It’s surprising how life’s drudgery can chip away at you without you even realising. From daily minor irritations like terse encounters with people who have forgotten you’re a fellow human being, news media delivered to provoke negative emotions that have you returning to the social network, newspaper or TV program to find out what happened next, and then there’s the disappointment with your own achievements in comparison to all those amazing things other people seem to get done.

I recently found myself in such a fug. Lacklustre and having lost my mojo, my confidence in myself and the world was diminishing oh so slowly that I could not put my finger on what was wrong. After all, I don’t need anything more than I already have in my life, what a horrible, shallow person I must be!

A few years back feeling similarly lost, I was lucky enough to go to Burning Man in the US almost at the last minute. It was a like a resurrection of my heart had taken place accompanied by a creative reset. This time, a ticket  for Burning Seed a much smaller Australian gathering based on the same 10 core principles of Burning Man, was offered to me just after it had sold out – just what I needed.

Being away from an urban area, expanding my field of vision, and engaging and participating in a creative and visual banquet, the red dirt of the vast Australian countryside washed away the mental grime of the city. It took me almost 2 days in the Matong state forest to relax and have me feeling like my old self again.

Festivals and these type of gatherings aren’t everybody’s cup of tea. People have significant and genuine fears of not being accepted, fitting in, not wanting to engage in groups or participate, judgement about the people there (whether correct or imagined), the financial and time commitment involved, bloody hippies and all sorts of emotional risks, when you could go on a nice peaceful holiday instead.

So a week after returning and as much as a note to self as unsolicited advice for you, my quick tips on how to maintain your mojo’s lustre.

Are little negative thoughts chipping away at you?
While you’re out in the world from time to time, be aware of your thoughts. Small niggling negative thoughts serve no purpose. Recognise when you have them and move on to something more positive. Find something pretty to look at or listen to and distract yourself. Ever temporarily muted an online friend because of their permanent outrage/negativity at everything on your feed was too much? Practice doing the same with that inner voice, don’t let it bring you down.

Do something creative.
Print a photograph, blue-tack it to a cupboard. Find a Youtube clip of how to make or re-purpose something. Plan your dream holiday by working out routes, perfect times to go, look at others location photo’s and Google streetview, join Pinterest and find what inspires you, cook, paint, sing. Anything to remind yourself of your fun-ness and creative spirit. You don’t have to be good at it, just adventurous, experimental and engaged.

Go out for a walk.
Coming back into the city from Burning Seed was surreal. Even the most liveable city in the world can look grubby and oppressive when you’ve been in the countryside. Trees seldom look grubby, they look grand, bushes look dangerous and prickly or shady, lakes look tranquil, the sea is huge and evokes stories of danger. These stories are much more interesting to ruminate on, rather than how the workday was.

Even as I write this, I realise the trick is to not get sucked back into a version of reality that is cold, hard and no fun. There is a “you” that needs to be nourished and cared for by kinder thoughts about yourself, and with kinder thoughts and generous actions towards others too.

Life is the full pallet, use what you have available to keep it vibrant, and use that beautiful brain for the power of good. When you feel more open-hearted and can sense the opportunities around you rather than feel like you’re wading through life’s  drudgery, you’ve arrived.

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