Recently I visited a new friend in Birmingham, Alabama. Word got around that I had some wisdom, but the person that recommended we meet, liked the jokes.
When I was an art student in the graphic design program at the University of Tennessee, I took a water color class. My professor was some serious guy and very accomplished in the medium.
My professor also was the father to a wonderful girl in grade school. She was a bright light in some strange world, and I cared for her in an after school program for a few years.
I babysat at their house. I drew her and her classmates cartoons.
In the art world, I was mediocre at best. In the hours when kindergarten ended, and I stood with a marker and and easel in front of kids, I was a rock star.
We took requests each day for body parts.
What type of eyes? Some child would say “happy”.
What type of nose? Some kid would say with a sheepish grin, “elephant.”
We all played the game, and at the end, we might draw a child’s name, or we might elect to give the poster away. Every kid got a poster about every month.
Sometimes we would color them as a group. Other times we would send them off with a well wish to whoever “won” that day.
I was able to lead groups of children through collective imagination, and we had a product that brought joy for many reasons. Parents rolled their eyes, the older kids scoffed, but we knew the secret.
The Why of Collective Imagination
Whether you hear Tich Nhat Hanh describe a bell of mindfulness, or some hypnotist speak of an anchor, it is all in the mind. All of the great avatars and masters knew this to be true.
What does any of that have to do with kids in a classroom dreaming of what we called monsters and creatures? We dreamed together.
And what was I doing when I led such exercises in imagination?
Planting seeds of possibility and joy in the young minds of those who would eventually lead the world.
Does that sound too important?
Maybe that is the joke.
That while others were running around doing research, wondering for the goodness or troubles of the world, all I did was smile. Smiling, but planting as I smiled.
Sowing, but never reaping.
Someday I will notice the harvest, though it is of little concern for me to wonder what those that were once a joy for me, are doing in the world.
They are doing well.
Somehow I know they are doing well.
If you feed encouragement into a soul, it is a fine thing.
If you teach others to feed encouragement into souls, as they also are being fed, that is perhaps the best of things.
Certainly better than criticizing, instruction, or critique.
Not to teach, but to allow.
The Why of the Jokes
Any of my drawings are only an expression of what wanders into my mind. They are meditations offered to others as those thoughts are ushered out with a friendly grace, as they make room for other thoughts.
The drawings are done with love. Even the mean ones (there are seldom mean ones).
If you do not understand how a good vibe or thought can change the world, I might recommend that you might not suspect. My being a student of all of the religions of the world.
The mind of Brian Wilson as expressed in a Beach Boys song.
In My Room.
The room of which he speaks is not in a physical home, but in his mind.
Where does any action in the world begin? Only in the mind.
Mountains moved or oatmeal made… the mind.
Back to the Jokes
Part of my schtick, is to tell a series of dad jokes before a meeting. Often, they are told afterwards also, all while pretending I care if people laugh.
Part of my schtick is also peace and love hippie stuff.
There is documented proof of all of this that most do not understand because I rarely go around trying to prove anything.
Here is the joke that is told by the Universe, and I am unsure of the punchline.
Recently, I was terminated by a company doing what companies do. They may not even be sure why, upon their earnest reflection.
Big money. Big egos.
All the makings of an Adam Sandler movie where I get to play the kid that got picked on before “they” get the things they put out in the world.
I quoted Lao Tzu, offered some advice from the Buddha to my team members that were distraught, and told everyone to look out for themselves like Robin Williams in some Dead Poets Society.
I also own a domain name from a marketing campaign that they ripped from the hand of a couple of guys and me. It spread like wildfire.
When a guy got fired for a social media post, I redirected that domain to my social media site. When they threatened me with a pie in the face if I did not make some sales goal, I wrote an article here.
The best jokes are the ones that surprise people.
I have been setting this joke up for years.
Not to spoil the punchline, but there is a surprise ending.
That is how the Universe works with the jokes.
I am just honored to be both the witness and the voice for how the Universe will ask us all to laugh instead of hating each other.
But Wait… There’s More
The big bad wolf also stole a shirt idea.
It keeps getting better.
But I digress.
I love the jokes.
Have a great day.
I am rooting for you.
Take care of each other.