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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Soapbox: Public Joy

About a year and a half ago I ran a series during my Wednesday Soapbox slots that people really seemed to appreciate.  I have been asked to rerun those posts. If anyone misses my usual soapbox posts, let me know and I will return to them.  Otherwise we will revisit Dr. PAtch Adam's Prescription to Change Society.

 Has anybody heard of Dr. Patch Adams?  Yes, the one on whose life the Robin Williams movie was based. Although the movie oversimplified his approach [of course] he did believe that "laughter, joy, and creativity are an integral part of the healing process." He once wrote a list of Ten Questions he thought could change our society.  Called "Patch's Prescription" it is his "Take 10 and call me in the morning." So I got thinking that maybe we could try one or two each week and see if we saw any difference in our lives or those around us. [Check out the link if you want to know some of what the soapbox will be looking at in the next few Wednesdays.]

Since we've been talking joy... let's look at his question about joy:

"If being publicly joyful, even silly, were beneficial for our society, would you participate?"

You can choose to do something small but silly like wear a clown nose, or two ties, or mismatched socks. Get some friends to join you! You can try being a bit more daring anonymously with a chicken dance in public or with some friends like the Inspired Mayhem group who also tried some silly walks in public to see if others would join in. Flash mobs are one of the better known examples of large groups and public silliness.
Some flash mobs create the effect by doing nothing in the middle of a grocery store.  

In NYC and other major cities there is an annual, really radical: No Pants Subway Day  [3500 participated in NYC in January]
In the UK they did two public art projects to revive the sense of silly in adults.

Sometimes silly even catches on and becomes a fad [Think hula hoops, pet rocks, and silly bandz!]

So. I challenge each of you to participate in an act of public joy this week.  If you are more radical or more daring, organize a group activity. Let's see what happens.  Let's make joyfulness contagious!  Think what could happen. I suspect Dr. Adams would be proud.  

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