Get on Your Mojo! 3 Simple Ways to Be Positive

Get on Your Mojo! 3 Simple Ways to Be Positive

Positive spirit? That’s MOJO.

Strangely, you probably have a sense of what mojo is, but can you actually define it?

The origins of the word mojo are rooted in West African tribal cultures with traditions of practicing magic and spells. In modern western cultures, mojo is still synonymous with magic, but its meaning has become secularized. It can be defined as anything positive that seems to come from something mystical or unseen…a sort of magical power.

We experience the positive effects of mojo in any number of ways: by spending time connecting to nature, slowing down the frenzied pace of our work lives, engaging in a bit of inner reflection, being creative, practicing self-care, or meditating in a quiet space…or perhaps just being present in the moment.

Mojo is also the title of a song – a Brumbylon original that carries a positive message expressed via a joyful tune. We had this lovely bit of music, a guitar duet that had been crafted in alternate tunings and joined together like pieces of a puzzle. We named the instrumental Disintonation because of the weird pairing of two guitar parts in different tunings.

On June 14, 2019, the last day of work at my high school, I penned the lyrics that would transform Disintonation into the song Mojo. It was a glorious afternoon, warm and sunny, and birds were singing up a storm. I took my guitar outside onto our private deck overlooking the woods and started to play. Positive doesn’t adequately describe the magical feeling of joy that conjured my mojo that day. Creativity had grown wings and took to the sky.

Tapping into mojo

My mojo returned when I received the gift of time with open arms – with joy and gratitude. I didn’t know how badly I needed a break until I got one. I normally run like the Energizer Bunny until my battery is drained, but at the end of a school year I finally stop – just long enough to return to myself. Once I recalibrate, my energy runs clear and I am positive again.

Mojo is accessible, but not when you run nine ways to Sunday. Poof! You just burned out your own positive, magical energy. WHY are we like this?

American culture is notoriously harried and stressful. We work long work hours and are subject to high input/output expectations placed on us by employers. We run ourselves into the ground, unwitting accomplices in the rat race. It is very easy to cave under external pressures that urge us to work to the point of physical and spiritual depletion. It is equally hard to remain positive when we are drained all the time – our mojo runs too low.

At present – and for some it may feel like an eternity – life as we’ve known it has ground to a halt. The confinement can be challenging. For others who are still working on the front lines of the epidemic, the stress can be overwhelming. Such conditions deplete our positive energy. But, oddly enough, a wealth of opportunity lies just underneath the surface of all this madness. The question is…HOW do we tap it?

Finding your mojo in hard times

What we most need in times of stress, isolation, confusion, and energetic depletion, are ways of reconnecting to our positive life force. You CAN get on your mojo, even in the hardest of times!

It is important to realize that there is never only one way to do something – there is no one-size-fits-all. We are individuals. That being said, I recommend three simple ways to get on your mojo TODAY:

#1: Connect to what brings you JOY. This is always a great place to start. You may think, well duh, that’s a no-brainer. But ARE you actually joyful? I talk to so many people who feel lost without their normal, familiar routines, and do not yet understand the merits of living outside the boundaries of the comfort zone. Joy is the key…a gateway to recovering your mojo.

#2: Explore Buddhism’s Eight Pillars of Happiness. Even though we are individuals, we also share commonalities that join the human family across cultures. Buddhism offers practical wisdom, and is compatible with all spiritual traditions.  These 8 pillars can be applied to your own particular circumstances, so please get to know them.

#3: Get outside and MOVE. Do not dismiss the benefits of fresh air, nature and movement. If you feel down, depressed and stuck, the best medicine is nature and exercise. It is deeply healing and can immediately enhance your positive outlook. It’s also free and immediate…kind of a magic bullet. Walking is a healthy habit that you can easily work into your daily routines.

The positive benefits of mojo

There is no limit to the positive benefits of finding and working with your mojo. It should become and remain your life’s mission to do so. Life is nothing more than a series of lessons designed to reach you and teach you. Become a lifelong learner and reap the harvest of building on the work others have already done. As Joni Mitchell so aptly states in her song Woodstock, “I don’t know who I am but, life is for learning.” Basically, it’s a journey, folks.

And if you haven’t heard it yet, check out the song formally known as Disintonation. There is a great deal of wisdom in Mojo, which encourages us to take time out from the rat race, to stop long enough to determine, at the very least, if all that running is either necessary or worth the cost to our health and happiness! Note the reference to the cliché that claims you’ll die with unfinished work.

Why wait to tap into the deep well of your own positive spirit? If not now, then WHEN?

Perhaps it is time for YOU to ‘get on your mojo.’ Begin working with these three simple action steps today and watch the magic unfold!

I would love to read your comments, revelations and aha-moments on our website or Facebook page!

To get this blog every week, click here

Keep calm and Brumbylon.

Thanks for hanging out with me – have a great week!

~ Lisa

“The seed that grows toward the light begins in darkness.”

How can you be happy alone?

How can you be happy alone?

Why are some people happy alone?

Being alone and being lonely…they are not the same thing. They may go hand in hand, but being alone does not have to result in loneliness.

There have been times in my life when I felt alone, dejected, miserable, and deeply lonely. It is probable, I think, that most people experience loneliness at some point in their lives. From the vantage of the prolonged social distancing, I am even more curious about the factors that result in the condition of loneliness, which, oddly enough, can occur even if you are around other people! What I am hearing from others on social media is a diverse array of experiences, everything from “I am really enjoying myself” to ” I am deeply depressed.”

There are plenty of folks who do not experience loneliness in the absence of company – they are genuinely happy alone. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are misanthropes – people who dislike people. Some people simply prefer to be alone.

Perhaps the condition of loneliness is the result of not feeling connected. This is worth exploring, whether you are happy alone or not, because connection of some kind is an integral part of human life, even if you are a misanthrope. When we experience disconnection, we are less likely to be, well…happy.

The connection connection

To be truly happy alone a person still needs to experience some kind of connection. The question is…connection to what or whom, and perhaps also how?

Consider the depth of this inquiry, because people are uniquely complex. Factors like age and personality play a role in being lonely or happy alone. Some of my socially extroverted friends are self-labeled “huggers,” while my more introverted friends cringe at the thought of getting physically close to other people. The huggers are suffering from the absence of physical contact, and cling to their online connections to get through the prolonged social isolation. The non-huggers are probably better at being happy alone, but that is not always a given either.

We must then bear in mind one very important connection, and that is to SELF. What is your relationship to the person who occupies your skin? Many of my extroverted hugger friends who are happy alone have cultivated a deeper connection to themselves. They have explored the uncharted territory of living inside out, and perhaps engage in creative or meaningful activities that afford them a sense of accomplishment and joy.

Maybe they have simply been around longer. The ability to be happy alone – in the absence of a partner for instance – also seems to increase with age. A single twenty-something is more likely to experience lonliness in the absence of friends or a partner than, say, a divorcee in her fifties. Perhaps it is because older people have lived through more of their challenges and have more experience under their belt. They have learned a few life skills that may still elude a younger person who is sorting out who they are and what they want from life.

Are YOU happy alone…or lonely?

Which one are you?

If you enjoy prolonged solitude and are truly happy alone, what are the connections that foster your happiness? I invite you to share these gifts with the lonely folks who need support. These are difficult times for so many.

Perhaps you are not enjoying the isolation. You may be climbing the walls and pining for the company of others…maybe you are truly lonely. What can be done to alleviate the pain of loneliness?

This is an unprecedented time, for better or for worse. If you have a lot of time on your hands and would like to learn how to be happy alone, there are tools available to help soften the edge of your discomfort. Maybe it is time to do a “deep dive” into your inner world and reconnect to what brings you joy. What are your interests? How can these things be explored within the confines of prolonged social isolation?

For a few useful tips on how to be happy alone, check out this healthline article. In the meantime I wish that peace and sweet connection are restored to you pronto. Remember…this too shall pass. Hang in there, friend.

I would love to read your comments, revelations and aha-moments on our website or Facebook page!

To get this blog every week, click here

Keep calm and Brumbylon.

Thanks for hanging out with me – have a great week!

~ Lisa

“The seed that grows toward the light begins in darkness.”

Use vulnerability to live your life to the fullest!

Use vulnerability to live your life to the fullest!

Can you be vulnerable and still live your life to the fullest?

Have you found it challenging lately to live your life to the fullest? We have limited freedom to come and go as we please, are sequestered to the relative safety of our houses, and either live in solitude or with another individual or a small family group. Some of us are lucky enough to be working from home, but either way we are still “social distancing,” the new verb.

Perhaps you enjoy the change of pace, or the luxury of sleeping in. You may be a nurse or a doctor working on the front lines. Maybe you’re chafing against the confinement, or annoyed at the time it takes to de-contaminate your groceries after braving the markets. Do you dodge and dart past the virus-deniers ninja style with your mask and gloves on? Yeah, that’s me.

Being vulnerable to a contagious pandemic virus does not feel okay. Frankly it feels scary.

You can use vulnerability to live your life to the fullest

Due to the closing of local public venues, Brett and I have been experimenting with live stream shows on Facebook. It was strange at first singing and playing to a cell phone mounted on a tripod. It was equally disturbing to end a song to a silent room, even though we knew there were many people watching us in real time.

Brett and I often experience a sense of vulnerability during these online shows because we are stepping outside our comfort zone. We also feel this is a great way to live your life to the fullest, even if it’s uncomfortable. Normally, we can gauge the response of an audience because people are right there in front of us. We are delighted by the welcome reception of our online performances, and engagement has been high. Despite a little discomfort, these live concerts have been more uplifting than unnerving for us.

That changed on Friday night.

We played a request, a popular original tune called Girls in the Trees. The song is a romantic reflection of my childhood years growing up with my younger sister. I was getting into the song, really connecting with the lyrics, and then suddenly…BAM.

I lost it. Right there on camera, in front of countless known and unknown people, my voice began to crack and waver. And then, to my horror, tears welled up and spilled over. They just kept gushing, and I was unable to finish the song.

Nana’s Curse

I don’t think I will ever forget the vulnerability of that moment. I wanted to disappear. I felt like I had been stripped to the bone. It was terrifying to be so raw and out of control in front of all those people. Wasn’t I supposed to be making people happy with my music? What was wrong with me?

It all goes back to my Nana.

Bessie May Fiola Wilson was my paternal grandmother. She was a sweetheart of a little woman, a violinist with a charming voice who cried at weddings, birthday parties and family dinners. It didn’t matter if the occasion was happy or sad. Nana Bess always ended up crying and was presented with a box of tissues at the start of every family event.

This phenomenon, which we dubbed Nana’s Curse, has been a running joke in our family for decades.

I am not the only one who suffers from Nana’s Curse. It is common in my family. I learned as a child that I couldn’t look at my father when he got choked up because I would also burst into tears. My sister and I avoided making eye contact with Dad whenever we played Dan Fogelberg’s Leader of the Band. He has Nana’s Curse too, and like Nana Bess before him, Dad passed it down to the two of us.

Vulnerability is a Teacher

I guess I have a preconceived idea of how I am supposed to behave as a performer, a teacher, a member of society. But in reality, I am just a person like you or anyone else. We feel things.

This is not an easy time to navigate because stuff comes up, and sometimes it is sudden and catches us off guard. It’s raw and it’s real.

Based on the comments I read during that part of the night’s performance, I now see that quite a few people appreciated my vulnerability. Perhaps they could connect to their own emotions through mine. Music, laughter and tears can provide both connection and release. They are also cleansing and healing.

I didn’t like it when I fell under Nana’s Curse in the middle of a performance. It was scary and disturbing to feel so exposed. And yet, I now realize that I have been holding a lot inside lately, perhaps in denial of feeling the trauma that so many are experiencing in these unprecedented times.

Artists can be very emotional. We feel and process so much. Emotion is the raw material that finds expression through our words and music, and apparently even our tears. Maybe vulnerability is a superpower and not a curse after all. In this regard, vulnerability may serve as a gateway to your internal power, and can therefore help you live your life to the fullest.

Thanks a lot, Nana. No, really.

Check out the song Girls in the Trees on our website and find out why it made me cry 😉

I would love to read your comments, revelations and aha-moments on our website or Facebook page!


To get this blog every week, click here

Keep calm and Brumbylon.

Thanks for hanging out with me – have a great week!

~ Lisa

“The seed that grows toward the light begins in darkness.”

Are You Stressed Out?

Are You Stressed Out?

Hello fellow warriors.

Do opportunities for JOY exist during difficult times?

The answer is YES. Anyone who is willing to think outside the box can begin recognizing and connecting deeply with those opportunities. Let’s explore.

There is unlimited power inside each of us to transform how we perceive and respond to hard times. Finding this inner power can have a profound effect on our happiness and health. Every single person is capable of connecting to this source power…if you’re breathing, you have the capacity.

But…difficulty equals stress, right? Stress is bad. We need to reduce stress. There are thousands of articles and remedies focused on stress-reduction. We hear it all the time: Stress is dangerous for the heart, it creates conditions that lead to stroke, and can cause a host of other terrible ailments that will send us to the grave sooner or later.

I wish to challenge this simplistic claim. Seriously, if stress alone was that devastating few of us would have survived the teen years! It’s true that difficult times cause a lot of stress. No denying it. And yet…what if everything we ever learned about stress is wrong? What if stress itself is not actually the problem?

Another Take on Stress

Counterintuitive though it may seem, stress is both important and necessary. Think how your muscles would feel if you never exercised – without stress they would atrophy. What if there was no stress in achieving a college degree, no stress in the loss of a loved one, no stress in being a nurse or doctor, no stress in running a competitive race? We would turn to mush! We would become absolutely complacent. Our SOULS would atrophy.

Where is the challenge leading us to complete the next stage, or helping us adapt to inevitable changes?

It is rather how we perceive and respond to stress that matters. If we view stress as negative, then we compound our negative response to the conditions that are challenging us…we may react like white blood cells rushing in to kill a foreign agent that threatens the body!

If we stop long enough to consider that stress is calling our attention, rather than merely perceiving it as something to fear in and of itself, then we can respond accordingly.

Instead, consider stress as being something that opens the door to possibilities. It can be STIMULATING in a very good way. How we perceive and respond to stress has everything to do with its effect on our heart, mind and body.

I’m not saying that dealing with stress is easy. It can be…well, stressful! But if we back off just a bit, we may begin to see stress as simply information. It tells us that there is a challenge before us. The greater the challenge, the higher the levels of stress.

 Stress is a Communicator

If stress itself is not bad, then let’s look at what stress has to teach us. Consider that it is our response to stress that really matters. Instead of simply finding ways to reduce stress, we can look at stress as an opportunity to:

  • Alter the ways in which we perceive adversity
  • Devise self-care strategies to ease our negative stress responses
  • Step up the ways in which we meaningfully connect to what brings us JOY

Yes, JOY. Remember that?

We owe it to ourselves and those we love to figure it out. Whenever we connect to our joy we are building a purity of strength inside that can be imparted to others by example. In this regard, we are TRUE LEADERS, helping others learn how to be joyful despite challenges. We can begin this process by changing how we respond to STRESS.

Transforming Negativity

Like any other noble pursuit, reframing our response to stress requires attention and focus.

Here is a five-step plan to help you practice managing stress in the coming weeks. Block off a bit of time daily to build these new habits of mind…it will be worth it:

  1. Identify the source of your stress. Be clear. Write it down.
  2. Sit with that stress for a while. ALLOW yourself to feel it – it’s okay to experience discomfort! No guilt, please. We all feel stress, and it can be truly HARD to deal with.
  3. Next, allow time to clear your mind and heart of negativity around your stress. This could take 5 minutes or an hour. Here are some suggestions:

*Take 3-4 deep, slow breaths. Then sit in silence for a few minutes. It’s miraculous.

*Take a brisk walk or gentle stroll in nature. Allow the fresh air and natural beauty to heal your mind and heart. Pay attention to what’s around you. Connect to it.

*Clear your mind with a Loving Kindness meditation…there are many online. Find one that works for you. Regular meditation is transformative.

*Do some yoga stretches or other restorative physical exercise. It can profoundly soften the hard edges in your mind and heart.

*Write in a gratitude journal. Jot down at least 3 things you are truly grateful for. Gratitude releases endorphins and other feel-good hormones.

  1. Now…stretch your perception: Revisit your stress. Imagine how you may come to view these stressors from a different angle. Write your thoughts out until all negativity runs clear.
  2. Lastly, come up with 1 to 3 strategies that you could employ to respond differently to your stress. This one is really important because it is an action. It is repeated action that helps to embed a new pattern or habit. Commit to making it a daily practice.

Remember, changing your perspective and response to stress may take time to master, so mindful practice is key. Revisit these strategies when stress begins to overwhelm you with negativity. Above all…please be patient and gentle with yourself. These are trying times for all of us.

Over countless centuries human beings have found ways to thrive, despite hardship and unspeakable adversity. We are incredibly resilient, aren’t we, warrior?

I would love to read your comments, revelations and aha-moments on our website or Facebook page!


To get this blog every week, click here

Keep calm and Brumbylon.

Thanks for hanging out with me – have a great week!

~ Lisa

“The seed that grows toward the light begins in darkness.”

Will you allow yourself?

Will you allow yourself?

The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek. 

This provocative quote is most frequently attributed to American mythologist Joseph Campbell, best known for his work on comparative mythology and comparative religion. What did he mean by this statement?

The cave is a common metaphor in literature and mythology. It symbolizes a place of initiation, where a character or hero makes a sojourn into the inner realm of the Self where transformation awaits. The cave also represents that which we fear because it is a dark and mysterious place where we must venture into the unknown. The cave, in more ways than one, is an underworld.

Campbell refers to the cave as sacred space, where individuals may gain access to the mysterious contents of their own soul. In this context, the cave represents a person’s creative power center. He strongly asserts that sacred space is a necessity for all of us, a requirement for fulfillment in life. “This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen.”

Follow Your Bliss

ClearlyCampbell acknowledges that it is not always easy or comfortable to access our sacred space, but with practice and dedication anyone can tap the riches we possess inside ourselves. He also claimed that allowing yourself time every day to be in that space can help us connect to our true joy. Perhaps Campbell’s most famous quote is: Follow your bliss.

All to often we deny ourselves access to what brings us the most happiness. Last week I asked readers to identify and list the things that spark their joy. I wonder how many actually did this, and what they learned about themselves from doing it. Some readers may have even skipped this simple reflective exercise without a second thought. But let’s suppose 100% of those readers identified and listed what sparks their joy. The question remains: What is to be done with that knowledge? How does the acknowledgment of one’s joy make a difference in the quality of life? What is the point in even bothering?

We frequently shy away from connecting to – from allowing ourselves to enter our own sacred cave space. Next week we will explore some reasons why we deny ourselves access to our own sacred space, and explore ways to change that story!

Do you follow your bliss? When was the last time you made room in your life for the things that spark your joy? Perhaps in these unprecedented times you could make your best effort to explore your own sacred space. Usually our lives are so fast-paced and focused on everything BUT what is most meaningful to us. Perhaps you have a little time for yourself these days…has it been a while? If so, Joseph Campbell would say, Grab it. Your life is right there waiting for you.

I would love to read your comments, revelations and aha-moments on our website or Facebook page!


To get this blog every week, click here

Keep calm and Brumbylon.

Thanks for hanging out with me – have a great week!

~ Lisa

“The seed that grows toward the light begins in darkness.”

Wake up and be AWESOME!

Wake up and be AWESOME!

How are you doing this week, friends? With all that is happening around us, what is stirring inside you? Is it fear or anxiety? Is it gratitude? A spark of renewed energy or joy? Perhaps a combination?

I am seeing it all on social media, and you probably are too. With so much uncertainty there is a high level of stress in people, and we are responding in myriad ways. Call me crazy, but I am truly enjoying the break in my routines, and have settled into a sort of peaceful introspection.

Significantly, it has dawned on me that a wonderful opportunity exists at this juncture…a chance to build some new ways of being in community. It feels absolutely seismic! What I am seeing clearly amid the chaos is a flowering of the cooperative and generative nature of people. It’s a beautiful spring.

The shifts that are happening right now at light speed call to my mind a possibility to consider: Maybe this crisis is a gift, a blessing in disguise. What if it’s actually the wake-up call we need to address the pressing issues of environmental, social, economic and political upheaval?

Perhaps the high level of insecurity that we are experiencing from this pandemic can show us how to take things back down to ground-level again. Historically, crises have always forced us to reassess outdated or destructive patterns, prompting the replacement of that which no longer serves, and promoting creative new ways to do old things.

History isn’t ALL bad

We are a quirky species, possessing both creative and destructive tendencies, all rolled into one family. Whatever you do, try not to fall into the trap of believing that we are all going to hell in a handbasket. Humans of different cultures, religions and persuasions have coexisted throughout history. There are countless examples of this, despite what we are taught in schools…you know, the usual: wars and gladiators.

Reading conventional, curriculum-driven history is a lot like watching the news – dreadfully focused on the worst imaginable events. If all we are ever to learn is what we see on TV or read in history textbooks we may as well just throw in the towel.

Along with our primate cousins, human beings are mostly social, inventive and cooperative creatures by nature. I’m not saying we aren’t also violent and self-destructive. What I am saying is that it’s not all there is to report. And it’s certainly not all we are capable of.

It is too easy to settle into a “that’s just the way we are” mindset. This is weak and counterproductive – a quitter’s mantra.

Instead, let’s go ahead and project what the world will look like once we turn our attention, intelligence, technology and financial resources toward building bridges instead of blowing them up. Now that’s a healthy, optimistic and achievable dream worth manifesting.

Relationships are KEY to our collective survival

I want to talk about Gandhi’s famous quote, Be the change you wish to see in the world. This simple, commonly referenced bit of wisdom has never felt so powerful to me as it does now. It seems like the time is right for us to step into our own unique leadership by actively being the change. It’s a great time to see, acknowledge and connect with others who are doing the same.

Here is why it matters 100% that we choose to reconnect to our creative power, nurture relationships, engage in civility, listen deeply, and maintain a positive, healthy outlook on the future:

We are a people, all of us related if you go back far enough, a family, whether we like it or not. Our collective survival actually depends on our ability to bridge differences. It has always been this way. And the shift must start with ourselves. It’s the only thing we have any direct control over.

I would like to share a few lyrics from a Brumbylon original that Brett and I have been working on lately… a song of love, connection and hope for the future:

Take my hand, help me understand the language of your heart. If you just play nice I promise I won’t bite…now there’s a place to start!

We are meant to be together.

The song, which we call Meant to Be, is a song for our time, for this year, and will be dropped very soon in a live-streamed concert from the Cave (i.e. in just a few days) accompanied by a brand-new Kitchen Series video – stay tuned! WE CAN’T WAIT to share it!!!

Peeps, it’s time to wake up and be awesome. Take the hamster-wheel frenzy down a notch and up-level your inner VOICE. While there is an unprecedented opportunity, stop long enough to reconnect to your Self. Explore what is whispering – or perhaps screaming – to be heard. Your inner wisdom is calling you to be the change you wish to see in the world.

Here’s what YOU can do this week:

  • Write down everything that brings you JOY – don’t leave anything out.
  • Combine your joys into categories – where are the similarities and connections? Perhaps use different colors to identify those connections.

Once you’ve completed this exercise, make some time to engage with the things that spark your joy. It is especially meaningful when you are able to connect joy to your life – then just witness how the flow of your internal energy returns.

I would love to read your comments, revelations and aha-moments on our website or Facebook page!


Keep calm and Brumbylon.

Thanks for hanging out with me – have a great week!

~ Lisa

“The seed that grows toward the light begins in darkness.”