Jump Start Your Joy

Jump Start Your Joy is a podcast by Paula Jenkins, a transformative life coach, retreat leader, and speaker living in the San Francisco Bay Area. The show focuses on the many ways that people follow their dreams, and look for joy in their every day lives. Paula hand picks guests with inspirational stories; people who have intentionally and mindfully decided to follow a path that brings them joy. We talk about how adversity can bring out one's strengths, how acceptance precedes growth, and how curiosity about one's life and the world around them often leads to finding one's greatest joys. A mix of humor, life coaching, and genuine love of people lead to the quirky and fun style of this podcast.
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Jun 19, 2018

This week on the podcast, I’m revisiting the conversation with singer and songwriter Morgan Bolender. Morgan is known for her song entitled Mary Oliver, which has gone viral on YouTube. She started her career as a 3rd grade special education teacher and then started on a journey to quite literally find her voice, and listen to her heart. We met at Danielle LaPorte’s White Hot Truth event at Grace Cathedral, where Morgan opened the event for Danielle. I’m so thrilled she’s here today to share about the amazing journey she’s taken to find her voice.⠀

In this episode, Morgan and I talk about:

-          How she was introspective and oddly serious as a child, with solitude bringing her joy

-          Her song writing process with partner Scott

-          What brings her joy: little joys, hugs, and setting intentional time

-          Her journey from being a teacher to becoming a singer and song writer that started with her saying “Take me where I need to go”

-          Living on an organic farm and hearing her own voice singing for the very first time

-          Following your fears and growing

-          How she pitched Danielle LaPorte and all about her singing in Grace Cathedral

-          Her blog, The Unraveling

-          What resistance has looked like for her: trying her very hardest in her creative pursuits, and breaking down the BS that comes with being self taught (and feeling like that is a badge of honor)



Mary Oliver on YouTube:

Morgan Bolender’s Website:

Danielle LaPorte’s White Hot Truth (on Amazon)

Morgan Bolender’s music:

Morgan on Facebook

Morgan on Instagram:

May 22, 2018

Kerri Powers is a singer, songwriter, and musician, and she has just released her latest album, Starseeds. I’m so honored and delighted to have her on the show this week to talk about her creative process, about getting honest and telling your truest story, and about how music is a connecting force.

It was a real treat getting to speak with Kerri, who is as soulful as the blues music that she writes and loves. What I love about Kerri is her deeply intuitive nature. She’s “present” like no one I’ve ever met, truly in the moment with you, and speaks her heart.

Kerri opens up about her love of blues, sharing that it resonates with her soulfully. I can relate to this, as part of the mission of the show is to talk about what happens when someone chooses joy, even in the most improbable and difficult times in their lives. There’s a deep truth we each can find when we “go there,” into the dark, into the hard stuff, and see what’s waiting. Kerri gets this too, sharing that “there’s a lot of beauty in darkness and joy that comes from it. We have to hit rock bottom to find true joy.”

Starseeds by Kerri Powers is a beautiful album that has a hauntingly gorgeous sound to it. I heard bits of Patty Griffin (When it Don’t Come Easy). They are songs that (as I say in the interview) I can “fall into” - they are deep and wide in meaning and in musicality. Her voice is a balm and her lyrics speak to things I can relate to on a soulful level. My favorites on the album are “Somewhere on the Vine,” and “Free Bird Flying.”

Inspiration: Connecting from an honest and authentic place.

Much of what Kerri shares about her creative process, which is one of my favorite things to ask about when speaking with musicians, artists and entertainers, is that she strives to connect from an honest place. “If songs are written from an honest place, they connect,” she says, “Don’t shut things out. If it’s your truth, it will touch people in the right way. Work through the uncomfortable feelings.”

Her wisdom here is something each of us can take to heart. So many of my clients are drawn to work that is vulnerable in some way, whether it be podcasting or writing, or leading at work. Stepping into a role that is more visible is always going to be more vulnerable.

The key is that you have to work through the uncomfortable feelings to get to that place of connection. While in the beginning, it might not feel like any one is watching / noticing / listening, you will connect. You will find your right people. Kerri shares that when that happens with a song, it’s almost as if you are reflecting a person’s truths back to them, or sometimes, transporting the person to another place that feels like home.

Kerri talks about writing the song “Free Bird Flying,” which is about her mother. As a visual artist, she sees vignettes of moments as she writes the music. She told me that she wrote this song in two phases, knowing that after she wrote the first two verses that the work needed to rest. Then, in France, the song came back to her and she wrote the last verse. It’s a gorgeous song, that I’ll play at the end of the episode.

In this episode, Kerri Powers and I talk about:

  • Her earliest sparks of joy in music, art, and seeing things in color
  • Playing harmonica with her mom, and winning talent shows as a child
  • Her love of the blues, which she says resonate with her soulfully
  • The darkness that can lead to great joy
  • That writing and honoring the creative process from an honest place create connection
  • Her love of performing live, and the energy and connection that come from that
  • Her writing process, which she lets unfold over time for each song
  • Advice for those starting out as a songwriter
  • Why it’s important to work throught the uncomfortable feelings
  • The resistance she’s met along the way, of people not fully understanding her drive and need to do the work she does
  • Her thoughts on jumpstarting joy - participating in art, music, and culture, practicing gratitude, and practicing unconditional love

Kerri Powers’ album, Starseeds on Amazon
Kerri Powers’ website
Kerri Powers on Facebook
Kerri Powers on Twitter

Mar 6, 2018

Fred LeBlanc is the powerfully energetic drummer and lead singer of the band Cowboy Mouth from New Orleans, Louisiana, and I could not be more excited to have him on the show this week. What draws me to Fred is his true dedication to joy, to choosing it, spreading it, his dedication to elevating the vibration and awareness of everyone at his shows. From his lyrics and the way he gets a crowd excited to the way he encourages others, Fred is an amazing example of positivity, love, and good energy. I feel so very lucky to have gotten to speak with him.

If you see Fred perform live with Cowboy Mouth perform live, you will witness how his dedication to bringing joy to every moment permeates the show, the music, and by extension, the crowd. Fred talks about how he made the decision early in his career to leave the successful punk group Dash Rip Rock because he could feel that the anger and firey energy of the group and music were killing him. Around this time, he was reading The Power of Positive Thinking, and he was inspired to create a new band, and do things in a different way than what he’d been seeing in the music scene. And in every show, in each interaction, in the songs, Cowboy Mouth continues to live out this positive message of believing in yourself, in choosing love, and in having faith in the greater good.

So what stood out for me in this interview? It’s Fred’s mindfulness, along with his dedication to following his intuition, having faith, and finding joy in the midst of life. We talked a lot about energy. “Playing music is a way of releasing energy,” he said, “How can I be a good source of energy, the kind that lights me up, the kind of energy I need and everyone needs? What do I bring to the game that I LOVE?”

Performing and drumming are ways that Fred taps into joy. Even during difficult times, such during his recent divorce, or when he’s worried about the potentially difficult financial side of making ends meet, he gets back in touch with joy and inspiration by taking stock in simple things. Fred said that when he’s feeling disconnected, or when he notices that he’s let ego take over, he enjoys “the feeling of a drumstick in my hand,” or feeling the power of hitting the drums. With small, mindfully chosen steps, he re-connects and can move back into a place of joy and positivity. “I find ways of growing on joy, on the simple things.”

Fred and I talk about:

  • His being born deaf and how he feels that music was his first way of communication
  • His approach to getting a crowd fired up during the Cowboy Mouth shows
  • How intuition is an important guide
  • The impact of Norman Vincent Peale’s Power of Positive Thinking
  • How he was impacted by his divorce three years ago, and the depression that hit him during that time
  • How following what you love leads you to satisfaction, and how material things and fame can be hollow
  • Following love, over fear
  • His take on God, and the energy inside all of us
  • Their upcoming album (The Name of the Band is...Part 2), due out May 5, 2018
  • What happens when you don’t follow your intuition
  • Having faith in yourself and your ability to learn
  • That joy is “so easy, but it’s the hardest choice you’ll ever make.”
  • Plus, listen to the song, "I Believe" by Cowboy Mouth at the end of the interview.


Cowboy Mouth’s Website

Cowboy Mouth’s Tour Dates for 2018

Cowboy Mouth’s Album: The Name of the Band is … Greatest Hits So Far

Cowboy Mouth’s Album: Fearless (includes ‘I Believe’) on Amazon

Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale on Amazon

On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss by Elizabeth Kubla-Ross on Amazon

Power of Intention by Wayne Dyer on Amazon


Jan 9, 2018

Musician Emily Ann Peterson shares about developing an Essential Tremor and how courage, bravery, improvisation and defiant expectations have helped her find joy.

Dec 5, 2017

Singer songwriter Morgan Bolender of viral hit Mary Oliver joins host Paula Jenkins to share about her journey from special ed teacher to full time musician on Kona, Hawaii.

Nov 21, 2017

In this lookback episode, Danny Wood of New Kids on the Block shares about his foundation, Remember Betty, Donnie Wahlberg and Joey McIntyre and his solo album "Look at Me." Features the single "Hold On."

Oct 20, 2015

In today's episode, I interview Earl Rivard, a musician, songwriter, and retreat leader. Earl has released three CDs, and is currently studying to be an operatic singer. In addition to his work in music, he leads retreats, and he and I have worked together for the past decade. Earl loves stories, loves the places where the sacred and story and life come together. He is a troubadour in the classic sense, with the roots of his his art in his mother's native Argentina, while singing around campfires, with friends and family, always with community.

It was fun interviewing someone I know so well, and I learned a ton about Earl's background and his interests. Thank you, Earl, for your friendship, your inspiration, your music, and for joining me on Jump Start Your Joy.

In this episode, you'll learn about:
- how being blind has formed his personality and shaped him
- how a trip to South America during high school introduced him to the joy of music
- Earl's advice on recording your own album, and what his secret weapon has been
- his happiest childhood memories
- his time in an A cappella group at UC Berkeley, and how he sees A cappella music as a metaphor for life
- his faith and how that has transformed him
- Earl's ideas on how to bring your dream into action


Earl Rivard's website
Links to purchase Earl's CDs
A Playlist of Earl's music on YouTube

The post Episode 7: Musician Earl Rivard on Sharing Stories through Song and Music appeared first on Jump Start Your Joy.