I have had many careers, ranging from lawyer to candymaker to cocktail waitress to probation officer, and several jobs in between. During one or two of those roles, I was somewhat New Agey. For the most part, I try to minimize the memories of those fluffier days. Around my most staid friends, those memories are primly hidden, the hippie is fully stashed, the fluff is sharply amputated.
But there are some shimmering images that persist. The lighthearted, improvisational freedom that accompanied those hippy-dippy days occasionally calls my name. Especially when I think of Snoopy.
Today I was missing Snoopy more than usual so I looked for something I had written about him. Here's an ode to the wonderful beagle that I wrote many, many, many years ago. Scoff, stare, point, if you want (especially my lawyers pals), but maybe just for a minute do as I suggest below.
Be Like That Beagle
Snoopy delights us as he becomes a pilot, a dancer, a writer, a scout leader, a vulture. You can delight yourself by becoming whatever you want. A trusty and certain way to Loosen Up, Lighten Up (LULU) is to have a Snoopy Day.
We get so stuck in our roles that we may go through life as if in a trance, or a string of trances. There’s the wake-up-ritual trance — make the coffee, get the paper, read it, make breakfast, brush your teeth. Then you shift into the go-to-work trance.
Break out in a major way. Have a Snoopy day. Follow the lead of that imaginative beagle and be anything you choose. Become an artist, or a cowperson, or a poet, or a vulture, or whatever else you want most. Fill with your whole being a role of which you have only dreamed before.
A Ballerina In My Workplace?
You knew how to do this quite well as a child, remember? Think of all the things you became when you were young. Think of the absolute freedom “make believe” gave you. Snoopy days are “make believe” days and are not just for children. You can be anything we want to be — no matter what that is.
Are we saying that you should go to work acting as a ballerina? If a ballerina is what you choose to be on a Snoopy Day, it would be ideal if you could go to work as one as long as it did not interfere with your
I learned several valuable exercises from the late Harry Sloan when I took from him a 10-day course in psychosynthesis. (The 10 days were a part of a two-year intensive I took in mediation from Gary Friedman.) For those of you not acquainted with psychosynthesis, I highly recommend the book What We May Be; or books by Roberto Assagioli, founder of psychosynthesis: The Act of Will and Psychosynthesis. (For other books on psychosynthesis, see below; click for past posts related to psychosynthesis here, here, and here.)
One of the exercises learned from Harry which I will describe in a minute may seem simple, silly, and maybe not worth your time. That was my first reaction until I participated; our group spent a half day digging into this process! You don't need to spend hours, but I think you might benefit with even a few minutes. Since learning it in the '80s, I have used the cartoon process a number of times over the years, both myself and in workshops.
As explained below, this process (and the whole of psychosynthesis) can help conflict professionals to feel at ease with ambiguity and contradictory points of view. (That is, of course, one of the main reasons we took 10 days of psychosynthesis in our mediation intensive.)
Below is the process as I recall it from memory and my notes, and is probably just a bit different from how Harry presented it.
Here are each of the steps of the Cartoon Counsel process—my name, I can't recall what Harry called this exercise. (As you will see, it could also be spelled Cartoon Council.)
In preparation, for a week or more, collect cartoons that you find especially funny. Choose one of
On a walk this morning at Bear Creek Lake Park, I saw a sign warning visitors about coyotes. Click to see the sign. Some silly or perverse part of me thought, "Why that's exactly how some lawyers negotiate!"
Here's the warning, modified just a bit to be a page out of the behavior manual of certain lawyers:
Be as BIG and LOUD as possible. Use arm gestures and a forceful voice to exaggerate your size. Throw objects at [opposing counsel]. Remain calm and do not run.
Note: At this post's first link, there are more clips of Bear Creek Lake Park.
Writing comedy is very, very hard! Fortunately I have never had to deliver my comic products; my jokes have always been delivered by a professional comedian. Could it be that he got more laughs than I would just because he was a pro?
What makes an April Fools' prank hilarious? A cognitive scientist's (actually funny) new book shows how the brain breaks down the elements of a joke and why we laugh. Sharon Begley reports.
If you don’t care about damage to your reputation, career, or marriage, there is no shortage of April Fools' Day pranks you can pull... . While reasonable people can debate whether the results are hilarious or sophomoric, chances are a disinterested observer would at least crack a smile. Cognitive scientist Matthew Hurley of Indiana University wanted to know why.
The result, as laid out in a new book, Inside Jokes: Using Humor to Reverse-Engineer the Mind, is the most persuasive theory of humor in the centuries that scientists have been trying to explain why we crack up. Extra bonus: unlike most such research, which is about as funny as a root canal, Hurley’s analysis is—and I don’t think I’m going out on too much of a limb here—the funniest thing the MIT Press (home of Knowledge Management in Theory and Practice and Edge-Based Clausal Syntax) has ever published (in a good way).
...Inside Jokes argues that mirth (the feeling we experience when we encounter humor) arises when the brain realizes that an assumption it has committed to is flat-out wrong.
That sounds simplistic, so here’s the long version: The brain constantly generates presumptions about what will happen next. ... In short, the brain “produc[es] real-time anticipation on all important topics,” argue the authors, as it generates myriads of possible futures, and also fills in details about ambiguous situations in the present—both of which are crucial to functioning in a world of imperfect and incomplete information.
‘These scans are fantastic,’ said Lawrence McGinty, Science Editor for ITV News, ‘not only are they bright and colourful but the graphics department have even converted them into 3D and can make them spin around the screen while I stand in front waving my hands about. None of this helps to explain anything, but it does it so much better the old black and white pictures. They were rubbish.’
The scans were also welcomed by neurologist Professor Oliver Sacks, best-selling author of The Man Who Mistook his Brain Scan for a News Story. ‘These images provide us with the best picture yet of nothing much going on inside the human head. I particularly like the way different regions of the brain light up for no apparent reason. It’s so cool.’
As my friends and many colleagues know, I have been paying much attention to the sources of our food and the problems with the food supply in the US. (Click, as examples of my blog posts on the topics, here and here.) So I was delighted to see youngsters singing about food, both its quality and where it comes from.
This music video honors the interconnected web of people, plants and animals that work together to bring us a healthy meal. Thank you to mother nature and the workers, the reapers and the threshers, the seedlings and the raindrops, the bakers and the truckers, the ranchers and the farmers, the butchers and inspectors, the cows and special cheffers.
Broken hearts, rotten teeth, empty wallets and purple pimples- these were just some of the leftovers from our failed relationships with the likes of Snickers and Coca Cola. Sad, lonely and caught in the grip of sugar-rush-induced mood swings, we bravely kept looking for love, and found it in the most unlikely of places. The creators of the hit song, Who Put that Burger on Your Plate are back again with a new song called I Fell in Love With Broccoli. This Doo-Wop inspired love song encourages kids to make healthy food choices and resist the short-term sugar rush for the long-term love of vegetables. This delicious song is best served with a side of cheese.
In the new book resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences, Nancy Duarte features a few talks as models of excellence. One of them is a TED talk by Benjamin Zander in which he talks about music and passion. Although I have been reading the book for a couple of days, I only just this morning got around to watching the Zander talk. Okay, stop whatever you are doing now and click to watch his brilliance. Perhaps you will then join me on this lovely fall morning in feeling a bit happier and more inspired about today, this week, or the unfolding decade.
This poor man must be so out of touch with the 21st century and other people's feelings. But I was amused as I read this blog post from LawsForAttorneys.com so my sympathy for the clueless lawyer was quickly overcome by laughter. Then I realized the post is a joke (isn't it?).
After nearly 20 years as a law professor specializing in federal courts and evidence at the esteemed University of Pennsylvania Law School, Frank Droganon could no longer resist the lure of the private sector. So when Castill, Drake & Poole, a 60-person appellate litigation boutique in Philadelphia, was the latest law firm to roll out the red carpet, he packed up his office and walked right down it.
...But now, eight months after the high-profile hire, sources inside the firm say the marriage is on the rocks. At fault? Droganon’s no-computer policy.
Sources say Droganon circulated an introductory memo saying the policy, which he had originally developed for first-year students in his Evidence class at University of Pennsylvania Law, was to keep associates “focused” on the material and prevent “tempting distractions.” Droganon informed his associates that they would work with pen and lined paper, and would have the option of typing the material into a word processing program on their computers after hours, if they so choose.
Productivity plummeted immediately, sources say. Although Droganon claimed that his personal ability to work was helped immensely by eliminating the loud clicking of keystrokes within the office, those working underneath him said the time to draft memos and briefs increased by threefold. Two major clients were enraged at the increased legal bills and decreased output and dropped the firm within two weeks, one source revealed.