When my drummer was here recently for the recording of my sixth self-help singer-songwriter album, titled The Great Something, he talked about how much he loved the old 1960’s hit television show, The Twilight Zone.
It’s Twilight Zone-ish enough that my drummer has the same name as me, grew up in the same area of Ohio as me, and went to the same college as me – but we never met until five years ago, for the making of my first singer-songwriter album.
But it gets even stranger when one night an episode of The Twilight Zone aired on television – one I don’t recall ever seeing before.
As I watched, an idea for an “instant change” self-help technique came to me with a jolt.
Oh, this is good, I thought to myself, laughing.
Wait till I tell everyone about this!
And this is where the story gets really interesting.
But let’s start at the beginning.
I’m a huge fan of The Twilight Zone TV show.
I was five years old when it first aired in 1959, but I saw virtually every episode after that, and still watch them today. Each show was genius. Great acting, great stories, great lessons.
Over half of the 150 episodes were written by the man who created the show: Rod Serling.
Serling deeply influenced me when I was a teenager.
I studied his scripts, short stories, and movies to unlock his mastery at writing.
I loved his screenplays for Seven Days in May and Requiem for a Heavyweight.
Talk about hypnotic writing!
Rod Serling’s Advice to Writers (1962)
DON’T LET SENTIMENTALITY REAR ITS UGLY HEAD!!!
MAKE PEOPLE THINK… STUN THEM… GRAB YOUR AUDIENCE IMMEDIATELY
DON’T OVERLOAD DIALOGUE
HAVE A POINT OF VIEW… DON’T ACCEPT SOMEONE ELSE’S CONCEPT
OVERALL THEME LEADS TO CHARACTERS THEN ON TO PLOT
RESEARCH BACKGROUND FOR ANY STORY
CONTINUITY… TIE SCENES OR PARAGRAPHS TOGETHER
I almost signed up for the Famous Writers School, as Serling was on their board (as was John Caples, another writer who would influence me decades later).
It didn’t happen. I was still in high school, and my parents couldn’t or wouldn’t swing the tuition for the correspondence course.
But something even better happened.
I met Rod Serling.
He was giving a presentation in Youngstown, Ohio, not far from my home. Two friends and myself went to hear the great one speak. It was around 1970.
I was too excited to sit still.
I was star-struck and eager to meet the icon.
He walked out on stage, cigarette in hand, tanned, tiny, unshaven, tight lipped, and uncomfortable.
I was instantly disappointed.
Serling was a chain-smoking little man with darkness and insecurity in him.
He said if there was a thump at night, he’d be the first one outside in his shorts.
He said he was the only boxer who had to be carried into as well as out of the ring.
He was articulate, self effacing, and entertaining.
But I wanted to see a super human, not a mortal.
Though I was shy and nervous, I managed to ask him a question.
I raised my hand.
He nodded at me.
“Do you plan to write your autobiography?” I asked.
“No,” Serling replied. “Nothing much has happened in my life. It’d be boring.”
I was shocked.
Here was one of early television’s most influential writers.
A creative mind on the level of genius.
He wrote screenplays for some of the most haunting TV shows and movies ever.
He won several Emmy Awards for his work.
He served in the war and received the Purple Heart and Bronze Star, as well as trauma and wounds that would give him nightmares his entire life.
He was known as “the angry young man” of Hollywood, fighting with TV executives over censorship, racism, and war.
He was also unhappy.
“I was traumatized into writing by war events,” Rod Serling explained. “By going through a war in a combat situation and feeling the desperate sense of terrible need for some sort of therapy. To get it out of my gut, write it down. This is the way it began for me.”
And he thought his life story would be boring???
It was a turning point for me.
I decided if this insecure man can become a scrip writing legend, than there was a chance for me to make it as an author, too.
And now, before I get to the point of this entire article, let’s pause for a commercial break….
Be the first! Preorder my new album “The Great Something” as a limited edition collectible audio CD. All original transformational songs. All dedicated to Melissa Etheridge. You’ll get a surprise bonus gift when it ships in March. See http://www.thegreatsomethingalbum.com/
And now let’s continue with this article….
Back to the episode I saw the other night.
It took place in an office.
A businessman is talking to his secretary.
He is preparing to go on a trip.
He goes to his phone, starts to dial his wife’s number, when suddenly someone shouts, “CUT!”
The man freezes.
He watches as his office walls are moved.
And then he sees an entire film crew looking at him.
He is on a movie set.
The yelling of “CUT!” caused him to freeze.
He is almost traumatized by this turn of events.
He didn’t know he was on a set, or in a movie, or was an actor.
Imagine how you would feel if right now you heard a booming voice yell “CUT!” and then you saw the walls around you move apart, only to reveal a film crew that has been watching you the whole time.
The episode is from 1960. It’s #23. It was written by Richard Matheson. It’s called “A World of Difference.” Howard Duff is the key actor. Find it and watch it sometime.
And now let’s get to the point:
Here’s how I discovered a self-help “instant change” technique:
Whenever you notice anything not going the way you want it to, mentally or out loud yell, “CUT!”
And then do, think or say something different.
Use “CUT!” as a command to change your mind or even a situation.
A friend was complaining about her day.
I listened for a moment.
Then I blurted, “CUT!”
She stared at me.
“Let’s redo this scene,” I said. “Say your lines differently this time.”
I had to explain the entire Twilight Zone episode to her before she understood what I was doing, but my “pattern interrupt” caused her to smile and begin a new conversation.
I was served dinner at a restaurant.
I was about to complain about the dish when I remembered that complaining doesn’t help. It’s far wiser to state an intention instead.
So I yelled “CUT!” in my head.
“State what you want,” I told myself, “not what you don’t want.”
I then stated that I wanted my food heated up a little more, and the server smiled and handled it. No one was offended by a complaint, and I got what I wanted from the intention.
Do you see how this works?
I’m simply pretending that life is a stage play or television show.
As long as “the show” entertains me, fine.
But if I or someone in my real life reality show gets “out of tune” or goes “off script,” I can simply say “CUT!” and “Let’s do the scene again!”
“In almost everything I’ve written, there is a thread of this: man’s seemingly palpable need to dislike someone other than himself.”- Rod Serling
My own philosophy of life states that life is an illusion, anyway.
We’re all actors and actresses on the stage of life.
The problem is, we are all in a hypnotic trance and believe our roles.
“Awakening” is all about realizing you are acting out a script, though unconsciously.
By saying “CUT!” and pausing, you start to awaken from the trance and redirect your life.
In a real sense, you become the scriptwriter of your own life.
How cool is that?
I’m having fun using this self-help method in my daily life.
If I notice my thoughts start to go downhill, I just yell in my mind, “CUT!”
And then I choose to “redo my lines” by thinking more upbeat thoughts.
I doubt anyone involved with the making of The Twilight Zone ever thought of this way of retraining your brain and interrupting patterns, but I like thinking Rod Serling is smiling from above.
If not, then “CUT!” and “This time put a smile on your face, Rod!”
PS — One of my favorite screenplays by Rod Serling was titled, Patterns. It was a live television drama in 1955. It became a movie in 1956. Yelling “CUT!” is a great way to break a pattern. Just sayin’.
I’m going to share a hot off the press story with you here. Then we can look at how to apply the principles in it to your life.
I just finished recording my sixth singer-songwriter album. It’s called The Great Something.
While the previous five albums all reveal a musician growing in confidence and ability, each one better than the last, this latest one broke all boundaries.
The songs are better than ever.
The singing is hands down the best ever.
The music is stellar, going from swing to ballad to rock to (as my drummer put it) “improvised symphony of genius.”
Why is this album so much better than all the others?
I used everything I teach about self-help, goal-setting, and manifestation to create this album; from setting a clear intention to gathering my band of legends, to taking action on the ideas and opportunities that arose as I moved toward the recording date.
While all these elements are part of what make The Law of Attraction work in your favor, clearly the biggest turning point for me was attracting my private two-hour songwriting lesson with rock icon Melissa Etheridge.
I’ve already written four blog posts about my time with her. (See PS below for links to those “Attracting Melissa Etheridge” articles.) I won’t repeat myself (much) here, but I openly declare that my time with Melissa deeply influenced this entire album.
In fact, I’ve dedicated it to her.
Let me explain:
First, I used some of her music dynamics to create new songs.
The song “Melissa Said” is, as my producer called it, “The greatest thank you card of all time.” It’s an original song I wrote for Melissa, using some of the arrangements she shared with me about making music. My band got goose bumps listening to my homage to Melissa. It is stellar. It is three minutes of gratitude. (Wait till Melissa hears it!)
Second, the title track song was directly influenced by my time with Melissa.
While Melissa was too wise to tell me what to do, her feedback helped me learn lessons for myself. It was the Socratic method. Socrates didn’t give you the answer. He helped you think of it on your own. Being with Melissa helped me realize the title track song (and the album) needed to be called The Great Something, my phrase for God or the Divine. (It was originally going to be called The Miracle.) That insight redirected the entire album.
Third, and more importantly, Melissa urged me to write from the first person.
“The Great Something,” the title track song, is raw. It’s from my view of life, my hard times, and my discovery of The Great Something. The band was blown away with the power and depth of it. It is riveting. It is revealing. That is a direct result of taking to heart what Melissa told me about writing in the first person.
Fourth, when I was with Melissa, I shared the opening lines of a song that had come to me in my sleep.
Melissa liked what she heard. Because of that, I felt encouraged to complete the song. I did. It is the most hauntingly beautiful thing I’ve ever penned. It’s called “Hey You,” and it’s designed to heal any hurting heart. Guitar Monk Mathew Dixon added his sweet guitar on it and it is deliciously healing.
Fifth, Melissa taught me to feel my message when I sang.
As a result, my singing on a singer-songwriter ballad I wrote was, as my producer called it, “Sinatra-est.” It was probably the highest compliment he could give me. My voice compared even remotely to Frank Sinatra’s was enough to make me speechless. I just followed what Melissa taught me and felt the song as I sang it.
Obviously, I absorbed Melissa’s wisdom and vibe and infused it into this new album.
But we aren’t done with the album yet.
I’m hoping to have Grammy nominated saxophone great Mindi Abair add her happy sax to my “Glad Game” swing song.
I’m hoping Grammy nominated singer Ruthie Foster will add her soaring vocals to the spiritual I wrote called “Look for the Light.”
And I’m hoping Melissa Etheridge will add voice or guitar to any track.
I have big dreams for this new album. As Daniel Barrett, producer (and coauthor of the book, The Remembering Process) told me, “You can’t think average thoughts and expect extraordinary results.”
So, I’m thinking BIG.
This post isn’t about getting you to buy my new album. It isn’t completed yet, let alone ready for sale.
Instead, I’m sharing all of this with you to demonstrate how the Law of Attraction, magic, and miracles work.
Here’s a quick recap:
I’m sure you can do this, too.
You have a dream, don’t you?
You could set an intention for it, gather allies, and start to move toward it, right?
Are there any real excuses or limitations for doing what you really want to do, if you really want to do it?
Isn’t today a good day to begin?
The Great Something says YES!
PS – Here are the links to my four blog posts about my songwriting lesson with rock icon Melissa Etheridge:
Note: In case you are curious, samples of my five singer-songwriter albums are here: http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/JoeVitale1
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.
Whenever I want to improve in any area, I get a coach.
I know this to be so powerful, that it’s the reason I created my own Miracles Coaching program almost a decade ago. I had learned that whenever I got a coach, my skills accelerated.
When I wanted to get healthier, I went and studied directly with Bill Phillips, the legendary fitness guru behind the Body-for-Life movement. I received five honorable mentions for my success way back in 2004-2005. I received three medals for my transformation a few years ago, too, one of them presented to me by Bill Phillips himself. (!)
When I wanted to learn how to play the saxophone, I studied with Grammy nominated legend Mindi Abair. We turned my fanship into a friendship. And I went on to play sax on several of my songs, and even created an entire album of my own baritone saxophone music. (!)
When I was interested in bodybuilding, I went and studied in person with a great winner, Frank Zane. While that was more than ten years ago, I still call up in memory what I learned in person from Frank and apply it today – over 10 years later. (!)
When I wanted to dramatically improve my skills as a musician, I went and studied in the home of rock legend Melissa Etheridge. That coaching experience transformed my life. I began to apply what I learned directly from Melissa to my songwriting. My new album, to be recorded in January, will be dedicated to her for all her influence. I’m even drafting a song about her called (of course) “Melissa.” (!)
Why is it so important to get coaching?
Because I know I don’t know it all.
Because I know learning on my own takes time.
Because I know the best can show me shortcuts.
Because I know this is an investment in my growth.
Because I know once I delete limiting beliefs, I accelerate my success.
Because I know it’s the number one way to transform my life forever.
In every case when I sought out coaching, my skills made a quantum leap forward.
And this is why you need to consider my Miracles Coaching program.
The evidence is overwhelming that it works.
It doesn’t matter what you are trying to attract or achieve.
What matters is that you “get clear” of any limiting beliefs in the way of what you desire.
Coaching can help you clear your path.
With every person mentioned above, I found limiting beliefs in myself that I had to change.
I still remember Melissa Etheridge pointing out a belief she heard me say that I didn’t hear. A coach can be a mirror and relay back to you what you aren’t even aware you are saying.
I still remember working out with Frank Zane and him saying he listens to what people say as they exercise. Their self-talk, spoken out loud, reveals their limitations.
Again, coaching is powerful.
PS – I wrote about my coaching experience with singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge right here on my blog. Get a sense of the power of it. Go see http://www.mrfire.com/law-of-
PPS – If you want coaching with *me* personally, consider a private mastermind. Details at http://www.MiraclesMastermind.
Back on September 1st I wrote about how I used the Law of Attraction and the Law of Right Action to attract legendary singer-songwriter-guitarist Melissa Etheridge.
At that time I hadn’t met her yet or had my songwriting lesson with her.
Well, now I have.
As I write this in Los Angeles, I had my session with her yesterday, at her home.
She met me outside her door, hugged me, gave me that Melissa million dollar smile, and said, “I didn’t know you were a fan.”
A “fan” is an understatement.
I’m a fan-atic.
I’ve been in awe of her performing and her music since around 1995.
To be standing with her was surreal.
As it turns out, Melissa is a fan of my work, as well as the work of the rest of the teachers from the movie The Secret. She’s personal friends with Tony Robbins. (Tony introduced ho’oponopono to her and her sweet spouse.)
She reads all the deep-end metaphysical books. She says she began around 2003 by picking up Ken Wilber’s The Theory of Everything, which is like learning how to swim by being dropped in the Atlantic ocean.
Her spirituality and understanding of manifestation has helped her awaken and achieve even greater levels of success in more recent years.
She told me that laying on her back, with cancer, and watching the movie The Secret, forced her to think about what she wanted in her life.
“If I am this powerful being who gave myself cancer and can create whatever I want, then I want healed, I want to make more music, and I want to win an Oscar.”
Of course, she went on and did all of that.
My time with Melissa was about songwriting, but she began it by asking about my life in music, my books, and then showing me her guitar collection.
Her favorite guitars are in the trailer that goes on the road with her. But she has a guitar room with them lining the walls like playable art.
And she has a studio with old and new and prototype guitars. (Ovation is releasing a ME electric in January). She also has more guitars in storage.
Of course, I related, understood, and told her of my own collection, which she says she wants to see one day.
We went in her home studio to focus on my actual lesson.
We each had a guitar. I had my songbook, where I jot ideas and snippets and songs. She said the songbook is sacred. (Later, I had her sign mine, making it even more priceless to me.)
From there she had me pick a song idea. She wanted to know the why for writing a song.
“What’s important to say in the song? Why do you want to write it? What’s the intention for it?”
She told me how she wrote some of her own songs, first thinking about why she wanted to write them.
She explained that for her song, Pulse, she wanted people to know that the person who went into a nightclub and shot dozens of people did so because he was in pain.
She also explained that for the Al Gore slide show about global warning, she wanted people to know that “I have to change,” not anyone else.
I found her to be a deep thinker, cutting to the core with her messages.
I told her about wanting to tell people how they could be happy now, and manifest their lives using the Law of Attraction, and more.
She nodded, accepting my reasons.
From there, for Melissa, it all begins with what I call a brain dump.
“Just write words,” she said. “Let it be okay whatever comes.”
She also advised to “fall in love with words.”
She uses a paperback thesaurus to look up other words, so she isn’t using too common or too cliche of words.
While I had been using Masterwriter, a popular software for songwriters, I found using a printed thesaurus slower but more enlightening.
The time spent looking up a word gave my mind time to think, and the alternate words were often surprising and triggered other thoughts.
We began with me wanting to write a song about Miracles, since my new book is titled The Miracle.
But within minutes the song became about The Great Something, a concept I write about in my book The Secret Prayer.
Instead of saying God, or Divine, or Universe, I refer to the super power behind all of life as “The Great Something.”
Melissa loved “The Great Something”‘ because it made you want to know more.
In a song, it would make you want to listen.
I got excited watching the song unfold with Melissa’s help.
Melissa often writes pages of words and phrases, knowing that later she will edit them.
“Editing is the fun part,” she told me.
She pointed to the back cover of my album, One More Day, to the line, “Self-help messages in 3 minutes or so.”
“That’s the challenge,” she said, smiling bright. “To condense pages of ideas into a three minute song.”
“That’s why I’m here,” I said. 🙂
Her songwriting template, more often than not, is to write a verse, then go right to the chorus, then to a versus, chorus, bridge, and chorus again.
“It’s stating the problem in the verse, and often a solution in the chorus,” she explained. “The next verse might spell out the problem more, and the chorus will again offer the upbeat solution.”
One of the biggest insights for me was the idea of writing in the first person.
Melissa says that first person songs are more personal and hit home with people.
Second person, or ‘you’ oriented songs, are one step removed from the listener and have less impact.
More often than not, she writes in the first person.
I started to play with the idea of writing The Great Something song in the first person. I instantly felt more connected to the song, and felt more power in the message.
I also saw myself get more excited and inspired.
“Always write from inspiration,” she had told me earlier.
“Get to that place where you have tingles of excitement for whatever you are about to write,”she added. “Never write without the tingles.”
She doesn’t meditate but often walks in nature, looks at trees and flowers, reads some poetry, reviews songs from people she admires, from Bruce Springsteen to Neil Diamond, all to ignite her inspiration.
I told her I smoke cigars.
She didn’t seem to relate to that.
Of course, she lives in a state where cannabis is legal.
Later she asked me to sing for her.
Now try to imagine that.
I’m a star-struck beginner at singing, sitting in the home studio of a rock and roll legend who has the most soaring voice of all time, and she says, “Sing for me.”
That’s like having Elvis ask you to sing.
Well, I did.
I also played a little instrumental, to give her a sense of what Guitar Monk Mathew Dixon and I create.
I was off key, out of step, and out of tune, but I did it anyway.
Melissa smiled big and said she bets the recorded versions with the band are stellar.
I then asked about singing advice.
Melissa took a breath and gave me a long, wise, hypnotic answer about watching the Ed Sullivan Show on TV and being influenced by Tom Jones, Janis Joplin, Robert Plant and others.
She noticed their joy in singing was what was so captivating.
She went on to say she wanted her music to be ballsy, not girlie.
She didn’t want to sing head voice, though she could.
She wanted something deeper and harder.
I related and told her I often felt more comfortable singing with a baritone guitar, which lowered my voice into my chest.
“That’s a good place for your voice,” she said. “It’s at home there.”
She also gave advice on performing.
“Never perform sitting down,” she said. “It cuts off your breathing.”
“And always eat, be hydrated, and get plenty of rest, so you can deliver your performance with full power.”
I’ll be processing my time with Melissa Etheridge for the rest of my life.
I found her open, loving, generous, spiritual, fearless, talented, present, friendly and wise.
She even invited me to speak on her next cruise ship concert. (!)
I was a fan (fanatic) before meeting her in person.
Today I’m in love.
Hey Melissa, I want to come over – again!
PS – Please note that whenever you have an expert coach you, your experience and expertise leap in incalculable measures. Melissa Etheridge heard a limiting belief come out of my mouth that I didn’t hear and I was the one who said it. We all need a coach. Consider Miracles Coaching.