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:
I know you might be one of those people who feel like the Law of Attraction just doesn’t work for you.
I understand and I want to help.
So let’s begin…
Have you ever had one of those days where gravity wasn’t working for you?
Where you can’t seem to keep your feet planted on the ground and you wind up floating around in the atmosphere?
Of course not.
Because gravity is a LAW.
It doesn’t work some days and not work other days.
It’s *always* working, and you are experiencing the effects of it all the time, at every moment.
Even right now.
But you probably never spilled a cup of coffee and said, “Darn that Law of Gravity!”
Instead, you realized it was your actions coupled with the existing law that caused the accident.
Well, the Law of Attraction is exactly the same.
It’s a LAW – not a feel-good principle or some kind of new-age voodoo flake-out.
You can’t “do” the Law of Attraction wrong.
It doesn’t turn off and on, like a light switch.
It’s not subject to fate or fancy.
It is a powerful but neutral force that is constantly operating.
Just like gravity.
And that means something extremely important –
It means that what you have right now (or don’t have right now) is – on some level – exactly what you want.
The good stuff and the bad stuff.
The abundance and the lack.
You’ve attracted all of it.
Because your conscious thoughts aren’t all there is.
Below the surface, a complex and deep-seated collection of beliefs are exerting an extremely powerful force in your life.
When these subconscious thoughts are in harmony with what you consciously intend, you attract it.
But if there are “counter-intentions” present within you – that is, thoughts and beliefs that run contrary to your conscious wishes – you will not achieve the results you want, no matter how much you want them on the surface.
This is not cause for blame or guilt.
After all, you weren’t aware of the unconscious beliefs working.
What this is all about is awakening.
I’m probably the only teacher in the movie The Secret that has stood my ground about this.
I’ve taken heat for it, too.
I feel like Freud when he introduced his idea of the unconscious mind in the late 1800s and was booed off stage.
He didn’t back down.
Neither have I.
So how do you get clear of those contrary beliefs within your unconscious mind?
How do you get rid of the inner roadblocks and go warp speed ahead, right to whatever it is you’re trying to achieve or attract?
It took me some time to figure out the answer to that question.
But once I did, it was as if all the limits in and around me shattered.
I thought life was good before – I had no idea it could be THIS good.
I thought I’d achieved a pretty high level of personal and professional success – but the success I experienced once I got clear absolutely blew me away.
I had finally discovered –
“The Missing Secret” that makes the Law of Attraction work the way you want it to – 100% of the time.
There are two ways you can learn this “Missing Secret.”
1 – Get my Nightingale-Conant bestselling audio program. http://www.nightingale.com/missing-secret.html
2. – Get in my famous Miracles Coaching program. http://www.MiraclesCoaching.com
Obviously, the coaching program will require a bigger investment, but the results will be dramatic and fast.
But I understand if you’d rather invest in the audios and listen and awaken at your own pace.
Either way, the choice is yours.
Which will you choose?
PS – Consider: If the Law of Attraction is already working but you aren’t seeing the results you want because you don’t understand it yet, how much more incredible will your life be once you use the Law with conscious intention and crystal clarity? As I often say, “Expect Miracles.”
Here’s your choice:
1 – Get my Nightingale-Conant bestselling audio program. http://www.nightingale.com/missing-secret.html
2. – Get in my famous Miracles Coaching program. http://www.MiraclesCoaching.com
That’s how many times I’ve watched the Netflix documentary, Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru, which was released on July 15, only days ago.
I’m in the movie The Secret and I haven’t watched that film three times in ten years.
So why am I so captivated with this film about Tony?
It’s raw but real.
Hard-hitting but healing.
Profane but profound.
I found myself crying throughout it.
I found myself having internal breakthroughs just watching it.
I found myself relating to Tony’s inspired approach to change.
The film captures Tony’s closed-door week-long event called Date with Destiny.
In some ways the event reminded me of the old Werner Erhard est program, and to today’s Landmark Forum.
This film puts you in Tony’s secret space, much like Luke Rhinehart’s The Book of est puts you in an est event.
In both cases, you can safely observe the sometimes rollicking emotions people experience.
And in both cases, you can experience transformation just by going for the ride.
All you have to do is pay attention and feel.
Oh, there are holes in the movie.
Tony says change happens in a moment.
Yet later in the film, when he’s asked how he changed, he says there was no one moment.
Tony comes across as the trigger for change and not any method or principle.
Yet if Tony is needed for change, then methods don’t exist; there is no method. It’s him.
But I’m not a critic of the film; I’m a fan.
That’s why I’ve seen it three times – so far.
I let any holes or inconsistencies slide by as I focus on the good in the movie, the breakthroughs, the insights, the energy, the sharing – all of which act as a catalyst to awaken viewers who aren’t even physically in the seminar room with the giant king gorilla.
This makes the film itself a tool for transformation.
Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore told Joe Berlinger (the director of this film on Tony), “I believe it will actually save lives.”
I believe it, too.
A few more reasons why I love the film –
Tony goes past the little problems people offer and goes deeper, to the operating system under what they present.
When a 19 year old says her problem is her diet, Tony digs deeper to discover her issue is with her father, not her diet.
The movie helps prove why we all need coaching; without a trained person’s objective feedback, we will continue to blame our problems on others or on little things and entirely miss the big hidden operating system below our conscious awareness.
And I love statements such as, “You know what your biggest problem is? Thinking you shouldn’t have any.”
Tony goes on to explain that problems are gifts.
I don’t know Tony personally — we spoke at the same event in Chicago years ago, but hours apart, so we have yet to meet* — and I get nothing for endorsing this film from him or the director or anyone else.
But I urge you to watch it and let it stir your soul.
PS – My own television show, all fourteen episodes, is edited and in the hands of Amazon. Stay tuned for details. Meanwhile, go watch the film about Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru. It’s stirring, soulful and spellbinding.
* You can read about the event where I spoke on the same stage as Tony, Trump, and others at http://blog.mrfire.com/a-tony-robbins-first/
In case you want to work with me in person, letting me help you personally with my three decades of marketing and metaphysical experience, here are three ways to do it —
1. On May 28th I am holding a private mastermind event in Austin, Texas. It will be a half-day of brainstorming with me and nine other people. It is a powerful way to profit from the group energy and the group’s experience, combined with my own. The fee is $5,000. Write email@example.com for details, availability, etc.
2. If you would prefer a one-on-one mastermind, with just you and me, working together on your life and business, then you might want to consider the Phantom Mastermind. While I sold my Rolls-Royce, I have a brand new 2016 Bentley that we can drive to dinner in, and then spend three or four hours focused on you and your desires. The fee is $7,500. To register, write firstname.lastname@example.org The site explaining it is – http://www.mrfire.com/phantom/
3. If you want year-long personal mentoring by me, with monthly meetings by phone or Skype, then you might consider my Gullwing Mastermind. This is a major commitment of time and money, but clearly it could obviously transform your life and business forever. Write email@example.com Details are at — http://blog.mrfire.com/whats-your-gullwing/
And if you want a far less investment to get some insights and inspiration from me, consider my new Awakened Millionaire Academy. You can have lifetime access for only a one-time investment. Details at — http://awakenedmillionaireacademy.com/join-12/
Choose your path to success.
Write firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
PS – If you feel all of the above are beyond your reach at this time, then be sure to go read The Miracles Manual: The Secret Coaching Sessions. All three volumes are yours, free, over at – http://www.miraclesmanual.com
Note: All prices are good at the time of this posting and may change at any time.