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Making Music and Spirit Shine

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

911 Tips for the Holiday Blahs...

by Meredith Blis on 11/28/14

 

Ok,so the holiday cheer has officially begun. Welcome! parties, lights and mistletoe. Everyone is going on about gratitude and baking sparkly cookies to celebrate.

 

Truth be told, this season can be highly charged and emotional for a lot of people. Sometimes, forcing yourself to drink the egg nog and pretending to feel joyous, just doesn't work.

When you’re just not feeling it?  The whole thing can feel pretty bleak….

So here’s some tips....
 

TRUTH!

You are not a Scrooge and don't let those elves who are high on candy cane sugar convince you differently. Like I said above, for some of us this season can press our emotional buttons. So exhale, take a step back and connect with how you are feeling.  Your Emotions Are Valid.  It doesn’t matter what they are or why.  Don’t judge or criticize them, that just makes us feel worse. Allow yourself to just be where you're at.

After all the greatest reindeer of all?  Well he felt like he didn't fit in either ;)

 

Embrace the little things

Chair you are sitting in. Waking up this morning. Your ability to read this email. Peppermint toothpaste. The invention of pizza. South Park. You get the point. Look at the seemingly unimportant stuff and you may start to feel a magic in it or at least find one tiny thing that makes you smile :)

 

Go do something for someone else

Last week I was having a pretty stressful day.  A friend texted, she had the flu and needed some help getting medicine.  As much as I wanted to help, my plate felt like it was already overflowing with stuff to do.  But as I took a step back from the emotions in my world, picked up the Nyquil, etc and delivered it, I actually felt peace.  Doing something for someone else brought me joy, took me out of my stress and gave me an energy boost to finish my day :)

 

Don't have the energy or inclination?


Go do something nice for YOURSELF

Get your nails done and perhaps you'll be grateful cause they look pretty.  Go for ice cream and perhaps you'll feel happy cause it's yummy.  Take a bubble bath and be luxurious.  Turn off the phone, email, play hookey & watch a lighthearted movie.  You get the point, you don’t need to be prisoner to the canned Christmas Music!  Take a step back and do something you enjoy.  

It might even give you something to be grateful for
 

If you spend all season jolly like Santa? Awesome! Rock on around the Christmas Tree and embrace every moment :)

And perhaps this missive will offer you some tips to understand and help those who don't.

 

Meantime, I hope all of you have an amazing Thanksgiving.  And if you don’t feel like giving Thanks? It's all good.

Love, Hugs, Italian Pastries & Pumpkin Pie!

Meredith

3 Little Things I Learned On My Birthday

by Meredith Blis on 11/17/14

Dear Friends
These past few weeks have been an incredible whirlwind of travel, birthday celebration and award festivities.  Needless to say, it has been busy and I have missed connecting with You.

Blessed to have been able to take a beautiful 
Bday trip to NM. It was so amazing to reconnect with the mountains, hot springs and my incredible peeps in Taos. That’s a gorgeous pic of Taos Mountain.
And Below... that's me blowing out my birthday candle atop Cinnamon Bun breading pudding with homemade salted caramel pecan ice cream!!!


 

Have been settling back in and catching up!  Last Saturday was the Annual Tennessee Songwriters Association Awards Banquet.  Although I didn’t win, felt super blessed to be nominated for Most Promising Female Songwriter!!!  The official award went to Alayna,one of my dear friends who is a super talented artist

 




Also, I had an amazing showcase at         
the historic Fiddle & Steel Bar last Friday !!

 



In the midst of the busyness some cool things have come to the surface & I wanted to share the clarity and grace with you :) Today's article is entitled, “3 Little Things I Learned On my Birthday”.


3 Little Things I Learned On My Birthday

Sometimes, one of the biggest challenges in life is keeping our balance as the world spins around us.   The older I get, the faster it seems to go!  That being said, I've realized how important it is for me to stay grounded and follow the path that brings me the most joy!  So here's some things I've recently discovered to help me along......
 
1.  Surround Yourself with Positive Peeps & Embrace Them!
It’s important to remember that life is energy.  And we are all subject to the effects of the energy around us.  Make it positive!  Drains and Vampires bring us down.  Focus on those who elevate your spirit.  And in return always do your best to elevate others!  Honor your relationships.  And surround yourself with those who consistently support you and have sincere consideration for you.
 
2.  Have An Attitude of Gratitude
Being grateful for things activates the law of attraction in a positive way. 
When we focus on what have, as opposed to what we perceive we lack,  it enables us to bring in & attract more of The GOOD stuff.   Even the little things like a warm bed at night and having the prosperity to be reading this letter on a smart phone, computer or tablet are blessings.  When things feel bleak, being thankful for the small things can really shift perspective!
 
3. Learn to Let Go
You can’t move forward if you are still holding on.   Carrying  the  “baggage” of past  problems, dramas, & regrets can become super heavy on our spirit.  It literally weighs us down.  So allow yourself to drop the suitcase!  Releasing the past enables to live fully in this moment & carve a brighter future.  Letting go is a key to moving forward and creating the life we Want to live. 
 
"Yesterday's the past, tomorrow's the future,
But today is a gift. That's why it's called the present."
 
So glad to be catching up with you and having YOU as part of my present moment.  You are truly a gift to me :)
By the way,  I LOVE it when you drop a line back and let me know the news in your world!  So don’t forget to stay in touch when you have a moment
Til’ Next Time
Love, Light and Big Hugs to you!
Meredith

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