I’m in the recording studio with Grammy nominated legend Ruthie Foster and award-winning singer and producer Daniel Barrett. We have joined forces to create an album together.
I’m flattered beyond belief that these two superstars want me on an album. After all, I’m relatively new to being a musician. And I’ve been a long time fan of both of them. To be in the studio with them is mind boggling.
I was so excited to record with them that I showed up for our first session thirty days early. (!)
But what’s really interesting is how we are all stretching ourselves.
For example —
Ruthie is famous for her singing but not her lead guitar.
On our album, she is playing lead electric guitar.
Daniel does everything, from engineering to singing and more, but he doesn’t play the drums. Or at least didn’t.
On this album, he does.
I’m a newbie to music and don’t have all that much experience doing anything (even though I’ve released eight albums in over three years). I certainly am brand new and uncomfortable on the saxophone.
On this album, I am playing a baritone saxophone.
What’s going on here?
Each of us is stretching out of our comfort zones.
When you stretch your comfort zone, you reach a new level of comfort and confidence.
When Daniel, Ruthie and I go into the studio, we talk, share, joke, and play. Out of our openness, we come up with songs. Out of our willingness to take risks, and exceed our comfort zones by pursing our desires, we create new possibilities.
The result is magic.
And some pretty cool music.
This is an important lesson for each of us.
You have “comfort zone limits,” too.
When you find them and nudge them a bit, you extend your power and attract new results.
We aren’t doing daredevil stuff in the studio.
We are taking what we haven’t done before but want to do, and focusing on making something happen by doing it.
We are simply following our inspiration and taking action to create something new.
Yes, there is often fear involved, but we feel the fear and do it, anyway.
We turn the fear into fuel.
Here’s an example —
One day, while Ruthie was playing lead electric guitar (and truly wowing me at it), I received an idea for a song.
I jotted it down.
As she kept playing, I started singing the song in my head.
The lyrics and her melody seemed to work together.
When she was done playing, I did something daring.
I said, “I want to sing!”
This was a huge move on my part.
Singing at all, any time, any place, has been a challenge for me.
I’m new at it.
I’ve been insecure about it.
And to sing for Ruthie Foster — one of the best singers I’ve ever heard in my entire life — was a courageous even outrageous thing to suggest.
Even though Ruthie had mentioned just the day before, “I like your singing, Joe. You can sing with me if you want,” I didn’t feel ready to leave my comfy mindset and step into her arena.
But I wanted to push out of my comfort zone.
My heart was racing but I knew I had to do this.
Daniel and Ruthie are loving and supportive, and urged me on.
After all, each of us was doing something new.
We were all stretching.
So I took a deep breath, got in front of the mike, and belted out my tune.
After I sang, Daniel said, “That was some of the best singing I’ve ever heard out of you.”
I looked over at Ruthie and she was beaming a sunny smile and nodding her head in agreement.
It was amazing.
Daniel’s drumming, Ruthie’s lead guitar, my vocals — it was a stretch for each of us but it all came together into a powerful new song that will be on our forthcoming first album.
And that song will probably be titled, “Stretch Yourself!”
All I’m reminding you here is do what you fear.
If you have a dream but feel nervous about it, that’s good.
It means you care.
The next step is to get up and do something about it.
Your comfort zones are invisible lines in your mind.
You can melt them with a little stepping forth.
I’m packing up my baritone saxophone and heading back to the studio right now.
It’s time for Saxman Joe to do his thing.
What are you going to do today to stretch yourself?
PS — Ruthie Foster told me she got an “Aha!” from listening to my song, ‘Reflection,’ off my latest singer-songwriter album of the same name. You can hear samples of all the tracks on that album and grab the CD (which comes with a collectible, limited edition booklet, and with a surprise gift) over at http://www.ReflectionCD.com
BONUS: If you’ve never heard Ruthie Foster sing, watch this…
“None of your books work!”
“I’ve written over 50 books. You’re saying not a one of them works?”
“Not for me.”
“Decades ago I attended a seminar that was supposed to be a turning point in my life. I thought it was a waste of time. After it, I met with a friend who pointed out that the seminar was designed to get results, and that it was getting results for others, so maybe it wasn’t the seminar, it was me.”
“Are you blaming me for your books not working?”
“I”m suggesting that you may have some issues about what I teach, and those issues will see to it that the books don’t work.”
“So you’re saying if I believed they would work, they would work?”
“So you’re putting all the work on me?”
“Well, I wrote the books, but I can’t do the work for you.”
“You’re like all the other authors!”
“If they are offering you methods that work, and they work for others, but you insist that they don’t work, then it seems logical that the issue is with you, not the books.”
“But others agree with me and say your books don’t work!”
“Of course. I’m sure there are people who believe like you, and you are of course attracting them to you because of your shared belief, but there are many times more people who believe the books do work, and they are attracting evidence to support their beliefs. Both camps are proving the Law of Attraction.”
“Screw books! I’ll wait for the movie.”
“You mean like The Secret?”
“Saw it. Didn’t work, either.”
“Have you ever thought that the common element in all of your complaints is you?”
“So?! I don’t want to change!”
“Ah. There’s the core of it!”
“You don’t want to change, so of course nothing will work for you. You’ll see to it that it doesn’t.”
“In truth, you don’t fear change, you fear the unknown. If you knew change would be good for you, you’d welcome it.”
“But I’m tired of people saying I can have it all. I can’t!”
“You just affirmed your own limitation.”
“You said you are tired of people saying you can have it all and that you can’t have it all. That’s the belief that is creating the reality of nothing working for you. It’s actually all working — to give you exactly what you believe.”
“My head hurts.”
“You are just wrestling with a new view of life that doesn’t yet fit your current view.”
“So what do I do?”
“Read one of my books but this time apply it as you think ‘Maybe this stuff will work for me after all’.”
“It’s that easy?”
“Simple is probably more accurate a word.”
“What should I read?”
“Those are all free?”
“Yes. But I have numerous books you can buy at Amazon, too.”
“Free is good.”
“I thought so.”
PS — The fastest way to create change is with the right help. Consider Miracles Coaching.
PPS – Volume 1 and now Volume 2 of The Miracles Manual: The Secret Coaching Sessions are still free for you at http://www.MiraclesManual.com but if you prefer the Kindle version to read on your iPad or Kindle or other device, it’s now available for you (for only .99) at —
You can also get a printed paperback version of either volume (for about $10 each) at http://www.amazon.com/The-Miracles-Manual-Coaching-Sessions/dp/1496148584/
One of my greatest passions and ongoing commitments in life is Operation Y.E.S. (Your Economic Solution) – a platform to end homelessness by helping people create their own economic solution.
Fortunately, I don’t do this alone.
In fact, I have some formidable partners as committed as I am. One of them is the State Homeless Coordinating Committee for Utah.
They’re on it, you might say.
Since 2005, when they enacted their Ten Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness, they’ve seen a decline of 74%.
In fact, it’s put Utah “at the forefront of the national effort to end chronic homelessness by 2015.”
Part of their success has come from their early adoption of the Housing First program, which offers housing without bias to the chronically homeless.
This means that instead of placing people into transition housing and requiring their participation in certain programs (such as for substance abuse or mental illness) before they can receive more help, Housing First recognizes housing as a basic right.
The homeless get off the streets first.
The homeless are given a place to live first.
What Utah discovered is that meeting this need increases stability – which in turn supports real change.
Oh, and it saves money — money the state (as taxpayers) would otherwise spend on emergency services and jail.
It’s a win-win.
But it’s not just the chronically homeless that benefit.
They’ve found that by focusing on this particular group it “improves coordination and planning for housing and services for all of the homeless.”
Call it a “trickle-down” effect.
Since families with children are often the victims of homelessness, I applaud this.
Unfortunately, it’s children who suffer exponentially when exposed to this kind of traumatic experience.
According to Utah’s 2013 Comprehensive Report on Homelessness, “Children are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of homelessness. Homelessness often interrupts schooling and the development of positive peer and mentoring relationships. Homeless children frequently experience dangerous or unhealthy environments and may be more likely to experience homelessness as an adult.”
I believe education is a key to ending homelessness, both for the ones experiencing it and those who are not. Having faced it myself, I know that a major stumbling block resides in the many myths surrounding it.
Not surprisingly, Utah’s got that handled, too.
In their report, they identified the top four myths:
Myth #1 – People who are homeless stay homeless for a long time.
False: Only about 3% are considered chronically homeless.
Myth #2 – Most are single men.
False: Only 29% – the largest number are parents and children.
Myth #3 – The homeless population is transient, migrating to cities with the best services.
False: Nearly 90% were in Utah when they became homeless.
Myth #4 – They are to blame for their situation.
False: Many come from situations of abuse, illness and trauma.
In my own efforts to end homelessness and help people become self-sufficient and empowered through education, I started “Operation YES.”
With the help of Craig Perrine, we did a series of interviews with some amazing people who offered their expertise and know-how towards this mission. This series later became a manual called Operation Y.E.S.: Your Economic Solution.
Essentially, Operation YES is a 3-part formula designed to help people see beyond the limitations and the traditional categories. It’s all covered in detail in the manual, but the simple version is:
1. Raise or rebuild your self-esteem
2. Think like an entrepreneur
3. Leverage the Internet
If you have a desire to be a part of the solution to end homelessness, you can get your own copy of the manual at no charge at http://www.OperationYes.com
Oh, and if you’re traveling this summer, I hope you’ll stop in Utah.
Let them know they’re doing great things there…:-)
PS — If you prefer a printed copy of “Operation YES,” it is available at Amazon for a small investment: http://www.amazon.com/Y-E-S-Visionaries-Reveal-Economic-Solution/dp/1499615426/
“Where’s my five million dollars?”
“Did you lose five million dollars?”
“No, I’ve been trying to attract it.”
“Where do you think it is?”
“It isn’t here so it must be with you and all the other rich people.”
“What are you doing to attract the money?”
“I’m visualizing it like you and others teach.”
“That’s a nice start. But what are you doing to attract it?”
“I just want to attract it.”
“But how do you expect it to come to you if you don’t actually do something to attract it?”
“I figured it would just show up at my door but so far, nothing!”
“What does it mean that you haven’t attracted that five million dollars yet?”
“It means all of this Law of Attraction stuff is BS!”
“Ah! There it is!”
“There WHAT is?”
“You said ‘It means all of this Law of Attraction stuff is BS’ which is the belief that attracted your not attracting it.”
“Give me a break!”
“You get what you believe. As I keep saying, the meaning you give an event is the belief that attracted it. You admit that you believe this Law of Attraction stuff is BS, so you attracted a reality to prove your belief.”
“But you’re saying if I believed it, I’d attract it!”
“But that isn’t true!”
“It isn’t a true belief for you, so it isn’t a true reality for you.”
“You’re making my head swim!”
“I don’t mean to. I understand, though. I used to think like you.”
“How did you change your thinking?”
“By starting with the small stuff to build my muscle of belief. I looked at my life and realized I was creating lack, so I figured I must be a good creator of my own reality but just needed to aim higher.”
“It’s easier said than done but you can start today.”
“Maybe read my book on the subject — relax, it’s free — called Attract Money Now.”
“That’ll bring me five million dollars?”
“You’ll meet it part way. You still have to take action, act on your intuition and the opportunities you see, and take it one step at a time, but where will you be if you keep doing what you’ve been doing?”
“Complaining, I guess.”
“And what will that get you?”
“More to complain about?”
“See? You’re already learning.”
PS — You’ll get faster results with your own coach, of course. Please check out Miracles Coaching.
I personally knew, worked with and loved Jerry Hicks, of Abraham fame. When I learned he passed away on November 18th, I felt the sadness of losing a friend, but the joy of knowing he transitioned into what Abraham and Esther Hicks call The Vortex.
When I lived in Houston decades ago, Jerry and Esther were coming out with their books and audio cassettes. Their first book was typewritten and self-published. I helped them promote it, and later wrote full-page ads for them.
After that, I helped them get their website up by introducing them to my webmaster at the time, and later promoted their site for them. I sent out news releases and contacted the media.
I was an evangelist for Abraham. Jerry sometimes called and asked for advice about publishing or marketing. I loved our chats. And almost two decades ago I wrote the introduction to the first edition of their book, Sara and the Foreverness of Friends of a Feather.
Years ago, when I updated and published a long lost book by Genevieve Behrend, called Attaining Your Desires, Jerry wrote me a long letter praising it. He also went through the first edition, found typos, and listed them for me to correct (which I did). He never charged me, and was happy to help.
Like Esther, Jerry was always upbeat, joyful, and a delight to talk to. I always looked forward to our calls and meetings.
I have rarely met anyone so committed to his mission of getting out the word of Abraham. Jerry didn’t struggle or worry, but simply offered Abraham’s words to those ready to hear them. He never seemed to tire. He never got bored. He never wanted to stop. He was just as enthusiastic over the most recent Abraham seminars as he was over the very first ones.
I drifted away from Jerry and Esther when I realized Abraham’s feel good formula was missing a step. That’s when I began writing about “getting clear” as an essential ingredient to attracting what you wanted. I wrote about this in my book, The Attractor Factor, and spoke about it in my audio program, The Missing Secret. It’s the core of my Miracles Coaching program.
I never stopped loving Jerry and Esther, of course. I’ve always called them two of the most loving people I’ve ever met, a true joy to be around. They are beacons of light.
Jerry was always the picture of fitness and health. Every time I saw him, he radiated wellness. He looked like he could do circus gymnastics at the drop of a hat. As far as I could tell, he would live forever.
I was wrong.
Sometimes fans of the Law of Attraction think they can escape reality. I’ve been teaching for years that you can’t argue with reality. That’s why surrender is such an important step in awakening, and why I wrote about it in my book, The Awakening Course. The Law of Attraction is only one law. As a healer I know once announced, “At some point you’re just gonna die.”
Of course, a handful of teachers think death is just a belief. I even questioned death in my book, Life’s Missing Instruction Manual. Maybe we attract it because we believe and expect it. Maybe it’s further proof of the Law of Attraction. I don’t really know.
Some people criticized Jerry and Esther for accepting chemotherapy to fight his cancer. Some critics took that as a sign the Law of Attraction doesn’t really work when push comes to shove.
I find that odd. I remember some of the early dialogues with Abraham, where Esther said when you use the Law of Attraction, you will be guided to use whatever means might help. When you have a headache and you intend to attract relief, you might attract or create a natural healing method, or you might attract aspirin.
After all, when you consciously intend to attract something, where do you think it is going to come from?
Jerry wasn’t Abraham. Jerry was human. Like each of us, he had life challenges. A song I wrote on my forthcoming singer-songwriter album says, “Everybody’s goin’ through somethin’.” The point is for us to do our best to awaken. Our unconscious programs are running the show. We may or may not clear them all this time around. That’s why it behooves us to reflect on what is behind what we are attracting. Books such as Louise Hay’s Heal Your Body and Daniel Condron’s Permanent Healing can be useful. They can shed light on the unconscious reasons for physical ailments.
Don’t use Jerry’s illness or death as an excuse to become a victim.
Abraham taught you’d always have challenges. As soon as you resolved one issue, you’d attract another. Welcome to the human experience. This doesn’t mean the Law of Attraction doesn’t work. It means it does work. You always get what you unconsciously believe and expect. (Re-read that.) Jerry once told Esther he’d probably depart before her, which proves he had a belief in dying, and maybe a belief in a particular way of passing on.
I wasn’t with Jerry when he grew ill, so I can’t say what he was thinking. I don’t know why he attracted cancer, or why he chose the modern medicine path to remove it. But if he accepted conventional medicine as a treatment, than he must have felt he attracted it as a possible solution. He was probably reaching for the thought that felt best to him at the time.
The fact that he got ill and passed on doesn’t mean anything more than he got ill and passed on. Everything else is simply our projecting our beliefs onto his situation.
If you have thoughts, fears, doubts, beliefs and expectations surfacing — triggered by Jerry’s illness and passing — that’s what you want to clear. What you are experiencing is your unconscious coming to the surface. You are discovering what you really believe.
Jerry’s situation is revealing your unconscious belief system. He’s a mirror. Whatever you say about Jerry reflects your own beliefs. That’s all. And that’s wonderful. He left you a great gift. Here’s your chance to break free.
Death isn’t a bad thing. It’s not failure. Jerry and Esther, via Abraham, taught that death is simply walking from one room into another.
“Make fun of death. We are as dead as it gets, and we are fully aware of this joyous experience. We are with you every time you allow it. We are in every singing bird and in every joyful child. We are part of every delicious pulsing in your environment. We are not dead, and neither will you ever be. You will just get up one day, and get out of the movie.” – Abraham (Esther Hicks)
Jerry exited stage right.
I loved him.
I’ll miss him.
As Abraham would say, “You are loved. All is well.”
PS — Some info about Jerry’s passing: http://goodvibeblog.com/jerry-hicks-says-goodbye/