How can “self-help songs,” well, help your self?
My six singer-songwriter albums all contain original tunes of “song therapy.”
They often contain positive messages of motivation, transformation, and inspiration.
It’s my way of helping you through challenges and tough times with songs of encouragement.
In many ways, my songs are “coaches” in lyrical form.
Stephen Oliver said (used with his permission) “I just received my copy of your new CD, “The Great Something”. As soon as I got into my home office (I’m a freelance writer), I put it on the stereo. I’m listening to it as I write. Now I’m in a quandary. I can’t decide whether it’s incredible or ‘merely’ fantastic. Either way, I love it. I’ve already added it to my night time playlist, along with all your other CDs.”
And Jimbo Berkey said (used with his permission) “After listening to your newest album, “The Great Something,” I am convinced that it is the most powerful and compelling message that anyone who hasn’t begun this journey could ever encounter.” (Jimbo went on to buy 20 more copies of the CD to give out to people.)
Let me explain how you can use self-help songs like the ones on The Great Something in your life:
When you are facing a situation where someone or something is about to “set you off,” take a breath. The self-help song “The Hook” (on my One More Day album) contains the message “Don’t Take the Hook!” It’s a reminder that you don’t have to take the bait. In general, whenever you get upset, it’s when you went unconscious. Something or someone flipped your internal switch and you got mad or sad. The song “Don’t Take the Hook” is your reminder that you have choice; you don’t have to get engaged or outraged. You can always walk away. You can even walk away singing, “Don’t take the hook!”
“The Glad Game”
But if you do take the hook and find yourself upset, you can always play The Glad Game to recover. I wrote this self-help song because of the famous book, and many movie adaptations of it, called Pollyanna. “The Glad Game” (on The Great Something album) is your reminder that you can find the good in any situation or person. You may have to really look. But it’s always there. Always. This upbeat swing-rock-dance song will show you the way.
“Look for the Light”
One way to find the good, or play The Glad Game, is to “Look For the Light.” This self-help song, also on The Great Something album, is a reminder that there is light (or good, or glad, or positive) in any and every situation. This song was born when someone asked me how to handle political fighting and opinion conflicts that split people. I spontaneously said, “Look for the light.” There are always people doing good things, and good causes you can find and support. But you may need to pause and look for it.
You’ll find yet another way to use lyrics as affirmations in my self-help song “Empowerment” on my album The Healing Song. This instrumental cried out for my voice, so I allowed inspiration to guide me in speaking hypnotic commands of inner strength. Listening to this track alone can strengthen your mental core, so you can have, do, or be, whatever you imagine and work toward. I listen to this song every time it shuffles up on my playlist. It’s powerful.
“There’ll Be Days”
After my private songwriting lesson with rock legend Melissa Etheridge, all of my music became more focused. The self-help song “There’ll Be Days” (also on my latest album, The Great Something) is my favorite song for conveying wisdom in a traditional singer-songwriter folk format. It’s a reminder that some days will be tough, and some will be tender, but you can get through them all if you smile and remember this song. I know it doesn’t sound humble at all, but I think this song is pure genius. At least I can’t stop listening to it. It’s hauntingly beautiful.
“The Great Something”
When you need reminded that you aren’t alone, and that the dark night of the soul will pass, you might listen to “The Great Something” (the title track on The Great Something album). This self-help song was directly inspired by my lesson with Melissa Etheridge. She advised me to write in the first person. I took her advice to heart and wrote the most personal, raw, and revealing song of my life so far. I listened to it earlier today to remind myself that “The Great Something” – what others might call Divine, Universe, Nature, Gaia or something else – is with you always.
Everybody has thoughts, but not everybody knows they are not their thoughts. The self-help song “Some Thoughts,” on my One More Day album, is an upbeat tune reminding you that some thoughts serve you and some thoughts suck. But you can play the jukebox in your mind and just select a different song/thought at any time.
The self-help song “You Gotta” (on my album titled Sun Will Rise) is a pep-talk in song. With saxophone, guitar and an upbeat drum (by the drummer with the same name as me), this one is designed to urge you to get up, get moving, and move toward your dreams. “You gotta dream, dare, grow and go” is an affirmation and command. After all, any dream you want to attract requires movement from you, as life is a co-creation.
“Everybody’s Going thru Something”
The most popular music video I ever had created is the one made to breathe life into the self-help song, “Everybody’s Going thru Something” (on my very first album, Strut!). I wrote this song to remind us that we all have dreams and we all have pains. If we can be more understanding, we can bring more peace to the world. (See the music video at the end of this post.)
The smokey-bluesy-jazzie self-help song “Remember” (on the album Reflection) is a hypnotic-poetic ballad revealing the creativity technique I used to make numerous albums. The technique is called The Remembering Process and Daniel Barrett, my producer, and I wrote a book explaining it called, naturally enough, The Remembering Process. With baritone saxophone and a smooth groove, this spoken word song offers you another way to enjoy creativity. For some reason I want to say this song is really hip.
If this intrigues you, please see All Healing Music, the portal for almost all of my healing music (many recorded with Guitar Monk Mathew Dixon) and self-help songs (all recorded with my band of legends: Daniel Barrett, drummer Joe Vitale, Glenn Fukunaga).
Remember, what you listen to also programs you.
PPS – You may also be interested in a blog post I wrote last year about Motivational Songs at http://www.mrfire.com/music/motivational-songs/
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’.
Here’s a deeper insight into how the Law of Attraction actually works:
I’ve noticed that as soon as I sign up for a seminar or workshop, changes begin.
It may be just the decision that triggers change, or it may be something more esoteric.
Let me tell you a true a story about how this works…
A few weeks ago I decided to go back into the studio with my band and record my sixth singer-songwriter album.
As soon as I decided to do this, song ideas and new opportunities came to me.
For example, one day I looked in Facebook and there was a notice that rock legend Melissa Etheridge was doing a crowdfunding campaign for her new album.
As you’ll see in a minute, I’m a huge fan of hers.
I scanned her offerings and there was one for a two-hour, in-person, songwriting lesson with Melissa herself.
That excited me.
It also made me nervous.
After all, I’m a newbie as a singer-songwriter and Melissa is a goddess at it.
But as I say, “A goal should scare you a little and excite you a lot.”
I decided to go for it.
Within 24 hours, new energy for music hit me like waves of hot electricity.
I started writing new songs almost instantly.
Yet I haven’t had my session with Melissa yet!
As I mentioned, I’m a huge fan of Melissa Etheridge. Have been almost twenty years.
I fell in a hypnotic trance when I saw her on TV around 1995, scorching the screen with just her voice and acoustic guitar on an episode of Unplugged.
I mentioned her in my book on P.T. Barnum, There’s A Customer Born Every Minute.
I’ve seen her perform live numerous times.
I was a card carrying member of her fan club for years.
I bought a guitar signed by her.
I bought and read her autobiography.
I bought her song books to learn how she wrote her hits.
I tried to meet her, too.
She was going to be in the same organization I’m a member of (Transformational Leadership Council) and I thought I’d see her at one of our retreats.
I still haven’t met her.
But I will, when I have my private songwriting lesson with her.
And knowing I will, and knowing I will discuss my singer-songwriter passions with her soon, has turned on some “music production” switch inside me.
Just this morning, as I was working out, I received an entire song.
It just sort of “appeared” in my head.
I knew it was good because I couldn’t stop humming it.
I jumped off the treadmill and wrote the words down.
It was a complete song.
Everything was there.
I was amazed and delighted that it came with no effort and came by inspiration.
But it came AFTER I booked my lesson with Melissa and BEFORE I’ve had it!
Throughout my life I’ve noticed that when anyone makes a decision to attend an event designed to improve them, changes begin.
I saw it when I signed up to do a fire walk decades ago.
I saw it when I registered to experience The Forum seminar long ago.
I saw it when I signed up for Bill Phillip’s Body-For-Life challenge ten years ago, and more recently when I registered for his Transformation Camp and personally trained with him.
I saw it when I booked a saxophone lesson with Grammy nominated sax player Mindi Abair.
And I see it almost daily when people join my Miracles Coaching program.
As soon as they sign on the dotted line, and know they are committing to change, the change begins.
I’m convinced it’s the decision to change that does it.
The decision sends a solid message to all parts of you that you are going in a new direction.
Suddenly your mind has a new target; a new goal.
Instantly your brain goes on “alert” for anything to help you with the upcoming changes.
There may be a more esoteric reason for it, too.
When you declare you are going to do something new, the Universe takes note, applauds you, and sends you support.
As Goethe put it –
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back — concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.“
Decision is the key.
It’s like turning the ignition switch on to engage the Law of Attraction.
Decide and things happen.
So, if there is something big you are considering doing, I say DO IT.
Just Do It!
Show your support for your desired change by signing up for it.
Make the decision.
It’s a concrete way to tell yourself and the world that you are doing something new, and you and the world respond by beginning the change that very day.
And yes, I am VERY excited to meet and learn from the rock icon herself – Melissa Etheridge!
PS – Learn more about Miracles Coaching.
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/
Throughout history, only a few books shook people deep enough to trigger a new direction in humankind, creating new policies, new procedures, and sometimes even war.
Thomas Paine did it.
Rachel Carson did it.
Harriet Beecher Stowe did it.
According to the New York Public Library, here are 25 other books that did it:
As an author, I’ve always wanted to write a book that makes a difference; one that made a measurable transformation in the world itself.
But I’ve wanted to do even more; I’ve wanted to do something on a scale so big, it would influence millions and actually elevate the planet.
Now, at long last, as humbly as I can, I can announce my magnum opus, the inspired new book of a long career –
Not only have I written the first manifesto to blend wealth and spirit, but I’ve created a full online training program to help people integrate the key principles in the manifesto so they can live AS Awakened Millionaires.
I’m more than excited to share this with you, and I invite you to check out both and spread the message of the new revolution:
The manifesto in print, on audio, or for your Kindle reader will be available April 16th http://www.amazon.com/Awakened-Millionaire-Manifesto-Spiritual-Movement/dp/1119264162/
The Awakened Millionaire Academy (the full online training) will be available April 3rd http://awakenedmillionaireacademy.com/
You can leap ahead and get on the early notification list right now by going to the above links.
Together, we can make a difference.
Will you join me?