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Journaling has been a healing practice throughout my life and a powerful tool to unearth the deeper longings that have allowed me to “sage” while I age.

I see writing as an intimate relationship. Like any intimate relationship, it is anything but easy so it may require rekindling the spark over and over. Finding the spark to write allows us to share our life stories and experiences. It lift the veils we hide behind to reveal the universal truths that make us human. We begin to understand how connected we truly are and how we can live our lives through the rhythm of our souls.

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This is Lisa’s first novel, which is based on her vision quest experiences in the Sahara Desert of Southern Algeria. See below to learn more about vision questing.


Rhythm of the Soul: A Journey of Loss and Discovery

In a tale of longing, Laila journeys deep into the Sahara Desert accompanied by the Tuareg nomads and her beloved camel companion, Anarani. She returns delving into her early memories of growing up as a daughter of anthropologist parents who were studying the Tuareg nomads in Algeria. After a tragedy strikes during the 1990 Tuareg revolution, the family leaves broken. Carrying the emotional devastation over many years, Laila feels a thirst to go back into the vast landscape that mirrors the struggles of her inner landscape. Through the magical voices of the desert, the ceremonial shai tea, her guide, Go’at, the Tuareg, and Anarani, Laila seeks to quench the longing that courses within. The Rhythm of the Soul weaves a story steeped in cultural anthropology, Tuareg history, and magical surrealism. It delivers a rich tapestry of inner and outer journeying into the mysteries of being, mirroring what we all long for: belonging.

Lisa has made it her life’s focus to travel so she could learn about people and their cultures. She went to the Sahara Desert for vision questing in 2005 and 2010 with a Swiss organization that had forged a connection with the Tuareg nomads. This allowed the Western travelers to connect with the men who led the caravan. They also transformed their Western identity by donning the Tuareg veil (shesh) and tunic (gandora). Throughout each days’ journeys the two worlds shared their tales while riding the camels, drinking the tea, eating from the same bowls, and talking around the campfire. She observed their deep wisdom shaped by the stark landscape, how they cared for their camels, and their struggles to maintain their nomadic lifestyle. These experiences captured her heart and imagination. Thus this story bubbled up to convey the magic of the Sahara.

Take an entertaining and fascinating adventure that weaves the soul of Laila with the soul of the Sahara, the Tuaregs, as well as her camel, Anarani. You will feel like you went on a deep, personal journey while exploring the universal struggles that ultimately make us all human.

Lisa lives in Baltimore, MD with her three cats that are named after the desert - Sahara, Tindi, and Berber.


Having fun with Magical Realism

I love reading books in the genre of Magical Realism. What is magical realism? Wikipedia’s definition says it refers to fiction and literature with magic or the supernatural presented in an otherwise real-world or mundane setting. Books from Latin America are most commonly associated with this style by authors such as Jorge Luis Borges, Gabriel García Márquez, Isabel Allende, Laura Esquivel, etc. The book that was my first introduction was Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel. I immediately became a fan and delved into reading the cited authors above.

Never did I think I would be writing not only a novel, but one modeled on magical realism. Inserting other worldly characters and circumstances brings a touch of fun and artistic license to my story. As I was riding my camel, Anarani, on my first vision quest, his cheeks were the only ones out of all the camels that seemingly had scars. Although I never asked why directly, my imagination stirred up a story about Anarani. And what better way for it to be told, but in his “voice”. I also include voices of the desert speaking their wisdom - the dunes, wind, and the Tuareg tea.

To find out more about vision questing:     Animas Valley Institute      School of Lost Borders

To find out more about vision questing:

Animas Valley Institute

School of Lost Borders

What is Vision Questing?

There are times in life when you long for deeper clarity and vision about your life purpose. You feel a transition or shift in perspective is necessary, but your plugged in life constantly distracts you from taking those steps.

When I have been confused, uncertain, sad, or dealing with any other blockage that can come, I reconnect with nature to explore new insights and perspectives, not only within myself but also about the world I live in. One way I have done that is through vision questing. I have been on three vision quests over the years and my life has been inexorably transformed having gone through these experiences. I feel it is important to provide some understanding of the process.


Vision questing is choosing to take time away from your familiar, every day life to completely unplug from all the tasks and technology that weigh you down and go into a nature setting in order to seek greater depth and clarity about your life purpose. It is based on indigenous rites of passage that mark significant life transitions.

There are a variety of organizations that lead questing, so It is important to find seasoned guides to ensure you have a meaningful and safe experience. Your work with the guides and the gathering of other seekers who go into the wilderness or a place of nature involves a lot of introspection and sharing through journaling, dream work, medicine walks, drumming, etc., all preparing you to sit solo - alone for up to four days and nights while fasting. Sitting solo is the hallmark of a vision quest.

The stages of vision questing usually involve:

Severance - as you separate from your familiar world, you prepare physically, psychologically, and spiritually to begin the experience of fasting solo in nature. The descent into the natural world helps you to disengage from the knowns and beliefs by which you operate. Your mind’s chatter loosens its grip to increase objectivity in viewing how you live your life.

Threshold - the time when you leave the group and cross a threshold into the solo experience. You seek out the solo spot, making sure it is in a safe location which includes a method to be checked on while a private perimeter is maintained. As you sink into that chosen area of the earth, you are able to observe how the outer nature is a reflection of your inner nature. What you feel drawn to exactly mirrors what you may be going through - (e.g. a dead tree that represents a part of you that holds you back and needs to die in order to create a larger life). There are many ways to spend solo time. The guides provide their suggestions, but it’s ultimately your creation. (And yes, there is physical hunger which contributes to deepening your experience.)

Incorporation - when you return from your fast, you and the group share your stories of your solo time with the guides and each other. Using deep listening, the guides mirror your story back so you may hear the larger, archetypal struggles you went through. This brings greater objectivity about and learning from that magical, sacred experience. You also learn how to incorporate your unique soulful lessons into your life so you, as well as your community, will benefit.

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When I find a book that envelopes me into the life and journey of the characters, I cannot put it down! This is one of those books!! Lisa Diane McCall captures a tale of pain and growth, sadness and healing. It is an amazing journey mixed with cultural traditions and so much depth!
— Jeri St. John


With my riding camel, Anarani, in the Sahara Desert

With my riding camel, Anarani, in the Sahara Desert


Hi. I'm Lisa

My work (and this site) is devoted to helping people live with more joy, ease, and freedom through workshops, private coaching, and writing to guide you toward creating a life you love.