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Satirical Laughter and Dissenting Silence as a Strategy for Positive Change

Published December 30, 2016 by Mayrbear's Lair

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According to author, educator, activist, Parker Palmer (2004), who is also the founder of The Center for Courage & Renewal, satire is a component that oppressive and corrupt leaders fear most. Palmer explains that when giggles turn to thunderous roars of laughter around a corrupt regime, it can rock the very foundation of that power and profusely shake the political seismograph. To prevent the shakeup from gaining momentum, a leader who embraces a dictator leadership style, for instance, will: (a) make a concerted effort to suppress satirists whenever they are able to; (b) eliminate them when their attempts are unsuccessful; and (c) remain vigilant for signs of satire arising from the underground (Palmer, 2004).

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In a democracy like the U.S. however, a form of government where the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or their elected agents under a free electoral system (Democracy, 2016), citizens are guaranteed the freedom of speech because of the First Amendment of the Constitution. This gives ordinary citizens the right to ridicule the powerful. In short, ordinary citizens have the power to exercise their right and speak the truth, especially if that means bringing down a corrupt system and their leaders, as history can attest.

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If the United States were set up as a totalitarian state – “a form of government that does not tolerate parties of differing opinions and exercises dictatorial control over many aspects of the lives of people” (Totalitarian, 2016) citizens would face different consequences sharing views that were not in alignment with that of their oppressive government. In the meantime, democracy is constantly under attack from a brand of politics that is driven by greed and seduced by an arrogance of power disguised as something patriotic and/or religiously significant. In his book, A Hidden Wholeness, which focuses on strategies that build Circles of Trust, Parker Palmer explains this concept more eloquently. Using the classic fable from Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, The Emperor’s New Clothes, as an example, he explains about the political ramifications of both laughter and silence.

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In Andersen’s famous fairy tale, con men posing as tailors come to town convincing the Emperor to pay big bucks for a new outfit. To maximize their profits, the con artists make the sartorial out of thin air and convince the Ruler that only the unenlightened and the foolish will not see the new garments. To avoid being identified as an imbecile, the Emperor agrees to parade stark naked throughout the town – while citizens applaud the unique new clothing, not wanting to disrespect their Ruler’s actions. This scene provides a classic example of citizens living in what Palmer describes as a “divided life” where both Emperor and townsfolk alike know the truth inwardly, but support that lie, outwardly  (Palmer, 2004) .

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The only person in the fairy tale with the cleverness to crack this illusion of fools was a young child who simply stated that the Emperor was naked. Although the child’s fearful father attempted to silence the little one, it was that innocent outcry, that freed the townsfolk from further supporting their lying eyes. This action in turn instigates the wave of recognition which confirmed to citizens that their beloved Emperor was traipsing around in the buff. It was the one simple act of an innocent child, who merely described what he witnessed, that freed the rest of the citizens from the deception.

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Palmer suggests that the message communicated from this kind of awareness is simple: citizens will no longer conspire in supporting the illusions that help corrupt leaders maintain control. He further postulates that by withholding support rather than falling into silence, citizens are taking small steps toward withdrawing their consent which in turn plays a significant role for leaders who engage in misconduct and wish to maintain their abuse of power. In short, when people no longer affirm, pretend to affirm, or give meaning to an unethical form of nationalism and/or religious symbols that corrupt leaders implement  – citizens can affect positive change. Instead, Palmer stresses that citizens will discover that from this vantage point, they are in a much better place to laugh at corrupt leaders, rather than laugh with them by using this silence as a means of dissent from their corruption, rather than expressing compassion towards these misguided leaders (Palmer, 2004).

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In conclusion, Palmer’s research work helps us comprehend that satirical laughter and dissenting silence are two forms of nonviolent strategies that can help ordinary citizens become agents of positive social change. People who turn to strategies of nonviolence when confronting or exposing leaders that impose cruelty and injustice, have a much higher claim to good manners than those same leaders who hide behind piosity and patriotism to encourage and justify economic, military, or domestic violence (Palmer, 2004). In today’s ever changing climate, these are very real concepts leaders must consider when faced with issues that could lead to corruption and misconduct. Implementing an effective proactive strategy can be the key that helps motivate positive action from leaders as they continue to work on raising their own levels of awareness in an effort to achieve their goals with integrity and the support of the community.

That concludes our analysis on affecting positive change using satirical laughter and dissenting silence as strategies. Thanks for stopping by! We really appreciate and value your time. We’re also grateful for the opportunity to share the research work that motivates us, as well as offer a few insights from our own experiences which helped inspire this work. Next time, we will take a closer look at identifying attacks on the human spirit and discuss how these assaults may be interpreted as violent acts, which we may not even be aware of. We will also examine nonviolent solutions leaders can rely on as more effective problem solving strategies … until then, keep working on evolving your leadership skills!

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“Laughter need not be cut out of anything, since it improves everything.”

 – James Thurber

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For more information on Media Magic’s digital publications, or to purchase any of our Business Life audio book titles, please visit “Author Central” at amazon.com:

 Mayr’s Author’s Page

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References:

Democracy. (2016, December 28). Retrieved from dictionary.com: http://www.dictionary.com/

Palmer, P. J. (2004). A Hidden Wholeness. San Francisco, CA, USA: Jossey-Bass. Retrieved December 28, 2016

Totalitarian. (2016, December 28). Retrieved from dictionary.com: http://www.dictionary.com

 

Assessing The New Leadership

Published November 16, 2016 by Mayrbear's Lair

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Hey Everyone! Thanks for stopping by! We’re back after taking some time away from writing to focus on family, health and career. In the meantime, now that the U.S. is in the midst of significant leadership change, we wanted to take this opportunity to assess what kind of leadership style we might expect from the President-elect.

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To begin, we will first take a brief look at the reaction to the election, as much of the world continues to work diligently to comprehend the reasoning behind those who voted for the new President-elect. However, as the protests continue nationwide, many are still having difficulty accepting the outcome. Why?

It was clear that even though she would have made history as the first female U.S. President, Hillary Clinton struggled with keeping a positive image, in addition to the apparent lack of trust she received from a great majority. What is perplexing for a great deal who still find it difficult to understand, is the logic behind casting a vote for the current President-elect, or that he was or should have EVER been an option to begin with. In fact, a great deal of people are confused as to why this candidate, (described by Leon Wieseltier in a recent Washington Post article entitled, Stay Angry, as a practitioner in the “politics of panic”[Wieseltier, 2016]) was not disqualified after he spewed the first racist remark during the campaign.

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What we have observed and noted along with the President-elect’s noxious behavior, is that as a leader in the business arena, and during the election process, it appears that two prominent components fueled the motivating forces which drove the bulldozer campaign: ego and vanity. How will those characteristics be integrated as effective leadership skills to motivate a nation to stand enthusiastically behind an individual like this in the office of the Presidency? Also, we question whether those factors raised concerns of those supporting his camp, as well as what justified overlooking those qualities to give supporters confidence in an individual that appeared to upset and insult a variety of races like the TV character Archie Bunker from All in the Family. With all the toxic behavior that was disclosed during the campaign, we contemplate what would motivate balanced, civilized, educated people to support the leadership skills of an off the wall candidate with a growing list of uncivil behavior?

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As if the harmful rhetoric didn’t give an indication as to the kind of leadership style we should expect, one merely need take a look around at those who surrounded him. During the campaign, his team consisted of individuals, that to many, seemed to be part of a brute squad, a term coined from the popular film the Princess Bride. In the film, these squads were created to help leaders instill and perpetuate fear, hatred, and division among the people as a means to control them. Is this a leadership style we can expect more of from the new administration? Was this taken into consideration by the voters or what the full ramifications would entail in the outcome of that choice? These are some of the questions we are considering as part of the assessment process.

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In our investigation, we must also look closer at some of the reasons why Hillary struck out and lost the important states required to win the electoral college, in spite of the fact that she won the popular vote by the time all the ballots had been collected. Some experts believe a key component to her losing was attributed to her team’s inability to comprehend the positive impact that embracing and uniting leadership with the Sanders movement would have. That could have been a significant step to help unify a divided party. Many believe that in addition to adapting some of the movement’s policies, had they brought on one of the prominent figures from Bernie’s campaign as her running mate, it would have sent a strong message that affirmed to the party, the DNC was working in partnership to support both sides. This may have been a better productive strategy that could have led to a more successful outcome.

Had they considered the impact of selecting Tim Kaine, rather than recruiting someone from the Sanders camp –  many agree that tactic would have been a positive move supporters could accept. However, the strategy they chose sent a clear message that many of the constituents already suspected, that the Hillary brand was not hearing, nor open to listening to ALL the citizens in her party. In the meantime, that weakness opened a clear path that enabled the sly sharks of her opponent’s camp, to seize the opportunity and go in for the kill.

In the business arena, an effective leader understands the importance of consumer feedback. The President-elect’s team collected information, listened and addressed the grievances of his supporters, then used that data to create a frenzy by playing to the heightened emotions and fears of the populace. In the publication entitled, The Value of Strategic Management (Berry, 2014), our research work reveals that great leaders look for strengths and weaknesses, as well as opportunities and threats when devising plans to achieve a goal. This is one very effective strategy, that when given the chance to implement, can work like a great white shark devouring everything in its path.

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Further information to assess, is how a citizen, without any experience in civil service, or holding a government position, who has an alleged 75 lawsuits pending against him, would or could qualify for the office of Presidency. Moreover, we must consider in our evaluation, how voters supported their candidate cognizant he’s avoided paying taxes for nearly two decades. Even without accountability for the poisonous behavior he displayed, and lack of transparency in many arenas, now citizens are asked to consider giving the President-elect a chance to succeed, especially without feeling motivated to grant him that opportunity.

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What is most unsettling to consider in all this, are the many who no longer feel safe in this country because of the boundaries that he and his campaign crossed like: (a) the toxic rhetoric and behavior displayed from the campaign; (b) the disrespect he showed to a variety of individuals including a disabled reporter; and (c) the flippant, derogatory and inflammatory attitude he displayed towards the women brave enough to come forward to testify against him. In short, that uncouth and venomous leadership style continues to disrupt many communities. How could it not? Many are concerned and frightened from the behavior of his leadership skills. After all, if citizens will tolerate blatant misconduct from their Commander in Chief, what is to prevent supporters from engaging in similar behavior? (There are reports that this is already occurring).

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Regardless of the how or why, the fact remains, the voters have spoken and now citizens are focused on finding a way to come together to heal and unite this country in the after math of a reckless and destructive campaign. However, in order to hit the “reset” button as citizens are being asked, with the possibility of embracing a let bygones be bygones, attitude or, let’s take the high road and start from scratch mentality, a few changes in leadership style are required.

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First and foremost, if the President-elect is authentically interested in beginning the healing process, as any great leader would, he would arrange a press conference to offer a genuine heartfelt apology to all those who feel a deep pain and hurt from the toxic behavior and rhetoric he engaged in. We present this maneuver as a leadership skill tactic that may allow those who have been deeply scarred to feel safe and perhaps believe that there is hope moving forward in a positive direction. After all, with forgiveness, hard work, and education, people are capable of change. Like the character, Edmund, in C.S. Lewis’ popular series, The Chronicles of Narnia. When we first meet him in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, Edmund embarks down a path of hurtful, mindless behavior due to misguided anger and the deep grief he felt from an absent father. However, once he became aware of the consequences of his hurtful behavior, audiences witnessed a positive change. If the President-elect’s actions and deeds reveal he is capable of building bridges and trust with those who are suffering from his behavior – actions which in fact revealed a lack of emotional intelligence – perhaps many citizens would be more eager to hit their internal reset buttons and begin to work in partnership with the President-elect to build trust and help unite the nation.

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In order to help ensure this possibility, however, we recommend leadership skills that are consistent with unifying behavior from the new administration while revealing a genuine interest to move the country forward in a constructive direction. Otherwise, many concerned citizens fear facing a reality with a dire need to protect themselves from a regime that emerges of an uncontrolled individual driven by ego and toxic leadership skills. In other words, citizens may be confronted with a reality reminiscent of an era similar to when early explorers arrived from Europe to claim a new world for themselves. Rather than show appreciation and gratitude, the explorers nabbed the riches, then slaughtered their generous hosts who welcomed them with open arms.

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One thing is for certain when conducting any kind of evaluation: that the dark side of history is never forgotten, so it can be avoided. Equally important is that citizens embrace optimism as a strength needed to call on history’s newest heroes in order to keep the energy moving forward in a positive direction. If not, a great majority of citizens are concerned they may witness the beginning of a leadership style that slowly converts this great nation from a democracy into one that resembles a dictatorship.

Unity and Strength

It is pretty clear that now more than ever, the entire nation needs to work diligently to pull from the wells of their own internal “leader,” (the teacher within) to find ways to go beyond the pain to: (a) break down communication barriers; (b) apply deep active listening skills to truly hear and understand each other’s differences; and (c) most significantly, realize it’s time to learn how to validate each other as fellow citizens, whether we can agree on anything or not. This is one kind of strategy that may help begin the healing process within our wounded families, communities, and nation as a whole. That is, after all, what seems to be at the core of this election.

In contemplating all the information presented in our assessment as to the kind of leadership we can expect from the new administration, we have come to the following conclusion: it is up to the President-elect to decide how he wishes to be remembered in history, as a zero – a tyrannical racist and bigot that incites hatred and division; or or a hero – the kind of leader that will motivate the masses with effective leadership skills that include some of the following virtues: (a) courage, (b) impartiality, (c) empathy, (d) fair judgment, (e) enthusiasm, (f) humility, and (g) imaginative innovation (Glanz, 2002). Only time will tell. In the meantime, regardless of the kind of leader he chooses to be, it is up to every citizen to become more mindful and compassionate with each other and keep working on becoming better versions of ourselves, to set a positive tone.

That wraps our evaluation at this time. Thanks for checking out our blog. We’ll keep posting new articles as often as we can, however, due to our busy schedule, it may not be as often as we posted in the past.

That’s all for now, until next time, keep working on evolving into a better version of you!

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“You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free.” – Thích Nhất Hạnh

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References:

Berry, M. A. (2014). The Value of Strategic Management. USA: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Glanz, J. (2002). Finding your leadership style. Alexandria, VA, USA: Association for Supervision and Curriculam Development (ASCD).

Wieseltier, L. (2016, November 11). Stay angry. That’s the only way to uphold principles in Trump’s America. The Washington Post. Retrieved November 15, 2016, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/11/11/stay-angry-thats-the-only-way-to-uphold-principles-in-trumps-america/?utm_term=.6ccc384b7e08

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Friday’s Summer Vacation Treat

Published August 29, 2014 by Mayrbear's Lair

Friday Vacation Post

Feeling Playful

Today’s vacation treat post is about our connection to the playful nature of our joyful self. Dr. Chopra (2014) contends that according to Vedic wisdom, all creation arises from what is referred to as Lila, or cosmic play. He believes that expressing our playful nature is a valuable way to stay creative, receptive, and revitalized. When we have fun, we are dancing and singing along with the story of our life. We find our hearts, minds and bodies are lighter and happier. Play time not only makes us feel better, it spiritually rejuvenates us as well. Mindful practices can help return our awareness to that source of playfulness that dwells deep within, allowing us to bring this sense of fun and joy into our daily lives (Chopra, 2014).

Click on the photo below of Balos Beach Crete for a little playtime of the imagination on the Greek Islands. 

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Balos Beach Crete

This concludes our two week vacation-treat series. We will return next week with all new posts. Have a great holiday weekend everyone! Now go schedule some playtime!

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“Play is the beginning of knowledge.” ― George Dorsey

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For more information on Media Magic services, our published works, or to purchase any of our accelerated learning Business Life titles, please visit our website at: Media Magic Publishing.

References:

Chopra, D. (2014, August 11). Expanding Your Happiness. Retrieved August 24 , 2014, from Chopra Center Meditation: https://chopracentermeditation.com/experience

 

Vacation Week 2: Thursday’s Treat

Published August 28, 2014 by Mayrbear's Lair

Thursday Vacation Day

Feeling Love

According to the folks at the Chopra Meditation Center, love is our joyful spiritual center. We don’t need to go anywhere to find love. This is love that never fades. We never lose this love because it comes from inside. We are our own source of joyful love. If we look for love around us, we are assuming we lack love, and that we can find it in another person. But, love is our nature; it is who we are, and it is as near as our beating heart. Chopra and his team assert that mindful practices can help us reorient our feeling of love to our spiritual core so that we no longer look for love, but bring a full loving heart wherever we go (Chopra, 2014). 

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“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.”  — Meister Eckhart

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For more information on Media Magic services, our published works, or to purchase any of our accelerated learning Business Life titles, please visit our website at: Media Magic Publishing.

References:

Chopra, D. (2014, August 11). Expanding Your Happiness. Retrieved August 24 , 2014, from Chopra Center Meditation: https://chopracentermeditation.com/experience

Vacation Week 2: Tuesday’s Treat

Published August 26, 2014 by Mayrbear's Lair

Tuesday Vacation Day

Feeling Inspired

The strategists at the Chopra Foundation believe through the practice of meditation, we are able to connect with our inner being, the source of all inspiration, creativity, insight and joy. Chopra (2014) contends that in opening our hearts and minds to pure spirit, we allow ourselves to take it in to recreate and to renew ourselves. In other words, inspiration is not only for artists and visionaries, we all benefit when our lives are refreshed and revitalized with spirit every day. Chopra and his team purport that meditation opens us to infinite possibilities that in turn allows us to remake ourselves anew each time we sit in silence. To feel inspired is to step into the present experience unfettered by past disappointments and future fears. From this state of mind, we are free to participate in the creative joy of life in the moment (Chopra, 2014).

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“Find ecstasy in life; the mere sense of living is joy enough.” ― Emily Dickinson

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For more information on Media Magic services, our published works, or to purchase any of our accelerated learning Business Life titles, please visit our website at: Media Magic Publishing.

References:

Chopra, D. (2014, August 11). Expanding Your Happiness. Retrieved August 24 , 2014, from Chopra Center Meditation: https://chopracentermeditation.com/experience

Vacation Week 2: Monday’s Treat

Published August 25, 2014 by Mayrbear's Lair

Monday Vacation Day

Happiness is Our True Nature

Dr. Deepak Chopra (2014) postulates that we are used to thinking of happiness as a pursuit or the emotion we feel once we achieve our goals. However, he suggests that we approach the pursuit of happiness differently – internally instead of externally. In other words, rather than seeking one temporary joy after the next, he suggests that we explore the permanent and limitless source of joy that is our essence. Once we connect with our inner bliss, we find joy, understanding and fulfillment in all our actions (Chopra, 2014).

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Click on the image below for a short vacation video we created a few years ago with footage of a few pals hiking in the mountains of Greece.

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For more information on Media Magic services, our published works, or to purchase any of our accelerated learning Business Life titles, please visit our website at: Media Magic Publishing.

References:

Chopra, D. (2014, August 11). Expanding Your Happiness. Retrieved August 24 , 2014, from Chopra Center Meditation: https://chopracentermeditation.com/experience

 

Tuesday’s Vacation Week Treat

Published August 19, 2014 by Mayrbear's Lair

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Tuesday’s Vacation Post Treat

Kindess

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Dr. Smita Malhorta, M.D. Suggests In every Tough Situation Try Kindness First

“People may make ugly comments. The airline may lose your bags. Another driver may cut you off. These situations will happen everyday. How are you going to respond?
 
Although your first response like many others will be to get angry, why not try a different approach? Anger in these situations rarely solves problems. People are more likely to respond to kindness. And you can be kind and be firm.
 
Get your point across without sacrificing your integrity. It is the only response that you will not regret later. No matter how upset you are, always treat others with respect. You will be surprised at how much can be accomplished with kindness” (Malhotra, 2014).

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Stay Positive

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How Best Selling Author Dani Shapiro Uses Meditation to Stay Positive

“My meditation is my personal prayer. The phrases I include are,  ‘May I be safe and be happy. May I be strong and live with ease’. You say them quietly enough over and over just to yourself, but then, eventually, you say them to others. You pray for them by saying ‘May you be safe, may you be happy, may you be strong, may you live with ease'”  – Dani Shapiro, Best selling author.
 
 

References:

Smita Malhotra, M. (2014, July 16). 8 lessons I want to teach my daughter. Retrieved August 17, 2014, from The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/smita-malhotra/eight-lessons-i-want-to-teach-my-daughter_b_5565037.html.

Shapiro, D. (2014, July). Success through stillness. (O. Winfrey, Interviewer).

For more information or to purchase any of Media Magic’s Business Life Ebook Publications, please visit our website at: Media Magic’s Publications

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“A joyful heart is the normal result of a heart burning with love.” ― Mother Teresa

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