When did we stop celebrating mojo? Mojo — that wondrous, extra ingredient, the special sauce, that adds a spring to our step and has us feeling alive and vital. A while back books and articles abounded, proclaiming mojo’s importance, and, most often, how to get it back!
Then, somewhere along the way, it’s as if the bar lowered and we paid less attention to this creative inner spark and more to simply getting through. Nowadays we are more likely to seek out tips for how to cope with anxiety, how to sleep, and how to be more resilient, rather than how to cultivate an enlivened quality of life. And whilst these issues are highly relevant for how many live now, let’s also create some space to talk again about lighting up our lives with a little mojo.
The dictionary describes mojo as “a power that may seem magical and that allows someone to be very effective, successful.” Mojo is independent of financial circumstances, separate to the external trappings of roles and status. It’s a life force sourced in love, more in our hearts than our heads – yet its effects are experienced in our physical vitality, mental clarity, and creative juices. It’s a state of being — confident, optimistic, enthused, creative, and happy to be alive.
Sounds good to me. Who wouldn’t want to make getting, or reclaiming, their mojo a priority?
Yet take note, unlike some priorities on our list, we cannot increase our mojo through the force of our willpower. A make-it-happen, fake it ‘til you make it, approach could send your mojo deeper into hiding, and further wear you out.
This is a response of the intellect and almost everyone is understandably habituated today to apply willpower to raise our energies. We attempt to feel inspired when we are not, and to appear to be optimistic, creative and happy, when we may actually be depleted. As if the act of doing so will make it so. And in fact it may charge us up, for a short while.
In Vedic knowledge this is called “mood making”. Such behaviours are inauthentic and ultimately ineffective, with an after-effect that is like a depressive low after a sugar high. To experience this, observe how you feel after a situation where you’ve applied your will to be more positive. It could be a business meeting, an interaction with a family member or friend, or simply your own internal dialogue with yourself, putting pressure around how you should be feeling.
The Veda teaches us to recognise the difference between will and the wellspring of oomph that is our mojo. Mojo is a feeling state that is sourced in our Being, our simplest form of awareness. It radiates through us. We all have it, like an ember within, and we can learn how to feed and nourish this inner resource, restoring the ember to a flame. This is a light, joyful experience, devoid of strain and effort—no will power required.
Mojo thrives when we do different things, mix things up and expose ourselves to new experiences. We play, experiment and open up to inspiration and spontaneity. Mojo is also infectious. When we are in the presence of someone with high mojo or the output of someone with high mojo, our own mojo gets a lift. We may be familiar with this experience in the presence of creative art— music, paintings, sculpture, textiles, dance, interiors, architecture—where we feel “uplifted”.
Being outdoors in the presence of nature, or making something —a cake, drawing, writing—also stimulate our mojo. So does choosing to learn something new, whether it is simply researching a topic of interest or developing a new skill, a language, or a musical instrument.
For not only is mojo infectious, it is also self-perpetuating. The more we get our mojo on, the more we are motivated to do the things that boost our mojo. Recharging our mojo will support our overall health and wellbeing. Let this be our baseline and not our highest aim. From this foundation our experience of life expands, our creative spirit thrives, and we reconnect with the wonder of being alive.