Happy New Year!
Today is January 1, 2017.
Whether you used the Law of Attraction — or some goal-setting or self-help method — to make your 2016 great, you got through it.
We both made it here so we should stand up and do a happy dance.
I’ll pause while you do it…
And now to the million-dollar questions –
What are you going to do differently in 2017 to make it outstanding?
How will you make 2017 breathtaking and full of success?
What do you want to have, do, or be in this New Year?
Whatever you did in 2016 brought you to this moment.
Are you happy with your results?
Did you achieve all you wanted?
And that’s okay.
After all, as Robert Browning asked, “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?”
If you want to achieve noteworthy success in 2017, I have three suggestions:
Achieving a fantastic 2017 is like planning a cross-country road trip:
Making the New Year spectacular is like planning a meal with friends:
Now apply this simple formula to 2017:
Here’s wishing you a glorious and unforgettably wonderful New Year!
I never intended to write a four part series about my private songwriting lesson with legendary singer-songwriter-guitarist Melissa Etheridge, but here we are.
I got so much out of my two hours with the rock icon last month that I’m still reflecting on it all.
In fact, friends claim that I mention Melissa in some way or other every fifteen minutes.
They’ve timed me. 🙂
One more session with her and I’ll be writing an entire book about all I’ve learned.
Anyway, in this episode I want to share what she taught me about singing, performing and becoming an overnight success.
Before we go there, I have to share a funny moment I had with her.
After Melissa showed me her book collection, guitar collection, and jigsaw puzzle she was working on, she walked me to a piano that her manager had given to her.
She played a few notes and asked me if I played.
“No,” I said. “I wanted a guitar when I was a kid. My father heard me and bought me an accordion. He didn’t want to hear rock, he wanted to hear polkas.”
“Parents!” Melissa said.
And from there we went into her home studio.
In my previous blog posts I shared what she taught me about writing songs. Her insights were revealing and inspiring. (See PS at end of this post for links.)
I told Melissa that one of the biggest fascinations for me was her singing.
I still remember her solo acoustic gig on Unplugged TV back in 1995.*
It shook me to the core.
Her explosive performance sent out ripples through time, and are still hitting my nerve endings today.
I want to sing like that, I thought. And I told Melissa so.
Of course, she asked me to sing for her.
And I (gulp) did.
It was actually easy to perform for her because she was entirely nonjudgmental.
She was patient, present, and eager.
But I was a nervous schoolboy compared to the powerhouse singing that Melissa does naturally.
So I asked her for any tips she could give me.
She told me about watching Ed Sullivan’s TV show and seeing house rockers, like Janice Joplin and Tom Jones.
“It was their joy in taking a song and belting it out,” Melissa explained. “Barbara Streisand, Johnny Mathis, Neil Diamond. I watched them perform. I always went with my feeling. I wanted to stand up and you know, SING.”
She went on to talk about where the power of a stirring performer comes from.
“Robert Plant’s singing like Janice Joplin,” Melissa said. “Janice Joplin’s singing like Memphis Minnie and Betsy Smith, and she’s singing like a black woman. All this rock and roll, and this popular music, comes from the slave era. It comes from this pain of I’m going to overcome this.”
“It comes from this pain of I’m going to overcome this.”
At this point Melissa pointed out that she heard a limiting belief in me.
She said that I thought I was too old to perform music and rock the world.
She reminded me that many people start entire new careers in their seventies. (I turn 63 today.)
“There’s an infinite stream of energy that can become whatever we want,” she told me. “And it’s up to us and the story we tell inside.
“So you’ve gotta believe it first,” she stressed. “You’ve gotta believe it first.”
I started to understand that much of Melissa’s on stage power comes from a decision.
She consciously intends to be electrifying.
“You’re gonna draw up this power, and you’re going to project it,” she said. “And be willing to let that energy come through you. I have an agreement, and I made it a long time ago, with the Universe, that I would be a conduit.”
Melissa explained that we are all energy and we project a vibrational field.
“It’s possible to gather this energy and let it go through us,” she continued. “But to do that, we’ve gotta have a clean channel. If you ever hear of anybody touring that lost their voice, it’s because they’re eating late at night, they’re doing all this stuff that’s going to come up and burn their voice.”
She went on to focus on the songs.
“What material are you working with?” she asked. “Are you singing, tonight I feel so weak. Then act what you are getting across. Be present for what you’re singing. If you’re singing a slow song, everybody’s got a hunger, then think about it, live it, have it be alive in you when you’re singing it.”
Melissa then focused on my new song, the one we were working on together, and a line from it.
“If you are singing, I’ve got a message from the Great Something, and I found it through my struggles and strifes, then put that intention in you as you’re singing. Think, I want to tell this story, and I want you to be moved by it because I want you to know the joy I’m having.”
Melissa explained that she first started singing when she was ten years old. She was in choirs in churches. The teacher would put her in the back because “I had such a weird voice.”
Weird voice? Melissa??
“In sixth grade I wrote a song, a protest song,” she continued. “And I sang that in a talent show that became a variety show around my hometown. We played at old folks’ homes, schools and prisons. And so I slowly started singing for people.
“I got in a band when I was in junior high, like eighth grade,” she continued. “A professional band that had grown guys and me. And we would have gigs on the weekends, at the officer’s club and these places. And so I sang other people’s songs. And that really helped me.”
At this point Melissa is explaining her decades of singing experience, and singing snippets to me as she continues.
You have to imagine my delight in being in her studio and witnessing this.
“First I sang Tammy Wynette, Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman, and then Stand by your man. I learned to sing from your gut; to when you start with the energy, when you get up, I’m singing from here, and then I would sing the guy’s songs.
“I would sing Roberta Flack. I remember the first time, ever I saw your face is the song, but it was the first time that I sang a song in my band, where usually people are dancing and talking and they’re not paying any attention to the band, we’re just there for their pleasure, that actually people would stop, look at me and then applaud.
“And then I realized that oh, a song grows. I’m telling a story. And I would captivate, I would see people paying attention and want to take that energy and keep it. So I had years and years and years and years and more years of singing in front of people.
That’s often what it takes to succeed:
Years, and years, and years, and years and more years.
“When I finally got out to California, I played for five years in the bars, with drunk people,” she continued. “When I finally got my record deal at the end of the 80’s, I would have 100 people in the bar that came to hear me and liked my original songs.”
Melissa summed up her story by saying, “You just get on the path, you just do it, and that’s your intention, and then you let The Great Something bring you the stuff.”
“You just get on the path, you just do it, and that’s your intention, and then you let The Great Something bring you the stuff.” – Melissa Etheridge
I was in awe of all the lifetime experience it took Melissa to get noticed, get a deal, and explode on the scene.
As with virtually every “overnight success” (including my own, as an author), it actually didn’t happen overnight.
Once again, I could continue with all I learned from this loving legend of rock.
But right now I have a new album to record.
I’m dedicating my new album to Melissa.
There may even be a song on it called “Melissa Said,” which will be a tribute to her. I’m currently drafting it using, of course, everything I’ve learned from her. I am forever grateful to her, and want her to know it.
I’m obviously still on fire from sitting with Melissa, so somebody bring me some water!
PS – Here are links to my previous posts about my private lesson with Melissa Etheridge:
Note: In case you are curious, samples of my five singer-songwriter albums are here:
* Brace yourself. Watch Melissa Etheridge on Unplugged TV 1995 here:
One of the best Law of Attraction books you could read today was first published in 1913.
Let me tell you about it…
Recently we watched the PBS television remake of the classic children’s book, Pollyanna.
I absolutely loved the new movie.
The acting, scenery, editing and story were virtually perfect.
There have been other movies of Pollyanna, going way back to 1920 with famous silent film star Mary Pickford. And of course Disney did their version in 1960 with Hayley Mills.
But this recent version is fresh and timely.
And I loved being reminded of the message in it.
At the core of Pollyanna’s sunny personality is “the glad game.”
In short, it’s the ability to find something to be glad about in any situation.
“There is something about everything that you can be glad about, if you keep hunting long enough to find it.” ― Eleanor H. Porter, Pollyanna
As Porter’s books reveal, this is at first something you have to train yourself to do. Even Pollyanna wasn’t born knowing it. Her father taught it to her.
It reminds me of the art I bought a few months ago:
In short, you can train your mind to see the good.
It’s what recent neuroscience is telling us.
You are not your brain; you are the operator of it.
You can teach your mind how to look for the “glad” in life.
And once you “get it,” looking for the glad in any situation becomes a fun challenge.
But the payoff is happiness.
And isn’t that what you want?
On my forthcoming new album, I plan to record a song called “Look for the Light.” It’s a reminder that there is light in everything.
But after seeing this remake of Pollyanna, I also wrote a song called “The Glad Game.”
I’m using what I learned from my private lesson with rock icon Melissa Etheridge to write something memorable.
And all of this got me wondering where the glad game came from.
Did Eleanor Porter invent it?
“What men and women need is encouragement. Their natural resisting powers should be strengthened, not weakened…. Instead of always harping on a man’s faults, tell him of his virtues. Try to pull him out of his rut of bad habits. Hold up to him his better self, his REAL self that can dare and do and win out! … The influence of a beautiful, helpful, hopeful character is contagious, and may revolutionize a whole town…. People radiate what is in their minds and in their hearts. If a man feels kindly and obliging, his neighbors will feel that way, too, before long. But if he scolds and scowls and criticizes—his neighbors will return scowl for scowl, and add interest! … When you look for the bad, expecting it, you will get it. When you know you will find the good—you will get that…” – Eleanor H. Porter, Pollyanna
In my new book, The Miracle: Six Steps to Enlightenment, I mention a little book called Just Be Glad.
I went looking for it and found it.
It’s by Christian D. Larson, a popular New Thought author of such books as Your Forces and How to Use Them. He also penned the famous Optimist Creed, which I’ve reprinted in a book or two of my own.
Larson’s glad book came out in 1912.
Porter’s glad novel came out in 1913.
I can’t find any references to any “glad game” before 1913, when Pollyanna: The Glad Book was first published.
Certainly after the book became a bestseller, it triggered more books, a board game, a play, movies, and rumors have it there were glad game mastermind meetings.
Pollyanna became a huge bestseller in 1914, became a publishing phenomena, ignited a joyous, glad-hunting following around the world, and is still regarded as a classic of children’s literature today.
Maybe Larson’s little book gave Porter the idea for her novel. I can’t say. It’s not likely, though.
Porter was probably finishing her novel and sending it to the publisher in 1912, when Larson’s book arrived.
So I think Porter deserves full credit for creating the idea of The Glad Game.
But I was also curious why the glad game isn’t talked about much these days.
Considering how much stress is reported in the world, and how much “fake news” is triggering unsettling emotions in people, learning to play the glad game would be welcome relief.
It could even be healing.
It could even help us return to a clarity of mind where we could better see our choices.
In fact, the glad game could be a wonderful way to change your inner vibration to one that is higher, brighter, and even wiser.
As you know, you get what you radiate.
Change the dial inside, using the glad game, and you can attract happier results.
So, why don’t more of us play the game?
My guess is that critical, skeptical, wounded, or cautious people think being a “Pollyanna” is not being a realist.
Over the decades, the term “Pollyanna” has come to be an insult; used to tell someone they are foolish, not in touch with reality, and possibly even dangerous to themselves.
But being a Pollyanna is making a choice on how to see the world.
You can still see the challenges, and still see the good in them, and still act to change them.
Letting situations or other people steal your happiness is being a victim.
Choosing to see the good/glad in situations or other people is being empowered.
You have a choice, of course.
For me, life is an optical illusion.
You see what you unconsciously expect and believe.
Like Pollyanna, you can consciously choose to look for and find the good/the glad/the light.
It’s your choice.
“Be glad. Be good. Be brave.” – Eleanor H. Porter
Remember, if you see the good but just sit there, you aren’t co-creating your reality.
You want to see the good, see the actions you need to take next, and do them.
After all, when Pollyanna was injured by a car, she didn’t give up. (She did briefly, but she pulled out of it.)
Instead, she got treatment and she got better.
Eleanor Porter, the author of Pollyanna: The Glad Book, explained it this way:
“Pollyanna did not pretend that everything was sugar-coated goodness, instead Pollyanna was positively determined to find the good in every situation.”
Note the difference?
Just looking at the world with blind eyes to objective reality is not what the author meant; it was looking at the world and finding the good in it.
Eleanor Porter once told an interviewer –
“People have thought that Pollyanna chirped that she was ‘glad’ at everything … I have never believed that we ought to deny discomfort and pain and evil; I have merely thought that it is far better to ‘greet the unknown with a cheer.'”
I believe the 1913 book was an unrecognized Law of Attraction resource.
Maybe it’s time for all of us to read it again, or at least go see the movie.
I think you’ll find something glad in it. 🙂
PS – Learn about the recent PBS TV version of Pollyanna here:
Ever since my personal songwriting lesson with rock icon Melissa Etheridge in November, my conversations have changed. Now I refer to Melissa in almost everything I say:
“According to Melissa…”
“When I was with Melissa…”
“Melissa told me…”
“What I learned from Melissa…”
“Melissa puts it this way…”
My two hours with her were so impactful that I think about it every day.
I’ve listened to the audios (Melissa was kind enough to let me record my time with her) several times. I even transcribed the audios so I can get the information visually and not just audibly.
Apparently, life changed forever when I sat with Melissa in her home.
Since so many people liked my “Attracting Melissa Etheridge Part Two” post, I thought you might enjoy this third installment. If nothing else, it’ll give me a chance to say Melissa’s name a few more times.
When I sat with Melissa and her loving spouse in their kitchen, she wanted to know about my life in music.
“Music is sacred,” she said.
“Music is life. Music is nature. When you break reality down, and the dimensions down, it’s all music,” she said. “Tell me about you and music.”
So I told her about growing up hearing the crooners, from Frank Sinatra to Perry Como. But that was mostly because my father played their music. The breakout music for me was Johnny Cash and Neil Diamond.
Melissa loves them all and added she is a huge Neil Diamond fan.
She held each one as if it were a blessed gift from above.
She studied the photos of my band and wanted to know about each musician.
She was impressed that my drummer has the same name as me.
I was really touched that she was so interested and present with my music and me.
And then she wanted to know about my current music.
“Let me see your journal with your song ideas,” Melissa said.
I handed it to her, which I’ve never shown to anyone.
“This is your safe place to write any ideas,” she said.
“You have to throw just anything in there,” she explained. “Believe me, I didn’t think my song ‘Somebody Bring Me Some Water’ was a good thing. And I almost didn’t put ‘Come to My Window’ on the album. I didn’t think anyone would understand it. We are the worst critics of our own ideas.”
I found that fascinating, shocking, revealing and encouraging.
If Melissa Etheridge can doubt her songs, then it’s okay if I do, too.
We just can’t let the doubt stop us.
“You need a safe book and a safe place and a good pen,” she said.
“I regard the connection to the Universe when you write as a sacred place,” she added. “And Divinity is only going to come when you are lined up with it.”
That’s when she told me to only write from inspiration.
“Get excited. Look forward to writing. I walk, read poetry, and I believe greatly in the power of cannabis connecting us to the Divinity,” she explained.
Well, she lost me there.
Cannabis isn’t legal in Texas.
I had given her a copy of my newest book, The Miracle.
I still kick myself for not taking a photo of her holding the book. I still see her in my mind, smiling bright, congratulating me on the new book.
Why didn’t I take a photo of that?
I told her I wanted to write a song about miracles.
“Miracles is your big overall subject,” she said. “What is it about miracles? You have to break that down to get to your core message.”
I showed her a few lyrics in my sacred book.
“Ohhhh, nice!” she said, clearly impressed. “Do you have any music for it?”
“You get to choose what you do next,” she explained.
“You can work on melody, chords, more lyrics,” she advised. “You get to choose.”
She urged writing from the first person, like I do in most of my blog posts and books.
“When you come from your personal space, the music is super powerful,” she explained. “So stay away from ‘you’ in your songs. Write from your own perspective.”
That was a big takeaway for me.
As a copywriter, I was trained to write about you, not me.
But as a songwriter, Melissa suggests I write from my view.
Writing from the first person is what I am now doing with the songs for my forthcoming new album.
“Our job as artists is to help people to ascension and a wakefulness,” she explained. “Thus we contribute to the societal reality that becomes better.”
She explained how she wrote the song ‘Pulse’ about the Florida nightclub shooting.
“What I’m trying to show, and the chorus is, you know, I am human, I am loved, and my heart beats in my blood, love will always win, underneath the skin, everybody’s got a pulse. So how simply can I say this big old thought that I’m trying to get out is yes, a man came in and shot 49 people, killed them all with a gun, and do you know why? Because he is in so much pain.
“And if I don’t look at him and feel as much sorrow and sadness for him as I do for everyone who died and everyone who went through that experience, then I’m losing out, then I can’t get past this. If I believe in the duality, if I believe in the good and evil and that there’s evil, well, then I give all my power to that. So how can I gather energy to forgiveness and even understanding beyond the forgiveness? Because forgiveness still implies good and bad.”
“Forgiveness still implies good and bad.”
I didn’t realize how deeply Melissa dug into her own thinking and her own soul to create such masterpieces as ‘Pulse.’ It made me reflect on my own songs and songwriting.
I decided right there I had to be even more focused on my messages.
“As a songwriter, you’re always coming up against cliché,” Melissa explained. “So I always dance around the simple, the cliché even, yet sometimes the simple is right on, and then take the thought one level deeper.
“My junior year English teacher gave me the best advice I’ve ever, ever had. She said, ‘As a writer, you want to write just above the masses, just above. ‘ You want the masses to be able to understand, but you want them to reach up.”
That was more food for thought.
Make listeners “reach up” to fully understand.
We talked more about my idea to write a song about miracles. She wanted me to brainstorm and ad-lib and free associate. As I did, she kept urging me to write it all down in my sacred book.
“Editing is the fun part. You can do that later. That’s where the craft of songwriting comes in.”
When I said I used the phrase “The Great Something” as a way to hint at God, Divinity, or the Universe, without alienating anyone, Melissa lit up.
“Oh, that’s good. The Great Something. Write that down,” she said, pointing at my sacred book.
And it’s going to be the title of my forthcoming album.
“Miracle is a little weak just from overuse,” she told me. “People say it was a miracle their car started. Well, not really. This is why I use a thesaurus. You want to dig deeper, find other words.”
She added, “Be as specific in your writing as you are in your writing.”
I loved that line, even though I had to think about it more than once.
“Be as specific in your writing as you are in your writing.”
As you can see, Melissa and I covered a lot of ground in just two hours.
At another time I might share her singing advice, which I also found profound, but let’s stop here for today.
Again, thank you, Melissa!
Come to my window!
PS – My other posts about Melissa Etheridge are at:
Note: You can watch Melissa Etheridge sing her song ‘Pulse’ here:
When it comes to using the Law of Attraction to manifest a miracle, or to attract anything you’ve been wanting, a few key principles are essential.
I explain this in-depth in my forthcoming new book, The Miracle: Six Steps to Enlightenment, which launches December 6 as a paperback, Kindle e-book, and on audio.
A few of the keys are –
You get what you expect. Expectation is built on belief.
Your beliefs filter reality so you only see what matches your beliefs.
Your actions will stem from your beliefs and expectations.
In short –
If you don’t act, you reduce your chances to create anything.
If you don’t believe, you won’t even try.
If you don’t expect, you will attract a match to your lack of belief.
You can use these insights on anything you want to attract or achieve.
Want a better job?
Want to attract your soulmate?
Want enlightenment or spiritual awakening?
Ask yourself –
Do you believe it’s possible?
Do you expect to succeed?
Are you taking inspired action to attract it?
If you answered “yes” to all the questions, then go forth and congrats on your new job, soulmate, or awakening.
But if you answered “no” to any of the questions, then you have some inner work to do.
And that’s where my new book The Miracle will help you.
It’s packed with processes, exercises, stories, tips, techniques, principles and more.
It covers everything from the basics to advanced law of attraction, mind power, activating your brain, goals, clearing, intentions, counter-intentions, beginning and advanced ho’oponopono, Neville manifestation, the secret prayer, and so much more.
You will also get more than $5,000 worth of bonuses when you go get The Miracle from Amazon on Tuesday, December 6, 2016.
One of the gifts is my brand new online video training called “A Beginner’s Guide to Miracles.”
I am very excited as this is my most definitive book on how to attract what you want and achieve spiritual enlightenment along the way.
Bestselling author Susan Shumsky said, “In The Miracle, Joe helps us unearth the cause behind our deepest unconscious beliefs and shows us how to transform them…He helps us create and live miracles every day.”
You can learn more at http://www.TheMiracleBook.info
Meanwhile, Expect Miracles!
PS – Mark your calendar. Everything happens on Tuesday, December 6, 2016. See http://www.TheMiracleBook.info for details.