The Power of Song w/ Lowry Olafson

Music is magic. The right song can take you out of your head, change your mood, change your attitude, and change your expectations. Lowry Olafson joins us today to share how, when an affirmation just isn’t enough, a personal Power Song can change your life.

Highlight Reel

0:40 What’s a Power Song?

6:10 Discard limitations

9:15 Flow and curiosity

14:00 I wanted to be a singer

19:50 Find the challenge you enjoy

26:00 External motivation vs. Internal motivation

29:40 Shift from guilt to gratitude

35:00 Give yourself permission

41:10 Everything you deeply desire

48:20 Shine like showtime

Adrienne MacIain 0:01

Hey everyone, welcome to the That's Aloud podcast. I'm your hostess Dr. Adrienne MacIain. And today we have Lowry Olafson, please introduce yourself.

Lowry Olafson 0:11

All right. Well, I live in British Columbia, I'm a songwriter, singer. And yeah, I've been doing that for most of my life in various forms. So that's, that's kind of how I identify from an occupational standpoint. And yeah, lover of life and adventure. And I'm a dad, I have a 20 year old daughter. And I live in a small town on the ocean.

Adrienne MacIain 0:38

You are also, I will say, an inspirer.

Lowry Olafson 0:42

Oh. Thank you!

Adrienne MacIain 0:43

Absolutely. Yeah. I'd love for you to tell the audience because I don't think they will all be familiar with what it is that you do. Can you describe what a power song and how you help people write them?

Lowry Olafson 0:59

Okay, well, power songs are basically a, they're like a short eight line, ten line affirmation, like a personal anthem, really, I like to think of them, that I help people write, and usually takes a couple hours. And we write it really as a template about what they, their ideal life, and what it is that they want to attract, what they want to focus on, who they want to be, what they want to have, what they want to do with their lives. And it's a tool that gets them out of their head, because the shortfall with affirmations is that we have, our brains have such good bullshit detectors that if you say, "I'm a millionaire," and you're working at Walmart, then you know, Yeah, right, get out of here. And so, where power songs, I found them to be more useful is that they actually get you out of your head, out of that kind of Red Zone, all thinking, worry, everything, it's all thinking stuff, and into your body. And in your body is the Blue Zone, which is you know, peace, and comfort, and gratitude, and you know, all the contentment and all of those things where if we can get ourselves out of that cycle of anxiety, and fear, and self doubt, and all that stuff, then we can be more effective, we can stop showing up small and start showing up more fully present. And so that's why I love to do. So writing a power song really is kind of a combination of a coaching session to kind of help people get clear, and help them put into words, and give themselves permission to want the things they want. And then to put it in a catchy song that's fun to sing, and will lift them up and take them on an emotional journey every time that is like this, "SOMEWHERE OVER," right? Not, "somewhere over the rainbow." Right? The bigger version. So that's what power songs are.

Adrienne MacIain 2:58

Absolutely. Yeah. Music is so powerful, isn't it? It really can just kind of short circuit all that brain chatter and just get right to the heart of the emotional arc of something.

Lowry Olafson 3:12

Yeah, well, it changes the molecular, the chemical makeup, from what I understand. I mean, I don't know that much, I don't know really hardly anything about this stuff. But they talk about how singing together, when people sing together, that it creates oxytocin, which is the trust chemical, right, the love chemical, and then that kind of stuff. And so singing, even though people maybe say, "Oh, well, I can't sing" or, "I wouldn't want anybody to hear me" or whatever. Just the act of singing actually changes things and then you know, the effect in your, apparently your vagus nerve. There's lots of science around why singing has the effect that it does and why it's, you know, why John Lennon said, "All you need is love." But if you'd only said it, no one would remember. "All you need is love," sung on one note so anybody could sing it. And it's unforgettable. And it you feel it differently, right?

Adrienne MacIain 4:02

Absolutely. Yeah. You've kind of come out of focus here and I'm not... you're back.

Lowry Olafson 4:08

Let's talk to Logitech about that, the Brio, it's doing that, it does it a lot.

Adrienne MacIain 4:14

All right. I'll write a strongly-worded letter.

Lowry Olafson 4:16

Unless it's me, and the camera's fine, and I'm just getting blurry there.

Adrienne MacIain 4:23

So full disclosure, I have done this process with Lowry, and it was amazing. I loved it so much. Even just the process of it was so revealing. Like you said, it really is kind of a therapy session in and of itself.

Lowry Olafson 4:40

Mm hmm, yeah. It's pretty powerful. I mean, it's, you know, you're talking about vulnerability on this show and stuff. There's such a high level of trust and vulnerability that's required, you know, between us to create that song. And, you know, fortunately for me that seems to be fairly easy to, you know, to reach with people because, I don't know. But yeah, I loved your song, and maybe we'll sing it at some point, but it has these beautiful lines, can we tell them the title?

Adrienne MacIain 5:11


Lowry Olafson 5:12

"Shine Like Showtime." That's Adrienne's Song.

Adrienne MacIain 5:17

Yes, and I will sing it at the end.

Lowry Olafson 5:19

"Shine Like Showtime," which I think is great because you have a PhD in drama. So, "Showtime." And I just want to say a little bit about that title, why I love it so much. And you know, whenever I write songs of any kind I'm always, you know, there's that whole thing about show-and-tell, and you don't want to, you know, if you just tell and it's this, and I feel bad, or I feel good, or whatever, the song is about you. But when you use, you know imagery and stuff like that, then the song becomes universal, it becomes about other people. And this idea about showtime, we all know what happens when it's showtime. You just, you know, guess which version of Lowry or Adrienne or whoever shows up. It's, it's, it's the big version, right? It's the person that's at our best, hopefully.

Adrienne MacIain 6:08

And that is the basics of storytelling too. You know, you may not think of yourself as a storyteller, but what you are doing is helping people get to the real heart of their story, the story that they want to write, the story they want to live in.

Lowry Olafson 6:10

They want to, yeah, that's right, yeah, good point.

Adrienne MacIain 6:10

Absolutely. So speaking of stories, let's jump into my first question here. And of course, nobody ever has the right answer to this question. There is no right answer. So just answer what what comes to you. What story is the world not getting?

Lowry Olafson 6:41

That's, yes, that's a tough question. Stories the world's not getting. I guess, you know, I guess it's the whole backstory of how much it takes to sort of keep going. I think as a, you know, to keep both... first to find something, to find the things that, you know, that are really, that work on on a lot of levels. Work on all levels, really, because that's what we're headed for or aiming for is like this works on every level. It's, you know, in terms of an occupation, for instance, with power songs, for me, it works on a lot of levels. Because I love the idea of transformation, and helping people get unstuck, and to live there, and stop saying, "No, I could never do that," you know, but to say "Yes." But also I love songwriting, and I've done a lot of it. So, you know, now, and I've done a lot of facilitating and stuff, so now I'm pretty, well, you know how opinionated I am about words, and certain things, but with good reason, you know. John Lennon didn't say, "All you require is love," right? Like, you know, there's a reason that we follow these rules sometimes, right? So yeah, just finding, finding all those things, and then building a business, and finding clients that you want to work with, and that want to work with you, and people that trust you, and all that stuff. So I'd say, yeah, just the whole backstory of... I mean, I'm 67 years old, and I don't have any intention of quitting anytime soon. So I think that's probably, you know, the thing people don't know.

Adrienne MacIain 8:31

Yeah. And we'll get back to that in just one moment. But I want to talk a little bit about, you started talking about, you know, limiting beliefs and people's, the limitations that they put on themselves. I want to talk about that, because that's such an important thing. People think, Oh, well, if I have something that works on one level, or two levels, like maybe I'm really good at this thing, or people see me as being really good at this thing, then that's enough. Or, you know, I really enjoy this, but it doesn't, you know, pay anything. Like, people think that's enough.

Lowry Olafson 9:03


Adrienne MacIain 9:04

How do you help people to kind of get out of that mindset of, like, one or two things is enough, and help them really find that thing that works on multiple levels.

Lowry Olafson 9:17

Well, I suppose, I think people kind of find it, in terms of their own songs, I think that they find it on a bunch of levels. Like, because the song's so short, we really want to trigger, I send them a deep-dive questionnaire, you know. So I get them thinking about a lot of different areas in their life in terms of what brings them the joy and what are their concerns and, you know, all that kind of stuff. So, in some ways, you know, you don't necessarily look at all the details of things, but if you say, like in my power song, I have a line that goes... how's it go... "living in the flow, helping people grow." That's one of the lines in my song. And so, for me, living in the flow, which is really funny, because now I've gotten, everybody I think is quite interested in flow research these days, and how you can do more of that. And I didn't even realize I had this word in there until, you know, a year and a half to two years later. But to me, what that's about is just paying attention to all the details. For instance, if you had a job, and you were really curious, and you really, it really grabbed your attention, and but there was some really mundane part of the job that you hated. Like, I had a friend who had a degree in science, and then, you know, went all the way through that, loved it. And then when she found out that she was going to be spending her days looking in a microscope, all day, it's like, I don't want to do this. So she changed, right? And so those kinds of details are the sorts of things that we may not think about them, but you become aware, you know, pretty fast when you're in them. It's like, I don't like this part of the job, like, I don't really want to drive seven hours every day after I do a, you know, an eight hour show in a school, right, and the cold in Saskatchewan in the winter, you know, I don't really want this part of the job, right. So, you know, it's just, I think, basically, I just want everything.

Adrienne MacIain 11:27

Well, what you put up with you end up with, right, so you, you really have to be careful what you will accept.

Lowry Olafson 11:34

Yes. That's great. I love that line.

Adrienne MacIain 11:37

Yeah. So a couple of things you brought up that I wanted to unpack here before we dive into your journey, your kind of hero's journey. So you talked about the questionnaire that you send out in advance. I have one of those too, and I think it is so important. You've seen mine now. But I think, you know, when you get people to ask themselves those questions, not even seeing the answer, I think it opens them up to the process so much more. I think, you know, I think it was Picasso who said, "Computers are useless. They can only give you answers." Because questions can be so important.

Lowry Olafson 12:18

Mm hmm. Yeah, yeah. It's like kids that keep asking "why?" Another layer of why, and why is that important? Why do you want that? Right?

Adrienne MacIain 12:29

Yeah. And never stop asking why. You know, curiosity is so important.

Lowry Olafson 12:33

It's one of the essential ingredients in flow is curiosity. Right? So yeah, so you never, literally never stop asking why.

Adrienne MacIain 12:42

Yeah. And then you were talking about how you put the word flow into your song without realizing it. I think that one of the beautiful things about the power song process is that it does help us tap into our subconscious. By looking at these images and thinking about, you know, this is like the visualization exercise that I always like to do on my podcast, I think it really gets people into, you know, out of that headspace and into their heart space and just connecting with their subconscious.

Lowry Olafson 13:11

Mm hmm. Yeah, I think so. Yeah. I mean, good songs to me are very, you know, are very visual, very sensory. Not just visual because, you know, the whole sensory thing, right, is, it's pretty powerful, you know. To not just think, you know, thinking is so dangerous, or so ineffective, right? I don't know.

Adrienne MacIain 13:38

It can be dangerous. Absolutely. We can rationalize and justify all kinds of things.

Lowry Olafson 13:44

Like obsess and brood.

Adrienne MacIain 13:47

Ruminate. Absolutely. Yeah, so let's take you back to a time when you were struggling.

Lowry Olafson 13:55

Which time?

Adrienne MacIain 13:55

If we can kind of think about, you know, the fullness of your journey to where you are now. You know, everyone has a kind of hero's journey where they started in a place where everything seemed kind of normal to them, because that's all that they knew. But they started to realize at some point that they were different, or that something wasn't quite fitting in the place that they were at, and that they needed to kind of separate themselves from that community, or from that place, or from that mindset. So where did you would you say was the beginning for you, when you just started to realize like, Hey, something's not quite fitting here.

Lowry Olafson 14:39

You know, I don't know if I ever thought that. I just, I think I just had, you know, I always wanted to be a singer, performer, songwriter. Always wanted to do that since I was a little kid. I think my journey wasn't so much that didn't fit in. Well... I think what I felt, it just put me up to a lot of self doubt. You know, at first it was kind of like, you know, when you're a kid and you're doing that everybody's, you write a song and everybody's just gaga, it's so great and you think you're so talented. And I know perfectly well that when the Beatles came out my songs were just as good. However, I wasn't recognized in the same way, for some reason. You know, like, you don't know what you don't know, right. So, yeah, so, you know, I kind of had that journey all through until high school, and then, you know, I thought that's what I would kind of, what I would do. And then, you know, my dad said, "Well, you know, that's not much of a way to make a living. And, and that just kind of fizzled out. And so that dream just kind of like, I just almost kind of... it's weird how, it's almost like you latch on to these things that people say. Because if my dad had said, "Oh, yeah, you're totally gonna make it," I might not have latched on to it, I might not remember that. Because I think he spoke to my own doubt about my ability. And then, you know, so much of that sense of success is about being discovered, or it's up to other people, when you write a song, it's up to other people whether... you don't really even know what a good song is, you know. Quite frankly, I think I only discovered, like, 15 years ago, or less why some of my songs worked and some don't. Because, you know, just because of using century language and stuff like that. So there was a, you know, just kind of a sense of powerlessness that went with the whole thing. And then, you know, it's a competitive business and trying to get into, as a performer trying to get into folk festivals where they have 1200 applications for 30 things. And it's, you know, you take it personally, you think you're no good or stuff like that. So my approach was always to, I liked the independent route, because then I could do what I wanted. And I could build it, even if it was small, at least it was my songs on my terms. And I almost had a bit of a, kind of just saw it as a bit of a challenge in a way, because, you know, could I actually, without a record deal, without this could I still record albums? Could I still build a following? Could I still travel? And, and I did, you know, I did nine albums. So, you know, that's a lot of songs, and a lot of years of touring and stuff. You know?

Adrienne MacIain 17:31

Yeah, I want to talk for a moment about that general attitude in the world that artists will never make a living at it. Or it's, you know, an impossible dream. I know, when I was younger, you know, I wanted to be an actress, I wanted to be like... whenever someone would ask me, "What do you want to be when you grew up?" I'd say Miss Piggy. That was my icon. You know, I wanted to be a big glamorous movie star.

Lowry Olafson 18:00

She's not that glamorous. In her own mind, maybe.

Adrienne MacIain 18:04

Exactly, yeah. And my dad was always the, you know, the practical one. He was a scientist, he was an electrical engineer, and so he was the first one to kind of poo-poo my ideas. And I remember when I went off to college, he gave me this kind of speech, where he was, like, "You know, it's all well and good to follow your dreams and blah, blah, blah. But you also have to have some practicality in there, like, you know, you, you have to get some skills that people will actually pay for." And I was like, okay, that's, you know, that's fair enough. So instead of going to a conservatory, I went to a liberal arts college, and I got a kind of broad-based education. But I ended up majoring in theater and French, and I remember my dad calling me up and going, "Is that what you got from what we discussed? What are you going to do with that?" is what kept asking. "What do you what do you plan to do with that?" Dad's English. And I was like, I don't know what I would do with anything at this point. You know, like, I don't know what I want to do. And when I finished college, I got a Fulbright scholarship to go and study French-speaking African theatre. And so I remember, you know, the day when I called my dad and I was like, "Well Dad, this is what I'm doing with it."

Lowry Olafson 19:18

Holy cow! Where did you go to study that?

Adrienne MacIain 19:22

So I went to basically all of West Africa, where they speak French, all the francophile countries in Africa, so Cote d'Ivoire, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Mali, that whole that whole area, but mostly Cote d'Ivoire. I wrote a whole book about it. But anyway. So let's continue with your journey. So you were, you know, living the life as an artist. You were getting some success. But...

Lowry Olafson 19:48

Well, yeah, but I think I always felt like, and maybe it was some kind of the coaching I got too was around, you know, being a folk singer isn't really much of a living, and there's a lot of competition for that whole thing, and how can you, you know, do niche marketing. That was kind of the thing. So, so I had an opportunity to write, I was invited to come and do a presentation on songwriting in a school one time when I was doing, you know, coming into play concert for the Arts Council. And so instead of just talking about it, I thought, Okay, we'll write a song together with the kids. And so we did, and we wrote this fun song called I Slept In, and the kids loved it. And it was, you know, a great experience. But basically, nobody ever got to hear the song, because this was about 2005 maybe. So, you know, it was like, you make a cassette of it or something, and then, you know, you can't duplicate it, you can't, there weren't, things weren't in place. But so eventually, when I got a few more of those things, I thought I need to, and the kids, yeah, nobody heard the kids song. And so it was kind of a drag, because the songs were good, you know, and the kids were proud of them and stuff. And so I thought, Okay, well, I'm going to start doing a concert after lunch for the whole school. And then the kids will perform their song for everybody, and they will teach the song to the whole school, and, you know, but I wasn't a kid's entertainer by any means. And, it was, they just ate me alive at first, and, you know, it was really bad, and I didn't really have the repertoire. And I thought, Okay, well, I'll just start singing the songs the kids are writing, like, that'll be my repertoire. So we're doing now all of a sudden, you know, My Dog Ate My Homework and 21 Ways To Bug Your Teacher, and, you know, Fun Little Funky Chicken, and stuff like that. And, you know, it turned into a really, eventually into a pretty fun show. And I did over 400 of them all over Western Canada, and I, you know, and I got good at it, and it gave me income that, you know, my folksinger friends weren't getting, you know, stable income. Like, through the week, you work a five day week, one month, I think I did 22 songs. And in the winter in Saskatchewan, I knew it was just like, you know, if you're playing gigs you'd be lucky to work three nights or four nights of the week, and get paid hardly anything, and stuff like that. But it was also like, what I, it was so challenging, it was just so hard. I was so intimidated by the whole experience, and by the principals, and by just coming into schools and having to kind of wear so many hats in one day, from writing the song, to managing the kids, to doing the recording, to getting it on the internet, to setting up the PA in the gym, and then changing because, you know, doing all these all these crazy things, and then driving, like I said, to the next town and in the dark and the winter.

Adrienne MacIain 19:50


Lowry Olafson 19:53

I was everything from road manager to, you know... but what was really interesting to me about, and maybe this was for you too, is that it was not about being a star, like the thing for that. Not that I wouldn't have liked that. And you know, we had to have the adulation in the limousines. Right? But it wasn't, it took it out of, the thing about being a star is that it's out of your control. It's all up to everybody else. Right. And that includes a certain amount of luck. But it's really out of your hands, right? You put out the stuff and you know, maybe people will buy this. I mean, how poor old what's-his-name that wrote Achy Breaky Heart, you know that song? I mean, that guy's written lots of great songs. And that's the one that hits, you know. Miley Cyrus's dad, Billy Ray Cyrus. So, you know, you have no control over those things. But what this did was it kind of put things to some degree, it was like I have some control at least, that I could make income. I had, you know, very clear expectations, and it was like a big challenge every day, a big challenge. It wasn't like doing a concert, you know. If anything, that's kind of how I feel now about doing shows. I, you know, I still have a lot of songs, I love performing, I love sharing my songs, but it's not that challenging. You know, it's fun, but this stuff's like, every time I write a power song, it's like, you know, it requires my full attention.

Adrienne MacIain 24:40

But it's the kind of challenge you enjoy, not the kind of challenge that...

Lowry Olafson 24:43

I enjoy it, I enjoy, and I've recognized that, you know, you need that 4%. That's what they say to get into flow you want to be 4% percent above your skill capability. So just a little bit enough to get you focused, you got skin in the game, you know, you're not sitting back here. It's, yeah, but those are the... So what happens is, when you live your life that way, when there's so much growth and so much challenge all the time, I had to really learn how to manage my energy and eat strategically. I was all about, okay, how can I survive this? Because, you know, I just got one year, I got... the first year, I got 14 schools booked and I thought, Oh, God, it was hard enough to do one. You know, how am I gonna do this? Next year 85 schools booked, and I'm thinking, I can't possibly do this, you know, and yet you have to do it. And so you just kind of start developing the systems and you grow in, you just grow like there's no tomorrow when you challenge yourself a lot, right? You step back, and everything. And then I started doing it with nonprofits, and with businesses, and writing theme songs for them, and audio branding, and the thing would grow. And I just, you know, I grew.

Adrienne MacIain 25:54

Yeah, yeah. So you grew by challenging yourself, by keeping yourself at that 4%.

Lowry Olafson 26:01

Yeah. Well, I grew because I needed the money. Right?

Adrienne MacIain 26:05


Lowry Olafson 26:06

Yeah. Switches, you know, and that's an external, that's called an external motivation, as opposed to internal motivation. So external motivation is valuable to a point, you know, money, fame, you know, all that stuff. But it doesn't, it's not very motivating. What's really motivating is curiosity, and passion, and meaning, and mastery, and autonomy. You know, those are the things, when you can find those things in your work, then you just, you know, you just want to get up in the morning. Hey, guess what I get to do today? I get to write a song with Adrienne. How fun is that going to be?

Adrienne MacIain 26:45

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Meaning, that's what it's all about. Meaning is far more motivating than any of those external factors. I will say, I think, you know, those external factors, too, once you get one or two of those, you realize that without that meaning behind it, it's a disaster. A disaster. It's not just empty. It's actually problematic, you know.

Lowry Olafson 27:12

Oh god, yeah. I played in the bars for a couple of years. You know, somebody said, Oh, you'll never make any money, Lowry, playing your own stuff. You should get, you know, learn some top 40, and get a drum machine, start playing the bars. I was ready to slit my wrists by the time I did that for two and a half years. I didn't care if I never played guitar again.

Adrienne MacIain 27:29


Lowry Olafson 27:30

Yeah, it was not... I mean, even though I was playing music every night, getting paid. Yeah.

Adrienne MacIain 27:36

Yeah. So, quick sidebar. When I was in Africa, one of the things that happened is I was on this music video that became a huge hit. And I, you know, was like the "where's the beef" lady, I was just this weird sort of novelty that people were kind of, you know, obsessed with for a while. And so I became a celebrity. And it was a very strange and not pleasant experience, actually. Because suddenly, everyone has their idea about what you are, and they have this projection onto you. And they feel like they know you, because you've been in their home.

Lowry Olafson 28:12


Adrienne MacIain 28:12

So it's like, you're their best friend, but you have no idea who these people are. And they come up to you like you owe them something, you know, just for being in the space and not, like, speaking to them. And it can be really scary. And it can be really disturbing. And people can be angry with you about stuff that was written in the tabloids that you don't even know what it is. Yeah. And what I discovered from that experience is that, you know, what I really want is to earn the respect of people that I respect. And not necessarily just to be known by random strangers on the street. That's actually not as fun as it sounds.

Lowry Olafson 28:56

Well, actually, it's funny you use that word, because I wrote a power song yesterday with this really wonderful woman, I have to introduce you to her, Annie Ruggles. She does a, not a sales course, she's actually has a degree in musical theater. But she has this thing she does, the Salesforce Non-Sleazy Sales for Empaths. She's just a hoot, she's wonderful. But she said, "You know, I don't want to be famous, but I want to be known." And known, like, to me... then, you know, those people didn't know you.

Adrienne MacIain 29:28

Right. They projected.

Lowry Olafson 29:30

They'd heard of you. They'd done that, right? But they didn't know you. Right. And so yeah, so it really gave me, I love that sort of clarification on her part. Right?

Adrienne MacIain 29:41

Yeah, that's a great distinction. I love that. So what was the moment where you discovered power songs?

Lowry Olafson 29:48

Well, I was going through a divorce about three years ago, and my life was kind of you know, getting all re-figured out and stuff like that. And somebody said, "Well, why don't you do affirmations?" And I said, Well, I've done them, they don't work. You know? And they said, "Well, why don't you write a song then?" And so I, so I did. I thought, Okay, why not. So I wrote two songs. I wrote, I wrote this song that went "I got a house on the water and someone to love. I laugh and sing and work and play. I'm living in a flow, helping people grow. Joy and adventure every day." And, and it felt stupid, you know, because I didn't have a house on the ocean. It's, like, a lifelong dream I've had. My last place was, we had a view of the ocean, and it was an old house that I'd spent, you know, a lot of time renovating, and turning into something. But I always said, you know, the only thing that would get me out of it would be to live right on the ocean. And that's what I always wanted. But in the process of singing this song, I started to get some ideas. It's like, oh, well, actually, you know, my sister and brother-in-law have this land, you know, land on the ocean, and I made them buy it 16 years ago, and they haven't developed it. And they, you know, and they don't really have the skills or the capability to do that on their own. I wonder if, you know, I took my equity, and we did, we could build something together. And so we did, we built a, you know, house and I have the top floor, my own space, my own, you know, kind of apartment, and they have theirs, and it's like, here it is. And then, you know, over the course of that I, I imagine, I had to work with, help creating the design, and I had to work with a construction company, and kind of, you know, participate in that stuff as, you know, as it went down. But I was willing to do that, you know, and it was good thing I did that, because we got more of what we wanted. But it was, I still had, even when I moved in, though, I just felt, like, so guilty, like, Who am I to have a house on the ocean? You know, I'm a folksinger, that, you know, I mean, I don't even own a car. I have a bicycle. Right? It's, and yet, here it is. And I felt guilty. You know? And finally, I had to like, okay, no, let we're not going there. We're not staying in guilty. I'm going into gratitude, and, you know, and, and all that kind of stuff. And and so, you know, and all this stuff. And then, you know, I've been, I've had a beautiful relationship with a wonderful woman for the last couple of years. And then, you know, the, the work... So then I told some, I didn't necessarily have as much work as I wanted. I was doing motivational speaking, and I have a talk with songs in it and stuff, which, you know, was good, but it wasn't getting much traction. It was a hard sell. And there was things about it I didn't like that much, because I only got to sing four songs, and you know, the rest was talking and so yeah. So, anyway, I was talking about this on a call last year, about the results from singing the song, and about five people said, "I want a power song." And so I said, Okay, well, let's write one with each of you guys. And we'll see how it works out, and you can give me testimonials. So it goes well, they all love their songs. And they're still singing them like crazy all the time, and seeing, you know, seeing their lives kind of move in the direction that they want it to. And they have this tool to uplift them. And so last year, I ended up writing about 40 of them, I did. When COVID hit, I was already doing stuff on zoom, so it didn't matter to me. And I, you know, I built a website and did all that stuff. And so really, yeah, so now I'm just like, working from home.

Adrienne MacIain 33:40

Yeah, yeah. So I love that talk, you know, you talk about the shift from guilt to gratitude.

Lowry Olafson 33:47


Adrienne MacIain 33:49

That's such an important shift. One of the things I've noticed, especially with women, is that we have a tendency to say "I'm sorry" a lot.

Lowry Olafson 33:57

I'm sorry to hear that.

Adrienne MacIain 33:57

We just apologize endlessly for things that that aren't even something we should apologize for. Like my mom, bless her, every time she bumps into an inanimate object. She says, "I'm sorry." Like, the object can't hear you. And so one of the things I've challenged myself to do in the last couple of years is whenever I feel like saying "I'm sorry," to instead turn it into a "thank you." So instead of "I'm Sorry, I'm late." "Thank you so much for your patience. I really appreciate you waiting for me."

Lowry Olafson 34:31

That's brilliant.

Adrienne MacIain 34:32

It's amazing the shift that that has made in my life. So this is just a little takeaway for the audience here if you can get from guilt to gratitude. That is such an important mind shift.

Lowry Olafson 34:45

What if they weren't patient? What if they were annoyed that you were late? Does that negate their experience?

Adrienne MacIain 34:51

You can still just say "thank you for waiting," you know. Yeah.

Lowry Olafson 34:56

No apology. I think I'd still want to say "sorry I'm late."

Adrienne MacIain 35:01

Yeah. "I appreciate you putting up with me."

Lowry Olafson 35:06

It is an interesting one, because I sure find that a lot with power songs, that it's one thing for people, you know, the first step is to get clear about what you want, the second one is to give yourself permission to have it. You know, people that are talking about love and, you know, I've written songs with people that are getting older, and they're single, and they're thinking, you know, how am I to have love in my life, what are the chances of that? But, you know, and I don't necessarily say that you have to put a line in that says, you know, "I have a beautiful girlfriend" or "I have a beautiful boyfriend." But I did write a line that I really loved in a song with with a woman that went "Loving deeply, deeply loved." Right? And so whatever, you know, even if it didn't manifest as a partner, that sense of being loved could be met, that we can meet these needs. Sometimes it isn't, you know, it might not be a Rolls Royce you're needing.

Adrienne MacIain 36:20

Sorry, froze up there. Yeah, I, my Internet's been a little unstable today. Sorry about that. Let's get on.

Lowry Olafson 36:27

Thank you for your patience.

Adrienne MacIain 36:30

And thank you for yours. Yeah, I had something and now it's gone. So what were you talking about when you when you froze up there?

Lowry Olafson 36:44

Um, that's a good question. I was talking about loving deeply, deeply loved. I was talking about putting things into your songs that you don't think you deserve or you don't think are likely. Like, interestingly, one of the things I heard recently from this guy, Steven Kotler, who is the founder of the Flow Research Collective, and he's talking about how this idea of SMART goals, you know, Specific, Measurable, and then the A is for Attainable, and they don't believe in that A. That's like, that's a total no-no, that you have to have goals that are attainable. Because what happens with certain things is that the growth is exponential. It's like compound interest that, you know, you have this business, and you do this thing, and nothing seems to happen. And, you know, these are the times when people quit. Elon Musk could never have imagined that he was going to send something to Mars. You know, Jeff Bezos, these guys, they couldn't have imagined the effect of, you know, the compounding effect of just coming at it and, you know, doing this work with focus, you know, all the time. So, I love that. I mean, to me, the idea that I was going to have, you know, a house on the ocean was just ludicrous. You know, I was, I was picturing myself in a trailer in the woods. You know, really, when I, you know, when that marriage ended, I was like, this is... my friends were saying, you know, "Lowry, this is, you're gonna lose everything, this is gonna be the way it is." And I just said, Well, you know, even if it's a trailer in the woods, it's gonna be better than what I'm living with right now. And I'll make it a nice trailer. Fix it up, and I'll have the sun pouring in, and whatever I do, you know, it's gonna be beautiful. Because to me the most important thing when I have a, when I think about where I want to live, I always do these, you know, those lists, you might do those, the list of all the qualities you want in a place? Well, the top of my list is inspiring. Right? So whether it's a two-bedroom or a ten-bedroom, or you know, no bedroom, the top of the list is inspiring. So.

Adrienne MacIain 38:54

I would, you know, take that Attainable out and put in Audacious.

Lowry Olafson 38:58


Adrienne MacIain 38:59

I think people get really caught up in the idea of, you know, they say "what's possible," what they mean is "what's probable." Because anything's possible, right? And so, yeah, sure, there are some things that are more probable than others, but do you really want to focus your energy on what is expected? What you already expect to happen? You know?

Lowry Olafson 39:20

Yeah, well, and what happens is that if you, if you can't get your head around it, then, you know, if you can only see yourself doubling your income, then that's all you're going to do. You will only take the actions to create doing that. If you can see, you know, 10 times it, then you'll take the actions to do that. And if you can imagine yourself 100 times-ing it, well, then it's a completely different set of actions that are required. So if you want to live on a house on the ocean, then it's a different set of actions that is required if you want to share or get a room in the apartment down the street with a buddy.

Adrienne MacIain 39:57


Lowry Olafson 39:58

So it's, so it's, that's why it's important because it determines the actions that you'll take. Because, you know, this, this kind of woo stuff that we'll get into about manifesting and all that kind of stuff, you know, it only goes so far. The reality is you got to show up and you have to... and I think that's where gratitude is so important. Well, one because it opens up your filters to work to other, otherwise you have a very narrow kind of view of what's possible. And that's why affirmations don't work because they they just say, "Oh, yeah, right, you're a millionaire." But with gratitude, you say thank you for the food in the fridge, thank you for this beautiful day, thank you for the all this love I have in my life, thank you for this. And all of a sudden you're sort of seeing things that literally you can feel a shift in your vision, right? You know that narrow feeling when your eyes almost feel hard, and then you soften them and you start to look around and it's like, "Oh my god, look," you know, it's a physical experience.

Adrienne MacIain 41:02

Absolutely. Well, that's a perfect transition. Do you want to do my little exercise that I like to take people through here?

Lowry Olafson 41:08


Adrienne MacIain 41:09

Okay, so we're gonna close our eyes. And take a couple of nice deep breaths. Here we go. And as you breathe in this time, I want you to see colored light coming into your body. And then tell me what color it was.

Lowry Olafson 41:32

Oh, I'm never good at this. I'm going to say purple though, 'cause I like that one.

Adrienne MacIain 41:38

Wonderful. Alright, so I'm gonna see some purple light coming into me 'cause I like purple too. Mmm. Yeah, it feels good. So I'm going to go ahead and wave my magic wand over here. And now everything that you deeply desire has come to pass. It is all here. It is all now. And I want you to, without opening your eyes because I want you to kind of stay in visualization mode, wake up in this ideal reality and tell me what you see.

Lowry Olafson 42:13

Hmm. You know, I'm kind of where I am. I feel like I'm, you know, I feel like, I think I'd have more people around. You know, more, more friends, more kids, more life, more joy.

Adrienne MacIain 42:37

So I want you to hear those voices in the house. You're here where you are, but you can hear people kind of playing, laughing, talking in another part of the house. And you can smell good smells coming from somewhere.What do you smell?

Lowry Olafson 42:55

Oh, yeah, stuff being cooked. Beautiful aromas coming out of the, off the stove and out of the oven. And yeah.

Adrienne MacIain 43:05

Let's get some specifics. What do you smell?

Lowry Olafson 43:07

What do I smell? I don't know, how about we could have a really nice maybe chicken dinner kind of thing. Maybe some chocolate chip cookies.

Adrienne MacIain 43:20

That's a strong smell.

Lowry Olafson 43:21

That's really nice. You know, fresh for... oh, an apple pie!

Adrienne MacIain 43:25

There we go. Okay, so you can smell that apple pie, fresh-baked apple pie getting taken out of the oven. You know that that was prepared with love, just for you, by people who care so deeply about you. And you've just finished writing a power song with someone, and they are in that elated state where they've just made this break through. And you can see it, that it's really, really broken through for them. And I want them, I want you to hear them tell you how much this is meant to you. What does that feel like?

Lowry Olafson 44:13

Oh, very satisfying and thrilling. And deeply meaningful.

Adrienne MacIain 44:18

Yeah. Yeah. Now I want you to... Yeah. I want you to go someplace which is kind of your happy place, where you really feel completely free and completely yourself. Where do you go?

Lowry Olafson 44:40

Out in my rowboat.

Adrienne MacIain 44:43

So you're out on the water, just describe, you can hear the sounds of the water as you're rowing, that lovely sound of the the oars pushing through the water. What else can you hear out there?

Lowry Olafson 45:00

You can hear the the gulls and the creaking of oars for sure. Yeah. Gulls screaming and squawking away. And probably don't hear much from the seals. But yeah, just the bird life, maybe if you're lucky an eagle.

Adrienne MacIain 45:29

Well, you're very lucky today. So I want you to hear exactly what you'd love to hear out there.

Lowry Olafson 45:33

You can hear the wind a little bit, just a gentle wind. And if I have somebody in the boat with me, maybe there's some gentle conversation or some laughter.

Adrienne MacIain 45:52

There is, and let's say this person brings you some wonderful, unexpected news. Something you just hadn't anticipated, but just absolutely makes your day and maybe even your week. What is it?

Lowry Olafson 46:10

Hmm, usually that's about getting work of some kind for me.

Adrienne MacIain 46:16

There we go. So you've just gotten a just delightful, unexpected gig that's going to bring you more money than you had anticipated, and just be an absolute joy and delight. What are you going to do to celebrate?

Lowry Olafson 46:34

I think we'll go over to, we're going to head over to Keats Island, over to maybe go to a far Island, go all the way to one of the further islands and have a picnic. Have happy hour on the beach. Hang out all afternoon. Watch the sun go down. Then row back by moonlight.

Adrienne MacIain 47:00

Beautiful. All right. Open your eyes, please. That was wonderful.

Lowry Olafson 47:05

That was fun. Lets do it again!

Adrienne MacIain 47:09

I know, right? What I always recommend after that is that, you know, people try to find some images that kind of matched with what they saw and make a little slideshow for themselves. You can, of course, record your song overtop of it and make a little music video for yourself. Yeah, that would be a fun thing to to listen to and watch first thing in the morning, I recommend.

Lowry Olafson 47:33

That's a great idea. Thanks Adrienne.

Adrienne MacIain 47:36

Yeah, you bet. Alright, so where can the folks at home find you and get their own power song?

Lowry Olafson 47:42

Oh, Yeah, everything on the website that you can, they can have, there's a button, let's chat. And you can have a free 20 minute call just to, if you have questions, or if you want to find out about ways that you could use it, or just to connect with me and see if it feels like it's a fit. So, that's probably the easiest way. Otherwise, yeah, you can email me and my phone number might even be on there somewhere. Yeah.

Adrienne MacIain 48:15

All right. Fantastic. Thanks so much for being here.

Lowry Olafson 48:17

Hey, thanks. Thanks so much, Adrienne. That was very fun.

Adrienne sings "Shine Like Showtime"

I am the voice that sings the truth of the heart

The dancer that lights the way

I desire, and I leap, and I land in the stars

I laugh, and I love, and I pray

I frolic in miracles

A freedom forêt (foray)

I shine like showtime

I'm ready to play!

Transcribed by Rebecca MacIain

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