Why Not Become a Jester?

By: Stephanie West Allen

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----------------------------------------MORE THAN DONKEY EARS

Why in the world would a person want to become a jester? The word “jester" conjures up the image of motley clothes and a floppy hat that originally represented the ears of a donkey.

The jester is much more. The jester has a rich tradition in history. That being was the high-spirited character who graced the king’s court long ago and had permission to speak the truth -- a truth for which others might be beheaded.

The jester had a unique kind of wisdom. Sometimes it wandered alone outside the king’s court, interacting with the people in the towns and countryside. Those interactions with the jester left people somehow moved, if only to increase their smiles and laughs.

LEAPING OUT OF FISHBOWLS

Some who write about culture have likened a person’s culture to a bowl of water in which a fish swims. The fish (if it could talk) may not be able to describe the water and yet the water is very influential on the daily life of the fish. We are the same when it comes to our culture, our values, our biases.

The jester can move in and out of the fishbowl. This is part of what makes it so funny. The true comic holds a mirror up so we can look and laugh. The mirror shows our inconsistencies, our faults, our tragic seriousness. The jester (and the comic) could not do this if it did not remove itself often from the fishbowl.

By moving in and out of the fishbowl, the jester has an independence.

It can choose when to swim in the water and when to breathe in the air of freedom outside.

AD-JEST YOUR ATTITUDE

Being a jester is a state of mind. it doesn’t matter how you dress or where you are or what you do. You can be a jester anywhere because being a jester is an attitude.

The jester can create new worlds at will. The jester crosses boundaries and dissolves limitations. The jester revels and dances in a state of freedom and courage. The jester holds nothing, and everything, as sacred. The jesters are still around. They are among us and their numbers are growing.

The jester is important to any organization with the goals of increased creativity, productivity and teamwork; and reduced stress, boredom and conformity. Bringing a light heart and wisdom, the jester also makes the best kind of friend, spouse, employee, employer, or fellow citizen of your neighborhood, city, country or world.

BECOMING A JESTER

A jester must have three skills.

The first skill the jester needs is a sense of humor. A fine and enormous sense of humor. The Jester lives in the Comic Zone, not the Drama Zone.

The second skill a jester needs is the ability to adjust to whatever comes up. The jester can hop, skip, work, and play through life because of his or her skill in adjusting to the unforeseen and unplanned.

The third skill a jester needs is to “make believe." He or she says: “In this situation (this day, this life), I think I need to be like this," and then creates and becomes that “this." The jester “makes believe" until one day he or she wakes up having truly become the person imagined before.

Let’s begin to enlarge the jester ranks.

And today . . .

Start a Jester Journal. Make it sturdy. This Journal is meant to become dog-eared, written in, carried around, color crayon-ed, eaten over, played with.

Pretend today that you are outside of the fishbowl. Observe things. Maybe imagine that you are a visitor from another planet. In your mind, question everything you see. Ask “why?" Ask “why?" again. And then ask “why?" some more.

Why is that clothing the appropriate dress for this situation? Why is this music being played now? Why is the meeting being held here? Why is she sitting at her desk instead of on the floor or in a park? Why is this program on television? Why am I watching it? Why are there no animals in this setting? Why did I have that for breakfast? Why are people doing this? Why is this in the newspaper? Write your observations in your Jester Journal.

And then write new ways you would like to see things be. Use much playfulness. Dogs, puppets, and ant farms in the workplace. Meetings in amusement parks. Hokey Pokey in the street. Cookie-handlers standing on street corners handing out cookies to passing cars. Singing at power lunches.

More miming, less talking. Frequent standing ovations by those standing in line in banks or post offices or grocery stores. People carrying crayons with them at all times and drawing pictures on any appropriate paper -- napkins, the tabs for restaurant meals, what else? Flutes and harmonicas and bells being played in abundance on buses.

Begin to make some of these new ways happen.

Have fun and write it all down in your Jester Journal. The more you writeArticle Submission, the more your imagination will think of new whys and new ways.

And the more you will grow in your jesterhood.

?Copyright 2002 Stephanie West Allen

Motivation
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