Where to look when you’ve lost your mojo

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This is a great great article from a friend of mine I have known for over 30 years. Cathy is a leader extraordinaire and it’s well worth following her newsletter and Youtube channel.

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Mojo is energy and life force. We all have access to it, but sometimes it feels like its been drained. It can be a gradual thing – we seem a little less inspired, and a little more like we need that wine after work. Sometimes though, mojo seems to vanish. Poof! Where did it go?

When we’re wanting our mojo back, the first and sometimes only place we look to is outside our self. We might blame the work load or our stresses at home. Whilst external situations can definitely impact mojo, I’m interested in what power we each hold to reignite our own mojo. If you’re interested in that too, read on.

There are two key places to look in to recover the joy of life.

1.  The first is your health. Nothing works if you’re not on top of your health, and by health I mean physical, mental and spiritual. It’s the first place to look for recovering mojo, but don’t get stuck here. Some people with huge health challenges are in love with life and powering on! That said, some low hanging mojo fruit can be plucked here.

Physical health: eat well, not too often. Move your body. For men and women over 40, check your hormones! Protect your sleep.

Mental health: explore what interests you. Read books for pleasure. Develop your understanding in a certain field. Most of us are nerds about something – find your quirk and explore it! Follow your curiosity, even if its not practical or applicable. Meditate.

Spiritual health: we’re not cogs in a wheel; we are beings in a broader universe. It’s part of being human to yearn to evolve, to love, to be moved and inspired. Look for what feeds your soul and immerse yourself there. Practice moments of mindfulness. Pause and find something to be grateful for right where you are. Allow yourself to be moved by music or art. Lie under the night sky.

You’re all likely aware of the need to attend to your health, but you might not have linked it to mojo. To move from insight to something concrete,  write down ONE action in each of these categories (physical, mental, spiritual) you can take today. Commit to a friend – or even better get a buddy, and support each other on following through.

2.  The second place to look for mojo is in the quality of the meaning and purpose you have in your life.  Mojo can be re-found when we are engaged in something that’s meaningful to us and we’re taking action in.

This may or may not be your actual job. At certain times in our life, circumstances and career, we come up against the limitations of what we know and are achieving. Unless we reinvent our work, or our relationship to it, we wither! This is normal but it’s painful, and feels a lot like we’ve lost our mojo. It’s true even if your work is intrinsically ‘worthy’. For myself, every 4-5 years at The Hunger Project I got to a point where I was a bit blah. The work, while still incredible, felt flat. At these times I reinvented how I related to it. I stepped back and redesigned the next arc of my work life and how I could express this. Mojo relit!

However, sometimes lack of mojo is an expression of erosion at a soul level. This can happen even when health, work and personal life are great. So what’s up?

What I’m seeing in droves is the numbness people are feeling when they look out into the world. Injustices are in our faces more than ever. We are turning off our hearts and minds because it feels overwhelming. We are resigned. We feel we can’t make a difference. We don’t know how to respond – and whether we can. Yet this turning away is costing us our mojo. There is a price to be paid when we know we could do something and we do nothing. When we silence our rage, our voice, our passion – something in us erodes.

Whistle blower Edward Snowden speaks to this feeling : “Every person remembers some moment in their life where they witnessed some injustice, big or small, and looked away because the consequences of intervening seemed too intimidating. But there’s a limit to the amount inhumanity that each individual can tolerate. I crossed that line. And I’m no longer alone.”

Acknowledging how you are feeling, and then engaging in some way to make a difference, or be heard, is vital to restoring mojo.

If this is a bit overwhelming, don’t despair! We don’t have to take giant leaps to activate our health and our purpose. When we’ve lost our mojo, we might feel we need to do something big and drastic to get it back. But actually small steps, accumulated over time, can start the flywheel, which then builds its own momentum. Consistency rather than grand gestures is key.

What will you do today that helps start the process of restoring your mojo? What support do you need to keep this process alive for you?

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In search of mindfulness

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I thought meditation was a load of old bollocks I have to say. I use to hate sitting still, I didn’t want to focus on my body I just wanted to get out and do stuff. In 2008, I took a two-month vacation from my life and, as I have mentioned here before, spent time ‘working on myself’ at The Perth Clinic which was an excellent place for me to be at that time.

It’s a little embarrassing to admit but I was reading GOOP about 6 weeks ago and stumbled up a post titled Time Saving Apps. In there, was a not so seriously named OMG I can Meditate App. It piqued my interest.

You see some 8 weeks ago my beloved partner was diagnosed with Stage 2 testicular cancer. At the age of 65, the doctors were amazing that a man of his age should contract this type of cancer; reserved mostly for young men of 20 – 30 years of age. I was beside myself.

It’s been a bit of a hard year and I just didn’t know how I was going to take this onboard as well. Having gone to the Dr and getting the usual sleeping pills and valium, I drove home from the pharmacist thinking – there just has to be another way. I cannot ‘drug’ my way through this crisis in my life. I just didn’t want to.

It was about 5 days after that Gwyneth, of all people, came knocking on my door this this little app.

Around the same time I met up with a very old friend and business mentor who had just finished a leadership course at Harvard Business School. Not only did she tell me how tough it was (duh!) but, surprisingly, she also told me that a lot of it was taken up with mindfulness and meditation. Go figure, the world really gives you what you need, when you need it.

So I clicked on the OMG app that night and started. It’s been around 5 weeks now and some days are much tougher than others to get into the zone, but it has really given me a sense of well being where I have not needed to take anything to sleep. Not only that I can concentrate on my work much more and feel a lot more productive.

I have enjoyed it so much so that I have now joined a 5 week course at the Perth Meditation Centre, luckily enough for me it’s just around the corner from home. I start on the 07/10 and I cannot wait to see how I progress.

There are a number of great resources online that I have also been reading – my favourite so far is Tara Brach. Well worth a listen.

I took this shot at the Sand patch just outside of Albany this weekend. Now this would be a beautiful place to meditate.

Avital Zeisler

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An amazing woman, I am currently doing her October challenge. It’s not a fitness program but something so much more about defending yourself and being strong. I encourage you to check it out here.

We are on day six now and this is the quote of the day. I am sure she will not mind me posting just the quote – it was too powerful not to and rings so true to where I am at the moment.

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Making its rounds

This is making its rounds around Facebook at the moment, but boy is it inspirational and so very true.  Well worth sharing with you here if you haven’t seen it yet.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles roll
ed into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full.. The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes.’

The professor then produced two Beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand.The students laughed..

‘Now,’ said the professor as the laughter subsided, ‘I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things—-your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions—-and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.. The sand is everything else—-the small stuff.

‘If you put the sand into the jar first,’ he continued, ‘there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and mow the lawn.

Take care of the golf balls first—-the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Beer represented. The professor smiled and said, ‘I’m glad you asked.’ The Beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of Beers with a friend.

The site of: new packages arriving from Ebay
The sound of: being able to listen to music at work
The touch of:  my two dogs wet noses in the morning
The smell of: Indian food floating through the open door
The taste of:  steamed spinach and tomato with salt and pepper