Get your mojo working: Novato author says the body reveals what’s really holding people back
Steve Sisgold is the author of “What’s Your Body Telling You?,” a book about ‘listening to your body’s signals to stop anxiety, erase self-doubt and achieve wellness.’ (IJ photo/Jeff Vendsel)
Singer-songwriter Kenny Loggins had writer’s block. The man who wrote or co-wrote a string of hit songs, including “What a Fool Believes,” “Footloose” and “This Is It,” was gnashing his teeth over the fear that he’d never write another one.
He worried that he was a baby boomer songwriter whose best days were behind him, that he couldn’t compete with the new generation of hitmakers.
In desperation, he called in Marin “body-centered therapist,” musician and author Steve Sisgold, who writes about working to break Loggins’ writer’s block in his new book, “What’s Your Body Telling You? Listening to Your Body’s Signals to Stop Anxiety, Erase Self-Doubt and Achieve True Wellness” (McGraw Hill, $21.95).
“There’s a famous quote from Albert Einstein, ‘You can’t solve a problem with the same mind that created it,'” Sisgold said. “Kenny Loggins was a typical example of that. He said, ‘Hey, man, I had a hit before. Why can’t I write another one? What’s blocking me?’ I told him, ‘Let’s see what your body’s telling you.'”
In his book, Sisgold (www.whatsyourbodytellingyou.com) outlines a series of techniques he uses in his practice and used with Loggins, including having him say out loud what he wanted, and then watching how his body reacted when he said it. Or tried to say it.
During a weekend session with Sisgold, Loggins remembered that the last time he’d had hits, it made his brother jealous and caused others in his social circle to accuse him of arrogance, of thinking he was a big shot.
“So in his body lived a place where he had what I call a ‘viral’ belief that if he wrote another hit, it might make his brother unhappy and cause other problems,” Sisgold explained. “The body holds on to feelings like that. For example, when we want to express something and we don’t, there’s often a gripping in our jaw. Eventually we forget about it, but our body still has that memory.
“So I worked with him on embodying a new belief and releasing the old one through moving and breathing and shaking, getting him to shake out that old feeling and embody a new one.”
Embodying that new belief involved convincing him that writing new music would be a good thing, that it would make his brother healthier and generally lift the spirits of other people.
“Once he embodied that new belief he actually got real excited,” Sisgold said, remembering that Loggins got right back to writing songs again and ended up with the hit he wanted so badly, “For The First Time,” a song from the movie “One Fine Day” that was nominated for an Oscar and was a No. 1 single on Billboard’s adult contemporary chart in 1997.
In his blurb on the book jacket, Loggins praised Sisgold, who’s 60 and lives in Novato, as “one of the best facilitators of change I know. The techniques he shares in this book will take you where you want to go.”
Loggins may be a celebrity, but he’s not unique in having roadblocks to creativity, Sisgold points out.
“His story is a typical one, and I’ve got a ton of them in Marin County with people I’ve worked with here,” he said. “The point is that in one session over the weekend he broke through a writer’s block.”
In “What’s Your Body Telling You?,” Sisgold, a guitarist and songwriter, references the Muddy Waters’ song “I’ve Got My Mojo Working.”
“A lot of people think mojo’s sexual, but actually it’s about your charisma,” he said, noting that single people and couples are often thinking so much, that they are so in their heads, that they’re unaware of what he describes as “their own physical, visceral experience.”
He writes about working with people to get their mojo working. Or, if their mojo’s working, to get it to work better.
“If your single, and you’re saying all these cool things, but your body’s expressing a whole other message, you’re not going to attract,” he said. “I help people who are single, who want to attract, to notice what their body is telling them. What message is their billboard sending out to someone? Once they get clear on that and shift it, their mojo goes up.”
Sisgold likens peoples’ body language to billboards that advertise their mojo message.
“It’s important to understand what your body experience is in the moment, so that your billboard isn’t sending out the wrong message,” he explained. “Am I walking in the room down, or am I standing up straight with confidence? What is my posture saying to this person?”
He used a couple on their first date, trying to make a positive impression, as a an example of a situation when it’s time, as the title of his book suggests, to listen to what your body’s telling you.
“If I’m on a first date and I’m not breathing, if I’m leaning on the table looking needy, then I’m giving out the wrong message,” he said. “But if I know I’m cool, I’m going to take a breath, I’m going to sit back and notice that my body and my mind are sending the same message. That’s an example of somebody who, I believe, has an energy going, a charisma, who has mojo.