I was looking at a book from 1977, “The Road to Bethlehem–Two Thousand Years Later,” by Tom Harpur. He was a journalist in Toronto who wanted to do a special feature for Christmas. He and his wife decided they would walk the route from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Theirs was a journey stripped of the usual holiday cheer. They walked “against the background of nothing but earth and sky,” simultaneously aware of the silence, and their own thoughts.
What struck me most about their trip was the description Harpur gave about the vast landscapes. As I read, I remembered the wide valleys between mountain ranges. I remembered the Dead Sea, an area that Harpur describes as providing an “utter sense of freedom,” and with it a, ”gradual feeling of euphoria, of all things being possible.”
He writes of being “gripped again and again by the stark vastness of this solitude,” as they approached Jericho. There were no trees. No birds singing. ”Just an utter silence.” This brought the couple “face to face with ourselves.”
Even though the sight was bleak and desolate, Harpur found in it “a uniquely moving fascination. The space and starkness of the bare hills seemed to ruthlessly strip away all excess mental baggage. Undoubtedly, this kind of environment clarifies one’s vision.”
I read on, and remembered the roads free of any traffic, and, as Harpur describes, “The overwhelming silence of the surrounding wilderness” and how it “filled my inner being with a sense of deep peace.”
No matter what religious or spiritual tradition you may celebrate or honor, take some time to find this vastness. Go there to strip away the excess mental baggage and revive your sense of humor. It is from this silence, this inner peace, that you can hear your own truth. And from truth, humor.
I was driving back from mailing some letters before our slaughterhouse/post office closed today. “Captain of Her Heart” was playing on the radio. Instantly in my mind I was back in Princeton, NJ and remembering all the friends I knew there; TCBY was just becoming popular; there was another (hard) ice cream place on the main street that everyone claimed was the best; I doubted it, because TCBY was pretty good, especially the white chocolate mousse.
As I kept driving, along came a song by K.C. and the Sunshine Band. Right away, I remembered the after-marathon party at Roseland Ballroom on west 52nd street in New York.
To this day, I can’t hear “Deck the Halls” without reciting the direct object in German: “durch, fuer, gegen, ohne, um, weider, bis,” fa la la la la, la la la la.
Why is music so good at helping us remember things? What if we could use this to help people remember our message. The only problem: We speak during a speech, we don’t sing. And if we did sing, it would have to be a new song, without prior associations in people’s individual minds. And we would need to repeat it many times, in order for this memory-magic to take effect.
The good news is that we do have a tool that can aid memory. Something that can solidify our message in people’s minds. A way that we can stand out from all the other speakers, messages, and noise. We can make them laugh.
The research on humor points to its effectiveness in helping people to remember the message. The unusual addition of humor makes people take notice, makes our message stand out. The injection of humor by us as a speaker makes us more likeable. It’s a win-win-win situation. And you don’t need to carry a tune to carry the audience.
!!We passed the 50 links mark to my website!! Thank you to everyone who is getting the word out about YourShiningExample.com and helping everyone to, “Get Your SHINE Together!”
Here is yet another reason to celebrate the season–we will be having another BORDERS Book Signing and Reading this Saturday, 12/20 from 2-6pm in San Diego County, at the Eastlake/Chula Vista location.
To thank you for all your support, I’m giving you a free gift:
Listen to a short (12 minute) radio interview and hear the late actor Jack Palance tell â€œThe Night Before Christmasâ€ with Laurie Z.â€™s lovely music playing in the background. This is quickly becoming a global top hit on radio stations!
And, Heart of a Woman in Business author Sheryl Roush was interviewed on December 12 Hereâ€™s the story and link to the audio file:
I just got back from my hairdresser’s. She thanked me for the hilarious card I had sent her. “What card?” I wondered to myself. I didn’t remember sending anything that funny.
As she was waiting for the color to process, she fetched the card (that is a ‘cool’ verb that shows up in my website stats nowadays. ‘Nowadays’ doesn’t, though.)
I only remembered sending a thoughtful, profound post-it-note that was made for teachers to give their students. Nice, meaningful sayings with a cartoon picture to accompany the phrase.
The one I had included in her card: “Without you I would live in a grey world.” She said she had read it and “just howled” with laughter.
–”Oh, I get it! Because you are covering the grey!”
–”Isn’t that why you sent me that post-it note?”
–”No, actually I was being profound and touching when I chose that one!”
Imagine having such an expectation of being funny, that you are perceived as humorous even when you aren’t trying to be! I had created such an expectation of being a “funny person” around her, that she found humor even where I hadn’t intended humor to be found.
This can happen to you, if you write a funny introduction for yourself–especially include something that states clearly that you are there to make them laugh. I learned the hard way on this one. After my presentation, someone said, “Oh, you were trying to be funny? We didn’t know whether we should laugh; we didn’t want to hurt your feelings.”
Imagine a world that’s not grey, but the opposite. A world that is so filled with colorful witticisms created by YOU. A world that invites people to laugh–with you, at you, near you. We carry this world around with us; it surrounds us wherever we go. It’s the first impression we give someone. It’s the expectation we create about ourselves. Even without saying a word.
“Get Your SHINE Together!” so you won’t have to live in a grey world!
“The 18 Minute Expert Examination”, an article by Peter Weddle, appeared in Higheredjobs.com. In it, the author Weddle explains how we are affected by technology. He writes, “The Information Age has done much to expand access to knowledge. Sadly, it has also undermined the value of information. We’ve become a nation of indiscriminate information sponges. We absorb billions of bits of data — facts, analyses and opinions — and, all too often, we accord every single one of them the same credibility and respect.”
We have become so fast-paced that we have lost our reasoning capability. This speed encourages us to be very task-oriented. We need to multi-task. We need to keep up–with the competition, with the new technology, with the game.
If this is what technology is doing to our minds, what is it doing to our interpersonal relationships and communication styles (not to mention our capacity for communicating)? Read more at http://www.higheredjobs.com/Articles/articleDisplay.cfm?ID=78
What is it doing to you? How are you going to, “Get Your SHINE Together!” now?
What’s your opinion on the Iraqi’s flinging his shoes at President Bush lately? One commentator said, “Bush’s response was so detached from reality,” referring to Bush’s “anyone missing a size 10 shoe” type of comment.
Was his response detached from reality?
Are there some places, instances, cultures where we should refrain from using humor?
Was it a dangerous thing to treat this incident so lightly?
What are your thoughts?
Let’s hear them, firstname.lastname@example.org
“The rest-note, unwritten, hinged between worlds, that precedes change and allows it.” –Jane Hirschfield, from “The Door,” in The October Palace.
Wintry mix. Usually that phrase conjures up thoughts of snow/ice combo, bad roads, fender-benders. But it can also mean silence/thoughtfulness combo, inroads to imagination, and gut-busting laughter. OK, maybe not that funny, but that hinging between worlds that Hirschfield mentions, is a good place to be. It allows us to step back from the chaos and stress of the day. To notice the things and people around us. The funny things and people around us. This begins the cycle of stress-release, as we begin to unwind.
When will you take your ‘rest-note’ today? What will you do today to, “Get Your SHINE Together!”?
This Week’s Comedy Around the World segment goes to a place I go every day.
It’s somewhere that anyone can go:
Especially in winter.
There’s something about the weather, the road conditions, the air, that makes it a special time for thinking. Similar to what yoga does for our minds and bodies: it creates space for other ideas and sensations to assilimate and settle. Spending time outdoors gives us a detachment from things we have on our minds. This detachment creates space. Space for creativity. Space for new ideas to germinate. Space where we can process our thoughts–thoughts that could potentially be very humorous.
If only we had the time to process them. The good news is that in winter we do have that time.
It must be something about the silence. Or maybe it’s the atmospheric pressure, the chi in the air? Could be that few people enjoy being outside in cold weather. Few enjoy driving on bad roads. That makes more space for the silence that is essential for creativity–and humor–to be realized.
So, today, any time, get outside to, “Get Your SHINE Together!”
Dr. Jeff Magee wrotes in his Leadership newsletter that there are DNA reasons and also generational reasons for the different ways people act and interact. He writes:
1. “Centurions tend to be more linear, literal and like things written out.
2. Baby Boomers are more bottom-line, self-centered and want less written and more verbal.
3. Generation X, are more interactive and may prefer you to tell and show them.
4. Generation Y, challenge the norm and do not play by tradition or structure and see nothing wrong with their actions. They may want some of the communication exchange written out, others may prefer verbal, and some, require a degree of interactive.
5. Generation MTV, are looking for instant â€œme gratificationâ€ and like all mediums used, simultaneously, visual, verbal, and interactive (Kinesthetic).”
What do these different people all have in common? They all can have a sense of humor, use it, and appreciate it in others. And YOU can figure out what type of humor to apply to each generational circumstance.
It doesn’t matter your age, their age, or whether you both come from the same generation. We can all still, “Get Your SHINE Together!”
Let’s hear from YOU–what do you want to know about humor, comedy, laughter, fun?
Get ready for Friday Fun Times; not that the other days of the week aren’t fun here, this is something extra. This is where YOU tell us what YOU want to know about, talk about, rant about, praise.
* Have you tried using humor in the workplace? What happened?
* Do you want to know how to add humor to a speech?
* Have you tried using humor in a speech? What happened?
Share your stories of success and/or disaster, we’re all friends here [but you don't have to use your real name if you don't want to].
Also, get ready for some new additions to YourShiningExample.com – remember to sign up for our newsletter coming out very soon! Either use the form on the website www.yourshiningexample.com or you can email email@example.com Get ideas, share ideas, to help everyone to, “Get Your SHINE Together!”
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