Monday, December 8, 2014

Perspective and the 'Rest of the Story'

In my last post I put 'Perspective' on the table and shared a couple of my favorite pictures. If you missed it take a moment to check it out here.

When I share this picture most people think they are simply two photos of three people having fun while on their bellies.
The reality, my parents know the real story, as both are pictures of me separated by around three decades of time. The photo on the left is me on the beach and the one on the right is of me and my son leading a play group for the Camp Communicate Program at Pine Tree Camp.

While lying on the beach, I was NOT having fun. I was in the middle of a tantrum because....wait for parents took away a dirty cigarette butt that I had found on the beach and was trying to put in my mouth. DISGUSTING!! Do you think the person taking that picture had the right perspective and saw the humor in a very 'not funny' moment? 

PS - I still don't like to be told 'NO', yet I do not pick up cigarette butts.

Phew, I am glad I got that confession off my chest and can get back to the subject at hand - PERSPECTIVE.

Will our lives, and those around us, be positively impacted if we approach life from a JOYful perspective?

Do we RESPOND when someone hurts us, says 'No', or something does not go our way? Or do we have a tantrum and REACT.

A JOYful person coming from a JOYful place is more likely to RESPOND to the lemons they are dealt, BREATHE, and consider their choices before deciding which direction to go next. I believe that when we REACT we lose choices and, chances are, will have to fix things before getting on track again. There are many recipes and combinations for making lemonade.

This past few weeks in America have highlighted what REACTing versus RESPONDing looks like, no matter which side of the issues you are on.  Something that started as a singular violent act started a chain reaction with a number of people fanning the flames and hurting others. The message, or lesson, has been lost. More layers of hurt. Less choices. 

If we approached life from a JOYful perspective what would have been the outcome? 
What would Jesus have done?
Am I thinking of Others?
How will this affect Your/My Life?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Perspective And .......

Perspective has been a theme in my mind lately as I go through Facebook, Twitter, and Entheos. The Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons truly require us to see life from other perspectives.  As an advent of sorts, I will be building up to Christmas reflecting on the importance that our perspective plays into how we treat each other. I truly believe that with a clear, literally a clear, perspective on where we fit into this thing called the human race life can be more JOYful for others we encounter and ourselves. This week's lesson in church nailed it for me; how are we helping others who appear less fortunate, less able, different, etc.
What is your perspective? Do you have all the information? A lot of times we don't have all the right information and we jump to conclusions. We judge on what we see without stepping back and trying to see from the other side of a situation. When dealing with children I believe that happens quite often and as adults we get caught up in 'how things should be'. 
When you see a child behaving 'inappropriately' what do you think as you walk by?
Is that child having fun or is it a tantrum? If it is a tantrum, what is really happening? Before we judge others, STOP & remember we aren't here to judge others. 
When you see someone begging for food or money, what are you thinking inside?
Do you stoically walk by? Give a glare?

Some people just need a little compassion. 
Be that person who offers compassion before it is offered to you.
Another view: Are all the people in this photo having fun?

Answer and the 'Rest of the Story' in the next post.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

playmaker or Playmaker, It's All In The Letters - Starting with YOU

I love being a Playmaker!! In getting to that statement, I have JOYfuly reflected about titles. 

In 1999 I became a 'Husband'
In 2000 I was a classroom 'Teacher'.
In 2004 I became a 'Father' and somewhere between now & then I became 'Dad'
In 2009 I was called the 'President' of my own company to create play opportunities for the disabled.
During this entrepreneurial learning curve some called me an 'Omega Leader'

Titles are crazy things aren't they?! They can be intimidating, overwhelming, made up, real, earned, and created. Depending on the path we choose in life. 

In 2012 I was introduced to the Playmaker movement and it spoke to my soul. SIMPLE and DEEP lessons, invitations, activities, and opportunities to support others through a PLAYFUL approach to whatever life brings our way. It spoke to me about responding versus reacting, pivoting versus staying stuck, actively engaging with children and people in our lives versus maintaining a 'safe' distance both physically and emotionally. 

Because I am who I am, and the way I am wired, I have a hard time accepting almost all the titles I listed above. They never really fit.  I never quite lived up to the billing that comes with these titles or in the case of being a classroom teacher I felt I was created to go beyond the building that employed me (that's a conversation for another day). It's an inside/gut thing.

Even being a 'certified Playmaker' didn't sound right because I believe the trainers for the Life Is Good Playmakers are TREMENDOUS and in tune with their JOY centers. I am still getting there. 

It's a journey you know.

Now, if you look up playmaker in the dictionary you will see it defined as 'one who executes plays designed to put one or more teammates in a position to score.' Hmmm, isn't that great to think about?Am I, aren't you, someone who wants to help fellow humans, both young and old, to be in a position to succeed?

Heck YA!

So, yes I am a playmaker and I am looking for other playmakers who believe in putting others in a position to succeed in life. 

Am I a Playmaker or a playmaker? I can proudly say I am both and refuse to choose. I promote and practice both roles in my life as a JOYful Maverick and hopefully I am a JOYful Compass who, as a playmaker, playfully leads others to a more JOYful life by the way I live and the work I do. The Playmakers are doing some wonderful work in Haiti and coined term 'Gerye Jwa', loosely translated JOYful Warrior. 

Ready to lead a more Playful JOYfilled life by being a playmaker & Gerye Jwa? 

Let's Play.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Speaking Volumes, Yet No Is Listening

Keep Hanging On
Looking for a leadership style that touches me internally is vital in my JOYful journey. In this search I received a phone call from someone who wanted to change careers and heard about our inclusive unique programs.  Well, long story short, she asked to interview for a position and I informed her that we don't interview in the traditional sense of the word.  "You are welcome to come play and in that process we will both decide if we can work together as adults," 
After working together for a couple of years she moved and gave me one of her favorite books and the fun frisbee you see here. In that book she signed it, "Thank you for being an "Omega Leader". 

Can you say intimidated?! I did not see myself as a leader and I would not use the word 'Omega' to describe myself. A balanced leader who uses both the Alpha and Beta leadership styles? Well, I read that book, Jesus,CEO by Laurie Beth Jones, and loved what it said to me. Here I was looking for a leadership style and here He was right next to me since I was an infant, the ultimate loving leader.

Time passed and I was blessed to meet another wonderful person who helped me accept the fact that I am helping others even when I am merely doing what I do and doing what I love - all access, inclusive, loving play groups for all kids AND adults. After many conversations with my pastor around play she returned from a conference with Bishop Jim Hazelwood in which he sent the pastors away with the mandate, "Go Play."  I helped my pastor be more playful? Pastors help and lead their flock and this pastor was following my lead. 

Me, a father of three, caretaker for our grandfather, and husband to a woman who is busting her butt to undo some of the problems that happen to finances when your husband leaves his job to chase a dream. Me, Playmaker in the making, considered by some to be a Playful Leader. Who knew?

Do I love teaching about the value of playfulness? Yes. Do I love mentoring parents around playfulness? Yes. Do I love leading play groups with kids of all ages and abilities? Yes. Can I be a more playful father and husband? YES Do I struggle with my own playfulness? YES. Is it OK? YES.

Yet, since the beginning of time, as we know it, we are being encouraged to simply be more loving, playful, & JOYfilled.
St. Paul dropped an incredible little nugget right in the middle of his message to the Corinthians,
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
I am by no means a theologian, priest, or pastor so please go to yours and analyze this passage. I like to take it at face value and use it as a beacon that highlights a simple directive,
'Live life more JOYfully.' 

As I beat the drum around the need to simplify, lead with love, and remain playful to live a JOYful life, I look back in time and realize that much more powerful leaders have come before me and the vibe is not being felt at the necessary levels for change. So, what do we do?

Keep throwing those rocks in the ocean of life and magnify the loving vibes that encourage others to lead life focused on JOY.

I leave you with the words from Leonard Sweet's book, The Well Played Life:

and also with you,

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

An Expert

What exactly is an expert? How do we become experts in the psycho-social sciences? Especially in the world of playfulness, children, disabilities, theology? Isn't there always going to be a case that stumps the experts and our view of what that moniker means? Even the idea of calling psychology a science makes me chuckle, no theories in psychology are ever proven, they are supported. 

Someone saw my 'First Person Interview' in Early Childhood Curriculum for All Learners and promptly asked if I had any helpful opinions on her 11 month old. Because of the context of the ask, I am sure it was in jest, sort of, yet it started me thinking - what makes a person an expert? 

I think I am good at connecting with the needs of all children, being playful, empowering JOY, and supporting both families and teachers. Nothing in there screams 'expert'. It screams 'Good to know and thanks for sharing'.

A friend of mine thought "expert" equaled "common sense" and felt that maybe not everyone has that approach. Hmmm. It seems people either 'wants an expert' or 'wants to be an expert'.

My response and note to consider here, or open up for discussion, "Maybe expert equals acceptance and application."

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Create Where You Are

I believe creativity to be an important part of one's self and a way for us to live JOYfuly. Mind you I do not consider myself creative in the traditional sense of arts and crafts, music, dance, poetry, writing, etc. Yet I believe myself to be creative, I just haven't created a word for where creativity expresses itself in my world.  If you have one, feel free to throw it out there.

An interesting use of space is something called street art, where non-descript pieces of our surroundings are discovered by creative talented folks and turned into amazing works of art - These are some of my favorites from the current 2014 collection on Street Art Utopia.
Jesus Others Yourself - Where you are. 
Discover JOY in the little things. 
Live life from a different perspective.
Lean in and dance!!
Escape the ordinary.

Listen to the littlest.
Strength from the strangest places.
The world is our canvas, JOYfuly express yourselves for the world to discover a new perspective from ordinary places.

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Shadow of Myself

When our children have a lot of toys, parents sometimes pack away and rotate them in covert overnight operations to help children maintain their interest in 'new to me' toys.  In the past couple of years I have had the pleasure of going back through boxes from different periods of life. Books, toys, yearbooks, magazines, photos, etc. - I thought everything was important. To be honest I have yet to find much that I want to save as I am in a much different chapter of my life. One item I just uncovered that is eerily still appropriate for where I am on my journey toward a life of JOY.
A poem, handwritten on tattered paper entitled A SHADOW - fast forward to right now and I am taking my author's right to reread, change the title, and post it to the digital world.