When I was a kid about ten years old, I liked Christmas songs. The unusual ones. I’m not talking about those weird 17th Century French carols played in Phrygian mode. Even I’m not that weird.
I’m talking about the mildly “minor” songs. The lesser-played, but substance-filled ones.
Here, minor doesn’t mean less important. It merely means less common.
Oh sure, I enjoyed, “Joy to the World,” “Frosty the Snowman,” and “I’m Mr. Green Christmas.” But the songs that really made me stop and listen, they were the minority-key ones.
“Do You Hear What I Hear?” “We Three Kings.” Not only were they mysterious and interesting (because they were so different from the majority-key songs), some of them even added weird names and words. “O Christmas Tree” would suddenly dip into the German language. “What Child Is This” was sometimes also called, “Greensleeves.”
“Craziness! What are they going to do next?!” That’s what I always wondered.
They weren’t comfortable-sounding. But they were cathartic.
They weren’t easy to hear, but they were enriching to listen to intently.
Those were the songs that made me feel, after hearing them, that I’d just added depth to my experience of life.
1. Because they were so different.
2. Because they took me to a different level of awareness, instead of residing in comfort.
3. Because they connected with me on an emotional level that I didn’t regularly or need to access as a 10-year-old.
What makes you like YOUR favorite songs? How funny is THAT?
“It’s Hollywood, you never know what you’re gonna get!”
I’m watching the DVD “Strictly Background.” It’s a documentary about certain movie extras. Or background artists, as they are sometimes called.
What makes people accept minimum wage, grueling working conditions, and long tedious hours that consist mostly of waiting around?
They love the ENVIRONMENT. Extra after extra regaled me about the stars they’d met, the insider look at the film-making business. They loved the excitement of that atmosphere, the amazement generated in that aura of stars.
Think of it: If something is THAT powerful to compel people to endure tough circumstances, what can WE do? How much power do WE possess when we use our HUMOR nature to create this kind of environment.
I remember my own experiences as an extra, and how HUMORous I felt during those times…
^^^The freedom to move about the sound stage, deftly dodging the other extras in a meaningful dance.
^^^The electricity of newness of scenes, stars, actors, and new friends.
^^^The whole-picture final product that represents a completed-ness of creativity, a candidness of celebrity-sightings.
What kind of environment are YOU creating today? How funny is THAT?
I don’t buy into hype. If a film or album is good enough to be #1 worldwide, I figure it’s got to be watered down enough for all the masses to like it. I’m still waiting for the excitement to die down before I see E.T.
The Chronicles of Narnia never interested me for that very reason. But, this Christmas weekend I had a chance to see the first chronicles on DVD. And what I saw was very HUMOR-filled.
I was impressed not by the animation, the story line, or the cast of thousands. What was most striking to me was the littlest of the kings and queens of Narnia, Lucy. She was the one to condemn black & white thinking. She told the others, “You only think in black and white. Either we die here in this battle, or we die there, in that battle.”
The others’ black and white thinking closed them off to all the other options available to them in that mysterious, wild, and fantastical world they found themselves in.
In the end, Lucy was right. The outcome for the kings and queens wasn’t black and white. Some of them would return, some not. Others who had been killed were brought to life, others not. Each had his or her own purpose to fulfill. There WAS no black and white.
That’s why in the end, it turned out OK.
When we don’t have black and white thinking, we don’t have to worry about perfectionism. In fact, we can’t make a perfect decision. Because when we see that we have choices, there isn’t either perfect and failure. There are, instead, options. Many, many options.
What color options are YOU seeing today? And how funny is that?
Positivity Girl Kelly Eckert’s on a mission. She wants to work with you to make someone’s moment. I love her rationale. She says that being positive isn’t about being funny, having fun, OR even about being happy.
It’s instead, about CONNECTIONS. That’s what HUMOR herds us toward.
It’s not the laughs, it’s the levity.
It’s not the guffaws, it’s the true grit.
It’s not the idiocy of slapstick it’s the insight.
It’s not the snickering it’s the soul-searching effects of going beyond our comfort zone.
The Positivity Girl explains that sometimes making someone laugh is out of the question, or at best questionable. Think of someone who has suffered a loss. We shouldn’t be on a mission to get them to laugh. They may resent us for it. They may be unable to see anything lightly.
But we can lighten someone’s environment by using some keys that HUMOR heralds:
1. Make a universal connection. Maybe you haven’t suffered lately, but you have at some time. Humor remember our essential and common humanness.
2. Turn a direction. Maybe your friend is in a morass of melancholy. But what you can do is suggest a different way of seeing—maybe not their particular problem, but seeing ANYthing in a different manner. That can be the spark they build on to climb out of their despair.
3. Allow honesty to freely flow. Being humorous isn’t (just) about being funny and having fun. It’s the truth, and our expressing it, that allows us the freedom to fun (yes, that’s a verb now; if ‘text’ can be a verb, I say so can ‘fun’ be a verb. See #2. above.)
What can YOU do to make someone’s moment with your sense of HUMOR? How funny (and fun) is that?
Oprah’s new channel, “OWN,” will be ‘purposeful’ television watching. Oprah doesn’t want to promulgate the mindless reality–TV-themed rants that characterize the word ‘television’ today.
So, what’s so funny about that? The way Oprah describes her goal: She wants people to say, “Oh, I never thought of that!” She wants to take television into the realms of HUMOR.
1. To get people out of their trance-ruts so that they can develop and cull their awareness skills.
2. To work with people to make productive changes in their lives so that they move forward in a positive direction.
3. To connect people to others in similar circumstances so people will lose their aloneness and the energy drain that station acquires.
I can’t wait to see Oprah’s new channel. Doesn’t even matter what’s on, I just want to be surrounded by that theme of humor: awareness, productivity and connection. Now that’s funny! And—fun!
I posted on Facebook that I don’t like the “Christmas Story” movie. You know, the one with the blond-haired boy with glasses. It never registered with me. Maybe because I’m not a boy. Maybe because I didn’t like the voice-over mystique. Maybe because I just didn’t LIKE it.
To me, that movie was dangerous. Because it slapped the essence of HUMOR right in the face.
1. It ruined the connection (with non-like-minded viewers). If the scene and characters didn’t resonate with you, you couldn’t laugh. There was nothing in it for you.
2. Having a favorite film-of-all-time makes it bullet-proof. We can’t criticize, comment on, or improve on it. It’s perfect. Hands off!
3. It silences people from telling their true feelings about the worshipped icon. They don’t want to be ostracized, so they just go along with the crowd.
The danger in having a cult favorite movie is that we distance others who DON’T share our opinion. We, in effect, silence them. After all, who (besides me) wants to be the one to announce that they don’t like something that the majority absolutely loves? We can’t improve on something that’s already perfection. And we close the door on the connection that humor is supposed to generate.
Even when it means distancing others, we still want our choice to be #1.
Even when it doesn’t matter, we’re still wanting our team to win!
What’s YOUR favorite holiday movie? Are you willing to know what people really think of your movie?
How funny is THAT?
This week’s Comedy Around the World goes shopping for Christmas presents. Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. It’s right up there with Groundhog Day and April Fool’s. But not for the reasons you may think. Not because people are in a good mood, or willing to be kind to one another. That’s old hat.
I love this time of year because people are willing to go completely off the logic & reason chain.
We claim that Christmas is a stressful time. But in fact, we’re throwing OFF our stress-inducing habits.
* We’re NOT hypervigilant about gas prices when there’s shopping to be done.
* We’re NOT paranoid about keeping to our time schedules.
* We DON’T care about our diets.
* We are solely focused on having FUN.
Here are some examples I’ve witnessed (or committed) myself:
1. People are completely un-gas-saving. Forgot a present for someone? Just drive another 30 miles out of your way. It’s a gift. It’s Christmas.
2. People are wholly unselfish. I was about to pay for my groceries at the Amish smashed can store when the owner handed me a pen. I said, “I’ve already signed UP for the free gift certificate.” (”Just write your name and phone number,” the sign read…). He said, “NO! This is a GIFT!” Completely unnatural especially since the store sells $4.95 health food store crackers for .35 cents. Insane!
3. People jump start their impulsiveness by throwing out their schedules. Have to get up at 5:30 a.m. for work? Doesn’t matter, stores are open until 10. And you shop, because it’s Christmastime.
What other time of the year lets us let ourselves be so free, so unfettered, and at ease? No, we’re not non-conformist (because EVERYone is being nonconformist this time of year). But we ARE being truer to ourselves. Staying up late when we shouldn’t. Eating sugar-laden foods haphazardly because friends are near. Driving maniacally from store to store when gas is $3.09 a gallon.
And very, very FUN.
What irrational and illogical things are YOU doing this Christmas season? How funny is THAT?
I used to think all people have a sense of humor. We shouldn’t get so easily offended. We shouldn’t take ourselves so seriously that we analyze a speaker’s comments to or about us.
Now, I have rethunk that position.
I wish I could go back and apologize to all the audiences I told to not sweat the snide stuff. I even used to hint that sarcasm can be a positive.
When participants mentioned a horrifying work environment, I reminded them to do a self-de-stressing exercise. “Just tell yourself, ‘Maybe they were just trying to be funny and failed.’”
But now I disagree. With myself. Because all humor starts with a grain of truth. Your intuition—that knot in the stomach, nausea, feeling offended—is always right.
You can sort out the actualities later, but you must give yourself the option that that the person wasn’t just trying to be funny.
I used to think that to rid ourselves of stress, we should not take ourselves too seriously. Now I know better: When we ignore our inner voice and truth, we CREATE stress. And we reduce OUR humor capacity and skill because we’re denying that grain of (our) truth. Sure don’t take yourself too seriously, but take your intuition very seriously!
What were YOU offended by today? How funny is THAT (or not)?
One of the biggest obstacles to humor — and creativity in general — is that time-worn split between the arts and sciences.
Have you ever worn a perfectly tailored suit? Fashion is an art, right? But what about the exact distances the seamstress measured to get the suit to lay exactly right? That’s a science.
And how about the neurosurgeon who is also an award-winning photographer?
Do we really HAVE to be one OR the other? Either, or?
It’s the blending, or rather the ”mashing,” that marks the new dawn of modern creativity. Just like in comedy, there ARE no rules. The only structure is what YOU want to make.
When we let our borders bleed onto other ‘categories’, we wind up with things that are one-of-a-kind and — like humor — memorable.
What can YOU do to make your message, your product, or yourSELF more memorable? How funny is THAT?
Here’s a message from my friend Dan Hubbard, whose music is charging ahead in the charts. For those of you in the Illinois/Indiana area, check out one of his shows this season!
“The Holiday Jamboree with Backyard Tire Fire and Friends on Saturday was a pretty awesome night. We raised $5,000 for the Share The Music program for kids in need. The crowd was great, and I posted a more detailed blog about it on my website if you get a minute.
” ‘See You Again’ climbed 5 more spots to #190 on the AMA charts this week and is now being played on 116 stations nationwide. It’s been pretty exciting watching the progress.
“We also just confirmed our own show at the beautiful Castle Theater in Bloomington for May 21st, so mark your calenders!!! Show time, ticket sales, and opening band still TBA.
“I posted a song called “Postcard” from my new unreleased material cd on my music page if you want to check it out.
“Finally, I am playing Thursday night (23rd) at Diggers with Mute Karma and Chicago Farmer. I will open the show at 8pm so all you old folks can make it out. I will also be pulling out all 3 of my annual Christmas songs, so don’t miss it!
“Thank you so much again for all of your support, and for listening to me talk about myself. I am grateful and thankful. Merry Christmas and love to all.
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