazy Is A Good Thing

by Meredith Blis on 04/29/15

“When you grow up you tend to get told that the world is the way it is and you're life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much.
Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money. That's a very limited life.
Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it…
Once you learn that, you'll never be the same again.”

That’s how the movie started – I was entranced…. It was cool to learn things like Steve started with his computer vision as a teen with a friend who stayed with him throughout his career.  Also, that he had been pushed out of Apple, then it starting going under and they asked him to come back. In the interim he created Pixar! Funded by Ross Perot! He studied calligraphy to incorporate beautiful fonts.  He studied Zen, hence Apples sleek & simple designs. There’s even a scene that talks about how the first mouse was created. Also, it talks about how he revolutionized modern music with the iPod and iTunes! And there is footage of an interview he did together with Bill Gates (Microsoft). Fascinating!! Lastly, it touches upon his battle with cancer and the outpouring of love when he passed.

What else can we learn from this inspiring visionary?
Besides the fact I have newfound Love & Fascination for my iPad...
Here are some other things it brought up in me...
First, know your vision….  If you don’t know where you want to go there’s no way to create a path.  For some of us, this clarity is harder than it appears.  I, for one have a tendency to hop from one project to another.  Unfortunately that’s a recipe for staying stuck in the same place.  Be patient with yourself, Give yourself time to figure it out.
“Your Time is limited, So Don’t Waste it  Living Someone Else’s Life”
Second, when people tell you, you are crazy-  reframe it -  I’ve started to believe that’s maybe crazy is a good thing.  It means you’re on to Something!!!   
“Things don’t have to change the world to be important”
Don’t forget that small things matter! We are all unique & valuable pieces in this puzzle of life!
Third,  One you’ve found your passion/vision and you’re on your way to crazy town... KEEP GOING!  Listen to your heart, stay on your path.  Continue to remind yourself, “I can do this!”   Avoid the naysayers & don’t bother trying to convince them you’re right.  Instead, use your energy to create your dream.  Silence the negative voices within you by taking small steps each day towards success.  And create a team that believes in you too!
In Closing….
“Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
*all amazing quotes, courtesy of Steve Jobs :)

Have an inspiring day my beautiful ones!
And maybe crazy isn’t a bad thing
Love and Light to you,

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,

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