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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

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.
 
"All:  HAPPINESS IS MORNING AND EVENING,
DAYTIME AND NIGHTTIME TOO"


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?
LET IT RAIN!

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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…. LarryMitchell.com.  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,
Meredith





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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
Kismet
Subterranean Lovesick Daughter 
To My Dearest Little Star
Hummingbird


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

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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

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