I’ve been following Lenny Ravich since I was delighted by his very funny book
of 2003, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Enlightenment. Recently he has
started a series of posts on LINKEDIN that both amuse and pack a punch of
ah-hah’s. This is his post from June 2022 and his comments about it.
THE SMILING BULLFIGHTER
Imagine your life is a bullfight.
Have you ever seen a live bullfight, or maybe in a movie, on TV, or on Youtube? You might notice that there are two main players: The Toreador and the bull. When the Toreador was a small child he received a present from his father. He opened it and found a red cape. “What is this, Daddy?” the young boy asked. “It’s a red cape, son,” the father answered. “What is it for, Daddy?”. “Well, son, if you ever see a bull about to attack you, I suggest that you don’t put the red cape in front of you. You see, the bull isn’t looking for you. He’s looking for the red cape. It’s not about you. So put the cape to the side, the bull passes near you without touching you, and the crowd screams, ‘Olay!’ Where to put the red cape? You may have noticed that there are people who live life as if it were a bullfight…with one small difference. Instead of putting the cape to the side, they carry it in front of them. The bull charges the cape and hits them in the chest and Boom! We may think, “She takes things to heart.” Others hold the cape a bit lower and when the bull rushes the stomach area we might say, “Wow, he eats himself up with worry and anxiety.” Hospitals are filled with people who eat themselves and take things to heart. They may be suffering from stress-related illnesses. Being aware offers us choices I walked into my local bank to talk to Daniel, my favorite teller. In the middle of our important conversation his phone lit up, he apologized and took the call, and turned his back on me. I felt anger slowly rising in my chest and realized that the bull (my ego) was about to attack. By being aware of this I quickly put my cape to the side, let the bull go, and took out my phone. “What’s your mobile phone number?” I asked respectfully. “What? Why do you want my phone number,” he asked slightly shocked?” “Because I want to talk with you,” I replied smilingly. He got the message, smiled, and turned off his phone. We continued our conversation uninterrupted. By being aware of my anger (the bull) I was offered a choice. How was I going to respond? If I had left my cape unattended I might have retorted with anger and hurt his feelings, which would be most unpleasant. Instead, my awareness led me to choose a kinder more humorous way to get my message across.
The last of all human freedoms
Victor Frankl in his classic book, “Man’s Search for Meaning” describes the horrors of the Nazi death camps. “The Nazis took everything away from me except one thing: The last of all human freedoms. The freedom to choose my own response to any situation.” I learned this at a workshop led by Jack Canfield, the author of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series. He taught the formula: E+R=O. “E” is any event. “R” is the response to that event and “O” is the outcome. If we want a positive outcome this formula will come in handy. I changed it slightly to E+A+R = O whereas A stands for Awareness. Here is an example: I live in Tel Aviv and take public buses often. Since I am 86 I get to travel for free. (Tee Hee) I entered the bus with my backpack and sat down next to another seriously mature male who turned to me as if he had suddenly become “The Incredible Hulk” and screamed, “You hit me with your bag!” This is called “E”, or the event. Being aware of the bull charging I was imagining two old, gladiator geezers battling it out to the bitter end on public transport. So with this Awareness “A”, I chose a humorous “R”, or the response and immediately put the cape to the side, lifted up my bag and bitch slapped it while scolding it, “Naughty, naughty bag! Say you’re sorry!” The “O”, or the outcome was two fine elderly gentlemen having a good laugh together. It’s not about you. It’s NOT about you. Become aware “A” of your present experience, put your cape to the side, let the negativity go, and choose a kinder more humorous response. This skill takes training. Will you remember to practice it from now on? I hope you do. The reward is usually a smile, greater well-being, and maybe a new friend.
Author, Keynote Speaker, Gestalt & Humor Master, Optimism & Mindfulness
Guru Published • 1d 6 articles on Linkedin From Lenny,”I learned this at a workshop led by Jack Canfield Companies, the author of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series. He taught the formula: E+R=O. “E” is any event. “R” is the response to that event and “O” is the outcome. If we want a positive outcome this formula will come in handy. I changed it slightly to E+A+R = O whereas A stands for Awareness.”
Published on May 31, Wild Ride contributing Author, Marie Beswick- Arthur has launched her novel, Listen For Water. I completely enjoyed Marie’s book, reviewing some of the delicious quotes again and again. My favourite; “hippy-head, carry a bed, heavy as lead, better than dead.” Melodic, poetic,
majestic; Listen For Water, reaches through the forest of life to capture the drumbeat of a damaged teenage girl, an unwelcome adventure in a u-haul trailer, an addict mother and a survival manual. Marie’s brave words take us on untraveled roads that sing of survival, a reckoning and a transformation. Available on Amazon and in book stores.
A great sense of humour’: But what makes the Queen laugh? There has been much solemnity and seriousness in the Queen’s life – but as she reaches her 96th birthday, what has often been overlooked is her sense of humour. “Laughing things off has been an important survival technique,” says royal historian Robert Lacey. The Queen’s well-developed “sense of the absurd” has been a vital private outlet from such a highly choreographed public life, where she often has to remain straight-faced, he says. “She obviously takes her job seriously – but at the same time, it doesn’t stop her having a sense of the ridiculous,” Lacey says. The Duke of Sussex, singled out his grandmother’s “great sense of humour” as her best quality. Historian and author Sir Anthony Seldon says: “A defining characteristic is that she doesn’t take herself too seriously. It’s significantly contributed
to the success of her reign.” He says the Queen has none of the “self-obsession” that he calls the “disease of the age”. “There is a lack of pomposity, a certain irreverence,” he says. “She’s able to laugh off misfortune and keep going.” In private, the Queen is said to be a very good mimic, according to Lacey, a historical consultant on Netflix series The Crown. She is said to do a particularly good impression of the former Russian leader Boris Yeltsin, says Karen Dolby, author of the Wicked Wit of Queen Elizabeth II.
And she imitates other politicians, clerics and TV characters. Lacey describes the Queen’s humour as often “self-deprecating and mildly making fun of herself”. He gives the example of a politician who had the embarrassment of their mobile phone going off during a private conversation with the Queen. After the phone was switched off, the Queen said: “I hope it wasn’t someone important.”
Dolby particularly likes the story of the Queen accidentally meeting some American tourists during a rainy walk with a protection officer near her home at Balmoral. Not recognising the wrapped-up figure, the tourists asked if she had ever met the Queen. “No, but he has,” she replied, pointing to the protection officer beside her. On another private trip, shopping in Norfolk, a shop assistant told her: “You look just like the Queen.” To which the Queen is said to have replied: “How reassuring.” There are different versions of these stories – but they all share a dry, understated quality and
something of a cryptic edge.
Humour is also a useful way of breaking the ice and defusing tension when people are nervous around her. “She’s quick to see when people are not at ease,” Sir Anthony says. “The ability to be entertained and to see the funny side of life helps to keep her in contact with people.” The Queen has met many comedians, including Tommy Cooper, who Ms. Dolby recounts once asked the monarch if she liked football. When she admitted to not being particularly interested, he replied: “In that case, can I have your FA Cup final tickets?” In terms of TV comedy preferences, the Kumars at No. 42 is said to have been a royal favourite. Dad’s Army, Last of the Summer Wine and the late radio broadcaster Sir Terry Wogan have also been mentioned, choices as comfortable as an old cardigan.
The Queen has spent a life under scrutiny, the constant focus of attention at high-profile ceremonies. In such stressful situations, laughter is a hugely important response, according to Audrey Tang, of the British Psychological Society. “It’s that gesture of shared relief,” she says. It makes people feel physically better to laugh and release tension, says the psychologist. It is
also a “bonding experience” and the Queen and Prince Philip were said to have shared a great ability to laugh together. But it can get complicated. Laughing privately after an event is fine – but everyone must have suffered that terrible feeling of a fit of the giggles at the wrong time. Such “incongruous emotions” can be a natural and involuntary response to feeling overwhelmed or wanting to relieve the stress of a moment, Dr. Tang says. Dolby describes when the Queen seemed to be fighting the giggles at a formal signing ceremony after Canadian prime minister Jean Chretien snapped off the top of his pen and then audibly swore. “She likes the absurd – and when things go wrong, she’s more likely to be amused than annoyed,” Sir Anthony says.
Photographer Chris Young captured the Queen dissolving into giggles when a swarm of bees disrupted a military review at Windsor Castle, in 2003. “I recognised that it was a human moment,” Mr. Young said. “She was giggling like a little girl.” The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of
Cornwall have also been filmed fighting a losing battle with the giggles, at a throat-singing performance in Canada. In her 1991 Christmas message, the Queen gave her own thoughts. “Let us not take ourselves too seriously,” she said. “None of us has a monopoly on wisdom.” BBC 11:02 am on 23 April 2022
While researching for Wild Ride, how did I not come across the iconic work of James L. McGaugh and his 2003 book, Memory and Emotions, Columbia University Press. All of our stories in Wild Ride come from memory and there are some interesting questions addressed in this work, as well as in the research presented in the opening segments of each section of Wild Ride. Why do many of our memories fade while other memories of unique experiences are preserved? Why is it that emotionally arousing memories are favoured? How do our feel good stories become a memory that we can enjoy for years to come. Stay tuned for the launch of Wild Ride coming soon (summer, 2022)!
Wiser Now Wednesday is a weekly email blast that reflects creator, Kathy Laurenhue’s eclectic interests. It’s my guilty pleasure when it arrives in my inbox every Wednesday as her topics always inform and delight me. A 2021 National Mature Media Awards winner, Kathy seeks to “amuse and inspire, to share what I and people whom I admire are doing, to stimulate your curiosity
and spur you to action.” This is a free publication and valuable resource. (Kathy@WiserNow.com )
Wild Ride Contributor, Mary Kay Morrison has launched her new book, Legacy of Laughter… A Grandparent Guide & Playbook. Her much anticipated book combines research-based findings with her own and her grandchildren’s practical experiences. Grandparents will savour this treasure trove of practical suggestions for play. Available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.