It’s not a good situation in some areas of our country. Food banks have sprung up to try and meet growing demand. Families are in need. It’s a modern-day frontier mentality, families moving from town to town in search of work.
Not a realy humorous scene, is it? Yet this scene reminds us of how important humor is as a coping mechanism if your life IS like this scene.
I love going to thrift stores. They are like garage sales every day of the year! One worker told me about the situation his customers are dealing with. He sees it every day. And it’s getting worse.
At the end of his tale of woe he added, “and that’s why we LAUGH.”
I was surprised to hear this twist of events. And yet, not. You see, comedy is born when we
* accept our situation
* decide to see it differently
* transform its meaning
It doesn’t matter where we start, just THAT we start. Today.
With whatever your situation is.
Because that’s why we laugh.
That’s what I asked myself today. I noticed that today’s Junebugs look different. Strangely smaller than what I remember seeing as a kid. These modern-day Junebugs give us a hint on how even our smallest actions can have repercussions.
I have no idea why today’s Junebugs are smaller. Maybe it’s toxic air. Decimating their habitats. Or their food supply has dwindled.
Whatever the cause, it wasn’t apparent. At least not to me. And maybe not to companies, individuals, or whomever reduced the Junebug’s size.
Our humor actions can have similar effects. Usually they don’t help people lose weight like the Junebug has. If my jokes could do that, I would be a millionaire by now.
It’s in the subtlety. Our humor HAS to have the right intentions.
—Sarcasm is a valid type of humor. Use it in the wrong situation, with the wrong person, and you’ve just committed a Junebug homicide.
—Silly physical comedy has it’s place too. Usually at small children’s birthday parties. Or somewhere on prime time cable TV. But use this type of humor in the wrong group of people and you may lose credibility. Another Junebug homicide.
These are just two examples of how subtle humor is. We have the power, but we need the skills to know HOW to use this incredible force. For good.
For the Junebugs.
This week’s Comedy Around the World goes to the bike trail. What used to be miles and miles of railroad are now miles and miles of bike trails in Western Pennsylvania.
Occasionally you’ll encounter tunnels that are hard to naviagte. That’s because you can’t always see to the end of them. Especially if there is a bend in the tunnel.
What do you do? You follow the reflectors that line the middle of the bike path. If you keep your eyes on the reflectors, you’ll make it safely to the other side.
Humor is a reflector, too. If we are attentive to the responses we get, we can gradually adjust and fine-tune our contribution. That way, we need never fear that we’ll offend someone with our humor. Why not?
1. We are initiating a connection. A relationship that says, “I care enough (about you) to help you see things more lightly.”
2. We are keeping and allowing perspectives—ours and other people’s. Humor is based on seeing things in a different way. And allowing that our way may not be the most clever!
3. We aren’t taking ourselves too seriously. Even if we may offend, we don’t have to let it ruin our day. We can stay on our toes and constantly adjust. Moving like water, and coming through the other side.
When we keep our eyes on the reflectors that others give us, we can use our humor effectively and make it out of the tunnel safely.
Perspective. It’s hard to recognize and hard to maintain.
Yesterday my boyfriend and I drove along a back rural road, en route to get ice cream. We thought it’d be faster than the direction the GPS was giving us.
All of a sudden, at the crest of the hill we saw flashing lights. Cars were stopped outside a farmer’s cow barn. My boyfriend said, “I think one of them got hit! See how he’s limping running up the hill?”
We felt simultaneously bad for the cow and frustrated at the clock ticking. The ice cream place would be closing in less than 15 minutes!
But we understood–this was probably a typical Saturday night for these hard-working farmers.
Later, at the ice cream place, we ran into friends who had been at the cow barn. They were there helping. To get the cows into the barn.
The cows that had broken the fence. We told our version of the story and they laughed.
Funny how our perspective drives our behavior, motivation, attitude, and actions and reactions.
What if we could recognize every time that our perspective is just one of many. And maybe it could even be—wrong.
Humor helps cushion this realization and allow us to realx into it. Maybe our perspective doesn’t always have to be right. And maybe the cows are all O.K.
Are you on LinkedIn but don’t know what to do? Here’s a great new webinar from my friend, Beth Caldwell, networking guru.
“If you have created a profile on Linked In, but don’t know what to do with it, or how to maximize your connections, you will want to attend this practical and informative webinar on Tuesday, June 29th from 11am to 12:30pm on your own computer. This webinar will be recorded, so you can watch it over and over again! All registrants will receive a link to download the Webinar, so register, even if you are not able to attend live.
Learn the following:
• How to complete your profile to 100%
• How to use Linked In to get higher Google Rankings
• How to setup your own Linked In Group
• How to Ask/Answer Questions that will bring you business
• How and Why to setup polls
• How to use Linked In to attract visitors to your website
Learn at your desk!
Presenter: Beth Caldwell, author and publicity expert
Cost to attend: Pittsburgh Professional Women Members $25 Non Members $35
Contact Beth Caldwell for more information 412.202.6983
Yesterday I spent time at the nursing home. A place most people actively avoid. But it was surprisingly honest, real, and showed me what and how good HUMOR is born.
A nursing home is like a frat house. That’s what my friend, comedian JD Sidley says. Think of it. Both live together in dorms, both have drugs, and both groups play loud music.
My grandma and I went to the activity room to play Uno. Another resident and her son were playing cards there, too. The son commented, “Oh! There’s someone else who likes to play cards. She (mother) is always looking for people to play cards with!” I said, “Yeah, these two should play!”
In the hallway, another resident’s husband gaave my grandma a poem. My mom had wanted a copy of it. The man’s wife had just had a stroke. My grandma reassured him, saying, “When my husband had a stroke, it took a while for him to come back. At least a month! But then he lived for 20 years after that.”
The man talked about how we would probably be able to see the fireworks on the 4th of July from my grandma’s window in her room. He introduced us to his friend from the campground. He’s from Ligonier. Came the whole way here just to visit the man’s wife.
Not only did I have to take some things to my grandma, but I also visited my friend’s dad. He has been hospitalized for over 9 months with serious stuff. His wife has spent every day by his side. She told me yesterday, “I just LIVE to come here to see him every day.”
That hit me hard. Especially as I am relentlessly devising a “purpose”, some was to use my “degree” and be “useful” in this world. Who has time to do otherwise? And does this world even value those who don’t do the same?
While most people feel uncomfortable visiting nursing homes, I felt strangely relaxed. I felt a connectedness that I hadn’t felt in a long time. It was as though everyone had the sense, “we’re in this together.”
I love winter because it too gives me this “in this together” kind of feeling. The midst of dire circumstances is a gift, IF we look at it that way. That’s because these seemingly negative experiences do 5 timportant things for us:
1. They teach us what’s important. Maybe someone’s “purpose” in life has nothing to do with a salary.
2. They connect us to others–we’re all in this together. Even the ones who have the snowmobiles
3. They show us our humanity–both the pleasant and the crappy parts.
4. They break the barriers to our real-ness. My friend’s mom didn’t care what I was wearing or if I needed a haircut. Sometimes all we need to do is just show up.
5. They take us to life’s most fun and enjoyable parts. Because we’re not spending energy on avoidance, and because we are open to all experiences and ready for anything.
May we all get snowed in—even in the dead of summer.
Right now I’m researching yoga mudras so I can teach them to my 98-year-old Grandma. She’s taking therapy to regain her strength after recently being sick. As I read the descriptions of the mudras, I was fascinated.
They are designed to join together the energy areas of the body. At first glance, this stuff seems flaked out. That’s what I thought about acupuncture, too. Until I tried it for myself.
I thought: Why do we label certain things as “good” or “bad”, “acceptable” or “taboo?” when we do that, we lose out on a lot of helpful and useful information.
The more I read the descriptions of the mudras, it hit me. Isn’t this joining of energies something like the closed-chain and open-chain exercises of physical therapy and exercise science? And isn’t the energy coursing throughout the body (prana, chi, or whatever you want to call it) what we “Westerners” call the endocrine system, the nervous system, and other things?
When we close-off our perceptions and opinions, we also close the humor nature that fosters creativity.