Mission Possible: Be A Rebel

by Lance Ekum on · 45 comments


Photo courtesy:  Brandi Reynolds

“The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do.” ~ Sarah Ban Breathnach

Are you a joy rebel?

What?  What is that?

The sublime art of being authentically you.

There’s a movement going on – one I’m excited to be a part of!  The ‘joy rebel’ movement.  Do you want to be a part of it?  I’d explain it, although I don’t think I can do it justice.  So today, I have Brandi Reynolds, creator extraordinaire of this brilliant idea here, to explain it a little further.  Read on  to learn more about this idea and what it’s all about.  And get a glimpse into Brandi’s joy rebel within her, shining through!

1.  What really led you to create this “joy rebel” movement? And how long has it been going on?

Honestly, this path started for me in 1999, though I had no name for it then.  I found myself divorced at 23 (from my first husband – I’ve since re-married to a fabulous guy), in the middle of a college semester with another year to go, $80 to my name and sleeping on a friends couch.  And for the first time EVER, I realized that I didn’t have to react to, run from or deny life. I had a choice.  I could go to a bar and find something to numb the pain a little bit or I could step up and take responsibility for my life. I chose to step up and set out on a spiritual and creative exploration. I think I am more proud of the moment I made that choice, scared to death and broke as hell, than I am any other moment in my life.  It wasn’t a joy rebellion then, in fact there was no discernible direction at first but that is the true start of this journey I am on.

In early 2009, I found myself again at a cross roads.  I’d certainly explored the last ten years.  I’ve learned so much and now realized it was time to put some focus to this path that I was on.  What did I want to do with my life?  How did I want to show up in the world?  I truly thought I knew some of those answers yet suddenly found myself questioning everything I was doing.

What came out of that time of questioning was a creative focus and a willingness to put forth action to make that focus grow.  I needed a touchstone, a mantra and slowly, the idea of ‘joy rebel’ came to me.  To me, being a joy rebel is about being authentically myself. At 33, I feel like I am just now finding my real voice. It’s about embracing the lightness of true joy and also listening to rage against the machine and being okay with that apparent dichotomy. It’s about deciding that it’s not irresponsible to refuse to let the US media, lobbyists and approximately a billion retailers dictate my emotions.  And most importantly, it’s about having FUN.  I was so tired of the self help tirade and found that I didn’t feel joyful reading one more book on how to fix me.  Not that there aren’t a lot of helpful books out there – I certainly benefited from them.  It was just time to start putting the tips and practices to work and BE joyful.

So, I posted something about it on my blog in February, inviting others to claim their authenticity and embrace joy and it’s just grown from there.

Lance’s Commentary: Thanks for sharing your story, Brandi, and how  you’ve gotten to where you are today.  And this movement – it really is all about having fun.  Check out her site, it’s FUN all around!  I believe I discovered Brandi’s site in late 2008, and was instantly drawn to what she writes.  Stop by.  See what’s going on over there.  Read about these ‘joy rebel’ missions, and more.  It’s all good, and it’s all real.

2.  Do you stay up late at night coming up with missions to use each week?

Why YES! Yes I do.  I wail and gnash my teeth also.  (What the hell is ‘gnashing’ anyway?) Ha! Seriously though, the missions are a way to have fun and connect with your authentic self.  I come up with ideas from my own experiences – stuff that has worked for me.  And I’m totally open to ideas!  Anyone can recommend a weekly mission – they just have to email me at brandi@brandireynoldsphoto.com

Lance’s Commentary: Sounds scary, the wailing and gnashing of teeth (why do I think it’s not, though!)!  Sorry Brandi, you just don’t seem too scary…

3.  Let’s say a certain mission doesn’t resonate with me.  What do I do then?

No worries, just don’t do it.  A joy rebel mission should never feel like something you need to check off your ‘to do’ list.  The whole point is to have fun.  You can always check back to see what’s up the next week or email me with a recommendation on something you’d like to try.

Lance’s Commentary: I love this, it’s all so “what works for me”.  Brandi, I think this is one of the real draws – this idea that this is all up to me.  Or, if I’m so inclined, I can dig into the archives and do something from previous weeks (like create your own superhero – how did I miss that one?).  Or I can do nothing at all. It’s all good, and it all works…

4. How do I find out about the missions each week?  And how do I go about completing them (i.e. do you keep score?)?

I post them every Monday.  If you want to share about the experience on your blog or post a comment on mine, that’s great but never a requirement.  We run a pretty lax ship over here at the joy rebellion. No people’s elbows given, I swear.

Lance’s Commentary: This is a ship I’m excited to be on (I’m all for lax!).   Seriously, though, this really is an awesome idea, and what’s so great – there is no commitment, no sign up form, no monthly fee.  It really is all about finding the ‘joy rebel’ within each of us, and letting that rebel out to play!  And no other rules…

THIS JUST OUT (May 4th, 2009): Here’s this week’s mission – all about laughter.  Check it out – even just to see what it’s all about.

Brandi, it’s been great having you here today to explain more about this ‘joy rebel’ movement you have created!

For all our visitors, if you can’t tell – I really think this is one brilliant and creative idea!  And that it’s so non-committal on our part, that we can choose to participate or not – that’s rebellion right there!  This is so easy, and so voluntary.  Being a rebel doesn’t get any easier than this!

When Brandi’s not dreaming up new missions – she has camera in hand letting her creative genius shine through the lens of what she sees in her world.  Check out her photography site, Brandi Reynolds – Joy Rebel Photography.  Oh, and you can also find her hanging out on Twitter.  And living the life of what it means to be a true joy rebel…along with her husband and two dogs…

Joy rebel: the sublime art of being authentically you.  (well said Brandi!)

Lance writes stories from his heart, aiming to inspire and motivate, as you align more fully with YOUR true peak. When he's not here, you can find him hanging out with his family, riding a bike, or just generally acting goofy.   Sign up for the Thoughts from the Treehouse newsletter and get additional inspiration in your email inbox!
Lance Ekum
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{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

Writer Dad May 4, 2009 at 10:16 am

In my eyes, being a “joy rebel” is just about the coolest thing you could possibly be. I’m off to check out some photography now. : > )

Writer Dad´s last blog post..How to Give Your Child a Limitless Life


Positively Present May 4, 2009 at 10:26 am

Such an interesting concept, being a “joy rebel.” I love it! The interview — both the questions and the answers — were wonderful to read. Thank you for posting it. 🙂

Positively Present´s last blog post..rainy days and mondays…


Tabitha May 4, 2009 at 10:40 am

Lance, I am so excited you put Brandi in the spotlight!
I love being apart of the Joy Rebellion!!
Brandi inspires me greatly and so do you!!

Tabitha´s last blog post..Give It Away Now


brandi May 4, 2009 at 11:04 am

lance, you are a rock star. Thank you for your kind words and supportive interview. 🙂

brandi´s last blog post..mission monday:: laugh


Laurie | Express Yourself to Success May 4, 2009 at 11:08 am

Thanks for the introduction, Lance. I’m looking forward joining the movement!


Jewel/Pink Ink May 4, 2009 at 11:34 am

LOVE this idea, Lance. There’s plenty of joy to be had in life!!

I’m off to check out Brandi’s blog.

Jewel/Pink Ink´s last blog post..Back from Storymakers


Vered - MomGrind May 4, 2009 at 11:42 am

I like that we can choose when to participate and when to withdraw. I agree: brilliant and creative!

Vered – MomGrind´s last blog post..If You Want To Sell Something To Women, You’d Better Make It Pink


Rupal May 4, 2009 at 11:48 am

I LOVE THIS! Fantastic idea…this is definitely a blog I will frequent! Thanks Brandi and Lance– I so love the idea behind being a joy rebel and experiencing life and yourself at the same time! Great!

Rupal´s last blog post..Q & A: At your request, a core series!


andrea May 4, 2009 at 12:20 pm

this is wonderful.
i love brandi.

andrea´s last blog post..happy birthday to me 🙂


Lance May 4, 2009 at 12:29 pm

@WriterDad – Hi Sean. Being a “joy rebel” is awesomely cool! And Brandi rocks at leading this group of rebels on toward many levels of joy! Enjoy your visit to her site, and know that you make a great joy rebel yourself…

@Positively Present – I know, I love it too – the joy rebel concept! Thanks for stopping by to read it, and I encourage you to visit Brandi’s site and see what she’s really got going on over there.

@Tabitha – Hi Tabitha. Brandi’s a pretty awesome rebel, isn’t she! And I see she spotlighted you on her site last week – very cool – and it’s not a surprise, you’re doing some very cool things, my friend!

@Brandi – Brandi, you’re wrong, it’s YOU who is the rock star!! No doubt!

@Laurie/Express Yourself to Success – Excellent, it’s great to have you in the “joy rebel” army – you’re going to have a great time!

@Jewel – Hi Jewel. It’s a fabulous idea, isn’t it – being a “joy rebel”!! Have fun at Brandi’s site – it’s a pretty great place to hang out!

@Vered – Hi Vered. It’s so simple and loosely organized – which is what I love about the concept. There’s no pressure, and Brandi makes it so easy to do what works for you. It really is brilliant!

@Rupal – Hi Rupal! Just the word combination of “joy rebel” is cool! And that there’s some meat behind the words, even cooler! It is such a neat concept – enjoy your visit over there!

@Andrea – Hi Andrea, and welcome! Brandi does some pretty amazing stuff, doesn’t she!


Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach May 4, 2009 at 2:17 pm

Joy rebel! Very cool indeed. With all the teenage rebellion that wants to pervade my home, this is a much more preferred alternative…. 🙂 Barbara

Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach´s last blog post..Friends downloaded free software that had viruses


Annette May 4, 2009 at 3:07 pm

I love this concept! Going to work harder to apply it to my life 🙂

Annette´s last blog post..***A Challenge***


jane May 4, 2009 at 4:17 pm

Brandi – as leader of the lax, succulent and often foul mouthed army of joy Rebels rocks. Thanks for featuring her – she deserves all the kudos she gets!!!


Mark May 4, 2009 at 4:35 pm

Good interview and a great concept! Thanks for sharing and increasing our awareness.

Mark´s last blog post..Do It Now – Eat The Toad


The Commenter Formerly Known As Jannie Funster May 4, 2009 at 7:40 pm

Wow, is this girl my long-lost sister, or what!?!?!?

Let the joyful rebellion ring from every rafter. I’m sooooo there on this trip.

The Commenter Formerly Known As Jannie Funster´s last blog post..Silver Lining


I TAKE OFF THE MASK May 4, 2009 at 9:17 pm

Thanks for sharing this, Lance! I’ve been to Brandi’s site and found another fountain of joy, truly a joy rebel 🙂 I’d like to be one as well. Now what’s our mission for the week?

I TAKE OFF THE MASK´s last blog post..A Letter to My Younger Self


Daphne May 4, 2009 at 9:19 pm

What an inspiring interview. Lance, I like the format you used – it’s so clear and easy to follow. And very enjoyable to read too!

Brandi, lovely idea to be a joy rebel. I admire the way you share of yourself so openly on your blog. I’m glad Lance highlighted you today!

Daphne´s last blog post..8 Lessons from the Lindy Hop


Patricia May 4, 2009 at 9:44 pm

Hey this sounds like fun and a good thing…creativity -> let the energies flow in that direction.

The peak of creativity is about age 65 – the peak of imagination is about 6…the best is yet to come…and just think where Brandi will be at 65?

Patricia´s last blog post..Examining the Role and the Rules


Lance May 4, 2009 at 10:05 pm

@Barbara Ling – Hi Barbara. The “joy rebel” idea is super cool! And yes, I’m pretty sure it beats teenage rebellion by a long shot!! (and that’s something I’m on the cusp of…yikes!). Good luck with that at your house!

@Annette – Isn’t this a really cool concept – and it’s so easy (I like easy!) – that’s what makes it work for me! Thanks much Annette!

@Jane – You are completely “right on” – she does deserve all these kudos – Brandi rocks! Big time!!

@Mark/ToBeMe – Hi Mark. This concept that Brandi has envisioned, and put ‘out there’ is awesomeness on many levels. Do check out her site, it’s full of even more great stuff…

@The Commenter Formerly Known as Jannie Funster – Hmmm….should I let you comment here???? Jannie, do you know that you crack me up! I’m gonna let you stay (hey, with that big eye watching over things here, how can I go wrong?). Yes, I think you and Brandi both might be cut from the same piece of fabric…(and that’s a compliment – to both of you!). Be a rebel, Ms. Jannie! (oh, I think you’re there already!!) Rock on, my friend…and hey – stop over and say ‘hey’ to Brandi along the way!!!

@I Take Off The Mask – Hi Jocelyn. Yes, Brandi really is a joy rebel – in all sorts of great ways! And being one takes nothing special – just saying you want to is it (right Brandi?). The mission for this week – is simply to laugh more. And you’ll find that each Monday on Brandi’s site – a post on the mission for the week. Thanks much for joining – I think this is awesome, and I’m sure Brandi does as well!

@Daphne – Hi Daphne! Thank you, and some of how I did this was based on what I’ve learned from you – I loved the format you used, and how personal it all felt. Anyway, it’s always great having you here – and I’m really glad to hear your enjoyed this!

@Patricia – Hi Patricia. This IS fun!! And if we our creativity peaks at 65, then to Brandi – you’re only halfway there – what will you coming up with in the next 30 years? Thanks much Patricia!!


FatFighterTV May 4, 2009 at 10:38 pm

The sublime art of being authentically you – I love it! Joy Rebels unite!


Barbara Swafford May 5, 2009 at 1:09 am

Hi Lance and Brandi,

What a fabulous interview. I love how Brandi said, “It’s about deciding that it’s not irresponsible to refuse to let the US media, lobbyists and approximately a billion retailers dictate my emotions.” I figured out not too long ago that by watching the news, I was letting the media get me down. All the doom and gloom made me begin to worry about our future. When I turned off the news and started looking around for positive signs, I began to feel the economy is headed in an upward direction. Now when I want the headlines, I go to Twitter and see them in 140 characters or less.

Barbara Swafford´s last blog post..Who Said “Blogging Is Easy”


IvánPérez May 5, 2009 at 1:58 am

Very interesting. Thanks for sharing this, Lance, I will check out her site for sure.

IvánPérez´s last blog post..My Favourite Articles From My Favourite Bloggers


Lance May 5, 2009 at 4:10 am

@FatFighterTV – Great line, huh! And – “Joy Rebels unite” – that feels all super hero-ish….very cool!!

@Barbara Swafford – Hi Barbara. Thanks much! The news can be a real downer – as it’s almost exclusively the “bad” that is reported. And if that’s what we always hear, no wonder it starts to bring us down (all of us). The media certainly has the ability to affect our thoughts process, if we allow it – and by viewing it, we are giving it a stronghold into our thoughts… Thank you for the thought Barbara.

@Ivan – Thanks much for stopping by. And yes, check out what Brandi has, it’s awesome , all of it!


brandi May 5, 2009 at 7:00 am

just want to stop in and again thank Lance for having me on site. 🙂

and for all the amazing, uplifting and encouraging comments!

brandi´s last blog post..mission monday:: laugh


suzen May 5, 2009 at 8:01 am

FANNNNtastic! In the world of doom, gloom, negativity and whining, I feel SO blessed to have met you, and now Brandi – clearly bright stars on a dark night! The two of you light up the world! Joy (aka FUN) has been my mantra for the past 20 years, as well as my email address, and imaginary tattoo. What a JOY to find both of you – thank you so much for this blog and connection!

suzen´s last blog post..The Ultimate Quote – A ditty from auntie


Tess The Bold Life May 5, 2009 at 11:01 am

This is so great. What fun and I love Kathleen Madigan. Saw her on the comedy competion on TV. Saw her in Detroit with my daughter and son-in-law. A night that created a memory of a lifetime.
Called my husband in to watch the video. So funny. Remember in 1999 when there was the Y2 scare. It think that was what is was called.
We were all going to meet at our cabin (cottage) in the woods in Northern MI if it happened. I’m still LOL


Cricket May 5, 2009 at 12:08 pm

Hey Lance,

This is great. I can’t wait to head over to her blog and check out her site. Lately, I think I would fit this title very well. I have been a rebel of sorts. Moving out of my boundaries a little more than I ever have. For now, I am safely tucked back into my shell but I am ready to resurface at any moment.

Missed you Lance!


Lance May 5, 2009 at 12:31 pm

@Brandi – I’m gonna say it again, you rock Brandi!!!

@Suzen – Hi Suzen! You’re way too kind (and I’m smiling and feeling all sorts of good right now!). It’s always great to have you visit, and I know you’ll enjoy getting to know Brandi too. Thanks much for stopping by and shining YOUR light here today!

@Tess – Hi Tess! This is great because Brandi exudes it (greatness)! Ah yes, the Y2K scare – so, you were ready to hunker down in northern MI? This Madigan video was perfect then!! Thanks much Tess – I’m laughing thinking about it all. Do check out Brandi’s stuff, it’s excellent!

@Cricket – Hi Tammy! Yes, check out what Brandi has – it’s some pretty fantastic stuff! So, you’re a rebel – I like it, Tammy! It’s good to step out of our boundaries (and it’s also good to spend some time safely in the ‘nest’ too). Sounds like you’re finding a nice balance! It’s great to see you again Tammy, looking forward to catching up with you! You have been missed too, my friend…


Nadia - Happy Lotus May 5, 2009 at 2:18 pm

Hi Lance and Brandi,

I am all for being a rebel. I prided myself on the title when I was a teenager. So the concept of a Joy Rebel suits me fine! Great concept, Brandi! Spread the joy! 🙂

Nadia – Happy Lotus´s last blog post..Claiming Your Voice


Liara Covert May 5, 2009 at 4:29 pm

Lance, you have a wonderful way of brightening the days of your readership. The subject of sheer joy is a definite uplift. Brandi’s candid sharing is a great treat that prompts reflection.

Another perspective to consider is that to feel joy is not itself rebellious. If you take the view that love and joy are all there is, then any other feeling is simply distraction. People choose to be distracted by information they selectively choose to absorb to learn and grow. From this view, to feel joyful may seem to resist the status quo, yet you come to realize you have been rebelling from the truth until you choose to feel joy.

Liara Covert´s last blog post..Share your views on ‘Mankind is no Island’


Sami - Life, Laughs & Lemmings May 5, 2009 at 7:02 pm

What a fantastic idea. Absolutely love the term “Joy Rebel”. It majorly resonated with me! Thanks Brandi and Lance. Btw, you may want to check out http://www.operationnice.com – it’s along similar lines.

Sami – Life, Laughs & Lemmings´s last blog post..The Daisy List: #32. Plant a Herb Garden (Part 2)


Lisa's Chaos May 5, 2009 at 8:10 pm

I was all ready to say yeah I am. Then I kept reading and realized I could make improvements, so I guess I’m a baby joy rebel. Thanx for opening my eyes. 🙂


Marelisa May 5, 2009 at 8:26 pm

Hi Lance: I agree with you that it’s a brilliant idea and I have to say “mission accomplished” because I watched the Kathleen Madigan video on Brandi’s site and I couldn’t stop laughing (and I’m using my computer in a public place and lots of people turned to look, but I don’t care 🙂 ).


Laurie May 5, 2009 at 10:15 pm

Sounds like a great idea. I’ve always been a rebel, might as well be a joy rebel! I’ve really been working on being authentic and this sounds like a way to explore that even more! Can’t wait to check it out.


Evelyn Lim May 5, 2009 at 10:38 pm

“Joy rebel” sounds like a great idea that many will resonate well to. It’s not really about reading one self help book after another. It’s about putting things into action. I definitely like the authenticity bit!

Thanks for the introduction, Lance! I’d be happy to check out Brandi’s work.

Evelyn Lim´s last blog post..Intuitive Messages To Who I Am


Bella May 6, 2009 at 12:41 am

Awwwwwwwwwww, great interview! I just posted about Brandi on my blog today, too ~ great minds, eh?



Davina May 6, 2009 at 1:04 am

Hi Lance and Brandi. I like the phrase “joy rebel movement”. It gives me the feeling of a ripple effect that this has. Even if you’re not consciously participating, you are still connected on another level. And, when you choose not to participate that is still a “movement”. Enjoyed this interview, and meeting Brandi. Thanks.

Davina´s last blog post..Positively Breathing — Affirmation 1


Hilary May 6, 2009 at 2:44 am

Hi Lance and Brandi .. thanks for highlighting our joyrebel – her site is great fun .. and the interview technique is also so interesting as we can get ideas of both people – their views on life, the questions the interviewer asks .. and opening new arenas to others … Tabitha is an inspiration: spending 3 years in hospital – yet giving to others all the time .. as she remembered how much she appreciated the tiny gifts and fun that made her day when she was tiny and terribly vulnerable ..

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters

Hilary´s last blog post..Bluebells and a railway … and a tornado?


Lance May 6, 2009 at 4:37 am

@Nadia – Hi Nadia! Ha, so you were a rebel of sorts growing up?! Yes, spread the joy – one rebel at a time…

@Liara – Hi Liara. Thank you! That’s a good point, the thought that rebellin from the truth until we let joy be our mantra. To Brandi’s point – I see the rebel as being rebeling against some of that which society as a whole has not lifted up – the joy in being…

@Sami – Hi Sami. “Joy Rebel” is an awesome word combination! And thanks for the link, I’ll definitely check it out…

@Lisa’s Chaos – Hi Lisa! A “baby joy rebel” – I like it! It’s like we’re just starting out, and seeing what all this means…

@Marelisa – Hi Mare. That’s great – you accomplished the mission with the video Brandi shared – very cool!! And even cooler – that you happened to do this where others saw you!

@Laurie – Hi Laurie. Here’s one more “rebel” hat to add to your stack!

@Evelyn – Hi Evelyn. We may read a lot sometimes, or watch. This is all about actively doing something – even that that something might be a very still activity, and take you deeply into a state of being). It’s all really great stuff!

@Bella – Hi Bella. I’ll have to check it out (and that sounds good – great minds thinking alike!)…

@Davina – Hi Davina. The ripple effect – something I hadn’t thought of – and an excellent point – doing these missions each week, who know who else might be inspired by them. Thanks much Davina!

@Hilary – Hi Hilary. Well said, Brandi’s site really is great fun! And I see you found Tabitha’s story over there – she is an amazing lady too – and so uplifting! Which makes her a real and true joy rebel as well!


Dragos Roua May 6, 2009 at 7:56 am

That’s one brilliant way to live your life. Thanks, Lance for making me aware of this. I will closely watching it unfolding 🙂

Dragos Roua´s last blog post..Reaching Next Level


Happiness Is Better May 6, 2009 at 9:34 am

It’s difficult not to be happy and excited after reading this post.

I think there’s a “joy” rebel” inside all of us.

Great post!


Lance May 7, 2009 at 5:12 am

@Dragos – It is pretty brilliant isn’t it! Brandi’s onto something here, she’s getting an army, and joy is spreading!

@Happiness Is Better – Hi Dustin. A “joy rebel” in all of us – great point. Sometimes that “joy rebel” just needs to know it’s okay to come out and play. Brandi has the playground!!


Maggi May 7, 2009 at 7:44 am

It’s about deciding that it’s not irresponsible to refuse to let the US media, lobbyists and approximately a billion retailers dictate my emotions.

This is so true. I am lucky now that I only get news when I choose to, same with advertising hype. And I can appreciate the creativity (when there is any) of the advertising without getting drawn in by the message.

Getting off these treadmills helps put you back in control, and that’s what a joy rebel has that so many other people don’t, I feel, the ability to control their own life and make their own choices.


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